Back to Basics: Methods VS. Principles of Nutrition

By January 16, 2020 No Comments

Nutrition is a really tricky subject.

There are, what feels like, a million different solutions to help you hone in your nutrition for optimal health. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, but it feels CHAOTIC.

Some people say fat is bad. Some people say fat is good. Some people say to eat 6-8 small meals a day.  Some people say that you shouldn’t eat past 7 p.m. because calories count for more. And others say you should eat fat for half of the day or skip days entirely.

This is all without adding the emotional layer to nutrition. Which is a big layer. And a conversation for another day.

All of this is to say, there’s a reason that the diet industry is a $66 billion/ year industry. There are a million answers for one problem and when we try to research on our own, it feels positively overwhelming.

What they fail to mention is that there are only two things you need to think about when you approach your nutrition; methods and principles.

Harrington Emerson said, As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” 

What most companies or people try to sell when it comes to nutrition, are the methods. A method is  a particular form of procedure for accomplishing or approaching something. Methods are what you probably think of the most when it comes to nutrition and the world of “diets”. Methods are Keto, Intermittent Fasting, Low Carb, High Protein, counting Macros, IIFYM, the list goes on. And that’s where most of us get stuck. There are so many methods and it is easy to get consumed with finding out which one is the “right” one. But here’s the kicker, the “right” one is different for everyone and even what works for you now, might not work for you forever.

This brings us to the other thing you need to think about, and that’s the principles of good nutrition. This is arguably the most important part. A principle is a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system. And when it comes to nutrition, the principles are finite.  The principles are this: the quantity of food you eat is reflected in your weight and the quality of the food you eat is reflected in your health.

When it comes to quantity, weight loss or weight gain boils down to whether  you are eating less or more calories than you are burning in a day. When it comes to quality, for moving your own needle towards wellness, you want to eat as many real, whole, minimally processed foods as possible.

So many diets that you have tried for yourself or have heard about aren’t bad. But they only really address part of the equation. Most diets only address the quantity of food you’re consuming. All of the ones I listed before, effectively do just that because they put a limit on what you can or cannot have and usually lead to you eating less than before. And while you may lose weight, it might not necessarily be leading you down a path to long-term wellness.

That’s why we are switching gears and trying something out, we are trying something called the “800 Gram Challenge” ; a place where method and principle meet in a very simple and elegant way.

We are now working on consuming 800g (by weight) of fruits and vegetables a day. That’s it. There are no other strings or stipulations. You can eat whatever else you want. Fruits and vegetables must be fresh, frozen, canned, or cooked. Sure there are a few things to think about; juice doesn’t count, plant-based things don’t count, canned food must be drained before being weighed… but if you take it for face value and don’t try to read between the lines, it’s so simple.

It controls your quantity (I mean, 800g is in the name) and by putting guidelines around the preparation, it controls the quality. Not only will you be eating tons of good things packed with micronutrients, but chances are there will be less room on your plate and your stomach for less nutrient-dense food.

We are doing a 4 week challenge, but I decided to try for 6 and am in my first week of tracking. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I eat close to 800g already. So I decided to take it up a notch. My own plan is to spend this week JUST tracking since I am doing a longer challenge. And I get it, 800g feels like a lot, but it breaks down easily. Day 1 I had blueberries, an apple, brussel sprouts, cucumber, and red pepper for a total of 790g. Day 2 was blackberries, an apple, brussel sprouts, asparagus, and sweet potato for a total of 778g. Both over the course on an entire day. 

Weeks 2 and 3 will be all about making sure I hit 800g (if not more!) every single day. And then weeks 4-6 are where I am going to challenge myself to see how many different fruits and vegetables I can consume in a week.

I have to say, I am the most excited about this challenge. We have a nutrition challenge that is all about what you can add to your diet instead of what you can’t have. On day 1? I had king cake. But I can also tell you it was a much smaller piece than I would have had otherwise. This shift makes such a difference in mindset. It allows me to think of it like a puzzle and trying to find places where I can add MORE food is way more fun than thinking about all the things I should take out.

Want to join me?

We’re kicking off a 4 week, group, 800g Challenge on Monday, January 20th. BUT the last day to sign up is Friday, January 17th. Still not sure that a nutrition challenge where you get to eat MORE is right for you? Head HERE to read more. And then join us!

And check back here in 6 weeks for everything I learned (and what others learned)  through this different, yet simple, approach to nutrition.



Whether you are just starting your fitness journey or a seasoned pro looking for something new, we’d love to meet you!  And guess what? Your first class is on us. Click HERE to schedule your FREE Jumpstart Class and let us show you what makes Roux Fitness different!

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