3 Common Nutrition Mistakes People Make When Trying to Change Their Physique

by Ashley Pritz, CNC, Pn1

The process to change your physique can be a daunting one, wondering where to start and how you should focus. Here are some common process mistakes I see as a nutrition coach and how you can prevent or fix them.

Mistake #1. Trying to do too much at once

This one is very common and understandably so. It’s very tempting to want to do a total makeover when we are feeling discomfort. It’s human nature to seek comfort and make changes to make that happen. For example, “I’m quitting bread, sugar, dairy, alcohol, and I’m exercising 2x per day.”

Why this doesn’t work:

  • It’s hard to know what’s working when you’re trying to do it all.
  • It’s overwhelming and causes more distress that progress.
  • It’s completely not sustainable.

Try this instead:

  • KISS: Keep it simple stupid. For example, drinking four beers in a night makes me feel gross, full, hungover, etc. So I’m going to aim for two beers when I drink. I’m going to do this for a week or two, and at the end of the week, see how I’ve done. If it sounds too simple, it is. And it works. You remove a few hundred calories from your intake each time you do that. Slowly make strides, that’s how you make lasting progress.

Mistake #2. Being too rigid or strict.

Setting harsh food rules is usually a sure way to fall off the wagon quickly. For example, telling yourself that you’re only eating 1000 calories per day in the form of broccoli and chicken. I’ve even seen, “Every time I eat something I like, I’m doing five burpees.”

Why this doesn’t work:

  • Our human nature doesn’t support strict food rules. We don’t work that way. Believe it or not, many of our food actions are driven by our emotions. Not to mention our overall wellness is not only driven by nutrients that come from our foods, but by our familial and social relations surrounding food. Enjoying food and drinks with your friends and family benefits your body in so many ways. Don’t miss out on that, just learn how to manage it with quantity and frequency.

Try this instead:

  • Take note of patterns, triggers, or thoughts you have around food. You are capable of making small and manageable adjustments where you see fit. If you’re unsure, ask for support. Keep in mind, enjoying your food is taking care of yourself.

Mistake #3. Not addressing the bigger housekeeping

Here’s an analogy for you. You wouldn’t mow your lawn while your house is on fire, right? Figure out your high priority items before you adjust the less impactful ones. For example, instead of trying to out exercise your food intake with multiple intense workouts, address how often you are dining out. If you find that you are eating out one to two meals per day, it is unlikely that more exercise is the solution.

Why this doesn’t work:

  • If bigger adjustments need to be made that aren’t, you’ll never move forward by focusing on the smaller ones. Focusing on the little things is like putting a band aid on a bullet hole.

Try this Instead:

  • Work smarter, Not harder. Take steps to plan, prepare, and schedule your actions. Think grocery lists, scheduling time to shop, prepare, etc. Big picture habits that will eventually trickle down into daily routine.

They key to getting started with any goal is to get the right overall mental approach. Avoid stressing over the fine details and the weeds, stay consistent, and over time you will make progress.

Ashley Pritz Performance360 Nutrition CoachAshley Pritz is a Certified Nutrition Coach through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the Precision Nutrition Coaching program, for which she is currently completing her Level 2 certification. Get nutrition coaching from her, here.