Ask Your Trainer: How Can I REALLY Change My Nutrition?

In recent months we’ve had dozens of clients go through our 90 day nutrition coaching program. All of them have made amazing transformations and have realized that in order to really make changes to their physique and entire life, they need to make nutrition a focus.

We’ve had countless questions about how to REALLY make a change in nutrition habits and how to incorporate that when you have a family to factor into the equation.

Here’s a great post from Emily on how to do that.

If you are a parent, or non-parent, it might be time for you to grow up. Are you eating crap food in front of your kids? Do you expect them to eat any better than you when they see you do this?

This goes double for Dads, unfair, maybe, but kids will mimic what their fathers eat ten times more than their mother. Moms are suppose to be “healthy”, tell you to eat your veggies, but if dad does it, it must be legit. Dad eats cake when mom doesn’t, it must be that mom is on a “diet”, but cake is really okay.

Grow up! time- Okay, so you don’t like healthy food, it is unfair that you have to eat healthier than other people, you can’t live without ____, you fill in the blank. What is this saying to you, and your children? To you, whether you like or not, (or are aware)that when it is hard “I can’t do it”, to your kids, when it is hard it is okay to not do it. Think about this message. It is optional to eat healthy and take care of your body.

Do you throw a little mini fit when you don’t get a cookie? Can’t have pizza or a cupcake when everyone else is? Think about it.  Do you? This is your inner 3 year old acting up.  When you give into it you are not the only one that notices, I guarantee. Not only are probably eroding your own self confidence, your have people around you that are mostly likely looking to for behavior examples. Little eyes catch everything.

Our children are like little cavemen. It is our job to teach them how to survive in our world. If we don’t teach them about nutritional balance, they will learn it from commercials, friends, school, you name it.
Think this is an uphill battle? YOU BET IT IS! Think it is one worth fighting, for you and your family, YOU BET IT IS.

I know what you are thinking.  I can’t get my kids to eat healthy; they will only eat crap food. How do I change this, can I change this?  The damage is done right? You failed? Really think about this, isn’t it worth the battle?

Truth time: It will be VERY hard, but yes you can. However, it has to start with you. Here are some ways to do so.

You cannot teach those around you to take care of themselves if you aren’t doing it yourself.

Remember you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of those around you.

As the airplane safety video says, “Put your own oxygen mask on first.” You can’t take care of others if you’re running out of air yourself. We are taught that they should always put other people’s needs first. And unless we’ve anticipated and pre-emptively scratched every itch on loved ones’ backs, they may feel guilty about taking time for themselves.

Where you may be:  “I used to feel it wasn’t okay for me to be ‘selfish’.” Don’t make yourself a martyr.  You are not helping anyone in this role.

Where you should be: “But now I see it differently. It’s not selfish to take time to go to the gym. It’s not selfish to care about my own health. It’s self-love.” “I am more accessible to my kids — emotionally, physically, in every way.” “I feel better about myself, and I’m more present for them.” “I am teaching my family to love, by loving them and myself.”

Okay picture this:

It’s the end of the day, it’s crazy, you are stressed, you walk through the door, and the dreaded dinner planning begins. Everyone wants something different to eat, and none of it fits into the latest “diet” you are trying. Frustrated you might even find yourself reaching for the takeout menus, so much easier.

Sound familiar?

That’s because this scene is played out in almost every home with children. You are not alone.

Every hear the quote “Failing to plan is planning to fail”, in this case it is doubly true. Don’t trust your future self with your nutrition needs, and your family’s. Your future self is tired, stressed, and won’t make the best decisions. Willpower is great, but like a muscle it can get tired, help it out.

Planning to succeed- Family Style

Start Fresh: 

Family Meeting time: if you have older kids in the house they should be part of this. Talk about what you are trying to accomplish, a more nutrient rich way of eating. If you have done this with your family before and have some nay-sayers, ask them for their help. This approach will make them partially responsible for the success of what you are trying to accomplish. Ask each person what they like to eat for healthy food options, create a master list. Also write down some of their favorite not so healthy options (these can be altered more than you know).


