Nutritional Habits - Make or break?

If I could give you everything I know about nutrition, would it change anything you do today?

When it comes to this topic, the world is overloaded with information. What you eat is very personal. Taking my advice and making changes will only happen if I can coach you in a way to make this relevant.

Eating is habit. We often eat the same things, at the same times, and not always for the right reasons.

I am happy to share information and give advice; however, you must ask yourself WHY you might want to heed my advice on eating and nutrition.

  • Want to look better?
  • Feel better?
  • Sleep better?
  • Reduce the risk of disease?

Not everyone has weight loss or aesthetic goals. Hurray on eating for more than one outcome.

It’s never one thing holding you back from improving your nutrition. It’s all a process of developing smarter habits than you currently have in place, and using them to replace the poor habits. You must make the decision that these habits are relevant to you so any changes you make are maintained.

There is nothing crazy here, and there is no magic pill or magic diet (trust me, as we’ve been looking!). You will get results if you build out healthier habits. Educate yourself in the process and trust that your consistency will pay off in the long run.

Let’s get to the real reasons you are not eating for fuel. We need that fuel to perform, fight illness, prevent disease, sleep, and feel strong mentally.

In her book Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss, Nutrition expert Georgie Fear states “Research shows that individuals who seek to lose weight by adopting rigid rules or following a diet are more prone to binge eating and weight gain than individuals who aren’t trying to restrict their intake. Stress increases appetite and fat storage, and weakens willpower and tenacity in the face of challenge.”

So two big players in Nutrition coaching (Precision Nutrition, Georgie Fear) focus on habit based eating. Let’s look at what that means…..

Habits-Based Eating

What are habits and why are they so important?

If you think of poor and unhealthy eating in terms of habits that you find hard to break or change it might be easier to see that creating new habits that promote healthy eating can work.

Your results are going to be “transformational” if you are very compliant and consistent with your new healthy habits. New research from Precision Nutrition (PN) may surprise you though, “Just putting in some effort-no matter how small-changes things.” (-1)

Facts from a recent PN email:

* Every client eats food

* Every client could eat food better

* Eating better can 3x (even 10x) the results from the exact same exercise plan

Great movement coaching is something we pride ourselves with at it’s time! Fitness Results. But let’s face it…results that are 3-10 X greater with more effort on the eating side. Let’s think about the seeds of change for you personally and then let’s get making some new habits.

Dig deep for the reasons why you want to improve your nutrition. If we give ourselves the time to reflect and the compassion to accept where we are then making small changes will happen and will have an impact on our health.

Here’s our top 5 habits for change.

Keep in mind that perfection is not the goal but practice in the process. Every “habit” can be scaled to your particular situation. How much change do you want and just how much are you prepared to give up to get there?

#1 –  Food Preparation – Plan Ahead!

– Plan ahead for the week so you don’t run out of food or the time to prepare it resulting in take out, fast food, and restaurant meals.

– Grocery shop once or twice a week.

  • Stay stocked on your most used high nutrient whole foods.
  • Plan your meals and stick to your list. Avoid buying snacks and treats so they are not in your home to tempt you!

– Prepare and cook food for the work week!

  • Pick a consistent day to cook for the work week and make it a habit.
  • Batch cook larger quantities of food, especially protein to make lunches and other meals easier to prepare.

Remember the 80/20 rule when it comes to meal planning. If 8 out of 10 meals are planned by you then there is lots of opportunity for social occasions and dining out. There is value in making small changes for even less time than you think. Research shows that changing scaling habits and making changes 50-60% of the time still results in weight loss. Make changes that can be maintained long term. These are lifelong habits that you are making.

#2 – Eat Your Vegetables…and Fruits.

How many servings of Vegetables and Fruits are you consuming each day?

Take a look at what amount of vegetables you are currently eating and increase from there. Recommended amounts would be up to 10 cups of vegetables. Fruits contain more sugar so for weight loss you might want to be thinking of this when choosing fruits over vegetables and thinking it’s ok because it’s a fruit!

Health Benefits:

  • Research has shown that eating the daily recommended amounts of vegetables and fruit may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer.
  • A diet high in vegetables and fruit has been shown to improve cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure and reducing serum cholesterol.
  • Vegetables and fruit contain protective substances such as vitamins, minerals, and fibre, as well as plant compounds called phytonutrients. Eat a rainbow of color!
  • Remember that fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates and their calories can add up. Check in on the amount of fruit you are eating, including juice.

# 3 – Get Enough Protein

Why do we need Protein?

Protein helps replace worn out cells, transports various substances throughout the body, and aids in growth and repair.

Consuming protein can also increase levels of the hormone glucagon, and glucagon can help to control body fat.1 Glucagon is released when blood sugar levels go down.  This causes the liver to break down stored glycogen into glucose for the body. It can also help to liberate free fatty acids from adipose tissue – another way to get fuel for cells and make that body fat do something useful with itself instead of hanging lazily around your midsection! Protein is essential for gaining lean muscle mass and changing our body composition. The process of aging causes muscle loss through the decades. (Sarcopenia) Adequately supplying the body with the right nutrition combined with resistance training are your best tools for staying strong!

