Diet challenges are usually all about what you can’t eat. But what if you could see huge results from a self-experiment that doesn’t make any foods off-limits? Instead of focusing on what you eat, our 30-day eating challenge emphasizes how you eat. And the results? They could be transformational.

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“You want the next level stuff?” I asked.

“Do this first, and let’s see if you can handle it.”

The nutrition advice I’d just given Cameron Lichtwer wasn’t what he expected, so I made it a challenge.

As an instructor at the British Columbia Personal Training Institute, a strength and conditioning coach, and a former competitive athlete, Cameron was no stranger to exercise and nutrition. In fact, he thought he’d tried it all.

But my advice? It was so… basic. Wasn’t he far beyond that?

Well, no. Because what I told him can help almost anyone, from the most advanced dieters to those who’ve struggled with healthy eating for a lifetime.

“Eat slowly and mindfully.”

I know: It sounds too ridiculously simple to work.

But guess what? It was exactly what Cameron needed. In two months, his body fat dropped from 13.9 percent to 9.5 percent, the lowest level he’s ever achieved. This was without weighing and measuring food, or following a restrictive meal plan.

Soon after he started, he sent me this text:

“I can’t believe it. I’m losing fat and destroying my workouts. I’m sleeping better. I feel awesome.”

Cameron was surprised by the results he got from such a simple process.

But I wasn’t.

Eating slowly is one of the core practices of Precision Nutrition Coaching.

Because it works.

So why not try the slow-eating challenge yourself?

Practice it for just 30 days, and you may be shocked at what you achieveeven if you don’t change anything else.

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5 ways this 30-day eating challenge will change your body and mind.

When it comes to eating better, most folks worry about the little details:

  • “Are potatoes fattening?”
  • “If I don’t drink a protein shake after my workout, is it even worth exercising?”
  • “Is keto really the best way to lose weight? Or should I be doing Paleo? Or what about the alkaline diet?!”

Yet they eat over the kitchen sink. Or in their car. Or in a daze while in front of the TV.

And who can blame them? We’ve been taught to think about what we eat, not how we eat.

That’s too bad since…

Eating slowly and mindfully can actually be more important than:

  • what you eat
  • when you eat
  • getting anything else “perfect”

Now, this may seem a bit controversial. After all, if you only eat Oreos, the speed at which you consume them isn’t your biggest problem.

But setting aside the extremes, slow eating may be the single most powerful habit for driving major transformation.

Instead of having to figure out which foods to eat, in what frequency, and in what portions—all important factors, of course—eating slowly is the simplest way anyone can start losing weight and feeling better, immediately. (Like, after your first slow-eaten meal.)

That fuels confidence and motivation, and from there, you can always tighten up the details.

Because why go to the complicated stuff right away, when you can get incredible results without it?

Slow eating isn’t just for nutrition newbies. Nutrition nerds can also see big benefits. If you’re like Cameron, for example, it could be the key to unlocking never-before-seen progress. In fact, we’ve seen it work for physique competitors, fitness models, and even Olympic athletes.

Slow eating is like the secret weight loss weapon everyone has access to, but nobody knows about.

That’s because it can help you…

1. Eat less without feeling deprived.

Sure, many popular diets claim this as a benefit. But with slow eating, this phenomenon can occur even if you don’t change what you’re eating.

For example, in one study, University of Rhode Island researchers served the same pasta lunch to 30 normal-weight women on two different days. At both meals, participants were told to eat until comfortably full.

But they were also told:

  • Lunch 1: Eat this meal as fast as you can.
  • Lunch 2: Eat slowly and put your utensils down between every bite.

The results:

  • When eating quickly, the women consumed 646 calories in 9 minutes.
  • When eating slowly, they consumed 579 calories in 29 minutes.

So in 20 more minutes, the slow-eaters ate 67 fewer calories. What’s more, it also took them longer to feel hungry afterward compared to when they were speeding through their lunch.

These effects, spread across every meal and snack, could add up to hundreds of calories saved over the course of a day.

Granted, this is just a single study, but it demonstrates what we’ve seen with our clients over and over.

(Feel free to try this experiment at home right now, if you like.)

Why does this happen?

Reason 1: Physiology.  It takes about 20 minutes for your body’s satiety signals to kick in. Slow eating gives the system time to work, allowing you to better sense when you’ve had enough.

Reason 2: Psychology. When you slow down, and really try to savor your meal, you tend to feel satisfied with less, and feel less “deprived.”

Rachel Levy: Facing fear and anxiety.

Rachel Levy’s initial reaction to this challenge: “I can’t possibly eat slowly. I will die!”

As you can guess, she didn’t perish after giving it a try. In fact, she went on to be the female winner of our July 2018 transformation contest.

How’d she make it happen?

I decided to just try. Just put one foot in front of the other, and only do what was being asked of me—eat just a little bit slower.

“I faced the fear of doing something different.

During her first two weeks of eating slowly, Rachel had one of those “aha moments.”

“I suddenly realized that the reason I ate quickly was actually a feedback loop: I ate quickly to calm my anxiety, but eating quickly was making me anxious.”

The upshot: Discovering this connection immediately made it easy for Rachel to eat slowly.

2. Look and feel better.

Have regular bloating, cramping, or stomach pains? Many of our clients say slow eating helped solve their digestive issues.

Why does speed matter?

Because when you wolf down your food, you take larger bites and chew less.

Your stomach has a harder time mashing those big chunks of food into chyme—the sludgy mix of partially digested food, hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes, and water that passes from your stomach into your small intestine.

When food isn’t properly broken down into chyme, it can cause indigestion and other GI problems. We may absorb fewer nutrients, depleting ourselves of valuable vitamins and minerals.

Besides making you uncomfortable (maybe even miserable), shoddy digestion can also affect your mindset.

For instance, if your meal leaves you bloated, burpy, and sluggish, you may interpret this as “feeling out of shape,” and become discouraged about your efforts. On the other hand, slowing down and digesting your food properly may help you “feel leaner.”

3. Learn what “hungry” and “full” feel like.

Ever have a meal because it’s a certain time of day, even if you’re not particularly hungry?

Or clean your plate, though you’re pretty sure you’ll regret it?

These are just a couple of ways people tune out their internal hunger and satiety cues. There are plenty more, but the point is:

Many of us eat when we’re not hungry, and keep eating when we’re full.

Slow eating can help get you right again. With regular practice, it improves your appetite awareness. You learn to recognize —and more importantly, trust—your body’s own internal signals.

Over time, this retrains you to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Not because some rigid meal plan demands it, but because your body (a.k.a. your new best friend) tells you so.

This is the difference between being “on a diet” and learning how to “listen to your body”… a valuable skill that allows you to make healthier choices for the rest of your life.

Voila—lasting body transformation in a way that doesn’t suck.

Nellie Long: Tackling food addiction.

Nellie was already “healthy” when she started Precision Nutrition Coaching. She went to the gym three to five times a week, ate mostly whole, unprocessed foods, and wasn’t really looking to lose weight.

There was just one problem: She struggled with food addiction. “I needed to face the reason I was eating a pound of carrots in one sitting,” she says.

When first introduced to the habit of eating slowly, Nellie was so worried she couldn’t do it, she considered leaving the program. But instead, she accepted the challenge. And although there were setbacks—like the day she ate seven cupcakes—little by little, it started to get easier.

Now, it’s revolutionized her relationship with food. On a recent backpacking trip, Nellie’s friend brought some Fritos along. At the end of their 13-mile day, Nellie started craving those chips.

“Before, I would have pounded them down. But this time, I put one in my mouth and savored it.” She still ate the chips—slowly—but instead of feeling ashamed and overstuffed, she felt nourished and satisfied.

Big lesson for Nellie:

“I’ve learned that when I listen to my body, it tells me everything I need to be successful.”

4. Disrupt patterns that derail your progress.

If you struggle with binge eating, learning to go slow can help.

That might sound odd, since a binge is driven by an overwhelming urge to consume as much food as possible, as fast as possible. (This quality is what differentiates binge eating from run-of-the-mill overeating.)

But the skills you develop from slow eating can help you mitigate the damage, and build resilience over time.

Here’s how: When you’re in the grip of a binge, slow down as soon as you realize what’s happening.

Pause. Breathe. The food will wait for you. Even just one breath between bites will help.

You might not be able to stop eating right away, and that’s okay. How much you eat isn’t as important as getting back into a more thoughtful state of mind.

With this “binge slowly” technique, most people can regain a sense of control. And the more you practice it, the more effective it will be.

If you keep slowing down, even during your most difficult moments:

  • You’ll become more aware of why, where, and how you’re binging (so it won’t seem random, and eventually you can break the chain).
  • You’ll likely eat less and stop sooner.
  • You’ll feel less panicked and powerless.
  • You’ll be able to soothe yourself more effectively, and get back into “wise mind” faster.

In time, this’ll help normalize your eating, boost your physical and psychological health, and improve body composition (or help you maintain a healthy body composition more easily, without restriction-compensation cycles).

5. Gain a tool you can use anytime, anywhere.

We don’t always have control over what foods are available to us. But we always have control over how quickly we chew and swallow.

Think of slow eating as the low-hanging fruit of nutrition: super accessible in any situation.

It doesn’t require specialized meal plans or a food scale. No matter what’s going on in your life, or what’s on your plate, you can practice eating slowly.

Elaine Gordon: Finding a better way.

When Precision Nutrition Coaching client Elaine Gordon started the program, she already knew a lot about nutrition from years of working with coaches and researching on her own.

“I knew the ‘whats’ of eating well, but really benefited from the ‘hows’ that PN teaches,” she says.

“It’s incredible to see how your relationship with food changes when you bring attention and awareness to the process of eating.”

Thanks to her new, more mindful relationship with food, Elaine began to get the results she’d been after all those years. And after seeing how effective it was for Elaine, her husband even started eating slowly. Now they practice the habit together.

The best part? Elaine knows she has this tool at her disposal, no matter where she is or what she’s doing.

“Even if all else fails with my diet, I can always choose to eat slowly.”

How to eat slowly.

Eating slowly and mindfully is simple and effective—but not necessarily easy.

Most people have to work at it.

Thankfully, you don’t have to get it “perfect.” Shoot for “a little bit better” instead. You might be surprised at how effective this can be.

Try one of these tips. You can experiment with them for just one meal, or take on a full 30-day slow-eating challenge, if you feel up to it.

Take just one breath.

Before you eat, pause. Take one breath.

Take one bite. Then take another breath.

Take another bite. Then take another breath.

Go one bite, and one breath at a time.

That’s it.

Add just one minute.

At first, most people panic at the idea of “wasting time” on eating or having to be alone with their thoughts and the sounds of crunching for too long. Plus, life is busy and rushed. Having long leisurely meals may feel impossible.

So, start small. Add just one minute per meal. Or two, or three, if you’re feeling sassy about it.

When you start your meal, start the clock (or use an app like 20 Minute Eating to time yourself).

The game: Stretch out that meal as long as you can. Then try to make your next meal last one minute longer.

Over time, you can gradually build up how long you spend at meals.

Don’t be hard on yourself: If you forget to slow down during one meal, no biggie. Just slow down next time, and notice what happens.

And remember, even one minute better—or one breath-between-bites better—can help.

Put down the remote.

For the next level of challenge, don’t eat while you drive, watch TV, or play with your phone. Sit at a table, not on your living room couch, and for heaven’s sake, don’t eat standing over the sink. Try to relax and experience your meal.

The whole point is to pay attention to your food and body. So, over the next 30 days, do your best to eat in a calm environment with minimal distractions.

Eat foods that need to really be chewed.

Try this experiment: Eat a whole food, like an apple slice, and count how many chews it takes to swallow a mouthful. Then grab a highly processed snack, like a cracker or cookie, and count your chews.

What differences do you notice?

Which food do you think will be easier to eat slowly?

Now act accordingly.

Minimally processed lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes require more effort—and time—to eat.

The more you have to chew, the longer it’ll take you to eat, giving your fullness signals a chance to catch up.

Do something between bites.

Pacing yourself is easier when you have a specific action in mind to break up mouthfuls of food.

Between bites, try:

  • setting down your utensils
  • taking a breath (or three)
  • taking a sip of water
  • asking someone at the table a question

Savor your food.

When you eat… eat. Enjoy it. Really taste it.

Is it salty? Sweet? Does it coat the roof of your mouth? What’s the texture like?

Notice these little details with each bite.

To really tap into this experience, try “wine tasting” your food. Practice chewing slowly, sniffing, and savoring your food, as if it were a fine wine.

Notice what affects your eating speed.

As you experiment, try to identify what affects your eating speed or focus.

Consider factors such as:

  • who you eat with
  • when you eat
  • what you eat
  • where you eat

Once you’ve made some observations, ask yourself:

  • What could you do to improve on what is already working well?
  • What could you change, given what isn’t working well?

Refine your practice.

Pay attention to the eating speed of those around you. Observe the slowest-eating person in the group and match their speed.

If you find yourself rushing, that’s okay. Put your utensils down and take a minute to re-focus. If slow eating isn’t habitual for you, this will take some time to master.

Embrace an experimental mindset and notice what you learn.

Remember: every meal is a chance to practice.

Phillip Wilson: Getting leaner and learning to be present.

