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The 8-Week Nutrition Challenge … and Chipotle Chicken!

8weekchallenge

Baby steps for big changes.

At the studio we say this a lot to students, especially new ones who talk themselves into believing everything about their lifestyle – food, exercise, daily habits – has to be completely gutted and overhauled overnight.

It doesn’t have to be that way, nor should it really if you want lasting change that is truly a lifestyle shift as opposed to the latest greatest quick-fix diet.

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Sunday afternoon, as part of our 8-week Tabata Bootcamp program at the studio, dietician and friend Shannon Lee Moore led a nutrition workshop for our Bootcampers. She owns F.U.E.L. Nutrition Consulting and does a lot of work with people who have medical needs including eating disorders.

The best takeaway from her session was a simple 8-step method for shifting nutrition habits to a better place.

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Eight changes, taking place over right weeks, meaning one new change per week. And they build on each other.

Baby steps for big changes. Because why make it overwhelming when it doesn’t need to be?

So here they are. Simple but so effective.

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1. Cut the sugar: Processed sugars are a major contributor to obesity and a host of related problems. Unless fruit is the sugar source in a food, it’s added sugar and should be avoided.

2. Shake the salt habit: Avoiding processed foods takes care of this, as prepackaged meals, canned soups and other “center aisle” supermarket foods are very high in sodium.

3. Don’t Skip Meals: It only slows the metabolism and sets us up for overeating and making poor choices later. And take time to sit down to eat and really enjoy the food.

4. Choose water: Everything else is empty calories, or “diet” liquid filled with chemicals that rust car batteries.

5. Amp up your veggies: Add them to things like eggs, casseroles, etc. Find great options in season for the best flavors.

6. Choose whole grains: Avoid white flours and pastas. Whole grains like quinoa and barley pack a nutritional powerhouse comparatively.

7. Choose proteins wisely: Lean cuts of beef and poultry, fish. Quality dairy if you do dairy. And don’t forget plant sources like broccoli and spinach!

8. Listen to your body: We are far too hard on ourselves. The pressure can set us up to falter. So take these steps a week at a time, and listen to your body’s signals about the nutrition it wants and needs.

Shannon also shared a delicious recipe for Chipotle Chicken Cauliflower Bake – a really easy casserole that makes a few servings you can make on Sunday and enjoy throughout the week. I am too lazy to type out the recipe, so here it is as a picture!

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I made it Saturday afternoon, ate it for dinner Sunday and again Monday. It’s one of those dishes that gets better after a day or two when all the juices and flavors meld.

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So are you ready to take on one of these challenges each week? Do you already incorporate some or all of these into your life?

Coming up: Power up your pace!

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