No Tracking, No Progress? By Paluna Santamaria

I’d like to dedicate this article to all my clients who have stayed patient, consistent, and most importantly committed to their nutrition journey – taking what I like to call a “health first” approach.

Putting your health before aesthetics sometimes means taking the slow route, choosing nutritious foods more often than treats, and understanding that extremely low body fat can be detrimental for some people (and you may not be able to stay there for long). This means you understand nutrition periodization.

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Defining Health

I define health as a balance between the mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of your life.

Sometimes we need to take care of things that have nothing to do with food or exercise to move forward in life.

If you work with me you know that (unless you are a competitive athlete in sports that require you to fit into a weight class) I am not tied to putting emphasis on scale weight, progress pictures, or even always tracking macros. I know some eyes will roll when reading this statement. They’ll say, “But how will you know you are progressing?” or the popular “What gets measured gets managed.”

I’m not saying it’s impossible to achieve body composition goals in a healthy way, but we can all agree there are ways to do it in non-optimal ways. This is how fad diets become popular and some people get rich fast by taking advantage of misinformation.

We can’t deny that tracking everything we eat precisely is an effective method that provides useful information. The more information in regards to food intake I have as a coach, the better.

However, what happens when the person I’m working with has disordered eating tendencies such as: stress around food, binge eating episodes, body dysmorphia, or periods of high stress?

Tips for Shifting Focus

It is my job to find a way that will allow this person to make progress at a rate that won’t disrupt their hormonal health. So when a client is overwhelmed, discouraged, in a negative rut, or needing a break from looking at the scale or tracking apps, here some things I like to shift the focus to:

1. Sleep quality and quantity. Do you wake up rested? Do you sleep through the night?
2. Food quality. Choose whole foods as often as possible.
3. Food quantity. Eat when hungry, stop when full.
4. Hydration. It has been proven that our brain confuses thirst with hunger.
5. Energy and recovery in training.
6. Overall mood and outlook on life.
7. Non exercise related de-stressing activities.
8. No tracking devices, just a simple journal to bring awareness to the above.

Now let me ask: what if you allowed yourself to remove the focus on aesthetics once in a while as a way for other meaningful changes to occur?

When you are wondering if you are making any progress, perhaps ask yourself if the overall quality of your life has improved… regardless of what you look like.

Interested in this approach? Share your thoughts with us! I’d love to hear!

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