#1 I keep eating the same meals – I’m in a food rut
Eating the same foods over and over feels “safe” – you think, if it isn’t broke, why fix it. But after a period of time, you get bored. Also, eating the same foods over and over, you risk missing out on key nutrients.
Variety is important to ensure good nutrition. Try to eat the colors of the rainbow every day. Have in your arsenal at least 2-3 foods of each color that you can interchange each time you cook. Change things up by putting one or two new things in your shopping cart every time you go to the market. When you shop for food, choose seasonal produce. Not only do they taste the best and have the most nutrition, but it ensures variety.
Try different fresh and dried herbs and herb blends to change the flavor of your food. Think along ethnic lines – Latin (chili powder, cumin, lime, lemon, oregano), Italian (basil, oregano, garlic, parmesan cheese, tomatoes), Indian (curry, garam masala, cumin, yogurt), Asian (toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, ponsu sauce, hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger, toasted sesame seeds), Jamaican (jerk seasoning, tropical fruit).
Try new grains. Bored of brown rice? Try quinoa, amaranth, millet, barley.
#2 When I make a mistake, I think, “I blew it!” Why even try anymore?
Slip-ups happen. Even to the most disciplined of people. Expect yourself to mess up every now and again. It’s how you respond to those slip ups that matter. First thing you do is own it. Admit it happened. Next, figure out why I happened. This will help prevent it from happening in the future. Then make a plan and get right back on track. Go out for a walk. Drink some water. Plan to eat clean for the rest of the day, with lots of veggies and lean protein. Slip ups happen. It doesn’t make you a bad person. The good thing about slip ups is that it teaches you what your weaknesses are and how to plan to be successful in the future.
#3 Do I have to eat breakfast if I’m not hungry?
You have just come off of an overnight fast. Your metabolism and blood sugar are low and you are dehydrated. The first thing you should do is drink at least 8 oz. of water. If you’re not hungry in the morning, you should eat a small snack of fruit within 1 hour of waking to help stabilize your blood sugar and raise your metabolism. If you start getting hungry about an hour or two after that, then have your breakfast. Some people have breakfast, then snack, while others have snack then breakfast. Either way works fine.
#4 I don’t like water. It’s a struggle to meet the recommended 64 oz. Do I really have to drink that much?
First of all, the amount of water you need varies from person to person. The best way to tell if you’re hydrated is by the color of your urine. If it’s clear or very pale yellow, then you’re doing just fine. If it’s any darker than that, it’s time to chug-a-lug. If you don’t like water, then try herbal tea, green tea, water spiked with and ounce of juice (try antioxidant-rich pomegranate, cherry, or blueberry juice). If you eat a lot of fruit and veggies, then you’re getting a good amount of water there, too. Try to limit the diet drinks and low-calorie flavored powders that can be mixed into water. Sure, they may help you get your water down, but they’re loaded with artificial sweeteners and artificial colors and flavors. Thirst is a poor indicator of hydration – by the time you’re thirsty, you’re usually 1-2% dehydrated (pretty significant). If you exercise, you need to increase your fluid intake. A general rule is 8-16 oz. water about and hour before exercise, 4 oz. every 15 minutes of exercise, and 8-16 oz. after you’re done working out.
#5 My trainer gives me nutrition advice all the time. Should I listen or ignore it?
If your toilet is clogged, are you going to call an electrician to fix it?
Personal trainers (make sure they are certified) are trained to help you achieve your exercise goals. They are there to push your body to new and different levels. The majority of personal trainers are not well-schooled in nutrition. If you are luck enough to find a trainer who is also a registered dietitian, then you’re in luck! You can get the best of both worlds. Otherwise, find the right person for the right job. RDs are the nutrition experts.