Avoid Crashing and Burning When Getting Lean For Life

by | July 19, 2017 | Fitness

Hey tough guy, yeah you. You ready to do this? You ready to get ripped?

Okay, the diet is as follows: 

7am – 4 egg whites, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 2 cups of spinach, 2 cups of water
12pm – 3oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice, 1 cup broccoli, 2 cups of water
4pm (post-workout) – 1 scoop protein powder in water
6pm – 3oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup rice, 1 cup broccoli, 2 cups of water

Oh, and don’t forget to

  • drink beet root juice daily,
  • sleep 8 hours per night
  • and work out 2 hours per day

That’s the plan – you got it?

How do you feel about that?

Overwhelmed? Scared? Thinking “What the hell did I get myself into?”

If this is you, you’re not alone.

Why diets suck

Let me start off this article by saying what habit-based nutrition is not: 

-It is not a 21-day quick fix
-It is not a 7-day cleanse
-It is not an eat this and not that program
-It is not a meal plan or diet

We have seen it time and time again, where someone is given a diet plan, they get results, something comes up in their life and they can no longer follow the diet / meal plan and everything goes back. In fact, when you go on a diet and then fall off, you gain back the weight, along with body insecurities, emotional ties to food and a suppressed metabolism (Maclean, Bergoulgnan, Cornier and Jackman, 2011; Neumarck-Sztainer et al, 2006).

The meal plan is essentially an external regulator that tells you what you can and cannot do. Once that regulator is removed, the flood gates open up!

Plus, meal plans don’t lend themselves to real-life. The nature of your world is that you are going to go for lunch with clients, food will be served at business meetings and some days you will forget to bring a lunch and you will have to pick something up. You need a strategy to still get lean despite these things.

Habit-based nutrition

So, this is where habit based nutrition comes in. This is quite possibly the easiest approach to nutrition a coach will ever give to you

Basically, this a step-wise process to acquiring the skills and habits of a fit, lean and healthy guy, empowering you with easy habits to apply to any situation you encounter in your life.

Whether it is:


family dinners,

eating out,

the “F*** this” moment on Friday night after a hard week,

Acquiring the skills and habits of a healthy, fit and lean guy will allow you to continue to get results when others just accept the inevitability that Christmas equals 10 extra pounds on my gut. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Making it easy…

So, let me ask you a couple questions:

Have you tried a diet and failed?

Have you tried to change 15 different things all at once (I am going to eat better, exercise more, increase my gross revenue and target a new marketing strategy) and it all friggin’ tanked?

You’re not alone.

What we do know is this:

focusing on less helps you achieve more.

Let me repeat that:

focus on LESS and achieve more.

One of our favourite books is The Power of Less by Leo Baubata. A father of 6 with a very practical and effective method of prioritization and achievement.

Leo babauta achieved the following over a few years:

-lost 40lbs

-doubled his income

-became an early riser (waking at 4am)

-went from a non-runner to running 2 marathons

-completed 2 triathlons

-eliminated debt

-became vegetarian

-wrote a novel

-wrote the Power of Less

In The Power of Less, Baubata outlines how he did all of this.

Here is the formula:

1. Pick one habit and focus on it for a month

What we know is that if you try to change one habit, your chances of success are about 85%. Pretty good, right? Let’s say you try to change 2 habits at one time, your success rate goes down to  about 35%. Finally, if you try to change 3 more habits, your success rate goes all the way down to less than 10%.

I know you are an over-achiever. I understand that you crush everything in your path. I get that you’ve accomplished some great things in your life, but these are the stats. Are you above the stats? Maybe, but probably not. So give yourself the greatest opportunity to succeed. Set yourself up for even more success moving forward. Success breeds success. Build a success snowball.

2. Post / declare it publicly

We want to be consistent with claims that we make publicly. And even more so, we hate looking inconsistent with declarations we have made. Another one of our favourite books is Influence by Robert Cialdini. In influence, Cialdini discusses how a public commitment is a long-lasting commitment.

This could be as simple as writing down your action goal on a piece of paper and handing it to someone you respect. It could be sending out an email to a list of people you respect that you will eat 2 fists of vegetables at every meal. It’s up to you, just make sure you write it down and you make sure to present it to someone other than you.

3. Report on progress each day

Daily accountability will be a substantial determinant of your success in changing the habits you want to change. The way we do this in our coaching program is via check-ins that ask whether or not you did your habit today. Our coaches are then able to see whether or not you did your habit.

Of course, you can do this by simply reporting to a friend, to your wife or your training buddy. Whoever, just make sure you have someone to report to and do it daily.

4. Choose an action step you are 90-100% confident you can achieve

Before taking on any particular action, ask yourself the magic question:

On a scale of 1-10, how confident am I in my ability to do this particular action?

