I can’t wait to go on a diet! (Said no one, ever)

The calendar is about to turn, which means a correlated spike in New Year’s resolutions and trips to the gym (for a month). Many people resolve to go on a “diet,” and there are hundreds of fad diets to choose from. If you’re like me, you have tried many of these, all which left me hungry, low on energy, so I threw in the towel.

I am by no means a fitness guru, but over the last two years I have found a great rhythm with my nutrition regiment. As an investment advisor, it occurred to me that I should engage the services of a nutritionist. In other words, someone who might know a thing or two about diet and exercise. Turns out, he did and it changed my life because of four simple paradigm shifts and an easy tracking process. If you resolve to improve your eating habits, think about these tips as a starting point.

First, let’s define diet as the sum of food consumed by a person. Notice there is no mention of Jenny Craig, Atkins or South Beach.

Paradigm shift #1: Food is fuel. You need carbs, fats, protein and calories to be mentally and physically healthy. We call these macro nutrients (or macros for short).

Paradigm shift #2: Balance is the key, not elimination. Finding the right mix of macros is the key to optimizing how you feel, how you look and how you perform. Elimination of carbs or fat is a bad idea.
Paradigm shift #3: Ya gotta eat breakfast. Food fuels your metabolism. Your metabolism is your body’s furnace that burns fat all day long. Breakfast is like coal in the furnace, it allows your metabolism to work for you all day long.

Paradigm shift #4: You can’t out train a bad diet (thanks to Good Life Fitness for this tagline). Realize your fitness and weight goals are 80% dependent on your diet and 20% dependent on exercise.

Use a daily tracking system instead of a restrictive diet. I recommend MyFitnessPal.

Simple steps to take:

  1. Download MyFitnessPal on your iPhone or Android.
  2. Follow the simple setup process to define your goals.
  3. I would suggest to start with maintaining your weight for the time being.
  4. The app will give you a daily calorie target. Define your macro targets at 45% carbs, 25% fat and 30% protein.
  5. Eat what you usually do and track for 5 days.
  6. I promise, it is easy to do. The app has any food or drink that you can imagine in the system.

It will likely open your eyes about where you might be out of balance with your diet. If you are like most, you will find that you are taking in too much in the way of carbs and not enough in the way of protein. You may even find that you aren’t eating enough!

Then, if you like the process, you can begin to hone in on hitting your daily Macro Nutrient goals.

What I love about this process is that you don’t have to be perfect. Eat what you want, and as long as it fits within the macro nutrient targets you are good. Spoiler alert: eating a Big Mac will still throw things out of whack! But, a handful of Hershey kisses or a few glasses of wine won’t.

Like with a good investment plan, you have to start with a baseline. Knowing where you want to go involves first knowing where you are.

I enjoy talking about this, so call me if you’d like ideas about good tasting, healthy foods that I eat on a daily basis.

Happy New Year’s Resolutioning!


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Since 1995, Pittenger & Anderson has guided individuals and families going through money-in-motion events. We are a fee-only Registered Investment Advisor and a full-time fiduciary providing investment management, financial planning, and complimentary services to 800+ clients in over 30 U.S. states.

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