All or Nothing

Does this situation ever sound familiar: “It’s Monday, I don’t have any meals planned, the fridge is empty, I guess I’ll just eat out and I’ll start over next week.” In my experience, I have noticed that many people are all or nothing when it comes to their nutrition habits. What I hope to teach people is that it doesn’t have to be so drastic. Instead of an on/off switch, try to be more like a dimmer. According to Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition, most people will benefit if they can stick to doing just the basics 75-80% of the time. Let’s see what that looks like: say someone averages 5 meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2 snacks), 75% adherence to sticking to the basics would be 27/35 meals. That leaves 8 meals to have some wiggle room. I hardly ever see depriving yourself of “bad foods” work more than just the short term. If you want to yo-yo less, learn some habits that are sustainable. Here are some of the basics:

  1. Eat slowly, only until 80% full
  2. Eat less processed foods and more whole foods
  3. Eat more lean protein (1 palm sized portion for women, 2 for men)
  4. Eat more veggies (1 fist sized portion for women, 2 for men)
  5. Drink more water (half your weight in ounces, 200 lbs = 100 oz)
  6. Eat more healthy fats (1 thumb sized portion for women, 2 for men)

Focus on one behavior change at a time; you can measure your adherence to each using a chart like this:

Meal # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Consistency
Monday __/__ = _%
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
Total __/__ = _%

From week to week, you can measure if you are getting better at changing your behavior, and if you’re landing in the 75-80% range. So I guess my point is that if you mess up Monday, doesn’t mean the whole week has gone to crap. Plan out a menu for the week, when you’re going to the grocery store, and when you’re going to cook, and do it! Same for workouts, there is still Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday left. If you don’t have time, be honest with yourself. Do you really not have 30 minutes somewhere you can squeeze in?

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