Like many others, Phillip was skeptical about eating slowly.

“I never expected it to work. It sounded too easy,” he says.

Eating slowly was more challenging than he expected, but with practice, things started to click, and the results have been major.

“The simple act of making time to eat slowly has gotten me closer to my goals than anything I’ve ever tried,” says Phillip.

And the results aren’t just physical: Slowing down his eating helped Phillip set a more comfortable pace in other areas of his life, too.

“Not only am I leaner, but life doesn’t just pass me by anymore. I’m more aware of the moments that are right in front of me.”

I ate slowly, now what?

At the end of your 30-day slow-eating challenge, tune into what’s different.

You’re probably going to observe some changes in your body—such as how your stomach feels after a meal or how your pants fit. You may also notice mental changes, like what you think about while you’re eating, or how you react to feeling hungry or full.

Look at how much has changed in just 30 days, and imagine:

What would happen if you continued working on this habit… forever?

There’s a good reason to do just that: No matter what other habits you adopt or “next level stuff” you try, eating slowly will always enhance your efforts. And how often can you say that about anything?

But don’t just keep it to yourself: Share the 30-day slow-eating challenge with your friends, family, and co-workers. It could be exactly what they need, but never even knew to try.

Want help becoming the healthiest, fittest, strongest version of you?

Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.

Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.

[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].

The post The 30-day eating challenge that can blow your mind—and transform your body. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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From ruining your progress to making you feel like a failure, food cravings aren’t your friend (no matter what they say). In this article, we break down the real reasons you can’t stop over-snacking, and explain how to combine smart behavioral strategies with healthy junk food alternatives—so you can finally conquer your cravings.

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Have you ever stared at a pile of crumbs, with a belly full of shame, and wondered, ‘How did I let this happen?’

We can relate. Because almost everyone can relate.

Besides driving you to eat, cravings can drive you nuts—making you feel like an out-of-control failure who can’t keep from overindulging.

But you aren’t powerless against these urges, even if it seems that way.

The secret to winning the cravings game?

It’s not about eliminating your cravings altogether. That’s wishful thinking.

It’s not about building your willpower, either. Relying solely on self-discipline all-too-often ends with a binge (and then a whimper).

No, the way you conquer your cravings is by outwitting them.

How? By understanding why, where, and when they occur and creating a strategic action plan ahead of time.

Think of it as learning junk food jiu-jitsu.

And if you’re ready, you can start today.

Here 5 simple strategies—along with 16 delicious recipes—to help you get off the cravings train for good.

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Dig to the root of your cravings.

No one hates on themselves when they crave a salad, Super Shake, or a grilled chicken breast.

But most cravings are closely tied to junk food and have little to do with true hunger. And each time you indulge these urges you reinforce the behavior, creating a “cravings cycle” that can hijack your progress… and your sanity.

The cravings cycle works like this:

First comes the urge (the craving), followed by the behavior (finding a food that satisfies that craving). Then, you get the reward (eating the food you wanted). That last part is accompanied by a release of dopamine, giving your brain a “hit” of pleasure1.

From there it can snowball: The more often you reward your brain, the more likely it is to stimulate the craving, and the stronger that craving may become.

Find your trigger

Ever had your mouth water at the mere sight of a McDonald’s drive-thru? Or smell that movie popcorn and make a beeline for the concession stand—even though you swore you’d skip it this time?

Cravings are often brought on by environmental cues such as sight, smell, taste, location, or company. So tracking when and where your cravings occur can you help you figure out what triggers them. From there, you can adjust your environment and habits to disrupt the cycle.

Each time you experience a craving, jot down the answers to these questions:

  • What are you craving? (A specific food? A certain flavor or texture?)
  • Where are you? (Note your location, but also any smells or visual cues—like a restaurant billboard or commercial.)
  • What are you doing? (Driving? Working? Watching TV?)
  • What are you feeling physically? (Shaky? Lightheaded? Tense?)
  • What are you feeling emotionally? (Happy? Cranky? Rushed?)
  • What are you thinking? (For instance: ‘I might as well eat this… I’ve already blown my diet.’)
  • Who are you with? (Be very specific.)

This isn’t a one-time exercise. Try it for a couple of weeks so you can see what patterns emerge. And trust us, there are almost always patterns.

To make it easy for you, use this cravings journal, which takes you through the process step-by-step.

Change your patterns.

Let’s say you tend to reach for ice cream an hour after dinner every night. According to your notes, you’re not even really hungry; you’re just craving something sweet, salty, or crunchy… or maybe a combination of the three.

Or perhaps you’ve noticed that every day after your 2 pm conference call, you saunter down to the office cafeteria “just to see if there’s anything new.” (There’s not.) And you end up with a 500-calorie “treat” you didn’t need or even truly want.

You’ve just identified a pattern. Now you can disrupt the cycle with these smart behavioral strategies.

Strategy #1: Give your craving a timeout.

Yes, the strategy traditionally used with willful toddlers can also work with Rocky Road.

Notice your snack urge, and sit with it for five minutes without taking action.

This isn’t about exercising willpower. It’s about pausing just long enough to let your conscious mind say, ‘Hey, I’m in charge here!’ This gives you the chance to evaluate all your options, and make a rational decision, rather than a reactionary one.

Are you actually hungry? Or are you bored or stressed or procrastinating?

Does a steak or baked potato sound good, or is it just those donuts in the break room?

These are the kinds of questions you can ask yourself.

Granted, you may still decide to go ahead and indulge. After all, maybe you’re truly hungry. Or perhaps you’re just not having your best day. (Trigger alert.) And that’s okay.

Don’t consider this a failure.

In your efforts to break your cravings cycle, you won’t be perfect. Simply think of this as an opportunity to gather more data about your cravings, so you better understand them for next time. (And give yourself a pat on the back for taking five minutes.)

But here’s the really important part: You don’t have to choose between giving in to your cravings and depriving yourself.

There’s a space in between the two, and that’s where you can really break the cravings cycle.

Strategy #2: Choose an activity that doesn’t involve chewing.

What happens if you step away from the freezer and go for a walk, clean up your phone’s camera roll, or make a new Spotify playlist?

By immersing your mind or body in an activity long enough, you may run the urge all the way out of your system.

That’s because cravings are often psychological rather than physical. And with the exception of very strong grief or trauma, intense feelings don’t usually last longer than 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re not really hungry, the craving will likely dissipate.

You’ve probably even experienced a form of this “diversion therapy” before. Ever get so involved in a project that you actually forget to eat lunch? Or the afternoon flies by, and you didn’t even think about a snack? Same concept, only this time, you’ll do it on purpose.

Once you sense a craving, choose an activity you can really dig into, such as:

  • working on a project you’re passionate about
  • crossing an item off of your daily to-do list
  • responding to a few emails
  • calling a friend
  • playing an instrument or video game
  • shooting hoops in the driveway
  • coloring a page or two in a coloring book
  • exercising, gardening, or cleaning

Remember, you’re looking to activate and occupy your mind and/or body. So, while different activities may work better for different people, watching TV probably won’t help (and in fact, is often a trigger).

Strategy #3: Try an experiment.

Hunger and cravings tend to come in waves, rising and falling throughout the day.

It helps to understand how this feels. That’s why we often suggest our healthy clients (those without any pre-existing health conditions) try a fasting experiment. For 24 hours, they don’t eat (they’re reminded to stay well hydrated, though). Although some are afraid they’ll be “starving all day long,” that’s not usually what happens.

Yes, they get hungry. Yes, they get cravings. But these feelings come and go, and for many folks, this can be both eye-opening and empowering. In a sense, fasting forces them to “lean in” to urges, and accept “it’s okay to be hungry.”

Do they waste away? No.

Do they collapse from exhaustion? No.

Does the world end? No.

Again, this isn’t about testing your willpower or denying yourself. It’s about giving you a fresh perspective, and reducing the anxiety, discomfort, and urgency you feel the moment hunger or cravings arise.

Strategy #4: Indulge your cravings—under the following conditions.

Really craving a chocolate bar? Okay, have one. But choose a pricey, high-quality chocolate. Eat it slowly, and savor the experience. Though it seems counterintuitive, clients tell us they eat far less of the chocolate (or any craved food) this way. And research shows the same.

Or even better, try this unconventional strategy from Krista Scott-Dixon, Ph.D., Precision Nutrition’s Director of Curriculum. She tells her clients they can have any snack they want, but it has to be purchased—right before eating—from a grocery store that’s 15 minutes away.

She’s discovered that half the time, people decide it’s not worth the effort.

What about clients who do set out for the grocery store? By the time these folks arrive, they sometimes don’t even want the snack because the craving’s gone.

Precision Nutrition Master Coach Dominic Matteo has used a similar method with his clients. It goes like this:

You can eat it, but you have to make it.

That’s right: Potato chips need to be sliced from actual potatoes and cooked in the air fryer. Cake needs to be baked in the oven. Ice cream needs to freeze.

Sound ridiculously impractical? Sure, it does, and that’s the point.

It helps answer this question: How hungry are you, really? Besides, this is exactly what people have had to do for most of human history. (Sans the air fryer, of course.)

One important consideration for both of these strategies: They work a lot better if your kitchen pantry and office desk aren’t full of ready-to-eat temptations.

So remember Berardi‘s First Law (named for its originator, Precision Nutrition co-founder Dr. John Berardi):

If a food is in your house or possession, either you, someone you love, or someone you marginally tolerate will eventually eat it.

Strategy #5: Eat the right foods during the day.

Though cravings can happen any time of day, nighttime cravings and overeating are very common.

At PN, we don’t necessarily like to tell people exactly when or how many meals to eat. It’s okay whether you eat a couple of times a day or several, or if you have most of your food in either earlier in the day or later. So long as it’s working for you, it’s all fair game.

But over the years, our coaches have discovered clients who overeat at night are often restricting their intake throughout the day—knowingly or unknowingly.

For example, they might be skipping breakfast and having a salad with little or no protein for lunch. By dinner, they could be making solid choices rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats, but their appetite is already in overdrive. So it’s no wonder they’re feeling snacky before bed.

What you eat during the day matters. Not so much what you eat on any given day, but what you eat most days.

Fiber (especially from low-calorie vegetables) helps fill you up, and protein keeps you full longer between meals. This makes eating a combination of these nutrients, in sensible portions at regular intervals, key for regulating appetite.

Through years of experience, our coaches have found that even small adjustments to eating habits, such as adding a daily breakfast with a healthy dose of protein and veggies—along with reasonable amounts of smart carbs and healthy fats—can help curb after-dinner overeating.

The message here is simple: If you have a voracious night-time appetite, look at what you’re eating the rest of the day. You may find if you do a better job of nourishing your body at other meals, you won’t hear that little “feed me!” voice when you’re about to brush your teeth.

Junk food alternatives: Marketing trick or healthier treat?

Answer: It depends.

“Healthy” snacking options are everywhere, from frozen yogurt to those keto-friendly “fat balls” that keep showing up on your Instagram feed.

These junk food alternatives can be helpful, but there are a couple of caveats to keep in mind.

First, these shouldn’t be your only strategy. There’s evidence2 suggesting that when people purposely choose a “healthy substitute,” they often overeat later.

So in order for junk food alternatives to be helpful—instead of harmful—they need to be used in conjunction with other strategies, like the ones in this article. Otherwise, you’re just continuing the cravings cycle with a different type of food.

Second, not all substitutes are created equal. Though they include labels like “organic,” “gluten-free,” or even “low calorie,” store-bought junk food alternatives are often made with a delicious combination of sugar, fat, and salt or other brain-pleasing ingredients.

In fact, they’re frequently manufactured to be easy to eat in large quantities. So sure, these products might be slightly better choices than straight up junk food. But they’re unlikely to help you avoid overeating when cravings strike.

But hey, it’s not all bad news.

Chosen wisely, healthy substitutes could help change your taste preferences. If you become accustomed to eating homemade, no-sugar-added ice cream, you may start to crave that instead of the store-bought stuff.

After that, maybe the next step is switching to fresh fruit when you crave something sweet. You’re still dealing with a craving, but you’re making progress toward prioritizing healthier foods.

Eventually, you may start to crave fruit itself, and in most cases, craving fruit isn’t too big of a problem for anyone.

For these reasons, choosing junk food alternatives that contain mostly whole-food ingredients, can be made at home, and aren’t extremely calorie-dense is your best bet.

Decide if you want the real thing.

Arguably, truly enjoying a full-fat ice cream in a reasonable portion beats a compulsive, automatically-gobbled pint of a “healthy substitute” that leaves you with a weird chemical aftertaste. And no matter what your goals are, you absolutely have the right to choose to indulge from time to time.

So before opting for a junk food alternative by default, decide whether or not you truly want the “real thing.” Ask yourself:

  • When was the last time you had it?
  • Are you actually hungry? Or do you just feel like eating?
  • Do you think you can eat it slowly, mindfully, and stop when you’re about 80 percent full?
  • Will you be able to feel happy and satisfied after eating it? Or are you more likely to feel guilty and regretful?

If you decide you want to eat the real thing, enjoy it. Savor it, and then move on. (And note all of this in your cravings journal.)

If you decide the real thing isn’t worth it or that you don’t really want it all that badly, go for a swap that’s both wholesome and satisfying.

