Feeling stuck with your nutrition? Listen to this

I’ve seen over a thousand clients (#humblebrag) in my time as a dietitian.

Although every individual is unique, these 5 mistakes are easily the most common things people are struggling with when we first chat. 

So grab a beverage of choice and have a listen to see if any of these sound familiar! If they do, don’t panic, I know some people who can help…


Welcome back to the Bite Me nutrition podcast.

It's pretty cold today. Well, it's cold for Brisbane, which is probably not that cold, but I'm very excited because it means that today I'm talking to you as winter Jono, because winter Jono is generally happier, more excited, more laid back,  whereas summer Jono is cranky and is short tempered  because he's sweaty and hot all the time.  So the cooler weather is definitely my preferred form of weather. It is the better form of weather. Right. Because if I'm cold, I can put an extra layer on and if I'm still cold, I can put another layer on or I can put on a warmer jacket, whereas if I'm hot, there's only so many socially acceptable layers I can take off before there's nothing else I can do about it. Right. So anyone who tries to tell you that summer is the superior season is a fool. But anyway, that's not what I wanted to talk to you about today. What I wanted to talk to you about was I'm going to go through a list of the top five mistakes that people are  making when they first come to work with me, right? So this isn't going to be me picking on those people. They're all very common, very easy to make mistakes, but there are a few, I guess, common trends or common mistakes that people are making that we typically work together to unpack first. And so I thought if I could take you through some of those today, maybe some of them would resonate for you and you would realize that, hey, I could probably benefit from focusing on these same things.I probably won't go too much into the practical side of what you can do of each of those. That might take a bit too long. Maybe I'll blow it out into extra podcasts or your Clever Chickadees. Clever Chickadees is that I don't think that's you are smart. So you can have a look through and probably troubleshoot some of these for yourself. And of course, as always, if you are struggling to do that, you need some more accountability or you need a second brain to help out.  You know where to find us. I would say one of the most common mistakes I see people making is no sound plan or structured plan for afternoon tea. I think afternoon tea is a very, very important time of the day for most people. An afternoon tea is essentially just halfway between lunch and dinner. Now, for some people, that may not be in the afternoon, I'm aware of that due to shift work and things, but just in general, that gap from lunch to dinner is often one of the longest ones. Typically, breakfast to lunch is a bit shorter than lunch to dinner and it's also often in a more difficult time of day. Right. Later in the day, we're a bit more run down. We're maybe a bit more stressed due to our day or we're just a little bit more fatigued and so we're far more likely. There's also just circadian rhythms that kind of make us drop off a little around three, four o'clock. And so all of these things can combine to make some of our food choices in that window less than ideal, right? Whereas having an intentional afternoon tea snack, a balanced snack that contains a good source of protein paired with either a good source of fiber or a good source of fat or both goes a really long way to helping. You navigate that afternoon window with more energy, a better mood, making better nutrition choices, and also helps get you to dinner and then even making better choices at dinner around the types of things that you're going to eat and the portions. Because rather than having not eaten for 7 hours and then trying to make a good decision at dinner, you had afternoon tea, a good balanced afternoon tea a couple of hours ago and so now you're still hungry for dinner, but you're still in far more control than you would have been otherwise. So I would say not having afternoon tea and or not having a plan for afternoon tea, mistake number one. So please make sure that you're doing that the next thing. Look, these aren't necessarily in any order, but the next one is protein at breakfast. Having a decent source of protein at breakfast. And I get it because that's one of the harder meals to have a reasonable serve of protein at. Typically at your lunch or your dinner meals. You've got protein, by the way, of some meat, poultry, fish, tofu, tempeh, textured, vegetable protein, even lentils and chickpeas. Like a lot of those foods aren't classically breakfast foods, right? Or some of the other breakfast foods that are high protein, say for example like eggs or doing like a tofu scramble. That stuff takes time and a lot of us typically don't have much time in the morning. However, it is a really important thing that I would get you to focus on because it goes a long way to help with energy levels in the morning, balancing your blood sugar, which again relates back to energy levels and also relates to appetite and I guess food desirability. And so if you've had a balanced breakfast that includes a reasonable source of protein, all of a sudden your energy, your appetite, your food choices just go much, much better for the rest of the day. You don't need more discipline or more motivation to make them go better, you've just had a better plan. And so I would much rather you focus on protein at breakfast instead of trying to read a bunch of inspirational quotes and be more disciplined. So get some protein at breakfast. I lied. I said I wasn't going to help with examples, but here are some obviously eggs yogurt, protein powder. Those are probably the big three quickest, easiest options protein powder in a smoothie or in some overnight oats yogurt, whether that be good quality soy yogurt or a higher protein dairy yogurt paired with obviously you want all of those things paired with other fruits or grains or toasts and veggies and things, but focusing on some of those. Some cottage cheese, some smoked salmon baked beans. Like I said, the tofu scramble or even looking at having leftover dinner for breakfast, you don't