It’s January and it's time to master your nutrition and take charge of your weight loss, but you’re a little confused about where to start. Kevin said you should go Paleo. Jane said she heard you need to do Keto but John is doing intermittent fasting. We have officially reached information overload for weight loss options. Let’s go over how you can master your nutrition one small step at a time.
The Fastest Way To Fail
The fastest way to fail in the New Year is by trying to bite off more than you can chew. You must resist that deep rooted urge to change too much at the beginning.
We’ve all done it. We get that big spark of motivation. “It’s time, this is the year. I am going to get healthy, lose the weight and feel great.” Then we completely overhaul our life, which is the key mistake here that everyone makes. We can’t and do not need to overhaul anything. We need to take baby steps. Insert cliche sayings: Rome wasn’t built in a day... You need to walk before you can run.... Maybe these guys were onto something?
If we try and make too many changes at once we are setting ourselves up for failure.
3 Steps To Master Your Nutrition
The fundamental steps to mastering your nutrition and losing weight for good is a framework that can be applied to everything in your life. It is not going to be as sexy as that shiny fad diet promising you to shed 21 lb in 21 days. But I promise you if you master these fundamentals that you will not only succeed in losing the weight, but you will be setting yourself up to keep it off for good.
The 3 fundamentals are: Outcomes, Skills, and Daily Practices and Habits.
The first fundamental to mastering our nutrition is to set our outcome goal. What is it that you actually want to achieve? Is it to lose 10 lb? Is it to lower your cholesterol? Is it to be able to actually to go to the park and play with your kids or grandkids and keep up to their endless energy?
I want you to take some time. Think hard. Get uncomfortable. Don’t stop at the first outcome that comes to mind. Ask yourself “Why” 5 times.
I want to lose 10 lb. Why?
Once we discover what the outcome is we can then begin to work backwards. In order to reach all outcomes there are certain skills that must be developed and mastered which lead us to that outcome.
Let’s take a professional hockey player. What skills do they have that were a prerequisite to being a professional hockey player? They needed to develop their stick handling, their skating ability, etc.
Now that we have confirmed our outcome goal (or one of them) we can make a list of the skills that we must develop in order to help us achieve that outcome goal.
If your outcome goal is losing 10 lb some of the skills you need to develop are:
- Increase my vegetable intake
- Learn proper portion sizes
- Increase my protein intake
- Increase my water intake
- Learn what my food is made up of
By beginning to master these skills we will be taken down the path towards our goal. In this case as we begin to increase our vegetable intake, begin to increase our protein intake, and learn proper portion sizes we will be taking steps towards that main goal.
Daily practices and habits
Outcomes and skills require a lot of planning, but this is where we get to the meat and potatoes (pun intended). Daily practices and habits are the things that we will be doing every single day. These practices are required to develop the skill-sets we need to reach our goal. How many free throws do you think Michael Jordan shot before he mastered that skill? Do you think he practiced this daily? He did.
If one of the skills we need to develop is increasing our vegetable intake we can create a daily practice of adding vegetables to every meal. If this feels too difficult right away, remember that there is always going to be a dial on your new skills. Some tasks will simply be too hard to complete compared to others. If you are not confident this is something you can do every single day, you likely won’t. All you have to do is scale your skill. In this example, perhaps we start by adding vegetables only to lunch. Taking this one step further, we could make it our goal to eat vegetables at lunch only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Master that. Then build upon it.
Think always something, never all or nothing.
Take baby steps and don’t be afraid to scale or simplify the habit. If the habit seems too easy, that means it is something you can practically master.
The Slowest Approach to the Fastest Results
That’s pretty catchy, right!
Let’s flip this. We all know the person who has crash dieted and regained all the weight they lost, sometimes more. This is an example of someone who took the fast approach and got the worst results. What we want for you is the opposite.
The road to long term results requires the slow, moderate, unsexy approach.
Change one thing at a time
Add one new habit pr one new daily practice at a time. If you try and overhaul your life and change 2, 3, 4 or 5 things all at once you're simply setting yourself up for failure. Think about the typical things people do:
- Cut calories
- Cut sugar
- Cut carbs
- Increase veggies
- Start exercising
- Stop drinking
- Stop eating out
The more you try to start all at once, the worse off you are going to be.
Each week you are going to add one daily practice or habit, master it and then build up on it.
This is a slower approach then you may like. But by using this framework to master the fundamentals you are going to set yourself up for long term success.
But What Do I Eat?
Notice how I didn’t say Paleo? Keto? Low fat? Intermittent Fasting? Etc. It’s because it doesn’t matter. You must develop first the underlying skills and habits I already talked about. Once you do this, the real question then becomes: what do you enjoy eating? By applying this framework it allows you the flexibility to eat food you actually enjoy while making lasting progress towards your goals.
By Landon Poburan