They say that 80% of success is showing up. If that truly is the case, then what does “showing up” mean when it comes to dieting? And, once we’ve figured out what “showing up” means, what makes up the other 20%? Maybe I am turning something simple into something more complicated than needed. After all, the entire concept of dieting is pretty simple when you break it down to an equation, right?
Expend more calories than you ingest, and you’ll lose weight.
Ingest more calories than you expend, and you’ll gain weight.
Okay, but what does that look like when you take this concept and try to live it out everyday? This is where the simplicity of dieting becomes a never-ending maze of changing rules and regulations. So how do you simplify your diet? Here are 4 things that I consider the “showing up” part of dietary success.
1. The first thing I recommend is designing YOUR plan. Set up specific “rules” to shoot for to help you achieve your goals. Decide what an acceptable breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks are comprised of. Regardless of what you are trying to achieve with your diet, these sample “rules” are a great place to start:
· 1 vegetable serving at every snack or meal
· 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight daily
· 100 ounces of water daily
· Eat a snack or meal every 3-4 hours, or before you feel “very hungry”
2. The second thing I recommend is Strategic Preparation. I have probably said it 100 times to each of my clients…”Failure to PLAN is planning to FAIL!” So, what steps are you taking to set yourself up to maintain your plan? If you have a very busy workweek, you may need to set some time aside on the weekend to cook and prepare your meals for the following week. If you do not prepare ahead of time for your meals, then when you get hungry, you will forget your plan and rules, and reach for whatever is fast and convenient. Don’t set yourself up for failure by waiting until you are hungry to find something to eat.
3. The third thing I recommend is setting a “consistency” goal. In other words, how much “work” are you willing to put in to reach your goals without feeling like a rabbit or going craving-crazy? Most nutrition professionals agree that striving for 100% perfection with a specific dietary change is too hard and stressful. Instead, shoot for 80% adherence to YOUR plan. If you planned to eat 1 serving of veggies at every snack and meal, then do that 80% of the time, and the other 20%, don’t worry about it. This keeps you “sane”, and will allow this goal to become a habit over time. Perfection is a very hard thing to maintain. It is a whole lot more sustainable to shoot for that 80%.
4. The fourth thing I recommend to navigate through this dieting maze is to keep track of some specific things. I think it is very important to not only make a plan and set goals, but to also frequently check to see how you are doing with these goals. This is why I have my clients start out tracking their food intake. If you keep track of the amount and type of food, as well as the time you eat it, you are able to see if you are making or breaking your daily “rules”. The second part to logging is checking it and evaluating it on a daily and weekly basis. You have to evaluate and grade yourself so you know how things are going. It simply is not enough to log everything you eat if you do not evaluate the log to see where you are making progress and where you need changes, and if you are meeting your Consistency Goal. Once you know where your problem areas are, you can update your plan to fix the issue.
After putting together your plan, preparing ahead of time to maintain your rules, setting your parameters for how strict you have to follow your rules, and logging and evaluating your daily and weekly diet so you can progress towards your goals, you now have a map and guide through the maze. Now you are ready for success, or at least the “showing up” part. Try putting these into action, and commit to it for 30 days. I promise you you’ll feel and look better, and you won’t want to go back to how you did things before!