Without question, the most difficult aspect any change regarding health and fitness – getting leaner, stronger, gaining muscle or just becoming healthier in general – is the dreaded four letter word: DIET.
In my 12-plus years of experience working with clients, nutrition seems like the biggest hurdle for almost everyone. Even top-level, experienced competitors can find the caloric deficit a struggle as fatigue and craving set in.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
What do you do when you aren’t very good at something but want to become better at it? You practice.
Theater actors don’t wait until opening night to rehearse their lines, just as marathon runners don’t go out for their first run and qualify for Boston Marathon. Doctors practice medicine. Lawyers practice law. This might sound a little extreme and almost crazy to some, but I practice dieting.
Now, most of you are probably wondering, How the heck can you practice dieting? Well, it’s pretty simple – I come up with different mental exercises to get through hunger or cravings. It is basically a practice in self discipline. I also experiment with different macronutrient ratios and different types of diets to see how my body responds to them. If you want to nail down this whole dieting thing; if you want to become an “expert dieter,” then you need to practice.
IMPROVE YOUR DIETING SKILLS THROUGH DIETING “EXERCISES”
• Come up with a certain time of day when you allow yourself to eat, for example: 6 a.m., 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Allow yourself a 30-minute window within that hour to eat. Be consistent about eating at that time every day: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner.
• Cut yourself off from one of your favorite foods for 30 days. Or you can start with one week, if that is more realistic.
• Another more advanced exercise I have done a few times – and it is really hard – is to wait until you get to the point of pretty extreme hunger, then put one of your favorite foods in front of you. For me, it’s a jar of nut butter with a spoon in it. See how long you can mentally resist the urge to give in.
For competitors, if you are in your “offseason” or “improvement season,” which it is often referred to, isn’t dieting a big part of the skill of competition prep that should be improved upon? Isn’t the ability to diet well one of the biggest factors to your success?
You work out hard in the offseason to improve your physique, bring up your weak points, and balance out your symmetry. You practice posing in the offseason to improve your presentation. Instead of letting your nutrition slide in the offseason, shouldn’t you also use some of this time to practice and improve your nutrition and dieting skills?
MASTER YOUR NUTRITION
These are all fairly simple (but not easy) exercises in physical and mental self-discipline that can help you become better at mastering your nutrition – instead of letting your hunger and your cravings master you.
As with anything, practice makes perfect. And with one of the most difficult things in the world – DIETING – how can you ever become good at it unless you practice, practice, practice?
ABOUT NAOMI RABON
One of the trainers on Nicole’s elite NW Fitness Training Team, Naomi is a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a NPC Figure competitor who has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 12 years.