And remember, not eating anything is also an option. If you’re not truly hungry, you may find doing one of the activities listed earlier helps relieve the craving.

Satisfy your craving with a healthier substitute.

Disrupting the cravings cycle is key, but it takes time and practice to master it.

And no matter how in tune you are with your appetite, emotions, and eating habits, there are going to be times when you have a craving, truly feel hungry, and want another choice.

That’s when healthy junk food alternatives come in handy.

And you won’t find better options than the 16 recipes that follow, created by Precision Nutrition Chef Jennifer Nickle.

Most of these treats can’t be whipped up in just a couple of minutes… and that’s a good thing. Because they take a little time and effort, they may even help disrupt your cravings cycle. And though they taste indulgent, they’re made with fresh, wholesome ingredients.

So go ahead: Enjoy them all… just not all at once.

Recipes: 16 junk food alternatives to satisfy your craving

If you’re craving: Chocolate…

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

prep time: 15 minutes | makes 16 servings

  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 4 tbsp almond butter
  • 4 tbsp cacao powder
  1. Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth.
  2. Divide mixture equally into eight small containers. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Kraft®
Chocolate Mousse
Per serving Per serving
Calories 80 Calories 220
Carbs 10g Carbs 17g
Fat 5g Fat 16g
Protein 1.5g Protein 4g
Fiber 3g Fiber 2g

If you’re craving: Spicy potato chips…

Edamame with Wasabi and Sea Salt

prep time: 10 minutes | cook time: 10 minutes | makes 2 servings

  • 2 cups frozen edamame beans (in pod)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½  tsp wasabi paste or powder
  1. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add edamame and cook for two minutes.
  3. Drain and toss hot beans in a bowl with coconut oil, salt, and wasabi. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Edamame with Wasabi and Sea Salt
Miss Vickie’s®
Jalapeno Potato Chips
Per serving Per serving
Calories 80 Calories 260
Carbs 9g Carbs 29g
Fat 5g Fat 15g
Protein 7g Protein 4g
Fiber 4g Fiber 2g

If you’re craving: Coffee ice cream…

Espresso and Cacao Nib Ice Cream

prep time: 20 minutes, plus overnight freezing | makes 8 servings

  • ½ cup pitted prunes
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons brandy
  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ (14 oz.) can full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt (or unsweetened almond milk)
  • ¼ cup cacao nibs
  1. In a blender or food processor, blend the prunes, instant coffee, cocoa powder, protein powder and brandy until a smooth paste forms.
  2. Add the unsweetened almond milk and coconut milk in a slow stream.
  3. Add the yogurt and cacao nibs, and pulse until just combined.
  4. Freeze overnight.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Espresso & Cacao Nib
Häagen Dazs®
Coffee Ice Cream
Per serving Per serving
Calories 98 Calories 250
Carbs 10g Carbs 20g
Fat 5g Fat 17g
Protein 5g Protein 4g
Fiber 1g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Fudge…

Spiced Date and Almond Balls

prep time: 30 minutes | makes about 30 servings

  • 2 cups chopped almonds, divided
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup dried figs
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½  tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼  cup warm honey
  1. Using a food processor, blend dates, figs, water, spices and one cup of the almonds into a paste, scraping down the sides as you go.
  2. Form mixture into one-inch balls.
  3. Roll each ball in honey and coat with remaining almonds.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or freeze for up to three months.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Spiced Date and Almond Balls
Eagle Brand®
Maple Walnut Fudge
Per serving Per serving
Calories 90 Calories 180
Carbs 14g Carbs 18g
Fat 3g Fat 12g
Protein 2g Protein 2g
Fiber 2g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Frozen yogurt…

Frozen Yogurt Fruit Pops

prep time: 15 minutes, plus overnight freezing | makes 8 portions

  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup water
  1. Blend all ingredients together in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into small paper cups or popsicle molds.
  3. Place popsicle stick into the center of each and freeze overnight.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Frozen Yogurt Fruit Pops
Ben & Jerry’s®
Strawberry Banana Low Fat Frozen Yogurt
Per serving Per serving
Calories 70 Calories 120
Carbs 12g Carbs 23g
Fat 1g Fat 1g
Protein 4g Protein 3g
Fiber 1g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Savory potato chips…

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

prep time: 10 minutes plus 30 minutes to marinate | makes 4 to 8 servings

  • 6 baby cucumbers, cut into ½ inch slices
  • ¼ cup rice or wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh dill
  1. Toss all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Mix well.
  2. Chill and marinate for thirty minutes.
  3. Refrigerate up to ten days.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Quick Pickled Cucumbers
Lay’s®
Dill Pickle Chips
Per ½ recipe Per ½ recipe
Calories 25 Calories 270
Carbs 6g Carbs 26g
Fat 0g Fat 17g
Protein 1g Protein 3g
Fiber 1g Fiber 1g

If you’re craving: Strawberry shortcake…

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar and Cottage Cheese

prep time: 10 minutes, plus 10 minutes to marinate | makes 4 servings

  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup cottage cheese or Greek yogurt
  • Sea salt, for garnish
  1. Mix together strawberries and vinegar. Let marinate for ten minutes.
  2. Top with cottage cheese or yogurt. Garnish with salt.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar and Cottage Cheese
Duncan Hines®
Strawberry Shortcake
Per serving Per serving
Calories 56 Calories 300
Carbs 5g Carbs 51g
Fat 1g Fat 8g
Protein 7g Protein 4g
Fiber 1g Fiber 1g

If you’re craving: A frozen margarita or daiquiri…

Watermelon “Gazpacho”

prep time: 15 minutes | makes 2 servings

  • 2 cups seedless watermelon chunks
  • 2 cups sparkling water
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint (about 10 leaves)
  • ½ cup fresh raspberries
  1. Combine watermelon, sparkling water, and mint and blend until smooth.
  2. Top with raspberries. Serve ice cold with a soup spoon.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Watermelon “Gazpacho”
Frozen Margarita
Per serving Per serving
Calories 60 Calories 200
Carbs 15g Carbs 30g
Fat 0g Fat 0g
Protein 1.5g Protein 0g
Fiber 3g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Chips and onion dip…

Spiced Yogurt and Veggies

prep time: 15 minutes | makes 4 servings

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chopped dill
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
  • 1 cup vegetable crudites
  1. Mix yogurt, herbs, and salt in a small bowl. Chill and refrigerate for up to four days.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with raw vegetable crudites.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Spiced Yogurt and Veggies
Ruffles®
Onion Dip & Regular Chips
Per serving Per serving
Calories 66 Calories 340
Carbs 8g Carbs 28g
Fat 2g Fat 23g
Protein 3g Protein 4g
Fiber 2g Fiber 2g

If you’re craving: Chocolate ice cream…

Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

prep time: 20 minutes, plus overnight freezing | makes 12 servings

  • ½ cup blanched hazelnuts
  • ½ cup pitted dates
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cocoa powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt (or unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
  • 2 cups 1% chocolate milk (or chocolate unsweetened almond milk)
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chunks
  1. In a blender or food processor, puree hazelnuts, dates, cocoa powder, and salt until a chunky paste forms.
  2. With blender running, slowly add yogurt, protein powder, and chocolate milk until everything is combined; stop blender.
  3. Add dark chocolate chunks and pulse.
  4. Freeze overnight.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
Häagen Dazs®
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Per serving Per serving
Calories 103 Calories 300
Carbs 12g Carbs 26g
Fat 4g Fat 19g
Protein 5g Protein 5g
Fiber 2g Fiber 2g

If you’re craving: French fries…

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Prep time: 10 minutes | cook time: 20 minutes | makes 2 servings

  • 1 (½ lb) sweet potato, skin on, cut into ½ inch batons
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp coconut or extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl until evenly coated. Spread onto baking tray in a single layer.
  3. Bake for about twenty minutes, turning once, until golden brown.
  4. Let cool for ten minutes on tray before serving.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
McDonald’s®
French Fries
Per serving Per serving
Calories 126 Calories 350
Carbs 20g Carbs 46g
Fat 4.5g Fat 17g
Protein 1.5g Protein 4g
Fiber 3g Fiber 4g

If you’re craving: Peanut butter cups…

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chia Pudding

prep time: 20 minutes, plus overnight chilling | makes 12 servings

  • 3 cups water
  • 10 dates, pitted
  • 4 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 4 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 10 Tbsp Chia seeds
  1. Blend water, dates, peanut butter, cocoa powder, and salt in a blender until smooth.
  2. Add mixture to a large bowl with chia seeds. Whisk well.
  3. After ten minutes, whisk again. Ladle mixture equally into six small containers.
  4. Chill overnight.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chia Pudding
Reese’s®
Peanut Butter Cups
Per serving Per serving
Calories 148 Calories 220
Carbs 22g Carbs 24g
Fat 6g Fat 13g
Protein 4g Protein 5g
Fiber 7g Fiber 2g

If you’re craving: Cookies…

Almond oatmeal cookies

prep time: 20 minutes | cook time: 10 minutes| makes 12 cookies

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup protein powder
  • ½  cup almond flour
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • ½ cup almond butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl, and wet ingredients in another large bowl.
  3. Combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well until incorporated.
  4. Form twelve small balls and place onto a baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand.
  5. Bake for ten minutes.
  6. Remove from tray and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week, or freeze for up to three months.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Almond oatmeal cookies
Pepperidge Farm®
Oatmeal Cookies
Per serving Per serving
Calories 175 Calories 195
Carbs 10g Carbs 33g
Fat 10g Fat 8g
Protein 12g Protein 3g
Fiber 3g Fiber 1g

If you’re craving: Bar food, like Buffalo chicken wings…

Tandoori roasted cauliflower bites

prep time: 25 minutes | cook time: 25 minutes | makes 6 servings

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp store-bought tandoori spice paste
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Lime wedges, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix yogurt and tandoori paste together in a large bowl until combined. Add cauliflower and toss to coat well.
  3. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for twenty-five minutes or until dark and crispy. Garnish with lime wedges.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Tandoori roasted cauliflower bites
Perdue®
Buffalo Style Chicken Wings
Per 140g serving Per 160g serving
Calories 70 Calories 320
Carbs 8g Carbs 2g
Fat 3g Fat 20g
Protein 4g Protein 36g
Fiber 2.5g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Italian ice or sorbet…

Mango and lime granita

prep time: 1 hour | makes 8 servings

  • 2 ripe mangos
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced & zested
  1. Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into a shallow tray and freeze.
  3. After thirty minutes, scrape the partially frozen mixture using a fork. Scrape again every thirty minutes until frozen and flaky.
  4. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to three months.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Mango and lime granita
Häagen Dazs®
Mango Sorbet
Per serving Per serving
Calories 40 Calories 150
Carbs 10g Carbs 38g
Fat 0g Fat 0g
Protein 0g Protein 0g
Fiber 1g Fiber 0g

If you’re craving: Vanilla ice cream…

Ginger, Saffron, and Vanilla ice cream

prep time: 20 minutes, plus overnight freezing | makes 8 servings

  • 1 ½ (14 oz.) cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 ½ tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon saffron threads
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons arrowroot starch
  • ½ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt (or unsweetened almond milk)
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the coconut milk and add the honey, ginger, saffron, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk ½ cup of coconut milk mixture with arrowroot starch until smooth; pour back into the pot, whisking as you go.
  3. Squeeze out and remove the vanilla bean, and pour the mixture into a food processor or blender; add the yogurt and salt and slowly blend until thick and frothy.
  4. Freeze overnight.

Nutrition Facts

Precision Nutrition
Ginger, Saffron, and Vanilla ice cream
Häagen Dazs®
Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Per serving Per serving
Calories 140 Calories 330
Carbs 9g Carbs 25g
Fat 12g Fat 22g
Protein 2g Protein 7g
Fiber 0g Fiber 2g

Want help becoming the healthiest, fittest, strongest version of you?

Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.

Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.

[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].

References

Click here to view the information sources referenced in this article.

The post Conquer your cravings: Break the sinister cycle that makes you overeat. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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At more than 250 pounds, Alana Wylie-Reeves found herself uncomfortable, frustrated, and immobile. The biggest obstacle she faced in her efforts toward better movement and health? A deep-seated aversion to change. Here’s how she found the resilience to embrace discomfort — and lose more than 60 pounds in the process.

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Two years ago, Alana Wylie-Reeves couldn’t bend over to pick something up from the ground.

“If I dropped something on the floor, it had to stay there. I had zero mobility,” says Alana, 54. “If I forgot something in the laundry room in the basement, I’d have to think about how I was going to get back down the two flights of stairs to get it.”

Alana’s weight had yo-yoed for years. At her heaviest, Alana weighed 257 pounds.

“I remember once I went to stand on a step ladder, but the maximum weight was 225. I couldn’t even stand on a ladder to change a light bulb,” she recalls.

At the same time, she was having more and more trouble getting through her shifts working in the paint department at Home Depot in Edmonton, Alberta.

“There is a lot of bending, moving, and lifting at my work. It’s pretty physically demanding and I was having a really hard time with it.”

Alana poses for one of her first progress photos of Precision Nutrition Coaching.

Alana had tried diets and the occasional workout video, but they didn’t become habits that stuck.