specifically need to have breakfast food. So those are just a couple of options off the top of my head. We've got plenty more that we throw at clients, but I'm tired. So the other thing that I would say is a huge mistake that people are making is their lunch is too small. Especially if you've got this idea of like, I want to lose some weight, I need to eat less. Whilst that might be true, there is a difference between eating less and eating as little as possible. And unfortunately, I find that what people tend to do with their lunch is they try and eat as little as possible. They'll have a tin of tuna and a salad, and that salad won't contain any kind of grain or any kind of complex carbohydrate. No potato, no rice, no pasta, no joy. And what can typically happen is that that lunch is big enough to stop you being hungry for an hour or so, but it's not big enough to sustain you with energy and to manage that appetite for a longer period of time, right? So your lunch should be as big as your dinner. Realistically, it should be even bigger. I know that's not always feasible, but at the very least, it should be as big as your dinner. If it's not, either your dinner is way too big or your lunch is way too small. Often it's both. And to be honest, one kind of causes the other, right? Because if you're having a tiny, tiny lunch and you're making that other mistake of not having a structured, planned afternoon tea, it's little wonder that dinner pre dinner snacks are getting out of hand. So again, a bigger balanced lunch, that is as big as dinner.At least as big as dinner. That's all I'm going to say about that. The other mistake I often see people making, which is a little bit different, but it's not including foods that they enjoy, right? When we make this have this idea to be healthier and to improve our health, for some unfortunate reason, we typically cut out a bunch of foods that we enjoy. I don't know if we're suckers for punishment or something, humans are humans, we're funny creatures. But the thing that I would say is I'll have people know, like, yeah, I haven't had chocolate for a few weeks. And so unless you literally have decided to never eat chocolate again in your entire life, your plan needs to figure out a way for you to continue to consume chocolate or whatever your food is right now. The frequency of that food, the portion of that food might need to adjust depending on your goals and your situation. Sure. But that doesn't mean you should cut it entirely. Cutting things entirely is a really, really good way to overindulge on them at a later date. And so there's something called the Last supper effect, which you can probably figure out, but basically you say, right after today, I'm not having any more chocolate. So of course that night you eat an unholy amount of chocolate and then you stay strong for, I don't know, a day or two or a week or two And then you have another Last supper. Then you stay strong for a week or two, and then you have another last supper instead of just, just regularly including that food, maybe in a smaller portion, but keeping it on your radar. The second you say you can't have something or you ban yourself from something, you give that food way more power than it deserves. And so make sure that your plan of attack for improving your health and fitness and life still includes the foods that you enjoy. And look, the last big mistake I see people making, which is sort of relevant, related to the mistake I just talked about, is focusing on all the things they should remove rather than focusing on all the things that they should add. And so you might have heard me talk about this elsewhere, but it's the difference between approach versus avoidance goals. Very important distinction, right? So an approach goal is a goal that has you wanting to increase something, do more of something. An avoidance goal is a goal that has you doing less of something. Now you can kind of engineer these goals to end up with the same outcome. And that's kind of the point, right? So an example I often use is I want to watch less TV. That's an avoidance goal, right? I'm trying to do less of something instead. A better goal or better way of framing that would be. I want to read more of my book. I want to hang out with my partner more. I want to go for a walk after dinner. I want to play more guitar. I want to you know, all of these things that are approach goals, you know, that have me doing more of something but they are not framed in such a negative way. Like those avoidance goals. So if you are someone that has been guilty of and again, like I said with these top, these are the reason, there is a reason these are the top five mistakes. It's because everyone makes them, right? So if you have some goals in your life or in your head that involve you doing less of something, I encourage you to just reframe them. There is evidence supporting that using that language is actually very legitimate. It's not just airy fairy, rose colored glasses semantics. It actually has an impact. So make sure that you're focusing on what things can I include more of? So I guess in a nutrition context, I don't know. I want to eat less pasta at dinner. Firstly, I would check with my clients to see if that's even an appropriate goal, but let's say it was. Let's say that you are having an unreasonably large serve of pasta at dinner, but focusing on eating less of that versus, I want to eat more veggies at dinner. I need to increase my protein serve at dinner. I need to have an afternoon tea so I'm not so hungry at dinner. I promise. I didn't even plan that. But there you go. It all links. So making sure you've got an appropriately phrased and framed goal is also really important. So hopefully some of those were well, hopefully none of them were relevant for you, and you're wonderful and perfect, but go away if that's you, because we don't want to talk to you. US normal humans have probably resonated with at least one of those, or maybe more of them. And so if they have resonated, hope it gets you to take a moment and think about ways that you can attack those and focus specifically on those.  And if you're struggling with that, once again, like I said, you know where to find me. But otherwise, thanks for listening, and I'll chat to you guys next time. Bye.