Biofeedback: Here’s all you need to know!

Habits & Sustainability

Posted on March 29, 2022
Posted on March 29, 2022

“BUT HOW ARE YOU FEELING?”

This is one of the single most important questions to ask in evaluating the likelihood that your current nutrition strategy will get you to your goal.

And yet, it is wholly missed by template plans, online calculators, shortcut crash diets and by some coaches, too. Ugh. 

If you want to lose weight, if you want to shift your body composition, if you want to eat in a way that doesn’t send you into late afternoon energy dips and just feel better in your body, tuning into your biofeedback – the markers that tell us how we’re really feeling – is the key to success. 

When how you’re eating makes you feel like shit, you can’t, and shouldn’t, keep it up. And if you can’t keep it up? Bye, bye sustainability and bye, bye results. So, here is all you need to know about biofeedback.

WHAT IS BIOFEEDBACK?

Biofeedback are physiological markers that give us some insight into our overall health. The information our body gives us – the literal feedback – helps us learn about how the actions we’re taking – diet and all – are influencing us… for better and worse.  

There are plenty of biofeedback markers you could track, depending on your goals, but for the vast majority of clients at Rebel, we use ‘SHREDS’.

SHREDS is an acronym, coined by Sam Miller, that stands for ‘Sleep, Hunger, Recovery, Energy, Digestion and Stress’. They cover the foundational feedback we’re looking for to help us adjust and optimise our client’s plans and results.

Here are some things we look for: 

  • Sleep: Quantity AND quality: Did we fall asleep easily and wake up feeling rested? 
  • Hunger: How is our hunger throughout the day? Cravings? More hungry than normal?
  • Recovery: Are we way more sore than usual? Way too sore or sore for way too long?
  • Energy: Are we waking up rested? Is our energy generally steady through the day?
  • Digestion: Are we having regular bowel movements? Experiencing regular bloating? 
  • Stress: Are we feeling chronic stress? Can we point to the source or is it just…there?

WHAT CAN BIOFEEDBACK REALLY TELL US?

As a whole, our biofeedback markers can tell us how we’re reacting to the changes we’re making to our food and whether we’re in a place to respond well if we continue on our diet plan. 

Of course, some days, things like energy, recovery, sleep will feel like trash… that’s life. Tracking biofeedback helps us look past the off days to long term trends. By tracking, we can get to know our ‘normal’ and what to look for if things aren’t working the way we’d like ‘em to.  

For example, consistent sleep disruptions are a mega diet red flag. Sleep quality sleep affects everything from our hunger hormones and nutrition plan adherence to our likelihood to move both in and out of the gym. So without it on our side, we’re fighting an uphill battle with our nutrition.

If we notice something wrong here, we’ll be in a place to tackle it head-on. And doing so really saves some time, and frustration, too. If we can notice and manage it up front, it doesn’t have to bleed over into making your food choices more difficult than they might already be. 

Digestive distress works the same way: if we go on, day after day, with unmanaged digestive issues, we are forcing our bodies to use their finite energy to endure that stress instead of helping us build muscle, burn fat or power us through our days. Also, it just FEELS terrible and you don’t NEED to live with that sort of stuff.

HOW DOES THIS TRANSLATE TO RESULTS?

When we talk about tracking nutrition, there are perhaps different markers that come to mind. And don’t get me wrong – the scale number can matter. Increasing your lifts in the gym can matter. Decreasing your body fat percentage can matter. But none of these things will occur – at least not sustainably – if you do not have positive biofeedback.

The hard truth of the matter is that we can’t – and, yo, really shouldn’t for our own wellbeing – be leaning on strategies that make us feel like shit. Our bodies are smart and will override choices we make, often based on “experts” and objective food “rules”, that are not in our own actual best interest. If our bodies don’t like them, we won’t stick to them. And we know by not that if we can’t stick to the methods, we can’t count on long-term results.

The good news is that when we see it, we can change it.

At Rebel, we track biofeedback with our clients inside our Rebel Client Portal on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis. This data helps our coaches monitor progress and optimize nutrition plans to your individual needs to both keep up the progress AND keep you feeling good. 

We’ll say it over and over until we’re blue in the face: you do not need to follow nutrition protocols that make you feel like shit. No matter your goals, there is a way to get there feeling good. 

& you deserve at least that much for your one, wondrous life.

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