“The weight would come tumbling back because nothing in my life would change. I just couldn’t find a way of eating that I could live with.”

But as challenging and at times painful as Alana’s life had become, in some ways it seemed more comfortable to her than the alternative: changing.

“As an only child of a single parent, we moved a lot, always trying to keep the paycheck ahead of the rent,” Alana explains. “I experienced a lot of change. Unwanted change, at that. Change I had no control over whatsoever.”

As a result, throughout adulthood Alana’s aversion to change deepened. She consciously avoided disruption at all costs — including her health.

“I used to walk around saying, ‘I hate change’. I was living my life to avoid being uncomfortable. I was scared to make changes because it was uncomfortable and scary.”

On top of it all, like many moms Alana found herself prioritizing her family over her own needs and wellbeing.

“My sacrifices, it seemed, were always for the greater good of the family,” she reflects. “But do that long enough and you begin to give up the effort to discern what really matters to you.”

Considering the barriers she was facing, Alana recognized that she’d need help if she wanted to clear them and find a path to health and fitness.

At the thought of having some support, Alana decided that, uncomfortable or not, it was time to make a change.

She was determined to figure out a way of eating that would help her lose weight and stay healthy for the long term.

Enter the Precision Nutrition Coaching program.

Alana started PN Coaching and very quickly realized that the road to change would require getting a little more comfortable with discomfort.

Take, for example, one of the first habits in PN Coaching: eating to 80 percent full.

“If you’re practicing the habit, you’re likely experiencing a little discomfort and resistance,” says Alana. “We’re also asked to reflect on how we have dealt with uncomfortable things in the past.”

Persisting with the habit, and reflecting on how it made her feel, helped Alana realize that she could, in fact, tolerate change.

PN lessons often encourage clients to practice getting out of their comfort zone, a little bit at a time. As time went on, rather than resisting the discomfort, Alana gradually found herself choosing to embrace it.

“In the beginning my workouts were just five minutes of walking. That was it,” she recalls. “But as I progressed, I began to apply the idea [of embracing discomfort] in a physical way. For example, taking that difficult lunge just a titch past comfortable, running a bit when I was on my walks just to try it out, that sort of thing.”

Alana practices getting outside of her comfort zone during a workout.

Alana was discovering that she did, in fact, possess the skill needed for leaning in to change: resilience.

But would her resilience, her acceptance of change, stick?

Throughout Alana’s time at PN, she faced many challenges in her personal life — the kinds of challenges that had kept her from her goals in the past.

Her mother needed help with one of her rental properties, and Alana threw herself into the six-week project, finding herself 10 pounds heavier than before.

“I stopped exercising and went into junk food free-fall. I think of it now with horror — but that was my ‘normal’ back then: Work hard, don’t exercise and eat junk!”

Her second born child came out as transgender. “It rocked the immediate family,” Alana explains.

Her mother was in and out of the hospital due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. “Learning to meet her needs, while continuing to meet my own, is new to me,” Alana says.

She injured her back in a Spartan Race.

Alana went from too immobile to pick something up off the floor to competing in Spartan Races — willingly — in the course of 18 months.

But through these rough waters, Alana stayed the course.

“I remember being really discouraged, but I stayed in touch with Coach Lisanne. We had frequent coaching calls, and she reminded me that I was resilient — just for showing back up!”

Getting out of her comfort zone paid off.

Alana dropped pounds, gained mobility, and went from not being able to bend over to doing squats, deadlifts, and modified push-ups.

Today, at 196 pounds— 61 pounds lighter than when she started — everyday movement is no longer a hindrance.

“The other night, I forgot something in the laundry room and didn’t even think twice about it. I ran down two stories and didn’t even hesitate,” she says. “And I can do things like squat down and rearrange leftovers in the fridge. I couldn’t do that before.”

Alana now sees herself as someone who lives life at the edge of her comfort zone.

“Gradually, my story around change, well, changed,” she reflects. “Change wasn’t something I needed to be wary of. It became something I could embrace, a little bit at a time. With help from my coach, I integrated the idea that I am someone who can allow change—and a lot of it—into my identity.”

With her newfound zest for life, she’s even pursuing a life-long dream to be an interior designer/decorator, and re-started a certificate program she began about 15 years ago.

Turns out, embracing discomfort has a surprisingly pleasant side-effect: happiness.

Post-transformation, Alana’s family has never seen her happier.

“One of my sons was saying yesterday he has never seen me happier in my life,” says Alana.

And she’s just getting started.

“I have more energy for life. Most people my age are slowing down and looking at retirement and relaxing. I feel like I’m 25 years old. The last 20 years were awful, so I’m going to make the next 25 great.”

Want help overcoming your health and fitness barriers?

Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.

Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.

[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].

The post Alana Wylie-Reeves: Getting comfortable with change. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Will protein help me lose weight? Should I eat it at every meal? Could too much damage my kidneys? At Precision Nutrition, our inbox is filled with questions about the pros and cons of eating more protein. In this article we’ll set the record straight, so you can finally separate the facts from the fiction.

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Maybe you’re a protein promoter.

You buy protein powder in “bucket with a handle” format. You know the protein counts of every food you eat.

After every workout, you jam those amino acids into your cells. You swear you can feel them getting swole.

Or maybe you’re a protein avoider.

Maybe you’ve heard bad things.

Like: Protein will damage your kidneys.

Or: Protein will give you cancer.

Or simply: We all eat too much protein.

Maybe you want to lose fat. Or gain muscle. Or be healthy.

You just want to do the right thing and eat better. But with conflicting information about protein, you don’t know what to think.

Or, if you’re a fitness and nutrition coach, you’re wondering how the heck to clear up the confusion about protein among your clients.

Let’s get into it.

In this article, we’ll explore:

  • What are high-protein diets?
  • What does the evidence say about high-protein diets and health?
  • Does protein source matter?
  • How much protein is right for me?

How to read this article

If you’re just curious about high-protein diets:

  • Feel free to skim and learn whatever you like.

If you want to change your body and/or health:

  • You don’t need to know every detail. Just get the general idea.
  • Check out our advice at the end.

If you’re an athlete interested in performance:

  • Pay special attention to the section on athletic performance.
  • Check out our advice for athletes at the end.

If you’re a fitness pro, or interested in geeking out with nutritional science:

  • We’ve given you some “extra credit” material in sidebars throughout.
  • Check out our advice for fitness pros at the end.

Why protein?

A quick intro if you aren’t a nutrition pro:

  • Protein is one of the three main macronutrients that makes up the food we eat. (The other two are fat and carbohydrate.)
  • Protein itself is made up of amino acids.
  • Amino acids are the building blocks for most stuff in our bodies. They’re like Legos that can be broken down and re-assembled in different ways.
  • Unlike extra fat (which we can store very easily on our bums and bellies), we don’t store lots of extra amino acids. Protein is always getting used, recycled, and sometimes excreted.
  • If we don’t get enough protein, our body will start to plunder it from parts that we need, such as our muscles.
  • So we have to constantly replenish protein by eating it.

We need protein.

Protein is so important that without it, we die or become seriously malnourished.

(This protein-deficiency disease is known as kwashiorkor, and we often see it in people who have suffered famines or who are living on a low-protein diet.)

All your enzymes and cell transporters; all your blood transporters; all your cells’ scaffolding and structures; 100 percent of your hair and fingernails; much of your muscle, bone, and internal organs; and many hormones are made of mostly protein. Hence, protein enables most of our bodies’ functions.

Put simply, you are basically a pile of protein.

No protein, no you.

How much protein do we need?

Short answer: It depends.

Let’s look first at the current Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA).

The RDA for protein is  0.8 g/kg (0.36 g/lb) — the more you weigh, the more protein you need:

  • A 150-lb (68 kg) person would need 68 x 0.8, or about 54 grams of protein a day.
  • A 200-lb (91 kg) person would need 91 x 0.8, or about 73 grams of protein a day.

That generally works out to about 10 percent of daily calories coming from protein.

However.

RDAs were originally developed as a way to prevent malnutrition — to represent the minimum amount of a nutrient we need to not die (or get sick).

“You’re not dead” is not the same thing as “You’re kicking ass.”

The RDA for surviving may be different than what we need to thrive.

The RDA is also a very general recommendation. It doesn’t take other things into account, such as:

  • How much total energy (i.e. calories) we eat or need
  • Our carbohydrate intake
  • When we eat the protein
  • Our biological sex
  • Our age
  • How active we are
  • What activities we do
  • How “eco-friendly” various protein sources are

The Institute of Medicine (US) suggests a huge range in individual protein requirements — from 0.375 g/kg to 1.625 g/kg body weight (0.17 to 0.74g/lb body weight).

In other words, our hypothetical 150-lb person might have protein needs ranging from 26 to 111 grams per day.

Well that narrows it down nicely, doesn’t it!?

Let’s take a deeper look: Amino acids

Protein in our food is made up of many different building blocks, or amino acids.

Most people focus on Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for total protein, but they don’t think about how much of each amino acid they might need.

If your diet isn’t varied enough, you may be eating enough total protein, but not enough of a specific essential amino acid.

Every day, you need this much of these essential amino acids:

  • 14 mg/kg of histidine
  • 19 mg/kg of isoleucine
  • 42 mg/kg of leucine
  • 38 mg/kg of lysine
  • 19 mg/kg of methionine + cysteine
  • 33 mg/kg of phenylalanine + tyrosine
  • 20 mg/kg of threonine
  • 5 mg/kg of tryptophan
  • 24 mg/kg of valine

Of course, you don’t need to spend hours in your kitchen with an eyedropper of lysine solution, carefully calibrating your intake.

Just eat a variety of protein-rich foods and let nature do the rest.

What does a high-protein diet look like?

People often assume that “high protein” means “low carbohydrate”. In fact, you can eat more protein without making any drastic changes to other things in your diet.

Many types of diets can be considered high-protein. “High protein” is a bit of a relative concept; there’s no clear rule.

The average protein intake for adults in the US is about 15 percent of calories coming from protein.

The Institute of Medicine suggests that up to 35 percent of total calories is an OK proportion of protein for healthy adults.

And most researchers would say that once you get more than 25 percent of total calories from protein, you’re in “high protein” territory.

Here’s what high- and low-protein diets might look like for a given meal.

2016.08-Pn-Low protein-American-Meals-1

The upper tolerable limit (UL) of something tells you how much you can eat without having health problems.

Currently, there’s no established UL for protein.

Does that mean you can eat as much protein as you’d like without any negative side effects? No. It just means researchers haven’t figured it out yet.

But we do know that eating up to 4.4 g/kg (2 g/lb) body weight didn’t cause any short term health problems in clinical studies.

Let’s take a deeper look: Calculating maximum protein

The Institute of Medicine suggests that high protein intake, where about 35 percent of your calories comes from protein, is safe.

What does that mean in grams per kilogram body weight (or g/lb body weight)?

Say you’re 74.8 kg (165 lb) and reasonably active. You need about 2,475 calories per day to maintain your weight.

If you get 35 percent of your total energy intake from protein, you’d be eating about 866 calories from protein each day.

1 gram of protein has 4 calories. So 866 calories is around 217 grams of protein per day.

That’s about 1.3 grams per pound of body weight, or 2.9 g/kg.

Will eating a high-protein diet hurt me?

For years, people have been concerned with the safety of eating too much protein.

Will eating too much protein explode my kidneys?

How about my liver? My left femur?

The most common health concerns of eating more protein are:

  • kidney damage
  • liver damage
  • osteoporosis
  • heart disease
  • cancer

Let’s explore these.

Claim: High protein causes kidney damage.

This concern about high protein and kidneys began with a misunderstanding of why doctors tell people with poorly functioning kidneys (usually from pre-existing kidney disease) to a eat a low-protein diet.

But there’s a big difference between avoiding protein because your kidneys are already damaged and protein actively damaging healthy kidneys.

It’s the difference between jogging with a broken leg and jogging with a perfectly healthy leg.

Jogging with a broken leg is a bad idea. Doctors would probably tell you not to jog if your leg is broken. But does jogging cause legs to break? No.

That’s the same thing with protein and kidneys.

Eating more protein does increase how much your kidneys have to work (glomerular filtration rate and creatinine clearance), just like jogging increases how much your legs have to work.

But protein hasn’t been shown to cause kidney damage — again, just like jogging isn’t going to suddenly snap your leg like a twig.

High-protein diets do result in increased metabolic waste being excreted in the urine, though, so it’s particularly important to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Verdict: There’s no evidence that high protein diets (2.2g/kg body weight) cause kidney damage in healthy adults.

Claim: High protein causes liver damage.

The liver, like the kidneys, is a major processing organ. Thus, it’s the same deal as with kidneys: People with liver damage (such as cirrhosis) are told to eat less protein.

Yes, if you have liver damage or disease you should eat less protein. But if your liver is healthy, then a high-protein diet will not cause liver damage.

Verdict: There’s no evidence that high-protein diets (2.2g/kg body weight) cause liver damage in healthy adults.

Claim: High protein causes osteoporosis.

Eating more protein without also upping your fruit and vegetable intake will increase the amount of calcium you’ll lose in your pee.

That finding made some people think that eating more protein will cause osteoporosis because you’re losing bone calcium.

But there is no evidence that high protein causes osteoporosis.

