top of page
  • Josh Brock

How to Start and Stick To A New Nutrition Plan

It’s January again, which means you may be thinking about New Year’s Resolution to lose or gain weight, improve performance in the gym, or maybe it’s just to be a healthier version of you! Whatever your goal may be, you are going to need a well thought out plan to get you there.

One of the biggest hurdles is just getting started. There is so much information on “diets” it can be confusing! What can I eat or not eat? When do I eat? When do I exercise? Do I eat before or after I exercise? And then combine all of these questions with our busy lives and it can be overwhelming. If you are like me, my anxiety is out of control just typing these questions! The first step in starting a new nutrition routine is to understand that it is a lifestyle, and you are making these changes for the long haul. Think of a nutrition plan as a marathon and not a sprint. You can’t change years of certain eating habits in one week – and if you think you can, well you probably won’t make it past that week. This blog will give you some tips to help you start off strong and stick to your plan!

Plan & Be Intentional

Behavior change can be difficult so you are going to need a solid plan in place. Don’t rush your planning or make it a stressful thing. Allow a few days to sit down and really think about it. At BUILD.POWER.GRIND, we focus on social, mental, physical health together. You don’t want to neglect any of these when you decide on the nutrition plan you're going to follow. When choosing a plan, here are some things to consider:

  • Can you you still enjoy an occasional date night with your spouse or partner?

  • Can you still enjoy Saturday golf and the occasional beer with the guys, or Sunday brunch and occasional mimosas with the girls?

  • Can foods you enjoy still be included in this plan?

Basically, does this plan allow for you to eat for both nourishment and pleasure?

Planning is the next important piece of the puzzle. Think about what types of foods you like and make a grocery list ahead of time catered to your preferences, including nutritionally quality options. Decide whether you plan to meal prep yourself and any time constraints that may get in the way, or if you plan to use a meal prep service. On your grocery list, try to include a few “grab and go” items like protein bars, greek yogurt, jerky, shakes, or other snacks for when you're pinched for time. Be prepared.

A Little Less Talk, and a Lot More Action

Analysis paralysis is real. Take that plan and put it into action, even if it doesn't feel "perfect" to you right now. Just start! To help you get started, we created our lifestyle guide that has resources and also a place for you to calculate your own macros based on that 3 goal areas: weight loss, weight maintenance, and weight gain.

For weight loss, you will be consistently staying in a calorie deficit, or expending more calories than you ingest. Weight gain will involve consistently eating in a calorie surplus, or ingesting more calories than you expend. Finally in a maintenance phase of eating, the goal is to consistently keep the calories you ingest and the calories you expend relatively balanced. Choose your goal and calculate the estimated calories and macronutrients to achieve this based on your current weight.

The biggest piece of advice I will give when creating a nutrition plan and calorie goal is that less is not more. Don’t think a larger restriction will get you faster results – while this may happen at first, your performance and energy will likely decline (along with your metabolism.) This is actually the opposite of what we want to happen so please be kind to yourself and select a reasonable calorie goal. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends gradual weight loss of 0.5 - 1 pound per week to minimize muscle loss with fat loss. If one pound of body weight is 3500 calories and you follow the guidelines conservatively with a goal of 0.5 pound loss per week that is only 250 calories less per day than you are currently consuming. It is also worth noting that the deficit, maintenance, or surplus needed will be different for everyone. Finding the right balance can be trial and error so be patient with yourself and reach out to a Registered Dietitian if you aren’t quite sure where to begin.

Break it Down

So, you have a calorie goal picked out, your macros calculated and a grocery list, now what? Break down your big goal into smaller steps to make it more achievable. Any lifestyle change, including nutrition, starts with changing behavior. Start with one or two small steps that you feel you can achieve easily and add these to your nutrition plan.

For example: Let's say you are super busy in the morning getting the kids off to school, you travel for work and almost all of your lunches are fast food or restaurant foods. How do you make this work? Look at online menus for places that have options that will work for you and plan what you will order, or prep meals ahead of time so you can grab them on your way out the door. Let's say you enjoy a few drinks to wind down at the end of the night. Could you decrease the amount per day or maybe set a goal to only have a drink 2 days/week instead of 5 days?

These changes may feel small at the time, but small actions add up to big wins. So choose one or two small things that feel achievable to you and focus on those for a while before adding more. Once you feel you have adopted these behaviors into your new lifestyle, then you can set a new goal!

Hold Yourself Accountable

Tell a friend or family member your goal so you are committed. If social media is your thing, keep progress pictures or posts to update those who may be going through the same thing. You can also keep progress pictures for yourself, or take measurements to compare to later. BPG is also a great place to connect with others who may be following a similar nutrition/training plan to help keep you motivated.

Since weight gain, loss or maintenance is math, it’s important to be close to accurate for optimal results. You can only do this if you have a good idea of the calories you are actually consuming. A study from Nutrition Research Reviews found that the prevalence of underreporting caloric intake ranges from 18-54% and can be as high as 70%. This is one of the fundamental obstacles preventing collection of actual dietary intake. This is why tracking in an app or keeping a written log can help hold you accountable and can help give you a more accurate reference point when trying to find your deficit/surplus or maintenance needs.

Remember Your Why

There will be days when you are not motivated. There will be days when the initial progress starts to slow. Weeks may go by and you have only lost 1lb or you haven’t set a new personal best on your squat in months. This is when it’s difficult to stay motived. This is when you must rely on your discipline and the lifestyle you have created to get you through. I promise, because I have been there myself, if you continue your lifestyle and you continue to hit those macros MOST days, you will eventually lose that extra pound and you will eventually get that personal best. So, remember why you wanted to set this nutrition plan in motion and remember that good things take time. Think about WHY you wanted to change your behavior and adopt a new nutritional lifestyle – to BE BETTER!

Written by: Clara Morrell MS RDN LDN

Registered Dietitian



bottom of page