Q&A Tuesday:
How to Create a WINNING Nutrition Strategy


Welcome back to our “Q&A Tuesday” series, where each week we take a question that we get asked all the time and share our expertise.  Last week we covered, “3 Ways to Make Your Workouts More FUN” In case you missed it, you can catch it HERE.

This week we are switching gears, back to nutrition and talking about our favorite winning strategy.  It may seem like a silly one but it’s often one that can make or break your success with the scale.

How many times have you started a nutrition plan or program only to crush it for a few weeks and then throw in the towel because it was too boring, too tough, too unrealistic, you hated the food options or it just plain sucked?!  I don’t know about you but I can raise my hand to this one and say definitely a few times.

how to create a winning nutrition strategy

There are a lot of elements that go into creating a winning nutrition plan and setting yourself up for long term success.  However, for today – we are going to focus on what we believe to be one of the most important strategies, identifying your non-negotiables.

When you think back to that time or times in your life where you started off strong with a nutrition plan, only to fail in the longterm, what types of food were you eating?  What type of rules did you create for yourself? Did your plan include some of your favorite foods? Or did you cut out everything that seemed marginally unhealthy and go from there?

One of the biggest reasons why nutrition plans don’t work is because they are designed to fail from the beginning. That’s right – it’s not YOU, it’s the PLAN. Your plan was designed to fail you.

create a winning nutrition strategy

Enter what we like to call, non-negotiables.  In order to create long-term success with a nutrition strategy, there has to be an element of enjoyment.  In other words, sticking to a plan where you can never drink a beer, have a cookie or your favorite chips and dips on Football Sunday is a recipe to FAIL.  

Now of course, losing weight and getting into better health comes with sacrifice.  Changes needs to be made, limits need to be set, control needs to happen. This article certainly isn’t a free pass to eat whatever you want and still expect to fit into smaller pants, but it is saying that enjoyment can also happen.

The first step to creating your list of non-negotiables is to come up with 3-5 items that you don’t want to live without. Items that you enjoy and don’t want to fully sacrifice on your health and fitness journey. To give you an idea, here is my list:



Bagels…I seriously love a good bagel

create a winning nutrition plan
These are my top three food items that make me happy, create some enjoyment in my life and also items that unless I need to cut out one in order to stay alive (a real matter of life and death here), I just don’t want to do it.

Now of course, I can’t expect to lose weight and body fat by eating these items as I please every single day. However, I also don’t need to fully cut out these items as the only way to make progress on the scale and with measurements.  So here is what my non-negotiables look like when I’m trying to lean out:

Cheese…1 serving in my daily omelette, 1 daily cheese stick as part of an afternoon snack

Chocolate…a 100 calorie dark chocolate Trader Joe’s bar each night after dinner

Bagels…1-2 bagels per week, usually reserved to a special outing with my son

creating a winning nutrition strategy

Again, the idea here is to create a list of foods that you really enjoy, find a way to set limits and boundaries and make moderation happen.  If you’re able to do this, your nutrition plan all of a sudden becomes much less doom and gloom and a whole lot more approachable and doable.

Now here’s the big IF….

If you have a non-negotiable in mind that is difficult for you to control, you may need to rethink it.  An example would be you love cookies but you have a hard time not eating the entire bag. If you can’t stick to a smaller portion or enlist some control, then it needs to go.  This is where it’s better to abstain completely then feel out of control around a certain food.

winning nutrition strategy

So there you have it, what we consider to be one of the most important (and way overlooked) strategy when it comes to setting yourself up to SUCCEED with your nutrition plan.

Do you have more questions about how to create a winning strategy with non-negotiables? If so, drop us a line and let us know! And make sure to tune in next week as we will be answering our next question…

Written by Sophie DeHenzel
How to Create a WINNING Nutrition Strategy

Photos courtesy of (top to bottom): Bigstock (elenathewise), Bigstock (Alex Brylov), Bigstock (samael334), Bigstock (MaryValery)

nutrition coaching for women sophie dehenzel copy

Hi, I’m Sophie. I’m Co-Owner of DeHenzel Training Systems, Precision Nutrition Level 1 ProCoach, Certified Personal Trainer and Pre/Post Natal Specialist. I’m also a wife, mom, tennis beginner and ice cream lover.

Most importantly, I love helping people just like you gain control of their health for good. If you’re tired, frustrated and still struggling to rein in your diet and get moving, check out our nutrition and personal training services and take the first step today.

About DeHenzel Training Systems: DeHenzel Training Systems offers In Home Personal Training services throughout Northern Virginia and Washington DC.  Aside from in home, personal training is also available at the office gym or outdoors at a local park. We also offer Nutrition Coaching and Online Personal Training services worldwide.

Within Northern Virginia, we service Arlington, Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William Counties including: Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Ashburn, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Fairfax, Falls Church, Gainesville, Great Falls, Haymarket, Herndon, Lansdowne, Leesburg, Lorton, McLean, Oakton, Reston, Springfield, Sterling, Tyson’s Corner, Vienna and Woodbridge. Don’t see your city listed? Contact us today to find out if we service your area!

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