How to Fix a Broken Diet

November 10, 2017 11:19 pm
Leave your thoughts How to Fix a Broken Diet

In this article I’ll share the How to Fix a Broken Diet.

I’ll also share how we troubleshoot eating plans when they’ve “just stopped working” and you don’t know what else to try.

And, finally, I’ll show you how to use these strategies to improve your own eating.

Bonus: We even created a cool infographic that summarizes this article.

Click here for: Nutrition and Fitness for Busy Professionals

 

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Step 1: Identify and Remove Nutritional Deficiencies

Most people assume they need to completely overhaul their diet when things aren’t going well.

“I need to go paleo, then keto, then low carb. I’ll start drinking water and while I’m sleeping I’ll start the zone diet. When I wake up I’ll take raspberry ketones and then start paleo again. Then I’ll drop fat and take more protein in and I’ll be fixed!”

I don’t know about you, but I get exhausted just thinking about all those changes.

After coaching 10+ years, I’ve come to realize that this approach isn’t just difficult; it’s misguided.

Because a complete overhaul rarely addresses what’s making most people feel bad in the first place.

Often, people struggle with how they look and feel because their physiology doesn’t work the way it should.

This can be hormonal imbalances, but it’s more often dietary deficiency: not getting the right nutrients, in the right amounts, to get the best results.

Dietary deficiencies, therefore, are the first red flag that something’s wrong.

 

Identify and Remove Nutritional Deficiencies

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A solution could be to simply identify these deficiencies. If you connect with a naturopath or holistic doctor you could get your blood, saliva, and urine tested to uncover specific deficiencies.

But there’s an easier palce to start.

Here are the most common deficiencies among the clients we work with:

  1. Water (low-level dehydration)
  2. Vitamins and minerals (find out what specific ones in our guide here)
  3. Protein (particularly in women and in men with low appetites)
  4. Essential Fats (95% of the population is deficient)

To Correct these deficiencies :

  1. Drink More Hydrating Fluids – divide your body weight by 2 and that is how much ounces you should start with
  2. Eat More Foods Rich in Vitamins and Minerals – or take a great Multi-Vitamin to support your current diet.
  3. Eat More Foods Rich In Protein – supplementing with protein powder is great just don’t over do it. If you can opt for real food.
  4. Take in more essential fats (fish, fish oil, algae oil, etc.) – Fish oil supplement is great here as well as a good mix of wild caught fish.

Just how important is this first step?

Energy levels, appetite, strength, endurance, and mood all rely on getting enough of these essential nutrients. When you don’t get them, things break down.

That’s why you can eat “clean”, go Paleo, avoid meat, lower your carbs, or count calories – you can do “everything right” nutritionally – and still feel lousy.

When we don’t get the nutrient we need, we suffer. As soon as we start eating them regularly, WE THRIVE.

Step 2 – Adjust Food Amount and Food Type

How to Fix a Broken Diet

Once we’re getting all the essential nutrients for proper functioning we can move on to bigger issues.

These include:

  • food amount
  • food composition

Food amount and calorie counting

At Thrive we help our clients get away from using handbooks, websites, databases, spreadsheets and math when planning meals.

Total food intake matters, we just aren’t fans of counting calories.

To begin with, calorie counting does nothing to help us tune into our own powerful hunger and appetite cues.

By learning how to listen to our own bodies, we have better long-term success in healthy eating.

(Of course, not everyone knows how to do this from the start. It takes a little coaching and some practice.)

Nor does calorie counting help us balance our health goals with our natural human enjoyment of food. In the short term, anyone can turn eating into a numerical and robotic exercise. But, in the long run, this strategy falls apart.

(Just ask anyone who “used to” count calories. You shouldn’t have a hard time finding them.)

There’s another problem with calorie counting: It’s just not all that accurate.

Because of incorrect labeling, laboratory errors, and differences in food quality and preparation, calorie counts recorded on food labels and websites can be off by as much as 25%.

Bottom line: even if you’re the world’s best calorie counter the math just doesn’t add up.

So, How Much Should I eat?

We have a really simple shortcut for helping people eat right for their body type.

We begin by classifying clients into one of three general categories (or somatotypes):

  • I types (ectomorphs),
  • V types (mesomorphs), and
  • O types (endomorphs).

