The importance of nutritional education, emotional support and the development of coping strategies.
When people discuss fat loss there is a tendency to focus on the calories we eat, the type of exercise we do and an obsession with getting fast results at any cost, even potentially posing a risk to their own health in both the short and long term. The truth is that any transformation is of course reliant of calorie intake, nutrient intake and exercise but for long term health, lifestyle changes and an ongoing development of a balanced and healthy future, there needs to be a number of different tools in place that will enable someone to make better food choices and get the results they want. This is something we feel strongly about and as part of our transformation packages we focus on developing these tools. Today we are going to discuss 3 key fat loss ‘tools’ that I employ with my clients that are essential to anyone looking to lose fat, build muscle and live a healthy balanced lifestyle.
The first and most important, yet the most challenging in a majority of cases, is to educate a person on their food choices and the positive effects that the foods we eat have on the body. This should be straight forward, but unfortunately exposure to bad information, exposure to marketing and sales telling you ‘this is the only way to do things’ or ‘this product is the best way to lose weight’ not to mention celebrity endorsements, media misrepresentation of science and even information from platforms that many would assume would be reliable is often conflicting, and in a worst case scenario people will even lie or have a cultish obsession with a way of doing things that despite evidence showing their ideas or methods are wrong, will have invested so much energy into this ‘way of life’ that they cannot let it go and continue to perpetuate their false ideology.
☝🏾Let’s get this clear, there of course many different diet and training methods that have gotten results for people, but there are often just as many failures than success stories… So why is this? Well firstly, many diets rely on severe restrictions of certain foods, food groups and massive decreases in calorie intake. However, without an understanding of why a diet may or may not have worked, when the diet is ‘finished’ or more likely failed, many go back to square one and feel even more confused, have developed food guilt and even worse self-esteem than when they began and the cycle begins once more.
Education on foods, the nutrients they contain and the roles they play in the body will help you understand the reasoning behind our methods, and our methods are based on constant evaluation and evolution of the best evidence for sustained fat loss. This does not just include the basic nutritional education, but I pride myself on having a holistic approach to helping you succeed including strategies to avoid failing on your diet and of course emotional support.
Emotional support goes hand in hand with education; the more educated you become the more self-reliant you are and as you start to understand the tools that we will give you from a nutritional perspective, you will become more confident and be able to make better, more educated food choices to maintain your lifestyle in the long run and not just lose fat for the short term but also to be able to develop your physique in the long term and change your diet and training according to your changing goals.
In the initial stages of any fat loss program, trust is important. Having a point of contact to explain why you are eating foods that you thought were ‘bad’, why perhaps it feels you’re eating more food or more often than previously and why certain foods may be restricted is essential to success.
This trust and emotional support can take time to develop but is something that if worked upon can reap big rewards. Knowing that someone is there who understands the process and has been through both personally and helped many others in the same situation through nutrition and training programs is a big advantage in getting the results we see in our clients. Many become friends for this reason.
There are many tools that can be employed to keep you on the straight and narrow when it comes to your diet. Developing strategies to limit exposure to situations where someone might be prone to going off plan, surrounding yourself with people who share a common goal and recognising when people are being unsupportive (yes jealousy and sabotage are common problems from so-called friends when you start achieving results) and learning how to deal with those situations is just as important than having the perfect diet or training on paper. You need to be able to stick to it and when things get rocky have the skills to make the right decisions to meet these challenges head on or when to take a side step and use other support structures to get you through.
Throughout the educational content we produce her at Transformed by Spence to help you on your health and fitness journey I will often discuss some of the factors that can influence our relationship with food including using food as a reward, how guilt associated with certain foods is developed, what foods, environments and social situations trigger us to pursue poor eating habits and through this understanding can give you the capacity to focus on which of these things relate to you and what you can do to control them.
Exercise also plays an important role, not just in physique development, but also in how we view ourselves as we change, and this validates our nutritional education as we see the way our body responds to the nutrients we eat as a response to exercise. We need food to fuel these changes. Exercise through these and other mechanisms are intrinsically related to our mental well-being and our relationship with food and that is something that I will come back to in greater depth in other articles.
Hopefully this has been useful and started to open your eyes to the number of different considerations that need to be addressed in many people, especially those looking to make big, positive changes to their nutrition and exercise behaviours.
🙏🏾Please stay tuned because throughout my articles and blogs I am going to gradually take you through an array of tools and education strategies to help you develop the mindset you need to develop the physique you want and the lifestyle habits to maintain it. As always if you have any questions about this article or how I can help please don’t hesitate to get in touch!