The goal is to be a 90% confident in your ability to do a task. If you are not 90% confident, then scale the action back a bit. For example, we asked one of our clients, we’ll call him Jim, how confident are you that you can eat lean protein at every meal for the next 2 weeks? His answer – 7 out of 10. Okay, Jim, how confident are you that you can eat lean protein at 2 of your meals every day for the next 2 weeks? He answers “oh I can do that… 9/10”. Okay, great! That’s our action for the next 2 weeks, to eat 2 palm-sized portions of lean protein at 2 of his meals each day.

The ticket is to make it almost an easy, “are you kidding me, of course I can do that” action goal. That way, you can experience success with the habit and as we know, success breeds success.

We know not achieving your action goal can wreak havoc on your confidence, a study from 1999 showed that those who attempted a change and did not succeed ended up feeling worse about themselves and saw themselves as failures…not a very conducive attitude to making change (Polivy and Herman, 1999).

So, pick a strategic habit that you are 90% or more confident you can do and make sure to pick a habit that will have the biggest bang for you buck.

5. Action step should be measurable and concrete

When someone asks you, did you do your habit today, it should be a concrete yes or no. There should be no ambiguity in your ability to answer.

For example:

Did I attend 5 networking events this month?

Did I exercise for 30 minutes today?

Did I eat 2 fist-sized portion of vegetables at supper today?

An example of ambiguous action goal is:

I will eat better.

What the hell does that mean? A better cake? A better brownie. A better pancake breakfast.

You need to identify a specific action of eating better that is concrete.

A better example in this case would be:

I will eat a thumb of healthy fat with 3 of my meals today.

Bam. We can measure that. It’s concrete. I can answer yes or no to it and it is effective in guiding my behaviour

6. Stay positive

I’m sure you’ve had the experience where you’re cruising along, doing great with your eating, then all of the sudden you get busy, something comes up, or someone brings in double-frosted peanut-butter chocolate cupcakes in to work and you slip up a bit. And after that, you think to yourself, f*** it, my progress is ruined. It’s over! I failed! Better go back to sneaking in McDonald’s on the right home from work again.

But, that’s not the case, just because you slip up a bit, does not mean you shattered any chances of getting a lean, athletic body. We wouldn’t even call the event a failure, we would call it an opportunity to learn and an opportunity to teach yourself how to bounce back and be resilient. Obstacles along the way just teach us what we’re made of.

And the truth of the matter is it doesn’t even really affect you all that much if you slip up every once and a while. As long as you are successful with your eating 80-90% of the time, you’re good! The difference between 90% adherence to a meal habit compared to 100% is almost minimal.

Be easy on yourself, the stress of slipping up may wreak more havoc on your body than the friggin’ cupcake itself.

Actions > Outcomes

In focusing on habits, we are focusing on the actions that we can control, because here’s the deal:

We cannot always control the outcomes we hope to achieve. The outcomes themselves are out of our control. For example, the physiological responses in our body are subject to many factors that can change constantly.

But we can always control how we act, how we respond and the decisions we make.

Take your business for example, you may set a target for gross revenue but we cannot directly control those numbers. What we can control is the actions we take towards those goals. For example, attending 3 networking events this month and having 3 quality conversations with 3 different people at each event.

So, although it is important to have a goal and have an end-game outcome, we need to focus on concrete day-to-day actions that will lead to that outcome.

This is way too slow, any way we can speed it up?

Again, I understand that you are a go-getter and you want results yesterday.

According to Precision Nutrition, 98% of people do not have the basic skills necessary to support and lean, muscular, productive and energized body.

It’s like teaching teaching your kid to run before they can even stand up.

It’s like asking your wife to marry you before your first date.

It’s like making an intern one of your direct reports.

There is no foundation to build from.

Once you build the foundation, you empower yourself for life with the ability to withstand all of the obstacles that you will face. Once you develop the skills to be a fit, healthy and lean man, you can use these obstacles as opportunities to hone your skills. It almost becomes a game. A game that you can play and master for the rest of your lean, healthy and active life.

Interested in learning more about habit-based nutrition?

I’ll bet if I asked you what to eat, what good sources of vegetables, meats and fruits are,  you could probably rattle off a few examples. So, the issue isn’t knowledge. In today’s world we have too much knowledge and information. The limitation in looking, feeling and moving better is action and application.

We offer a 12 month habit-based fitness and lifestyle program designed around implementing all of the skills necessary to be the lean, energized, productive man you want to be.

We work closely with you to ensure accountability, support and consistency in applying what it takes to take back control of your health.

We are accepting new clients soon. Be sure to join our VIP list to save 20% on registration and to register 24 hours before everyone else.

We only take a limited number of clients for this program, so be sure to get on the VIP list to ensure your spot.

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