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Hydrate

1. DRINK WATER. I'm sure you have heard this before. It is the most basic and easiest tip to incorporate into your nutrition program. Water helps transport nutrients to your muscles, hydrates the muscles (to prevent cramping), helps maintain body temperature. Always have water readily available, whether exercising or sitting in a 2-hour meeting. Limit your intake of soda and coffee. It's OK occasionally, but your body does not absorb it as quickly as just plain water.

2. EAT SMALL, FREQUENT MEALS.Your body can only efficiently process so much food at one sitting. Try to eat 5-6 small meals per day (about every 3 hours), instead of 3 big meals. These meals should be nutritious--see #3.

3. EAT PROTEIN/CARBOHYDRATE MEALS Each meal should consist of a portion of protein and a portion of carbohydrate, with just a little fat. What's a portion of protein or carbohydrate? Here is an easy-to-follow reference.

Planning ahead

4. WRITE IT DOWN AND PLAN AHEAD. Write down what you eat. This is a good habit to get into. It helps enforce your goals, keep you on track, and recognize patterns. Plan what you are going to eat the day before. If you are going to a party but want to stick to your nutrition program, plan ahead. Eat before you go, or make healthy choices. If you decide what you are going to do before the event, it will be much easier to stick with it.

5. SHOP WITH A PURPOSE. Have a good idea what you will be eating that week and make a list. Stick to the list, and don't pick up the "goodies". This is not so easy when you have kids (also known as "sugar kings") at home. It's OK to get these for others in the household, but tell yourself it's not for you. Also, try to promote healthy eating in your household. Don't force it on them all at once, but show them by example.

6. DON'T EAT OUT ALL THE TIME. Eating out is OK, but it is not as easy to control what goes into your food or the portion size you get, as when you make it yourself. Cooking isn't my favorite thing, but I don't mind it. I like to go out to eat, but more for the social aspect than out of necessity.

7. EAT Major Sugar Buzz WHAT YOU WANT ONE DAY A WEEK. Don't treat this like a death sentence. One day a week, eat something you've been craving, in moderation.


8. EAT FOODS YOU LIKE. No, I'm not suggesting you have ice cream for breakfast, a candy bar for lunch, and a bacon double cheeseburger for supper. There are many, many nutritious foods. Surely, you like some of them or can find a way to fix them that you enjoy. It is easier to stick with your nutrition program if you like what you eat. Check out some of my favorite recipes.

9. EAT TO LIVE. At its most basic level, food is fuel. Some foods can affect our mood, though. Cooking my Protein PancakesOr some people find comfort in food. It is also one of the main events at social gatherings. Try to focus on eating to live, not living to eat. For the pure joy of food, you have that one day a week.


10. DON'T GIVE UP. Just like with training, you may not always be perfect. If you have a bad day, don't starve yourself the next day. Just get back to your nutrition program.

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