How to Transform your Diet One Step at a Time


Written By: Heather Gerrish, RDN

This might be a refresher for some, or new tips for others - wherever you stand, this blog will highlight where you are and where you want to go with your personal nutrition practice. Sometimes it can be difficult to look at the big picture, or figure out where to start when determining the next steps to modify your current routine, but taking a look at a few of the key players related to nutrition can be a useful way to get started or restart any routine!

We will review a simple process to determine where you are currently and establish where you would like to go with your personal nutrition practice. Everyone is at a different place, and no one person will go through this and end with the same result. Keeping this in mind, try your best to be open and honest with yourself and your goals - you know YOU the best!

Below are some simple questions to ask yourself when gearing up to make a change - you have to start from somewhere and have an idea on where you would like to go! This process provides an outline on how to evaluate your current nutrition practice and how to manage goals that are both meaningful to you and ensure that they are focused and sustainable.

What are you currently doing?

  • Tracking can be helpful to further provide details - be honest!

  • Describe your practice to yourself, like you are telling your plan to a friend. What details stand out?

  • Write it out - now that you have an idea of what your plan is, document it. It’s hard to remember all the little details and changes and sometimes this is the best method for realizing what you want to change!

What are your goals/priorities with your nutrition practice?

  • This could be related to health, fitness, performance etc. - when in doubt write it out!

What will be your first step?

  • Where do you see the biggest or smallest change occurring? Would this area be a reasonable place to start? What can you do NOW to move towards this goal?


  • How will you maintain this change and what will you keep it going?

  • What marker will you use to trigger your readiness to implement another change?

After reviewing these questions, how do you feel? What stood out to you, or what brought up concepts or ideas that might be a good place to start?

Wherever you stand, or whichever step you resonate with, consider your entire nutrition practice and what your big and small goals are. Maybe a small goal is to bring your lunch 3 days a week and ensure that this lunch is packed and contains healthy items you enjoy the night before. Or, maybe you will focus on a bigger goal and formulate how specific, smaller goals will help you achieve this.

Let’s review a more detailed example of how you could use this format to evaluate, construct and outline specific goals that are meaningful to you and your nutrition practice.

Example: Gymnast - low energy at practice and training, poor recovery - always hungry but reaches for convenience over prep (does not eat meals at home). Dietary preferences: lactose intolerant, no red meat.

What are you currently doing?

This gymnast is constantly on the go and has not made time in the past to meal prep or track her intake. Specifically, she is more inclined to eat things while out and about or grab something before a long training session than bring something from home.

What are your goals/priorities with your nutrition practice?

Goals could include: prepping one meal and snack/day for 1 week, recording food intake with tracking App for 1 week to obtain baseline assessment, log energy level before and after training sessions as well as before and after meals/snacks etc. BUT it’s important to know that no one will have the exact same goals here, as this is more of a step for awareness and to see what is most important for you vs. adhering to a cookie-cutter step by step goal (It must resonate and be IMPORTANT to you). For this gymnast prepping is a top priority as well as ensuring that she has enough to keep her energy up during tough training days.

What will be your first step?

Sitting down with her top goals, this gymnast must evaluate which one she thinks is the most feasible to start with and that is worthwhile for her practice. If prepping meals is not an option, starting with snacks would be a good first step, or if tracking every day is unimaginable, starting with 3 days a week could be a more reasonable goal for her.


Establishing what she will do, how she will do it and why it is important to her is the baseline, but also considering how she will maintain this goal is essential in ensuring that this is a long term change. Also, consulting with her team, coach and doing some self reflection can help with determining how short term goals align with her long term goals (more energy for training, incorporating healthy options with her dietary preferences and establishing a sustainable nutrition practice to fuel her and help with recovery). Prepping every day is not sustainable for her, but prepping a few times a week (3 days) is a more sustainable first goal.

After reading through this example, how would you approach this scenario? Does it resonate with your own nutrition practice or spark some ideas on how to make a sustainable change?

What goals do you think she will start with? What goals might be the most sustainable for her?

Let this process take you through your own nutrition practice and see what stands out and might be a good next step to focus on. Remember, no one is the same and even the smallest goal can lead to a big change!

As always, if you have further questions on how to best modify your current nutrition practice or questions related to fueling/recovery and performance for training, consult with a Registered Dietitian and medical professional to best monitor any sudden changes you make to your current diet or routine.

Heather Gerrish