If anything, not eating enough protein has been shown to cause bone loss. Bones aren’t just inert sticks of minerals — a significant proportion of bone is also protein, mostly collagen-type proteins.

Like muscle, bone is an active tissue that is constantly being broken down and rebuilt. And like muscle, bone needs those Lego building blocks.

Women aged 55 to 92 who eat more protein have higher bone density. So eating more protein improves bone density in people most at risk of having osteoporosis.

(Eating more protein plus adding resistance training: Double win for bone density.)

Verdict: High protein diets do not cause osteoporosis, and actually may prevent osteoporosis.

Claim: High protein causes cancer

Unfortunately, we still don’t have conclusive human studies on the cause of cancer and the role of protein.

There are studies that asked people how much protein they ate over their lifetime, and then looked at how often people got cancer. The research shows a connection between protein intake and cancer rates.

But these studies are correlational studies and don’t prove that protein is the cause of cancers. Plus, some researchers have gone so far to say that studies relying on subjects to recall what they ate are basically worthless because human memory is so inaccurate.

A big part of the proposed cancer and protein link comes down to confounding factors, like:

  • where you get your protein from — plant or animal
  • how you cook your protein (i.e. carbonized grilled meat)
  • what types of protein you’re eating (e.g. grass-fed steak versus a hot dog)

And so on.

In other words, we can’t say that any particular amount of protein causes cancer.

Verdict: Limited evidence that protein causes cancer; many other confounding factors.

Let’s take a deeper look: Protein and cancer

A study from 2014 looked at protein and cancer risk. It was widely misinterpreted as proof that eating a lot of protein caused cancer.

First, it was actually two studies, one asking people questions and following them for years; and one that fed mice a high-protein diet and implanted them with cancer.

With the human study, researchers looked at people’s self-reported protein intake and their rates of cancer over the following 18 years.

They found that people aged 50-65 who ate diets high in animal protein (≥20% of total calories) had a 4-fold greater risk of dying of cancer over the next 18 years compared to people who ate a moderate amount of protein (10-20% of total calories).

(Just so you get an idea, smoking increases your risk of cancer by 20-fold.)

Then, it gets more interesting, because for people over 65, eating more protein decreased cancer risk by more than half. In summary:

Eating more protein from 50-65 years old was associated with a higher risk of death from cancer, but over 65 years old that association was reversed.

The second part of the study is where people really misunderstood what the study had proven.

Researchers fed mice a high-protein diet (18% of total calories), then implanted cancerous cells. They found that the high-protein diet increased tumor size. This is not a surprise, since protein increases IGF-1 (an anabolic protein) that stimulates growth in pretty much all tissues, including cancerous tissue.

Higher protein diets stimulated cancerous growth in mice.

So, while eating more protein might increase the size of existing tumors (depending on what treatment someone is undergoing), this study does not show that high-protein diets cause cancer.

Claim: High protein causes heart disease.

Eating animal-based protein daily is associated with an increased risk of fatal coronary heart disease (70 percent for men and 37 percent for women), whereas plant-based proteins aren’t linked to higher rates of heart disease.

This suggests that where you get your protein from may matter more than how much protein you eat.

However, just like cancer, the link between heart disease and high-protein diets is from questionnaires rather than a double-blind randomized study (the gold standard in research).

There are many confounding factors. For one, consider the type of animal — does seafood cause the same issues as red meat, for example?

We don’t yet know the whole story here.

Verdict: Limited evidence that protein causes heart disease and the source of protein is a major confounding factor.

Let’s take a deeper look: Protein source

A new study in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) looks not only at protein intake, but where people got their protein from.

More than 131,000 people were asked:

  • how much protein they ate; and
  • if it came from animals or plants.

This study took over 35 years to do (starting in the 1980s).

What they found:

Eating more animal protein was associated with a higher risk of death… if you were also doing something else that was a risk factor.

Such as:

  • smoking
  • being overweight
  • not exercising
  • drinking alcohol
  • history of high blood pressure
  • low intake of whole grains, fiber, and fruits and vegetables

Eating more plant protein was found to be associated with lower risk of early death.

What does this mean?

You might think at first glance that you should eat less animal protein, since this study seems to say that animal protein is bad for you.

But there’s more to it.

If you’re doing everything else “right”, then eating more animal protein doesn’t seem to be a problem.

Likely, it’s not the animal protein on its own but a lot of lifestyle things that come with eating more animal protein.

For instance, this study began in the 80s. At that time, nearly every doctor told their patients to eat less fat and meat, and to avoid eggs.

So if you were a somewhat health-conscious person, then you’d likely be eating less animal protein compared to someone who was less health-conscious (or if you went against your doctor’s advice) — but you’d also likely be engaging in a bunch of other health-supporting decisions and activities.

The problem with these types of studies, called correlational studies, is that you can never be sure whether the associations are caused by one onto the other or if they’re simply happening at the same time.

Protein quality matters

Most people think about how much protein, but they don’t think all that much about the quality of the protein they’re eating.

There are huge differences in the chemical makeup of a given protein source, and how valuable that protein is nutritionally.

The higher a protein’s quality, the more easily it can give your body the amino acids it needs to grow, repair and maintain your body.

The two big factors that make a protein high or low quality are:

  • Digestibility:
    • How easy is it to digest?
    • How much do you digest — and absorb and use?
  • Amino acid composition:
    • What amino acids is it made of?

A high-quality protein has a good ratio of essential amino acids, and allows our body to use them effectively.

Amino acid composition is more important than digestibility.

You can have way more protein than you need, but if the protein you’re eating is low in an important amino acid (known as the limiting amino acid), it causes a bottleneck that stops everything else from working (or at least slows things down).

High-quality proteins have more limiting amino acids, which means the bottleneck is lessened and our bodies can use that protein source better.

Let’s take a deeper look: Measuring protein’s worth

Scientists use many ways to calculate protein quality, or how well we might digest, absorb, and use a given protein.

Here are a couple.

Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS)

PDCAAS is calculated using a ratio of limiting amino acids and a factor of true digestibility to give you a value that lets you know how much of a given protein is digestible.

The higher the score, the higher the quality of protein.

PDCAAS is the current gold standard for measuring protein quality, but there are a few other protein quality scoring methods that we cover in the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program.

Indicator amino acid oxidation (IAAO)

When we don’t have enough of a particular indispensable amino acid, then all the other amino acids, including that indispensable one, will be oxidized (i.e. essentially wasted) rather than used for stuff like repairing tissues.

It’s kind of like a team sport: You can’t play without the goalie, so all the players sit around twiddling their thumbs, even though they’re all great players in their own right.

But if we’re getting enough of that particular amino acid, then we won’t see all that oxidation. We have a goalie and the rest of the players can play.

So, you want the IAAO score to be low, indicating that all your amino acids are doing their jobs to rebuild you.

Thus far, the IAAO method seems like a very useful way to judge the metabolic availability of amino acids from different protein-containing foods, and to determine total protein requirements for all kinds of people.

New assessment techniques like IAAO are giving us a more precise idea of protein use, which means that we may see recommendations change in future.

Most likely, based on these recent findings, the RDA for protein will increase — i.e. doctors may tell us to eat more protein.

“Complete” and “incomplete” proteins

Back in the day, scientists used to talk about “complete” and “incomplete” proteins.

If you had a plant-based diet (i.e. vegetarian or vegan), you were told that you had to eat a mix of incomplete proteins (i.e. protein from a variety of plants) at each meal in order to meet your needs.

We now know this isn’t true.

As long as you eat a mix of different protein sources, you’ll get all the amino acids you need. No need for mealtime protein algebra to make sure you’re getting all your amino acids.

That being said, many plant-based sources are less protein-dense than animal sources. So if you choose not to eat animal products, you’ll have to work a little harder to get more protein from a wide variety of plant sources to make up the difference and meet your protein needs.

2016.08-Protein per serving chart-1.1-01

Animal vs. plant proteins

More and more, it seems that where you get your protein has a huge impact on your health.

Eating a high-protein plant-based diet improves health outcomes compared to low-protein diets and high-protein animal-based diets. Again, it comes down to the quality of your protein more than how much protein you’re eating.

If you’re a diehard carnivore, no worries — just add some more plant protein to your diet. Diversity is good. Hug some lentils today.

Why might you eat MORE protein?

Since we need protein to grow, maintain, and repair our tissues, hormones and immune system, there are times we need more protein.

The standard RDA of 0.8 g/kg is great if you’re sedentary and not building or repairing your tissue.

But you may need more protein if you are:

  • physically active, either through workouts or your job
  • injured or sick
  • not absorbing protein normally
  • pregnant / breastfeeding
  • younger (and growing)
  • older (and potentially losing lean mass)

Higher protein diets can also:

  • lower blood pressure;
  • improve glucose regulation;
  • improve blood cholesterol; and
  • improve other indicators of cardiometabolic health.

Win all around.

Here are some specific scenarios that might call for more protein.

Protein for athletes

Athletes and active people should eat more protein, but we don’t know exactly how much more.

The current recommendations vary from 1.2 to 2.2 g/ kg of body weight.

The International Society of Sports Nutrition says a range of 1.4-2.0 g/kg is safe and may help with recovering from exercise.

It looks like 2.2 g/kg (1g/lb of body weight) is the highest recommendation, but this shouldn’t be confused with the idea that more than 2.2 g/kg is unsafe.

More may not be necessary, but there is little evidence that more is unsafe.

Protein for aging

As you get older, you lose lean mass — both muscle and bone. This affects how long you live, as well as how functional and healthy that life is.

New research shows that most older people, particularly women over 65, need more protein than the current recommendations to slow down muscle loss.

Experts now recommend over 2.0 g/kg of body weight for people older than 65.

Protein for building muscle

The more protein in your muscles, the bigger and stronger your muscles can get.

Bodybuilders have long known that there is an “anabolic window” after a workout (24-48 hours) during which muscles are especially greedy for amino acids.

So, if you’d like to build muscle, make sure you eat a protein-rich meal within a few hours after training. Some advanced folks also like to add branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) or essential amino acids (EAAs) as a during-workout or after-workout supplement.

Here, it seems that a fast-digesting animal protein supplement (whey) is better at getting your body to make more muscle compared to plant-based protein (soy). Of course, you can also just eat “real food” after working out.

Protein for losing fat

Eating protein helps with losing fat, for a few reasons.

1. When you eat more protein, you tend to feel fuller longer.

Protein stimulates the release of satiety (stop-eating) hormones in the gut. So when you eat protein, you naturally tend to eat less, without feeling hungry.

(You can test this theory if you want. Go and try to eat an entire plain skinless chicken, or a few pounds of lean fish.)

2. Protein makes your body work to digest it.

Not all nutrients take the same energy to digest. Fat and carbohydrates are pretty easy for your body to digest and absorb, but protein takes more energy to digest and absorb.

If you eat 100 calories of protein, you’ll only use about 70 calories of it. (This thermic, or heat-producing, effect of protein is why you sometimes get the “meat sweats” after a big protein-heavy meal.)

3. Protein also helps you hang on to lean mass while you’re losing fat.

When you’re in a significant energy deficit (i.e. eating less than you burn), your body tries to throw out everything — fat, muscle, bone, hormones, etc. — all the stuff you need. It doesn’t tend to throw out just fat and keep muscle… unless you eat lots of protein.

Let’s take a deeper look: Protein, lean mass, and energy restriction

A recent study at McMaster University in Canada explored what would happen if people who were on a very low-calorie diet (about 40 percent less than normal energy needs), ate a lot of protein, and worked out hard.

For 4 weeks, a group of young men in their 20s were basically starved, but on a high-protein diet — about 2.4 g/kg.

So, for instance, a 200 lb (91 kg), relatively active young man whose energy needs would normally be 3000 calories per day might get:

  • 1800 calories per day (40 percent less than normal)
  • 218 grams of protein per day (2.4 x 91 kg)

This means that out of those 1800 calories per day, about 48 percent of them were from protein.

The men trained hard — lifting weights and doing high-intensity intervals 6 days a week.

After 4 weeks, on average:

  • The men gained about 1.2 kg (2.6 lb) of lean body mass (LBM).
  • They lost about 4.8 kg (10.5 lb) of fat.

The fact that they lost fat isn’t surprising, though that amount of fat loss in 4 weeks is pretty impressive.

What is surprising is that they gained LBM.

There was a control group, who ate more of a normal-protein, low-energy diet — about 1.2 grams of protein per kg (so, for our 200 lb / 91 kg man, that would be around 109 grams per day). This group, on average:

  • Gained 0.1 kg (0.2 lb) of LBM
  • Lost 3.5 kg (7.7 lb) of fat

This study was only 4 weeks long, and on a specific population group under close supervision, but it’s a cool experiment that suggests protein might be able to do some nifty things even under difficult and demanding conditions.

It’s particularly useful because it’s a randomized controlled trial. In other words, it’s not a food questionnaire where you try to remember what you ate last year — it’s a direct comparison of two similar groups whose food parameters are being closely monitored.

We don’t recommend a highly restrictive, high-protein diet combined with a Spartan-style workout plan as a long-term strategy, but if you want to try something crazy for 4 weeks, see if you can replicate these results!

Why might you eat LESS protein?

