How to Make Your Diet Actually Work
I have worked with a lot of great people who have wanted to make a change.
- Jesse, university professor, lost 80#’s since starting in September 2017
- Maria, mother of two and full-time teacher, has lost over 50#’s since starting in January 2018.
Now, it wasn’t easy. Simple, but not easy.
There were changes made, but they didn’t give up any foods they loved. They didn’t become amazingly and drastically different humans. They followed a plan that encouraged moderation, prioritizing healthy choices over unhealthy choices, and a good amount of movement, sleep, and mindfulness.
What does the overall plan look like?
Our plan for people is very simple:
- Get 8 hours of quality sleep a night. If 8 hours is impossible, get as much as you can.
- Drink enough ounces of water to equal half your body weight in pounds, plus 8 oz for every alcoholic or caffeinated beverage. (I weigh 171#’s, so I aim to get 85oz of water, plus I drink 1 coffee and 1 matcha per day, so add another 16oz of water for 101.5oz.)
- Eat quality foods. Quality foods are defined as real foods, with real ingredients. If it looks like this avoid it:
Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Soybean and Palm Oil (with TBHQ for Freshness), Sugar, Contains Two Percent or Less of Cracker Meal, Wheat Starch, Salt, Dried Strawberries.
This is the ingredient list for a Pop Tart.
4) Limit vegetable oil and sugar consumption(more on these another day)
5) Get plenty of natural light exposure-Seriously; go outside.
6) Limit unnatural light exposure(especially after the sun goes down).
7) Do something you love every day.
BUT NOT ALL AT ONCE!!!
Seriously, trying to change more than one component of each of these steps at a time can be overwhelming. Let’s slow down, and look at which one is easiest to achieve. Once we know what is easy to achieve, implement, see if it is having a positive effect, maintain it, then add something new.
Let’s look at diet specifically.
- Set a goal (here is a guide to help)
- Eat normally for 2 weeks and see if there is any weight change.
- Make a small change(with low hanging fruit).
- Make other small changes based on the result.
- Repeat from step 3
Eat normally for 2 weeks and see if there is any weight change. There shouldn’t be, because you didn’t change anything, but some folks have a lot of variation from week to week.
Take pictures! (of your food) You’d be amazed to see what you ate at the week’s end. If you took pictures of everything you ate then recapped at the end of the week, you may see some trends you were not aware of.
Were most of the pictures the same thing? Did you have a lot of variety? Did more than 20% of the pictures you took involve a wrapper or carton?
Photos can show details of your habits and where there might be an opportunity for change.
If you have decided to bravely leap into a diet, AWESOME!!! Stick to the plan, keep the goal in mind, and progress is inevitable!
You can have a great deal more success if you understand why people fail at dieting.
Reasons why diets don’t work for folks:
- Adherence sucks due to too many changes too soon.
- Adherence sucks because they didn’t know they were making a mistake.
- Adherence sucks because they aren’t ready to make the change that gives them the result they want.
Remember: it is okay if you fail. Have compassion!
Things that are okay:
- It is okay to try something and not quite get the result you want.
- It is okay to be frustrated.
- It is okay to think the process is hard.
Be kind to yourself! If you give yourself some compassion progress is WAY more likely.
Things that are not okay:
- Being hard on yourself
- Not giving the change a chance to succeed(self-sabotage)
- Giving up.
These actions will lead to no change.
So give yourself some time.
How much time?
You should start to see the scale moving in the right direction after 2 or 3 weeks, but I want people to try their new habits for 3 months.
Month 1: Small change, see if it works.
Month 2: See if it is sustainable(it should be).
Month 3: Celebrate! Then identify the next opportunity and see if it makes sense to add in.
The diet and nutrition wormhole can go deep. Seeking guidance can make the process infinitely easier. When you grab a coach you can save yourself many mistakes and much more time. They simplify the process and cut out all the noise.
Google is an amazing resource but sometimes it is better to have the information organized for you.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have. I love helping folks anyway I can.
We’ll be launching a great Q&A we had on food prep last week the will be available to read soon.
Remember, YOU GOT THIS!!!
Jordan Vance, M.B.A., PNL1
Jordan helps people reach their goals and break through massive barriers by making simple and easy to follow programs. He loves a great meal, a great coffee, and a great pint of something local. When he isn’t writing or walking his dog with his wife, he is either helping someone crush their goal, or creating a plan to help more goals be crushed.