Nutrition Coaching Wrap Up

Oh hello, random contents of my fridge

It's about time to wrap up all of my thoughts about nutrition coaching! If you have not already read the first post with an intro about the process and the second post with nutrition coach approved packaged snacks, I worked with Noor for a few months to really prioritize my nutrition. I had been taking some steps to improve it on my own (read about that here) over the last year or so, but this coaching was just the push I needed  to really get it on track! If you have not read the intro post I asked Noor a few questions about her background, her process as a nutrition coach, and how she helps people reach their goals! I also shared my thoughts 3 weeks into the program, which documented the beginning (and honestly the hardest part) of the process. 

As I am writing this, it has been about 5 weeks since we have completed our 9 week coaching program. I wanted to wait a few weeks before I published a final post to see how I did without the weekly checkins with Noor. Hoping to report back on how I have been able to maintain the program on my own. I am now happy to say I think I have kept up with it pretty well! As I mentioned in the first post, a big part of this process is macro counting. My macro targets were set to reach numbers that were high in protein, high in carbs, and low in fat. I have also already mentioned this, but Noor has asked that I do not share those exact numbers. They were created specifically for me and my diet to reach my goals, and they would not have the same effect on someone else. I'll also re-state that my goals were to maintain my weight, build muscle, learn how to properly fuel my workouts, and add more healthy foods into my diet. After completing the process I can also say I think I reached each one of those goals in some way! I think these goals all work together. In learning how to properly fuel my workouts and adding more healthy foods into my diet at the same time, I am on a sustainable track to maintain my weight and build muscle. Since the first post where I shared my thoughts on the process, it was all much easier once I got through the adjustment period. Throughout the program, Noor would make some slight adjustments to the macro numbers based on the week before. We also added 2 re-feed days per week towards the end of the program. This allowed me to pick 2 consecutive days where I had higher numbers to reach for carb and fat as a bit of a break, which I usually chose for Friday and Saturday. I also need to re-state from my first post that this was not a rigid plan where I was expecting myself to hit the exact numbers each day. It is more for my overall health, and this format really worked for me! I know I am extremely lucky in that I have never really worried about my weight. But I know that may not last forever and I needed to really treat my body right, beyond my workouts.

Another big goal of mine was to cut my sugar addiction, but I wasn't sure how much time I would need to get that taken care of, or if it would even be attainable during this process. My obsession with sugar was a little out of control. I did a Sugar Free February with a friend, where we tried to hold each other accountable. My cravings for sugar had mostly subsided by the end of February (as I was already tracking macros for a few weeks) but I rewarded myself a little too much as soon as we got to March, and I quickly found myself hooked again after just a few days. So since Lent was about to begin on March 6th, I thought it would be a great Lenten promise to give up sugar again, for a longer amount of time, while also tracking macros. I have mentioned this before, but I was not concerned about natural sugar. I was only thinking about added/refined sugar. And my cravings for sugar (usually chocolate) that never seemed to go away. This process of tracking my macros quickly made me realize how much fat is in a lot of chocolate/sugary foods. My macro counts being low in fat were a HUGE help in getting me off sugar. Those few days where I was "rewarding" myself for Sugar Free February resulted in cutting quite a few snacks to make room for a few cookies or pieces of chocolate (yes sometimes several cookies a day, I had a problem!). So once Lent started, I was enjoying a lot of dried fruit and sweeter fruits like kiwis when I was craving sugar. Although I was also still eating some of the protein bars that are sort of made to taste like a candy bar. I wasn't quite strict enough to cut those out..Regardless, I can now say I think I have finally learned how to enjoy sugar in moderation! I probably would not have been able to reach that if I was not having weekly check-ins with macro counts. Or it at least would have taken a lot more time to get there on my own! Although one thing that also helped was that I have also been trying some of the "healthier" baking alternatives. My favorites so far are coconut sugar brownies, cookie dough based with peanut butter and maple syrup, or enjoying some dark chocolate stuffed inside raspberries!

For the last week of the process Noor wanted me to not focus so much on the targets and head back to intuitive eating. She also mentioned not to worry about logging everything exactly, and track what I think was about right at the end of the day. Which was another adjustment for me because I had gotten kind of used to having every little thing planned out (but that's just how I work, love a plan!) and was sort of set into a habit. But it was nice to not be thinking about the numbers as much. Now a few weeks out, I do still track macros with the same targets, but on less strict basis. I have found myself looking at it more in the morning and then forgetting it for the rest of the day. Then I will go back and log the rest of the previous day. I do still keep my own spreadsheet that I look at each week, but I don't get upset with myself if I don't reach the targets. However I am a creature of habit and love to eat a lot of the same things. So a lot of my food has not changed too much since I finished the program. I just look at the counts to know how far I am from what is a good range for me. Which really haven't been too far off! Although I haven't been so insistent on reaching the protein count since I now have not been in workout classes for about 2 months now (update on the hip injury: getting an MRI soon :/).
Noor has been such a great resource in so many ways, but I think it was interesting that during my time working with her I both caught the flu and injured my hip. So I was able to ask her questions about things like "what are the best foods to eat (that fit my plan) to boost my immune system?" or she has given me workout plans that work around my hip injury so I can still keep some movement going! I haven't had a question where she didn't have a thorough and encouraging answer. To be totally honest, at the beginning of her process, I thought her info packet and questionnaire looked a little bit intimidating. But now I think I maybe only thought that because the concept was so new to me. She could not have be more helpful and sincere in answering every single question you might have with an informative explanation and some suggestions of how to apply her advice. I learned so many little things that have really stuck with me through asking her questions. Like did you know that sore muscles can weigh more because they could be holding extra water and lactic acid? Or that you could be less sore if you have protein and carbs immediately after a workout? Although I think the biggest point I'll remember is that protein intake is just as, if not more important on rest days. Because your muscles are recovering and preparing for you next active day! She is so knowledgeable, positive, encouraging, and I could not be more thankful that she offered her services to me! You may see some of her input on some future nutrition/wellness posts around here as well. If you want to try her coaching for yourself, inquire HERE! Or at the very least follow her on Instagram for healthy recipes, her CrossFit workouts, and her adorable labradoodle pups!

Thanks for reading!

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