Protein and longevity

Everybody is looking for the elixir of life; from 17th-century chemists to Monty Python.

And for years, living in a semi-starvation state has been shown to increase lifespan in nearly every animal from flatworms to rats to humans.

Looking into it more closely, it looks like restricting protein rather than calories, is the key to longevity.

Protein is anabolic: It triggers your body to build more tissues and other body bits. This is great if you want to build muscle, but there’s seems to be a downside: Eating protein triggers the body to release and make more IGF-1. In some people, this decreases longevity.

There’s a lot of work on lower IGF-1 and longer lifespan in animals (flatworms, rats and mice mostly) and some in people.

But it’s more complicated than saying that less protein leads to less IGF-1, which means living longer. There’s a genetic component. Some people do better with more IGF-1. In their case, more IGF-1 later in life actually increase lifespan.

And in terms of quality of life and functional longevity, a higher protein intake is probably still better. A semi-starved body may indeed live longer… but probably not better.

Age-related muscle loss alone could have serious consequences for metabolic health and mobility.

So: It’s difficult to say whether this is a good idea, despite interesting data. We probably need more research to say for sure.

What this means for you

If you’re a “regular person” who just wants to be healthy and fit:

  • If you’re over 65, eat more protein.
    This helps slow down age-related muscle loss, which improves long-term health and quality of life.
  • If you’re a plant-based eater: Plan your meals carefully.
    Without animal products, you’ll probably have to work a little harder to get enough protein. You might consider adding a plant-based protein powder to help yourself out.

If you’re an athlete:

  • Follow our PN portion recommendations.
    We suggest a portion of lean protein at every meal, to keep that protein pool full and ready to help your body repair and rebuild. You may need more than this if you are especially active.
  • Boost your protein intake around exercise.
    Eating protein around workouts may improve your body’s response to exercise. If you can tolerate whey protein, that’s one of the best options. Or, stick with real food.
  • Increase plant-based protein sources.
    The more the merrier.

If you’re a fitness professional / nutrition coach:

  • Help people understand as much as they need to understand in order to make an informed choice, with your guidance.
    Your clients will likely have questions. Prepare your answers in advance.
  • Refer out as needed.
    If you think a client might have an underlying health condition, work with their doctor to make sure they don’t have kidney or liver disease that a high-protein diet should be avoided.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in a way that’s evidenced-based and personalized for their unique body, goals, and preferences—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 33% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 33% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

References

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You know you need a good balance of proteins, carbs, fats. But how do you turn that knowledge into healthy meals that taste delicious? Just mix and match these ingredients, flavor profiles, and cooking methods to create the perfect meal every time. Seriously, this guide could change your life.

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At Precision Nutrition, it’s our mission to help clients develop healthy eating habits for life. That means:

  • Eating fresh, minimally-processed food as often as possible.
  • Including a balance of protein, veggies, smart carbs, healthy fats.
  • Adjusting portions to meet health and body composition goals.

That all sounds great. But the trick is to do it all in a way that’s super-easy and tastes awesome.

That’s where Precision Nutrition’s all-star chef, Jennifer Nickle, comes in.

Jen’s been chef to UFC legend Georges St-Pierre and to tennis pros like Sloane Stephens and Eugenie Bouchard. She’s taught some of the best athletes in the world how to eat.

And now it’s your turn.

Behold the Perfect Meal cheat sheet.

For the past few weeks Jen and I have been working together to create a cheat sheet that helps clients build amazing meals that pack in maximum flavor with minimal effort. And it’s finally ready.

Using the simple instructions in this infographic, you’ll be able to mix and match ingredients and flavor profiles to come up with literally thousands of easy, delicious, health-supporting meals.

Warning: This guide could change your life.

Download the infographic for your printer or tablet. Keep it in your kitchen or bring it along on your next grocery shopping trip. And be sure to share it with your friends.

Again, don’t forget to download or print out this infographic so you have it handy next time you want to create the perfect meal.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes — including helping them with meal transformation — is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 33% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, June 5th, 2019.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 33% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

The post Create the perfect meal with this simple 5-step guide. [Infographic] Hundreds of healthy meal combinations made easy. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Nutrition is often seen as a belief system. In other words, the answer to “What should I eat?” is often based on faith, magical thinking, emotional attachments, and/or what feels “truthy”, rather than on real evidence or the scientific method. Until we fix this, nutrition will get more confusing, not less.

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Imagine the Google search by someone who wants to eat better.

They might want to lose weight. Or build muscle. Or stay a little healthier so they can play with their grandkids longer.

So they might look for terms like:

Healthy eating.

Healthy diet.

Good nutrition.

The result? Well…

“Healthy eating” gave me 63.6 million options.

“Healthy diet” gave me 188 million options.

And “Good nutrition” gave me a whopping 213 million options.

When I check out some of these search engine results, I notice something.

Each of these websites has a story to tell: A story about which diet, supplement, food, or nutrition practice someone believes is best.

Many of these stories completely contradict each other.

But they have one thing in common: The authors treat nutrition like it’s a set of beliefs, there for their own picking and choosing.

Unfortunately, “nutrition” is often seen as a belief system.

But beliefs don’t necessarily have anything to do with facts.

When we believe something, we choose to accept that it’s true, which may or may not have anything to do with factual certainty.

This approach of “believing” is frequently applied to nutrition.

As in:

“I believe that sugar is poison.”

“I don’t believe that humans were meant to eat grains.”

“I believe in only eating foods that are natural and organic.”

In other words, the answer to “What should I eat?” is often based on faith, magical thinking, emotional attachments, and/or what feels “truthy”, rather than on science.

Yet nutrition is not a belief system.

Nutrition is a science.

I’m a strength coach and Precision Nutrition Certified nutrition specialist.

(I completed the Level 1 Certification in 2013 and I’m now in the middle of the Level 2 Certification Master Class).

Most of my work is with professional and amateur athletes. And my job is to use nutrition (plus strength and conditioning) to get my clients the results they want.

When your meal strategy can be the difference between getting a multi-million dollar contract and not, there is no room for “hoping” the nutrition will work.

I can’t go on faith alone. My clients’ careers literally depend on me doing my job well. Which is why the scientific method, not beliefs, govern my practice.

For example, my client Ronda Rousey, a mixed martial artists, model, and actress, doesn’t care about what I believe about food. She only cares about what I know about nutrition’s effect on her body and performance.

That’s why I need to ensure that my nutrition recommendations are based on measurable, accurate reality. On science. On the best evidence that we have right now.

And physiology is physiology.

Believing something, or wanting it to be true, or feeling it should be true doesn’t mean it is true.

Physiology (like chemistry, like physics) follows certain known principles.

That’s why we research things like macronutrients, hydration, and/or supplementation. That’s why we try to understand the biochemistry of digestion and metabolism. That’s why we learn about things like osmotic gradients and the physical structures of cells and molecules.

It’s why we ask questions like these:

And we use a particular method for determining the answers.

These are just a few examples, of course. As you can imagine, scientists have thousands of questions about optimal nutrition, and they’ve answered some questions more thoroughly than others.

But, in short, we’re trying to understand as much as possible about the biochemistry of digestion and metabolism, so we nerd out about things like osmotic gradients and the physical structures of cells and molecules.

Knowing the science behind the field allows us to make evidence-based recommendations to create a known physiological effect.

Will honey and cinnamon “rev my metabolism”?

Some people believe this (or want others to believe it).

But nobody knows.

Will creatine monohydrate improve my power output?

Now we’re talking.

We know some things about creatine monohydrate and its effect on the body, because it’s been scientifically studied.

Creatine monohydrate has a known chemical structure.

Creatine monohydrate has a known mechanism of action. It increases the phosphocreatine stores in your muscle. This can then be used to produce more ATP (energy), which is a key source of fuel for power, heavy lifting, and anaerobic events.

We know this because we have carefully experimented and objectively measured what happens. We’ve also reproduced those findings over and over.

See how that played out?

One claim is speculation based on, perhaps (I’m guessing) rumors about blood sugar and metabolism along with a few studies about cinnamon as an antioxidant?

The other is fact based on a documented physiological outcome.

The big problem:
Most people start with the internet.

Wondering what to put in your smoothie? What to eat before you work out? How much bacon you should eat?

There are all sorts of answers on Google, not to mention Facebook and Instagram.

You don’t have to look far to discover a charismatic person with an excellent body and sales pitch offering up their own beliefs as a “protocol” or “system”.

These systems tend to include:

  • A set of certain foods and/or supplements to eat. (Like acai berries hand-picked at sunrise.)
  • A set of certain foods to avoid. (Nothing a caveman wouldn’t eat. Nothing that isn’t “natural”. Nothing that’s been sold, bought or processed.)
  • Rules about how much to eat, when to eat (or not eat), and possibly even where to eat. (No food after 6:30 pm!)

If the belief system (or the person who invented it) is compelling or “truthy” enough, it can be pretty tempting to believe them.

After all, many of these “systems” come with lots of reasons to believe, including:

  • Irresistible promises
  • Clever branding
  • Photos, graphics, and other visual “evidence”
  • Testimonials and/or celebrity endorsements
  • Powerful personal stories (“If this guy did it, I can too!”)
  • Sex appeal
  • Scholarly citations pointing to studies that turn out to be poorly designed, fatally biased, or not yet replicated (a hallmark of — you guessed it — actual scientific fact)

Before you know it, you can’t remember the last time you didn’t put honey and cinnamon in your oatmeal…and yogurt…and tea.

We’re not bad for wishing something were true.

Just like Fox Mulder, sometimes we want to believe.

It’s very human, actually.

Belief systems can bring us comfort. Following a clear set of rules can be a huge relief to those of us that find nutrition confusing or overwhelming.

Belief systems can also make us feel like we’re part of something: A community that shares our values, aspirations, and desires. We may feel a sense of importance, identity, and belonging.

Bonus: We’re closer to our goals… together!

Not to mention, these beliefs usually promise the things we desire the most, whether it’s sparkling clean health, glowing skin, freakishly awesome performance, the body we’ve always wanted, or all of the above.

When we buy into a belief system, we’re looking for help. We want to make a change, or finally find a solution to a problem that’s bothered us for a long time.

That’s completely normal and natural.

The people who start or share a belief system aren’t bad, either. Most of them are good, genuine, positive people just trying to make other people’s lives better.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to believe.

Or wishing some things were true.

The problem happens when we base our own health decisions on emotional bias or the rules of a certain philosophy… and either ignore what science has to say about the facts, or perhaps have no idea whether such facts even exist.

Science is anything but simple.

It would be great if there was a single ingredient to cure cancer, or a single exercise to get you ripped.

But physiology isn’t simple, and neither is science. Especially nutrition science.

You might be able to find a study to support nearly any nutrition-related belief you want. This is especially true if the study was small, or sponsored by a particular interest (like a supplement company).

People who read research understand this. They understand the weight that the particular evidence holds, and where it is placed in the hierarchy of nutritional importance.

But a new trainer in the industry, or a mother looking to get back in shape, or a dude who just got a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis, may not know the difference. They may assume that if it was demonstrated in one study, it is a fact.

This isn’t how science works, and it’s not how the truth is discovered.

Did you know that drinking alcohol increases muscle tone?

Don’t believe me?

Well, imagine I’m telling you this while shirtless, smiling shiny white teeth, and sporting a six-pack:

“In 2013, a double-blind clinical trial found that men increased testosterone 17% after a low dose of alcohol. In 1987, another study found similar testosterone-increasing results. Finally, a 2000 study showed that alcohol also increases testosterone levels in women.

Understanding that alcohol increases testosterone, and knowing that as testosterone goes up, so does our muscle mass and strength, I conclude that we should all get drunk to get jacked! (Results may vary.)”

Of course this isn’t true though, right?

Because that would be ignoring:

  • Other data that suggest alcohol actually lowers testosterone, and the two studies that show it has no effect.
  • Data on how alcohol can harm our health and fitness.
  • The fact that alcohol contains 7 kcals per gram, which adds up quickly when you get drinking (especially if you add mixes), and then normally increases appetite shortly afterwards, which leads to further snacking. (Street meat anyone?).
  • The fact that I am always fully clothed when telling clients stuff.

Instead of picking just one study, you have to look at all studies on that topic to see where the overall weight of the evidence lies.

But let’s get real.

People are busy.

Health and fitness clients don’t usually have the time, the experience, nor the interest to pore over research. They have jobs and lives.

So it can be easy to fall into the trap of taking one or two studies as gospel — especially if those results are delivered to you by a charismatic speaker with a great body. Enter my new supplement: Buff Booze!

What’s the harm in believing?

In the Precision Nutrition’s Certification programs, they talk about scope of practice. It’s crucial for health and fitness pros to:

  • Know what they know, and what they don’t know.

In other words, to make appropriate, evidence-based recommendations about nutrition, it’s not enough to simply:

  • Have made a big change to your own body (such as losing weight, or succeeding at a new sport).
  • Follow some blogs.
  • Have a stack of health and fitness magazines on the back of the toilet.

These are a great way to begin. I didn’t know stuff when I was new to the field, either. That’s why we learn and practice… and practice and learn… and then practice and learn some more.

But leaning on those methods of “research” — aka believing instead of knowing — can be dangerous.

There’s an old saying:

You know just enough to be dangerous.