How much protein do you need? Read my past blog on The Science of Healthy Protein Reviewed.

How much protein you need depends on a few factors, but one of the most important is your activity level.

Basic recommendation: 0.8 grams per kilogram of body mass. For example, a 150 lb (68 kg) person would consume around 54 grams a day.

However, this amount is only to prevent protein deficiency. It’s not necessarily optimal!

Optimal recommendation: 1.4-2.0 g/kg (or around 0.64-0.9 g/lb.) of body mass. Therefore a 150 lb. (68 kg) person would need about 95-135 g of protein per day.

Physique athletes (bodybuilders): 1 gram of protein per pound of mass, so 150 g per day for a 150 lb. individual.

When do we need protein?

With each meal

20-40 grams for females, 30-60 grams for males.

Examples of 100 grams of protein:

  • Lean Ground Beef Hamburger: 19 g
  • One Hard-Boiled Egg, Large: 6 g
  • Cottage Cheese 2%: 12 g
  • Chinook Salmon: 27 g
  • Roasted Chicken Breast: 31 g
  • Halibut: 33 g
  • Ribeye Steak 10 oz.: 38 g
  • Black Beans: 21 g

# 4 – Stop at 80% Full or Eat just Enough

  • Eat scheduled meals/snacks. Avoid getting too hungry.
  • Resist urges to eat when not hungry. Stop at 80% full.
  • Describe physical and emotional feelings around eating times.

# 5- Eat Unprocessed Whole Food and Superfoods

Does it have an expiry date? Foods that have been processed often have added ingredients that we don’t need like sugar salt, and chemicals with long names!? Some of us are in the habit of buying and consuming a lot of processed foods without really thinking about it. Whole foods usually contain more nutrition, less calories and more fibre which is added bonus.

Are you eating enough superfoods? Keep a good stock of these around and you will find it much easier to put meals together long term and stick to your healthy eating program.

21 Superfoods Checklist – No particular order.

Food Type

Food Category

# of Servings

Lean red meat (org grass-fed preferred)

Protein – Lean meat


Salmon (wild caught preferred)

Protein – Fish


Eggs (omega-3 and cage free preferred)

Protein – Egg


Plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, coconut and almond milk.

Protein – Dairy


Protein Supplements (whey, milk or plant protein sources)

Protein – Powder



Carb – Vegetable



Carb – Vegetable


Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower)

Carb – Vegetable


Mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.)

Carb – Fruit


Apples and Oranges

Carb – Fruit


Mixed Beans/Peas (black beans, lentils, split peas, etc.)

Carb/Protein – Legume



Carb – Grain


Whole oats (large flakes)

Carb – Cereal


Raw, unsalted mixed nuts (a variety including pecans, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, etc.)

Fat – Seeds and nuts



Fat – Fruit


Olive Oil (extra virgin)

Fat – Oils


Fish Oil (salmon, anchovy, menhaden, krill) or algae oil

Fat – Oils


Flax Seeds,Chia Seeds, Hemp Hearts

Fat – Seeds and nuts


Green tea , peppermint tea



Garlic and Ginger


Fermented foods and water!!



One last thought on liquid calories and added sugars.

You may not be aware of how your liquid calories can add up preventing the weight loss you desire. Juice, soda pop, alcohol, shakes, specialty coffee and tea drinks can all contain a lot of calories and added sugar. Liquids move through your system faster than solid food leaving you feeling hungry again in a shorter period of time.  A recent article in The Globe and Mail by Leslie Beck, “Food labelling can be baffling when it comes to sugar – here’s what you need to know,” points out the differences between naturally occurring sugars and added and free sugars. This is important information to keep in mind when trying to reduce overall sugar not only for weight management but for the prevention of heart disease and diabetes.


Remember that you must make the decision to work on habits that are relevant to you. Deciding how important your goals are to you at this point in your life will define the level of habit making change you can create and sustain. Make improving your nutrition a lifestyle.


Let me know how you are doing by dropping by it’s time! Fitness Results or sending me an email:

Inform, Instruct, and Inspire at it’s time! Fitness Results.


Written by David Ewart and Sheila Hamilton

Copyright March 2019


ttps:// Email from Precision Nutrition

Email and conversation with Jennifer Robinson R.N.

Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss: Georgie Fear Copyright 2017 P.19 (-2) (-1)

Explore the food guide:

Copyright: <a href=””>iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Copyright: <a href=””>pixelbliss / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

The “Science” of Healthy Protein Reviewed

Email CKNW listener on Sugar facts: Eric Arbuckle Article from Leslie Beck: The Globe and Mail: 11 March 2019 Food Labelling can be baffling when it comes to sugar -here’s what you need to know.