Here’s a male example of each body type:

3 Steps to Fix a Broken Diet

Here’s a female example of each body type:

3 Steps to Fix a Broken Diet

The following portion guide assumes 3-4 meals a day. Notice that, instead of counting calories, you can use your own hand as a portable portion guide. Your palm measures protein, your fist for veggies, your cupped hand for carbs, and your thumb for fats.

Nutrition for “I types”

I types (ectomorphs) are thin, with smaller bone structures and thinner limbs. Think of a typical endurance athlete.

A nutrient distribution for this body type might be around 55% carbs, 25% protein, and 20% fat. (But don’t drive yourself crazy with the math. Just think “higher carbs and lower fat.”)

Here’s what that might look like using our portion control guide.

I type men begin by eating:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 fists of vegetables at each meal;
  • 3 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 thumb of fat dense foods at each meal.

3 Steps to Fixing A Broken Diet

I type women begin by eating:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables at each meal;
  • 2 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 0.5 thumb of fat dense foods at each meal.

Nutrition for “V types”

V types (mesomorphs) have a medium sized bone structure and athletic body, and if they’re active, they usually have a considerable amount of lean mass. Many explosive athletes like wrestlers and gymnasts fit these criteria.

A nutrient distribution for this body type might be around 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 30% fat. (Again, don’t drive yourself crazy with the math. Just envision a roughly balanced mix of all three macronutrients.)

Here’s what that might look like using our portion control guide.

V type men begin by eating:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 fists of vegetables at each meal;
  • 2 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 thumb of fat dense foods at each meal.

3 Steps for Fixing a Broken Diet

V type women begin by eating:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables at each meal;
  • 1 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 thumb of fat dense foods at each meal.

3 Steps to fix a Broken Diet

Nutrition for “O types”

O types (endomorphs) have a larger bone structure with higher amounts of total body mass and fat mass. Football linemen, powerlifters, and throwers are typically endomorphs.

A nutrient distribution for this body type might be around 25% carbs, 35% protein, and 40% fat. Again, no math gymnastics. Just think higher fats and protein, lower carbs.

Here’s what that might look like using our portion control guide:

O type men begin by eating:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 fists of vegetables at each meal;
  • 1 cupped handful of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 3 thumbs of fat dense foods at each meal.

3 Steps to fix a broken diet

O type women begin by eating:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables at each meal;
  • 0.5 cupped handful of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 thumbs of fat dense foods at each meal.

3 Steps to fix a Broken diet

Step 3 – Fine Tune The Details

Fixing a Broken Diet

Once deficiencies are corrected and you’re eating the right types of food in the right amounts, everything else is just a minor detail.

1. How often should I eat?

  • As long as we are eating the right foods in the right amounts, meal frequency is a matter of personal preference. You could eat smaller meals often or large meals less often.

2. Should I cycle Calories or Carbs?

For some people this strategy can make a difference. Here’s how to do it…

  • On the days, you’re lifting weights add starchy carb to your baseline diet
  • On the days you’re not lifting, eat a baseline diet of mostly protein vegetables and healthy fats with minimal carbs

3. What Should I eat Before, During, or After Exercise

  • Before and After: 1-2 hours before and After – Eat an appropriate meal as outlined above
  • During Exercise: Have water, a branched-chain amino acid drink (5-15 grams mixed in 1 liter of water), or a protein plus carbohydrate drink.

Summary

If you feel like your nutrition’s off track – but aren’t sure what to do about it – hopefully this article has given you something new to consider and try.

Remember:

  • First, remove red flags and nutrient deficiencies.
  • Control your calorie intake without counting calories.
  • Consider your body type and activity level.
  • Observe your progress carefully. Adjust your intake as needed.
  • Do all of this consistently and long-term first, before adding any new strategies.

Remember, whether you’re a beginner and trying to get started in the right direction, or you’re experienced but still spinning your wheels, these steps – when applied in sequence – can make all the difference.

Want help sorting all this out?

This is simple stuff. But it’s not necessarily easy to put into practice, especially with the consistency needed to see results.

If you’re looking for help and guidance yourself, we can help.

We accept a very small number of new clients every month, so if you’re motivated and tired of being stuck click on the “I want to get started button“. Spots at our private studio are first come, first serve, and when they’re gone, they’re gone.

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