Any goal that has nutrition as a cornerstone will be missed if we don’t have sustainable habits as its backbone.
It all starts by understanding that there is no magic pill. The “thing”, “supplement”, “meal plan” or “surgery” that promises fast results doesn’t work. If it did, then everyone we admire who have the results we want would be using them - but they don’t.
Virtually all of those that have the cool athletic goals, the nice-looking bodies, the never-ending energy levels, took the long road. They understand that there are no shortcuts, just hard work. When we become so accustomed to being comfortable, at the hint of discomfort, we are out.
When it comes to nutrition, all diets “work”. Multiple studies have found that no single diet produces significantly more fat loss than others. In other words, if we are following a Keto diet, or Atkins, or intermittent fasting, or Low Carb, etc., it doesn’t matter. The variable that matters is consistency. The most important factor amongst successful dieters is their adherence to the plan.
When it comes to specific diets, what we are looking for is a strategy that works for us. It doesn’t really matter if we are trying to do Keto (a high-fat diet) if we are in love with carbohydrates. We want a plan that is sustainable in the long run.
There are a couple of smart moves our tribe has used, which have helped them successfully adhere to their nutrition goals.
Self-explanatory, we know… But none of the goals we want are going to happen if we don’t apply moderation.
We need to have a plan that ensures we are controlling how much we eat, and what we eat. Our tribe usually tracks their food because it is the best tool we have at the moment to monitor food intake, but we also use combine other strategies like Intermittent fasting, restricting specific foods, using our hands to measure food quantity, etc.
The main idea is to find a way to have some control over the type and amounts of foods we are eating.
Not food tracking, but tracking what is working and what is not working. Our tribe uses a lot of markers when it comes to this tool. What we want is to have as much data as possible to make sure we are moving in our desired direction. We use a couple of variables to monitor data: progress pictures, morning body-weight, questionnaires, biofeedback, body measurements, training logs, etc.
“I know I’m making progress!” is different than, “I think I might be making progress.”
Simple. We want to make sure we are hanging around people that support our goals. There are probably hundreds of books that can explain this in greater detail, but we change our behaviors based on cues given to us by our surroundings. It’s easier to eat healthy if those around us eat healthy, or at least encourage us to eat healthy. It’s harder to eat healthy if we have a pizza waiting for us at home Monday through Friday.
Let’s make sure the communities around each of us are indeed supporting us.
In the past, we have talked to our tribe about the importance of sharing their goals with their friends and family. This is helpful due to the fact that with this knowledge, those around us will be less tempted to offer us obstacles like ordering food online or getting ice-cream. This will also hold us accountable if we are not following through with our goals in front of them.
You have probably heard it before, “even coaches need coaches”.
Trusting a program makes adherence easier… that’s why we encourage everyone to do their own research. Find someone you can trust, someone that can prove their knowledge with results, and has the ability to teach you the ins and outs of your program.
We also need to ask “why?”.
“ Why am I supposed to stop eating dairy?”
“ Why is my coach tracking my blood glucose levels?”
“ Why am I supposed to stop eating dairy?”
“ Why am I using % based training?”
“ What are all these crazy energy tests?”
Choice vs Pleasure.
This one is key.
We must understand that our goals are on the other side of choosing to avoid pleasure. Here too, you will find thousands of books on this topic.
We try to let our tribe know about these mental struggles.
Avoiding short-term pleasures for long-term success is what makes diets work.
Adherence does not mean to never eat a cookie or stop going out with your friends for 6 months. It means controlling how much pleasure you allow into your routines on a daily basis. In terms of calories, eating half a pint of ice-cream every day for a week equals roughly 7700 calories.
Finally, we need to understand that being different can be challenging. These are a couple of habits we have observed in our tribe. This is what makes them different:
- They are coachable. They are willing to learn and follow advice.
- Their food intake is mostly whole foods. They are aware of the need for specific nutrients and minerals.
- They set their minds every morning. They read. They practice introspection.
- Most of their fluids come from water and they drink a lot of it.
- They have regular sleep patterns and superb sleep quality.
- They engage in some kind of physical activity at least 5x a week, most of the time involving optimal training templates that target different energy systems, contractions, and planes of movement.
- They spend time in nature and minimize blue light exposure.
- They eat when hungry and avoid insanely restrictive diets. They don't engage in every single new trend that comes out.
- They have deep social bonds.
- They perform some kind of self-maintenance on weekly basis. (Yoga, myofascial release, etc)
- They understand that they are not cyborgs. They have habits in place to minimize tech usage.
There is a very small percentage of people that are constantly progressing - They are constantly seeing adaptation and, sometimes, other people rationalize their own lack of results by putting titles on the ones that do see measurable results.
Start with consistency, because those who are successful started with it.
A couple of books we love that helped us identify and change habits are:
The Power of Habits, Charles Duhigg
Atomic Habits, James Clear
Rewire Your Brain, Donovan Ekstrom
How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie
Be uncommon. It’s good for you.