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Welcome to Part 3 of our 3 part series on how to create your own personalized nutrition plan.
If you have not had a chance to read Part 1 and Part 2, we highly recommend taking a few minutes and reading them first. The goal of this series is to explain our 3-tier nutrition plan, where you should personally start along the path, and why it is so important to take your time if you want long term success and not just a 30-day spike in weight loss.
Diets don't work.
Building your own sustainable nutrition lifestyle does. The sooner you start down this path, the better your life will be.
In Part 2, we talked about our second tier which we call Personalization. The people in this group have already mastered the basics of nutrition such as eating real foods, balancing their plates with proper nutrients, and avoiding fast food and processed foods. Before they are ready to move on to the 3rd tier: Performance Optimization, participants are expected to have eliminated all processed foods from their diet, eat no more than 10% of their daily calories from added sugars, understand the role of counting macros and calories has on the bigger picture, and made an effort to eliminate foods they are sensitive to. Typically, those who are ready to move on already have an active and healthy lifestyle. Their body fat percentage is considered healthy and they have enough tools to live the rest of their life without ever feeling the need to step on a scale or try a new weight loss diet.
Tier 3: Performance Optimization
Here are some of the goals for people in this final group:
- Added sugar is now eliminated completely or below 5% of daily calories
- Complete the entire LEAP program which uses a blood test (you can read about it here) to test for food sensitivities.
- Have an in depth knowledge of supplementation and how they affect performance.
- Continuing to swap out foods for high-performance varieties.
- An active lifestyle that includes several days a week of high-intensity interval training or similar.
- Uses a personalized nutrition coach to help them make small, but important changes
- Gets at least 7 hours of sleep per night
- Uses stress management tools to regulate cortisol levels.
- Lives a nutrition lifestyle all of the time.
As you can see, Performance Optimization no longer relies exclusively on nutrition. Instead, all aspects of a healthy lifestyle come into play. From managing stress levels to getting enough sleep, those in this group look at nutrition as a powerful tool to help them heal from the inside out.
Their nutrition plan is highly specific to their body and life and would not work as efficiently for anyone else. Also, there is nothing beyond this tier because it is a lifelong process to continuously test and observe how new foods affect their performance. On the sickness-wellness-fitness continuum (read our blog What Does Being Healthy Look Like?), these people are much closer to being fit than just healthy and have the greatest chance of fighting diseases.