I Tried Nutrition Coaching for 30 Days and Here's How it Went
Hello! My name is Amanda and I am a Physiotherapist at TRP. I am someone who has been super active my whole life, mostly through sports such as competitive contact flag football and basketball. I have also been strength training and running for about 7 years! I love being active - it’s always been an integral part of my lifestyle and happiness. Fitness is something that I push myself in and that I work very hard at, however I have always used it to justify poor eating habits. I am a person who also LOVES food.
Generally, I think that I eat fairly healthy. I love veggies and fruits, but more and more in the past I had begun to see carbs as the “enemy” to my efforts in fitness. I would restrict my carbohydrate intake, but then binge or reward myself with carbs after having a good workout day. Of course, I would see very little change in my weight or my body in terms of what I wanted to achieve, and even worse, I felt constantly hungry because I would restrict my intake.
I knew I would never achieve the goals I wanted with these eating habits, but honestly didn’t know where to start. I have always been educated in terms of the exercise piece of the picture and how to train my body, but not about how to fuel it! I saw food as a means to survive, rather than as FUEL.
Before I started my nutrition program with Mallory, a typical weekday for me would be a salad for lunch (with almost no protein), 4 snacks throughout the day including an apple, almonds, maybe some gluten free crackers, and a latte or tea. For dinner, I’d have meat or fish with veggies and rice. On weekends, 2-8 drinks, topped off with a late night unhealthy snack to soak up the alcohol. Restriction, binge, restriction, binge… paired with lots and lots of exercise and running… NOT A GOOD HABIT!
Week 1: Learning the Basics
Right away, Mallory helped me to acknowledge many of my negative thoughts about food. She asked me to not only record what I was eating, and how I FELT about what I was eating and about mental health factors each day that may affect my food choices on that particular day.
Through the My Fitness Pal app, email, and text, I was able to communicate my thoughts, feelings, and questions to Mallory about my food intake. I learned to compliment my workouts with a high protein, low carb and fat diet to achieve my goals. I noticed my workouts were better now because I knew how, when, and with what to fuel them, and truly, I FELT better.
I also felt more motivated to increase the number and quality of my workouts. I found that talking to Mallory each day and inputting my daily exercise and foods into the app held me accountable and actually motivated me to do better! Mallory is like a coach who I got to interact with everyday and who helped guide me through this journey in a compassionate and optimistic manner.
Week 2: The Stigma
Something I found interesting about using the app to monitor my eating is the reaction I get from other people, for example. “What weight do you have to lose?”, and “You don’t look like you need to lose weight?”. Most of the reactions I receive from others when they see I am “dieting” are initially negative, as they assume my goal is strictly weight loss and that I am restricting my eating or “cutting”. Educating others against this stigma has definitely been a challenge and also surprising to me that these are the first thoughts people have.
It’s important to understand the difference between restricting yourself and managing your intake. I have explained to others that this program has actually helped me to eat better, to eat more, and to eat smart. My eating habits prior to this program were far worse and unhealthy, and once I explain this to others they become very supportive.
Overall, I’ve learned that there is a negative connotation to the word “diet” and it is important to advocate for yourself and stick to your guns. Don’t let other people’s negativity make you feel like you’re doing something wrong for trying to make a positive and healthy lifestyle change.
Week 3: Finding a Balance
As my 30 day session came to a close, I felt that I have tried my best to incorporate all of the education and strategies that were provided to me. When I go out for dinner, to a party, or face the buffet, I feel that I have a plan and know how to load my plate to maintain my goals. Even when patients ask me about weight loss and exercise, I find that I am more knowledgeable and better able to answer their questions, or at least speak on behalf of my own experiences!
Entering my food into the My Fitness Pal app has also helped to teach me about portion sizes and nutritional value of the foods I am eating. Even though my goal is to eat more protein than carbs, there is such a thing as TOO much of one thing.
I felt that this nutrition program has provided me with the tools to continue on my own and to fuel my workouts. I know it will take more time to achieve my goals, but I can say that I have seen significant changes throughout these few weeks, far greater and faster than I had experienced using my own strategies prior to. I feel stronger, better, lighter, and leaner already. My pants don’t feel too tight, I’m not feeling famished throughout the day, and most importantly, I am happy with my body! Don’t let others tell you how you should feel - that’s for you to determine and you alone.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to reach out with any other questions you may have!