Tara Coleman has spent 15 years as a clinical nutritionist and has helped thousands of people learn how to eat with confidence, and live the healthy life they deserve. Her success is based on the philosophy that nutrition is a science, but eating is a behavior.
Tara equips her students with down-to-earth nutrition, education, behavioral strategies, and emotional eating tools to help them stay on track. Tara and her work have been featured by media outlets, including NBC, CBS, Dr. Oz, The Good Life, Forbes, and ESPN. Before getting involved in nutrition, Tara worked in the biotech industry. She was a chemist and a computer scientist, compete with the white lab coat and microscope.
In the latest episode of Social Selling Simplified, Ashley interviewed Tara on nutrition and behavior. This is what she shared with the listeners!
The Philosophy of Nutrition
Have you ever considered that no matter how much you know about nutrition – no matter how many infomercials, books, and coaches you’ve had – you may still fall back into the same bad eating habits?
It’s true, and it happens to people all the time! This is because eating is a behavior – a physical instinct, if you will – that drives and motivates us to eat. No matter how precise you are in restricting yourself to a certain amount of calories or protein, there’s still a chance you’ll slip up.
Obviously there is a science to nutrition, but eating is still a behavioral skill. And if you think back to every time you’ve failed in eating right, it’s probably not rooted in understanding that vegetables are good for you, but, more likely, that you struggle with knowing how to stay consistent, or how to relate to food.
How Not to Approach Nutrition
A lot of the time, when people struggle in following their diet, they think they just need to learn more about how to stay nutritious. But the truth is, educating yourself about the science behind nutrition only helps so much. Knowing it is one thing, but following it is a whole other situation.
Don’t Double Down!
Another problem people struggle with is the problem of “doubling down.” This means that whenever you fail to reach your nutrition goals – maybe you took in too many calories this week or you splurged on some ice cream – you try to be twice as hard on yourself next time to almost “make-up” for your mistake.
This may seem like a good plan on the surface but it isn’t an effective long-term solution to your problems. For instance, if you were to go into the gym and try and lift 50 pounds, and you couldn’t, you wouldn’t say, “Well, I guess I need to lift 100 pounds!”
We have to kind of step backward, and again, build those skills and behaviors rather than double down with rules and restrictions.
Start asking the big questions to gain a better perspective on how your habits impact you: How am I relating to this situation? How am I behaving around it? How can I build a skill to help me overcome this?
From there you need to eliminate any extreme views you have to create a more realistic approach to nutrition. Start making your nutrition plan simpler. Don’t get swamped with all the latest plans; pick one and stick to it. And above all, be honest with yourself.
Understanding the Symptoms
Here’s an example for you:
Say you overeat every night. You’re so good throughout the day – eating your carrot sticks and raisins – but then at night, you dig into the freezer for some mint chocolate chip ice cream.
When looking at this example, a lot of people might think that eating the ice cream is their problem. Now, come closer – let me whisper something to you…
Eating the ice cream is a symptom. A symptom of not eating enough throughout the day. So, this eating is a physical response, not an emotional one.
Overeating doesn’t always mean you don’t have enough self-control. Sometimes it can be because of a real problem in your nutrition routine. Don’t try to will-power your way through sticking to your routine. Instead, really look at your behaviors and see if there are signals from your body to change up how you eat.
You can use this strategy to figure out the true root of your nutrition problems. Don’t look at the reactions of your actions, look at what causes them. Look earlier in the chain of events so you can see what drove you to step away from your goals.
Don’t let your Set-backs Set you Back!
Have you ever heard the saying, “Learn from your mistakes?”
As painful as it is sometimes, it’s true that the best way we learn is when we mess up. Because once you mess up, you learn how to adjust your strategy and how to approach that problem in a different way until you succeed.
When you understand that nutrition is actually a skill, you can look at failure as an opportunity to turn that setback into a stepping stone.
In order to grow from our mistakes, we first need to look at where we mess up. That’s the most important part of growing – and definitely the hardest – because when we mess up we feel ashamed.
In order to make a long-term consistent change in your behavior, you need to resist saying, “I’m a failure”, and instead, take a step back and say, “Okay, why did this happen? What can I learn from it? And how can I keep moving forward?”
Nutrition as a Skill: Learning to Relate to Food
Eating doesn’t just mean “nutrition.” Eating can and should also mean “pleasure” and “community.” So, when you make the mistake of lumping eating into rules, It doesn’t give you the opportunity to learn how to relate to that food in different situations.
All of a sudden you see it as black and white. But when you see nutrition as a skill, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the cause and effect of food, and how that relates to your ultimate goals. When it comes to nutrition being a skill, nutrition is really just rooted in learning how to behave around food in different circumstances.
A great way to do this is to see how other healthy people approach food. Instead of making strict rules for yourself, you can pick up tips and tricks from those around you over time.
Another great tip is to look at your meals more holistically. Don’t just look for something nutritious. Look for something that’s nutritious and tasty too. Make your meals more interesting to better motivate you to stick with it!.
To learn more about nutrition and how you can take hold of your nutritional behavior – follow Tara on her website, Instagram, or Facebook. She has a ton of great resources and freebies for you including recipes and her behavioral advice speaking from 15 years of experience.
Want to hear more from the experts? Check out Social Selling Simplified here for more resources and information.