For starters, beliefs without evidence can cause physical harm.

Nutrition can affect the human body’s systems dramatically — that’s the amazing power and opportunity, and it’s why we coaches love this field.

The downside is that doing the wrong things can change our bodies in ways we don’t want.

Back in the mid-to-late 1800s, a man named Wilbur Atwater had a Ph.D. from Yale in agricultural chemistry.

He measured the calories and macronutrients in hundreds of foods to eventually come to the conclusion that the only two elements that humans needed to be concerned with when creating their diet were:

  • protein, and
  • total calories.

He wrote newspaper columns, lectured, and told anyone who would listen about his beliefs. He truly believed that this was the solution to human nutrition and even poverty.

He was a well-respected scientist doing real research in a lab. Yet he didn’t have all the knowledge he needed to make the right recommendations.

Instead, he told everyone to eat fewer vegetables (because they were low calorie and low protein), while eating more fatty pork.

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, can’t it?

Atwater’s diet eliminates:

Thanks to research, we now know that all of these play their own unique role in health. Cutting out all of these nutrients is downright dangerous.

Now, this is an extreme example, perhaps.

But some of the most popular belief-based diets today have adherents alter their nutrition choices in strange and/or misguided ways. They:

  • Completely give up grains, beans, and legumes
  • Swear off all fat
  • Eat only raw food
  • Base their intake on a single food (e.g. grapefruit, cabbage)
  • Eschew solid food
  • Only drink “detoxing” juices
  • Hold their daily calorie intake to some “magic” number, like 600
  • Replace all carbs with bacon

These diets either selectively use research (for instance, a study in rats showing that grape juice prevents tumors — time for the magic anti-cancer grape juice diet!) or get stuck on small details while missing the big picture.

Also, beliefs without evidence can prevent the health and fitness industry from making progress.

Most people working as health and fitness pros chose this industry to help people change their lives for the better.

Confusing the crap out of ourselves (and clients) with these weird belief-based “systems” does not support that goal.

When we choose belief over fact, we don’t just hold ourselves, and our clients, back. We hold the entire industry back.

Let’s commit to improving everyone’s nutrition knowledge.

Our collective job as coaches is to create the healthiest and happiest people in the world.

How do we do that?

Treating nutrition as a science, instead of a belief system, is a strong step in the right direction.

As is constantly pushing to improve our own knowledge, and thinking critically about our convictions.

Nutrition science is a big field. We can’t know everything, and certainly not all at once.

But we can commit to putting the beliefs away and embracing a lifelong process of learning, studying, thinking critically, and applying evidence-based analysis to every decision and recommendation we make.

What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition.

1. Practice having an open yet critical mindset.

“Because it worked for me” is not enough evidence to recommend “it” to another person.

Be curious. Ask questions.

Explore the evidence that supports a given position. Be aware of why nutrition science is so complicated. Ask for scientific references, and then scrutinize those.

And, by all means, experiment on yourself (in Precision Nutrition Coaching, we call this writing your Owner’s Manual).

Try different things. Document the effects.

Over time, that’s as legitimate a way of knowing. (Make sure you’re always tracking and revisiting, though — bodies do change!)

2. Live in the middle ground.

Biology rarely operates in extremes. Only in very specific contexts (for example, actual diagnosed Celiac disease) do “always” and “never” have value.

So be suspicious of “always” or “never” language in nutrition talk.

Instead, try “some people” and “sometimes” and “it depends”.

For example, a coach might insist that everything should be “100% natural” or else it’s bad. But just because something has been processed in some way does always not make it inferior.

In some cases, processing can actually improve the desired effect and/or nutritional profile. For example, in 2011 the Journal of Nutrition published a report showing that without supplements or enriched foods:

  • 100% of Americans would not get enough Vitamin D.
  • 93% not enough Vitamin E.
  • 88% not enough folate.
  • 74% not enough Vitamin A.
  • 51% not enough thiamin.
  • 46% not enough Vitamin C.
  • 22% not enough Vitamin B6.

Sure, maybe there’s some “perfect” diet floating around out there, but for most of us, having a few fortified foods and even synthetic vitamins in the roster is probably a good idea. A diet full of processed, fortified foods and synthetic vitamins, not so good.

3. Notice when words and concepts trigger emotions.

Most belief-based nutrition systems are couched in marketing that purposely gets you worked up, maybe by poking at your traumas, insecurities, or ego (the current “clean eating” craze is a good example).

Recognize when you feel “pulled” by a certain idea.

Ask yourself, am I considering this “system” for the right reasons? Am I looking for an “easy” solution because I feel sad/frustrated/lost/stressed today?

4. Scrutinize claims that are tied to financial gain.

For example:

“Eat as much as you like and still lose weight!”
(A real-life claim aimed at selling a diet book.)

“Ripped abs in 1 minute!”
(Real claim. Workout DVD this time.)

“Control insulin levels, decrease blood sugar, speed metabolism, lower LDL cholesterol, burn belly fat and suppress appetite!”
(Real claims from the makers of a cinnamon supplement. That’s right, cinnamon.)

In my teen years, I spent unthinkable quantities of my hard-earned McDonald’s money on ineffective testosterone boosters and nitric oxide products.

Trust me bro, I was getting “jacked”.

In this marriage between beliefs and profit, science didn’t show up to the ceremony.

5. Be skeptical of one-size-fits-all approaches.

Trying to use the exact same macronutrient ratio (for example) serve every human’s needs and goals is a telltale sign that a coach needs more knowledge and/or has an emotional connection with the plan.

Humans are unique, complex systems. They should be treated as such.

There is no one best diet. Any plan should be a system that’s based on evidence, and truly reflects the client’s unique lifestyle, goals, and needs.

6. Get qualified coaching.

If you don’t feel confident reading research or understanding the science, consider finding a Precision Nutrition Certified coach or enrolling in the Certification yourself.

Knowledge is power.

Passionate about fitness and nutrition?

If so, and you’d like to learn more about it, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. Our next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the industry’s most respected education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how nutrition influences a person’s health and fitness.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of nutrition and fitness pros in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 33% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 33% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready to boost your education, and take your nutrition game to the next level, let’s go down the rabbit hole together.

References

Click here to view the information sources referenced in this article.

The post Nutrition is not a belief system. Why wishful thinking won’t get you results, but science might. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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This easy-to-use visual guide shows you how to make healthier nutrition choices, and determine the best foods for your body, goals, and taste buds. In fact, our simple three-step process helps you create a customized healthy-eating menu in just a matter of minutes. And the best part: Nothing’s off limits.

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“What foods should I eat?”

It’s a question we hear often. Sometimes in desperation.

Not because of the easy choices—spinach, duh!—but because of the not-so-obvious ones that cause confusion.

Foods that have been demonized then celebrated. Or celebrated then demonized. Or that come in so many forms it feels impossible to know the best choice.

Over and over, we’re asked:

  • Are potatoes good or bad?
  • What about eggs?
  • Can I eat pasta?
  • Is cheese okay?
  • Do I have to live without bacon? (We told you about the desperation.)

To add to the confusion, it’s not always obvious how to classify a food. Is it mostly protein? A carbohydrate? A fat? Many people know to eat a mix of these macronutrients, yet aren’t sure how that looks in “real food”. The result: more questions.

That’s why we created this handy, visual food guide. It’s designed to help you make healthier choices, no matter your knowledge of nutrition.

But don’t expect a list of “approved” and “off-limits” foods. Instead, we like to think of foods on a spectrum from “eat more” to “eat some” to “eat less”.

This approach promotes one of the most crucial philosophies that runs through our nutrition coaching method: Progress, not perfection.

Use our continuums to make choices that are “just a little bit better,” whether you’re eating at home, dining out with friends, or dealing with banquet buffets on a work trip.

Plus, learn how to:

  • Incorporate a mix of proteins, vegetables, carbohydrates, and fat.
  • Strategically improve your food choices—based on where you are right now—to feel, move, and look better.
  • Customize your intake for your individual lifestyle and (of course) taste buds.

As a bonus, we’ve even provided you space to create your own personal continuum. That way, you can build a delicious menu of healthy foods that are right for you—no questions asked.

Download this infographic for your tablet or printer and use the step-by-step process to decide which foods are right for you (or your clients). 

Download the tablet or printer version of this infographic to discover your own personal “eat more,” “eat some,” and “eat less” foods (or, if you’re a coach, to help your clients).

Notes

Overview

This continuum of foods is broadly applicable to eating styles throughout the world, offering a framework for personalizing food choices to fit individual needs, preferences, and goals.

Each individual’s food list will depend on their:

  • eating style (e.g. keto, plant-based, Mediterranean, etc.),
  • activity level and type (e.g. professional triathlete, weekend warrior, desk worker, etc.),
  • goals (e.g. improve relationship with food, gain muscle, lose fat, promote health),
  • and more.

These helpful lists often evolve over time, as we all grow and change.

Process

Precision Nutrition’s nutrition experts collaborated to categorize foods along the continuum, allowing for multiple perspectives, debate, and decision making.

We considered:

  • Health/nutrition data
  • Recommended daily intake
  • Reward and palatability value
  • Nutrient density (macronutrients, micronutrients, phytonutrients, zoonutrients)
  • Level of processing

The goal here was not a “perfect, undebatable” list, but rather a practical, effective tool to help people progress toward health goals.

Exceptions are everywhere

A food that’s “eat less” for one person may be “eat more” for another. Some examples:

  • For a plant-based eater who struggles to get enough protein to meet their needs, protein powder may go from “eat some” to “eat more”.
  • For someone who already eats 2-3 servings of fatty fish per week, fish /algae oil may move to “eat less”. Conversely, someone who rarely eats fatty fish might benefit from categorizing fish /algae oil as “eat more”.
  • Sugary drinks are typically categorized as “eat less”. But endurance athletes may consider them an “eat some” item during training, and possibly even “eat more” during competition. Similarly, for individuals who struggle to gain lean mass, it may be beneficial to place a sugary protein + carbohydrate drink in the “eat some” category for consumption during exercise.
  • For someone who values environmental sustainability above all else, your personal spectrum will again look different (such as putting meat, water-hungry nuts like almonds, and other resource-intensive foods in the “eat some” or “eat less” categories).

Ultimately, context matters. The continuum is meant to be broadly applicable to most people. And yet it can never be fully accurate for any single individual. This is why we’ve provided you the tools and guidelines to make your own spectrums and lists.

Click here to read about the creation of the food continuum.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—such as helping them make better food choices that match their personal preferences—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 33% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 33% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

The post ‘What should I eat?!’ Our 3-step guide for choosing the best foods for your body. [Infographic] appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Sweet potatoes vs. potatoes: A nutritional debate fueled by misinformation, baseless ‘superfood’ obsessions, and carbohydrate phobias. Here’s how these tubers compare — and why both deserve a place in your diet.

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A few years back, some crazy nutrition enthusiasts decided to figure out whether white or sweet potatoes were “healthier”.

One group compared the glycemic index and load of sweet potatoes vs. potatoes. They suggested that since white potatoes tend to be higher, they should be avoided.

Another group suggested that sweet potatoes are a vitamin A ‘superfood’, putting them way ahead of their white potato competitors.

And, of course, the carbophobes had their own take: All potatoes should be avoided because they’re too high in carbs and all those carbs will mess with your insulin regulation and cause fat gain.

Nonsense, all of it.

Both white and sweet potatoes, when eaten as part of a balanced and intentional diet, provide a fantastic array of nutrients while contributing to the satiety and deliciousness of any meal.

Check out this infographic to learn more about white and sweet potatoes, and why you should consider including both in your diet. (You can even download them for your printer or tablet).

Want to share this with family, friends, and clients? Click here to download the infographic and print it out, or save it on your tablet.

For an even more comprehensive take on this topic, check out our accompanying article, “Sweet vs. regular potatoes: Which are really healthier?”.

Passionate about nutrition and health?

If so, and you’d like to learn more about it, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. Our next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 33% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 33% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

The post Sweet potatoes vs. potatoes: Which are really healthier? [Infographic] appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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I’ve finally found a fitness-focused New Year’s resolution that’s worth making. And here it is, along with 10 client-proven ways to reach your own health and fitness goals this year.

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If you’re reading this, it means you survived the holidays.

It’s the most wonderful (crazy, stressful, awesome, magical) time of the year.

You know the drill: Kids and toys everywhere. In-law invasions. And get this: My 6-year-old daughter and I found reindeer tracks in the backyard on Christmas morning again this year, ha!

Berardi Family Christmas

The Berardi Family with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Amid all the craziness — in fact, because of the craziness — my wife and I decided to break tradition and actually make New Year’s Resolutions this year.

Ordinarily it’s not something we would do.

In fact, it’s not something we would ordinarily suggest you do either. Especially if your resolutions typically involve detoxes or juice cleanses, or chasing an unrealistic level of leanness.

Stats on New Year’s Resolutions — especially fitness ones — are abysmal. Packed gyms on January 2 are ghost towns on March 2.

I thought about this the other day while driving home from a family function (and while trying to keep Kid #1 from punching Kid #2).

At Precision Nutrition, we often use the phrase:

“Fitness in the context of a real human life…”

What does “real life” actually mean?