Know that it is not always the foods you are choosing, it is the way they are prepared and the ingredients. Take for example mac n cheese, made from the box, (unless it is organic non-gmo) not so great, usually has some hydrogenated fat and added sugar. BUT if you make it at home with whole grain, protein pasta, non-processed cheese, and sneak in a vegetable like, mushrooms diced fine, or even cauliflower, then it is a good option. Pizza too, and chicken nuggets can be made to be healthy nutrient rich meals.


Set the expectations and rules out front. This is not a diet, this is not for pure fat loss, this is for nutritional balance, health, and a healthy relationship with food.

Clean house- look at the food labels in your house, throw away anything with high fructose corn syrup, look at everything, it hides everywhere, put food away, don’t leave anything out on the counters, get rid of all sources of trans-fats. Basically get rid of the processed junk.

Clean up the sugar addiction & detox- most families need a little sugar detox, spend 5 days with no sugar, no bread, no juice, no pasta, talk about what their body’s will feel like during and after they complete the 5 days. No processed foods for 5 day, whole food, lots of veggies, protein, water.
Here is some reading I suggest:

Hydration– clean out your body & the family’s with LOTS of water, swap juice for water & seltzer water. NEVER any soda


Cook large amounts a few days of the week, try to limit the amount of times you cook in a week. This will take some of the pressure off making the right food choices every day. Cooking large batches of good food ensures there’s always a good option at hand.

Cook soups, grill protein, make casseroles, quiche, cut up cheese slices, veggies, and package up nuts, all in advance.

Food Shopping:

  • Make a detailed food list
  • Break your food list up into macronutrient categories
  • Leave the kids at home for food shopping (if possible)


Look at labels- look for food with more of the ingredients you want and less of what you don’t want, avoid any hydrogenated oils, vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup and added sugars, it is in everything, even pasta sauce. This will take some time at first, then you will start to find products you and the family love, and it will become automatic.

On your list:

  •  Organic dairy
  • cheese sticks
  • yogurt
  • shredded cheese
  • Deli meats- nitrate free ham, turkey, chicken sausage, bacon
  • nuts
  • fruit
  • organic non-gmo popcorn (no microwaveable bags)
  • organic whole grain crackers
  • granola bars
  • protein bars  & shakes (no soy protein isolate)
  • Put your snacks & veggies in prepackaged containers, make less work for you & your family when you are all trying to make the best decisions.
  • Carbohydrates
    • oats
    • whole grain no sugar added bread
    • wraps and pastas
    • starchy veggies
    • squashes
    • sweet potatoes


For You, Start Slow & Stay Steady:

  • Never go below 1300 calories – For men 1800
  • Eat lots of veggies, 5 cups a day
  • Lots of protein, at least 100 grams – For men 150 grams
  • Eat healthy fats everyday – polyunsaturated, monounsaturated & saturated fat
  • Consume 35 grams of fiber a day
  • Water – drink  ½ your weight in ounces


I say this all the time, there will be birthday cake in life, but not everyday. You can eat a non-nutrient food, on occasion, with balance, and a healthy relationship. Our children need to learn this balance from somewhere, and it is us.

Work together as a family, and a team. I may sound crazy and you might be writing this blog off already, but isn’t it worth a try.  I wish I could do a music montage for you and you would be at the end of your journey, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that,  you have to do the work. It is so hard, be ready for work but, you can do it, it is so worth it!
One last thing, break the food-reward cycle, when your loved ones have accomplishments, find another method to congratulate them. Celebrate in life-affirming ways. Particularly for kids, these days our “treats” aren’t treats because we have access to them everyday, and will/do eat them everyday. Books, puzzles, stickers, pictures, and the best, your time.