Nowadays, there’s no shortage of content telling us what, when and how we should eat. A quick Google search will bring up dozens of different perspectives for weight loss, better health, performance… the list goes on. Some information is rooted in science, and some are just influencer-driven fads. Staring at pages upon pages of contradictory details or scrolling through hundreds of Tik-Tok and Instagram influencers talking about the “latest and greatest” diet can quickly become overwhelming. Where to even begin? And if you find scientifically sound information, how do you apply it to your situation to achieve the results you’re after? Nutrition is not one-size-fits-all, so what may work well for one person may not work or may even be harmful to another. Surprisingly, however, many nutrition programs are general approaches with strict guidelines. This falls under the assumption that every individual will get the same results following the same process. This may work until it doesn’t, and it can leave you feeling disappointed and discouraged.
Our team of experts weighs in on five “red flags” to look out for when choosing a nutrition program.
It’s too restrictive.
While following some guidelines is expected, completely overhauling your diet or life to shed weight is inconvenient and unsustainable. This rigid approach typically requires following specific meal plans, eating only certain foods, eating (or not eating) at certain times, or entirely depriving yourself of foods you love. This lack of flexibility results in unnecessary guilt or shame when things go off track. Spoiler alert: too much restriction is counterproductive. Research has found that individuals with a polarized view of specific foods and eating habits struggle with maintaining a healthy weight. The pressure to adhere to such restraint may cause people to throw in the towel even when a small mistake is made.
What to look for instead: Flexibility regarding the foods you can eat, when, and how to eat. If you’re looking to make changes for the long haul, it’s essential to implement habits you can sustain successfully.
How Stronger U stacks up: We call our nutrition philosophy “Structured Flexibility.” This means giving our members guidelines (structure) for eating and helping them discover what, when, and how to eat in a way that supports their goals, lifestyle, and food preferences.
It demonizes entire food groups.
Some people may eliminate or limit certain food groups due to health issues, allergies, sensitivities, or for ethical or religious reasons. This goes back to personalization and why each person’s nutrition journey is unique. However, eliminating entire food groups for the sake of doing so can create nutrient gaps in someone’s diet. While this may initially cause weight loss, the weight often returns when the foods are re-introduced.
What to look for instead: Before omitting a food group for non-medical or non-ethical/religious reasons, take the time to research whether this is the right approach for you and consider how that may impact your daily diet, health, and lifestyle. Seek out a program guided by a nutrition expert that offers personalization based on your needs.
How Stronger U stacks up: Each member is paired with a Registered Dietitian or Certified Nutrition Coach. Stronger U Coaches work with our members to determine the best approach for them and use a series of regular conversations and check-ins to assess, reflect and adjust as needed to ensure success.
It’s not evidence based.
There’s an over-saturation of nutrition programs that are based on trends (current or past), opinions (even that of professionals), and limited research but have little to no scientific merit.
What to look for instead: Any program you choose should be backed by quality research and led by credentialed professionals who use facts to support any claims they make.
How Stronger U stacks up: Our flexible approach is rooted in the science of nutrition and energy balance – the key factors in making body composition and performance changes. We use evidence-based behavior change methodologies to help members make healthy habits become a part of their new lifestyle long-term.
It doesn’t prepare you for the long run.
If you are following a plan but not understanding the context behind the actions you’re taking, or if you’re being required to use a specific tool or purchase certain pre-made meals to participate, this can make it challenging to form habits independent of the program or plan.
What to look for instead: Education should be the cornerstone of any program that prepares you for long-term success.
How Stronger U stacks up: We believe that knowledge is power and equips you with the nutrition IQ you need to achieve and maintain results for the rest of your life.
It lacks empathetic support from a certified nutrition expert.
Following a bot-generated plan is much different from having a human who gets to know you, your goals, and your struggles. Each day is not the same, and each week will present its challenges. Generic templates and AI cannot replace the personal coach-member connection, understanding, and empathy that each individual may need at any given moment.
What to look for instead: The support of an expert you can lean on is an invaluable asset to keep you moving forward and on track even when life may get complicated. You’re 95% more likely to reach your goals with an accountability coach.
How Stronger U stacks up: Stronger U Coaches have the experience, expertise, and empathy to connect with you on a deeper level to keep you accountable and inspired. Not only will you have weekly check-ins with your coach, but they are also always in your back pocket when you have a question or need additional guidance or support to overcome barriers that will inevitably arise. The relationship our coaches build with members is one of the most significant aspects of the Stronger U experience.
As you continue searching for the right program for YOU, remember to lean into programs led by experts who follow an evidence-based approach, offer personalization, and don’t focus on extreme recommendations.
To learn more about how Stronger U can support you in reaching your goals, schedule a free call with a Member Concierge Specialist.