It means something like this:

  • All 4 kids are sick (at the same time), so you’re getting virtually no sleep…
  • Your mother-in-law is going through cancer treatment and you visit daily…
  • It’s Christmas/Thanksgiving/Passover/Diwali/Eid or the long weekend…
  • Because of the holiday, you’ve got a tight deadline at work…
  • When you’re stressed your lower back acts up…
  • And just as you’re about to head out for the blessed 30-minute workout you’ve been looking forward to all day, your dog drops a diarrhea poop on the living room carpet.

That, my friends, is fitness in the context of a real human life.

So, is it any wonder most fitness resolutions fail?

If you think about it, most health and fitness plans live outside the context of a real life:

“Here’s a 30-day detox diet to follow… and a new hardcore workout DVD…”

“Why not do a fitness competition in April… and a triathlon in August…”

“It’s time to go all-in… it’s the only way to win!”

Except that it’s not. Because all-or-nothing thinking rarely gets you all. It usually gets you nothing.

That diet plan, or workout DVD, or one-size-fits-all training program you pulled from Triathlon magazine was never built to accommodate sick kids or cancer treatment or your co-worker’s two-week vacation.

Yet when the insane idea that you have to do all things perfectly takes hold, it’s pretty hard to shake loose.

Sure, we can play make-believe. We can imagine a life where everything is peaceful, calm, and totally in our control all the time. But that’s a surefire recipe for failure.

Real human lives are messy and complicated. Real human lives are unpredictable. 

When we learn to accept this, they can also be dynamic and exciting. They can push us to grow.

Therefore, this year’s resolution.

With 4 children, aging parents, active social lives, and thriving businesses — my wife and I really did make New Year’s Resolutions this year.

As we always do, we plan on continuing to prioritize our health, build strength and fitness, and maybe even maintain our abs.

But this year we’ll do it flexibly and honestly in the context of our real human lives.

Our children will be fevered, snotty, and barfy. Our time will be limited. And we’ll miss last call at the gym because of doggie poo.

Yet this year we’ll plan for all that in advance.

After we’ve cleaned up the poo, we might work out in that same living room. With no weights or machines, maybe we’ll jump around like maniacs so we can move our bodies while keeping an eye on the kids.

Or maybe we’ll be stuck eating nasty hospital food. If so, we’ll make the best choice we can within the spectrum of choices. And then do push-ups and air squats in the cafeteria, or walk laps around the cancer center.

And on those rare days we’re not dealing with emergencies?

Maybe we’ll soothe our control-freak souls with a luxurious, 2-hour, relaxed, well-rounded workout. Or a weekend of cooking healthy food to prep meals before a busy week. (Even though neither is actually required.)

It’s not easy. But at least we have a plan.

You know, all this got me thinking…

How are our clients doing it?

I run a nutrition and fitness coaching company, so when it comes to figuring out health and fitness in the context of real life, I’m sitting on a virtual pot of gold.

Clients go through our coaching program for a year, and with the help of our expert coaches, sort out just that: How to make their health and fitness goals a reality, even as the chaos of life continues.

So I decided to ask them which new strategies they’ve developed to make it all work — nutrition + snotty kids + work deadlines… all of it.

They responded with dozens of great tips for real-life healthy living. Here are some of the most common (and awesome) ones we heard.

1. Check in with yourself every morning.

“I start my day with reading my Precision Nutrition Coaching lesson. It’s essentially plugging into myself first thing every morning. By doing the program work when I wake up, I remind myself that when I am healthy and happy, I have more to give to the world.”

2. Eat protein at breakfast.

“I include protein at every breakfast. My favorite: breakfast meatballs. Turkey + shredded veggies (zucchini, carrot, celery and onion), quick oats, egg whites and spices made into balls and cooked in muffin trays in advance. Then I heat ‘em up in the morning.”

3. Bring a lunch you’re excited to eat.

“I bring a lunch that is a simple salad with (quality) lunch meat for protein. Adding little extras like seeds and nuts to my salad along with avocado makes it something I look forward to eating, instead of leftovers that I would rather leave behind when others are going out.”

4. Pre-prep dinners.

“PREP! This has been huge for me. I come home late and I’m often rushed to get food in me. Now I just take everything I’ve already cut up or cooked (in advance) and put it in a pan. It’s a much less ‘rush-y’ situation, which carries over into eating… so I’m eating slowly and not inhaling food right past my full point.

5. Eat at the table.

“In the past, I ate dinner in a rush, then ran off to the next activity (soccer, coaching, etc.). I have been making a conscious effort to sit down and slowly eat the meal, so I can actually remember tasting and enjoying it.”

6. Exercise whenever, wherever, and however possible.

“I never choose the closest parking spot. This way I can get in a little more walking. Also during the school day (I’m a teacher), I walk as much as possible around my classroom as students are working, and around the building.”

7. Aim for “a little better” instead of “perfect”.

“It’s not about being perfect. It’s about gradual and continuous improvement. I used to get really down on myself if I ate unhealthy or missed some workouts and felt like I had failed. Now I feel that I’ve put in some great work, and I can do even better tomorrow and next week.”

8. Get all sorts of support.

“I use a meal service for healthy meals, which are pre-portioned. I commute an hour each way to/from work and I work long hours as an attorney, so having the ingredients there with recipes has helped immensely.”

9. Find accountability.

“My coach consistently reaches out to me, and the PN lessons remind me to move daily and claim the day for myself.  Doing those things before I head out to work keep me focused. It reminds me this is my life and my choices can be life-affirming in every moment.”

10. Show up again the next morning.

“Show up each day and do what you can on that day. Don’t jump ahead. This is not a race. It’s not a diet. It’s your life.”

What could your “real life resolution” look like?

My wife and I have no clue what life will bring us this coming year.

But we’re committed to doing the best we can, when we can, with whatever we’ve got. Day in and day out.

I hope you are too.

With the New Year around the corner, it’s an interesting time to make (or renew) your commitment to health and fitness.

Why not do that while considering the context of your own unique, interesting, and (no doubt) challenging life?

What to do next

1. Consider your health and fitness goals for this coming year.

What does a renewed commitment to health and fitness look for YOU — in the context of YOUR own unique, interesting and challenging life?

How could you aim to make things “a little bit better” this year, instead of “perfect or nothing”?

2. Celebrate your accomplishments from the past year.

Even if there’s lots you want to change, think back and call out at least two or three things you did well this past year.

Give yourself a pat on the back for any and all signs of progress, no matter how small.

3. Plan for things to go wrong.

What challenges do you anticipate might interfere with the progress you want to make?

Think about those roadblocks now. Consider some adjustments and workarounds in advance.

Accepting the messy “real-life” stuff will be key to your success.

4. Start small.

What is one little thing you could do today to help you prepare for success this year?

Maybe it’s researching a healthy meal delivery service for busy weeks, downloading a relaxing meditation podcast, or booking a babysitter one evening a week.

Take one small action now, and you’ll already be on your way.

5. Take inspiration from PN clients.

Do any of the strategies above intrigue you? Pick one and give it a shot.

If you usually eat dinner on the go, try sitting down for a meal at the table. If you want accountability, find someone to check in with.

Remember, you don’t have to get it “perfect”. Not now, not ever.

All you have to do is make an effort, and keep showing up every day.

Want help overcoming your health and fitness barriers?

Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.

Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.

[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].

The post A fitness-focused New Year’s resolution that’s worth making. Plus 10 real-world ways to actually keep that resolution. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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As a devoted runner, fitness was just a way of life for Daniel Hayes. So when his health threw him a curveball and he wound up on meds that slowed his metabolism, none of his usual approaches to weight maintenance worked. Now, 35 pounds later, he’s fit again, and an inspiration to his young son.

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When you’re an avid marathoner, you expect your body to obey.

You run more miles each week; your body readily responds with improved conditioning and endurance.

You dial up protein and vegetables, your body snaps to attention with more muscle and less fat.

But in 2008, at the age of 38, the easy cause-and-effect, master-and-servant relationship that Daniel Hayes had with his body suddenly reversed.

While training for his fifth marathon, Daniel, of Chicago, Illinois, began experiencing a heartburn-like sensation every time his heart rate went above a certain point.

Knowing his body well enough to be concerned, he made an appointment with a cardiologist. The exam revealed a problem that would change the course of his life: One of his arteries was 90 percent blocked.

If he hadn’t caught it, Daniel’s doctors said his condition would have culminated in a fatal heart attack.

Now with stents in two coronary arteries and working his way through cardiac rehabilitation, Daniel was recovering well and started running again. But his body wasn’t the same.

“One of the unfortunate things is that I was put on a heavy dose of statins and a beta-blocker, which really slowed down my metabolism,” Daniel says.

“I gained about 30 pounds over the next 5 or 6 years just from the meds alone.”

Although he had years of experience maintaining a fit body, Daniel discovered his tried-and-true strategies no longer worked. They were simply no match for his new health realities.

What’s more, the time he could devote to figuring out a nutrition and fitness approach that would work was more limited than ever.

For one thing, Daniel was spending lots of time caring for his mother, who was struggling with dementia and, sadly, eventually passed away in 2013.

Meanwhile, the company he worked for was bought out, and Daniel found himself dealing with the pressures and commitments that come when you know your job is on the rocks.

Thankfully, there was a bright spot too: The birth of his first son. But as any new parent soon finds out, caring for a small child doesn’t usually increase the amount of time you’re able to dedicate to nutrition and fitness.

Daniel at his heaviest, the result of a slowed metabolism plus lots of competing priorities.

Though he continued to exercise, Daniel no longer felt like the fit, healthy guy he once was.

By 2015, with his weight not budging from his new high of 238, it was clear to Daniel that he needed to try something different. He couldn’t expect a quick fix; that ship had sailed.

“I just looked myself in the eye and said, ‘I’ve got do something about this. I need to be healthy. Especially for my wife and son.’”

Enter Precision Nutrition Coaching.

Daniel realized that in order to lose weight in a way that worked with his medications, health history, and demanding life, he would need some help.

So he researched nutrition coaching options online, and liked what he read about PN’s habits-based approach.

He would need to “meet himself where he was” and focus on sustainable practices rather than short-term hacks.

So he dug into the PN program’s habits and gradually changed his approach to food.

One of the biggest changes? Eating slowly to 80 percent full — a lifelong “anchor” practice that helps you reconnect with your metabolism and hunger cues.

Daniel realized he had gotten used to feeling completely stuffed after meals.

“My parents grew up during the depression and I think that’s where my habits came from,” explains Daniel. “You had to finish everything on your plate. Nothing could be wasted. I grew up with that mindset, so it was a hard one to break through.”

After a year in the program, Daniel had added muscle mass (and lots of strength), and lost about 12 pounds of body fat. Plus, by trying out activities he hadn’t done before, he learned to think of movement and exercise as enjoyable rather than an obligation.

But the biggest transformation after that first year? The depth of his self-knowledge.

A slowed metabolism paired with deep-seated clean-your-plate habits don’t resolve overnight. So six months after finishing the program, Daniel realized that he missed the support and accountability of having a nutrition coach.

Daniel knew he had more healthy-habit practicing to do, and more weight he wanted to lose. He was on a longer journey than he’d realized — and that was ok.

Daniel finished that second year feeling more grounded than ever, and couldn’t resist the urge to sign up for a third round. To date, he has lost almost 35 pounds.

Daniel preps for a workout several months into his PN journey.

The strategy that Daniel has embraced, with much success: playing the long game.

Just like marathon training, sustainable eating and fitness habits that make sense for complicated health and life circumstances often require time and repetition to take hold.

“It takes a while for someone to get into the state they’re in, so it’s going to take them a while to get out of it,” Daniel says.  “It’s not going to happen overnight.”

Now, even when life throws its characteristic challenges at Daniel — these days, it’s usually in the form of a busy schedule or having to travel for work — he knows he can rely on his newly ingrained healthy habits.

“At the very least, I know I can always practice eating slowly and eating to 80 percent full. And I can usually fit in some quick body weight exercises. Those familiar practices keeps me on track even when life gets crazy.”

Another advantage of the long game: You have the resilience to understand that your health and weight can absorb life’s inevitable nutrition and fitness “missteps.”

“Be patient,” Daniel urges. “Be patient with the process and be patient with yourself. You take it day by day. It’s these small, incremental changes that get you to your goal.”

“Sometimes you’ll eat or drink too much. Instead of being really hard on yourself, you can just say, ‘You know what? Life happens. Tomorrow is a new day.’”

More importantly, Daniel knows that his new long-term habits make him a better role model for his son.

At the outset of that first year of PN Coaching, as he dreamed of somehow getting back to being the healthy guy he’d once been, Daniel envisioned taking up martial arts… to keep up with his young son, who’s been a karate enthusiast since he was 4 years old.

The moment Daniel realized he finally had enough confidence to start taking Brazilian jiu-jitsu, he know he’d “made it.”

Daniel after a jiu jitsu spar with his young son.

 

“Now when my son sees me doing martial arts, he wants to do it more too. I’m proud of that.”

Daniel’s son is most excited about finding a worthy sparring opponent.

Daniel laughs, “He’s small, but I’m his kicking bag. He thinks I’m indestructible.”

Want help overcoming your health and fitness barriers?

Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.

Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.

[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].

The post Daniel Hayes: Making peace with the long game. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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