There is no joke or lie in the title of this post. I straight up lost 10lbs because a spreadsheet showed me what I was doing wrong in my nutrition… in glaring fashion… and told me the no BS way to get my nutrition in order.
How the heck did I do that?
I thought I was eating well. It seemed like I was at least. I ate better than most of my peers, I avoided the right things (for the most part), and I kept to clean, whole foods.
But to all of my mentors kept talking about keeping a food journal. Track what you eat in an objective way and see the results.
I did this, and – to my non-suprise – the spreadsheet told me that I was correct, I did eat fairly well, I avoided the right things, and ate primarily clean, whole foods.
HOWEVER, the spreadsheet also told me that I was eating too many carbs, not enough veggies and fat, and too little over all.
So I did some super small things … I replaced a few carbs with delicious veggies, nuts, oils, and avocados AND I added a bit extra on to each plate (you read that right…I started eating MORE). I made no other changes to my daily life and lost 10lbs in less than a month.
So what does this mean?
There is a saying “In God we trust, everyone else must bring data.”
Whether you are fit and healthy or not, keeping data on your current health and fitness actions will provide you with straight forward, non-watered down, no BS, truth bombs about what you are kicking ass at, where you suck, and how to improve.
You are an original and unique individual. Your genes, personality, abilities, likes and dislikes, personal history, social network, and physical surroundings are unique to you and you alone. As such, nutrition and fitness programs will affect you in a unique ways, your body will adapt in unique ways, you will be better at some things over others, you will prefer to be more compliant with some things over others; and no six-pack flaunting fitness guru can tell you what to change and how to change without data showing the real YOU in an objective, non-influenced way.
By recording your results, you are able to obtain information about how you are doing, where you are excelling, where you can improve, how and when you can push harder, what you may need to back down on, and what isn’t working and needs tweaking.
Without data, you are relying on a guess that can be muddied by short term memory loss, subconscious biases and preference, and just simple denial.
“I’ll just swing by McDonalds for dinner, I haven’t had it in forever.”
“Didn’t you have it on Monday?”
“What day is it?
Without recording your results, you goals are merely a wish. If you want to maximize your chances of success, do the work and record the results!
“OK OK, I need to track stuff – but what do I track?”
You need to know what you want to accomplish (Outcome), the things that will lead successfully accomplishing those goals (Behavior), and the difference between the two. Understanding Outcome vs Behavior will help you obtain your goals.
The Outcome Goals measure what you want to accomplish.
The Behavior Goals measure the actions that will increase the likelihood of success in accomplishing the Outcome.
For Example – If you want to lose 15lbs in 90 days. The Outcome measure will be your body’s weight. The Behavior measures might be (1) cook 3 meals per day, (2) don’t eat anything processed, (3) exercise 4 times per week. Measuring only your weight leaves the success of you losing 15lbs up to chance. Measuring the Behaviors will help predict a greater likelihood of success of losing that 15lbs.
Furthermore, by measuring the Behaviors, if you are not reaching your Outcome Goal you will know where to look when you need to figure out what to change/tweat to reach the Outcome in the future.
Let me give you another example of an actual conversation I had with a client:
Friend: I have gotten bad. I need to lose 10lbs.
Me: Yeah? When are you going to accomplish that goal?
Friend: I dunno…I would like to do so before my birthday, in 2 months.
Me: OK, great. How are you going to lose that 10lbs?
Friend: Eat healthier. I am good at being active if I find something I like.
Me: What do you like?
Friend: climbing and Pilates.
Me: Great, definitely do that. Say 3 or 4 times week total, you choose how many climbing and Pilates classes you do. What do you think?
Me: OK, what does “eat healthier” mean? How are you going to eat healthier?
Friend: I dunno, I used to be able to eat less. Now I eat lots and lots. I love food but I tend to over stuff myself.
Me: So controlling the amount you eat is a big priority for you.
Me: Ok so what if you said for 2 weeks you would eat mindfully. Meaning, you would force yourself to be conscious of the fact that you were eating, what you were eating, how it tasted, and how full you were getting. When you feel 80% full (approximately) you stop. Is that do’able?
Me: Great, start with that. Track on a piece of paper each meal you ate and mark a “Y” when you did it and a “N” when you didn’t. If after 2-weeks you are 80% compliant with that action then you and I can look to what is on your plate. If you are unable to remain compliant for 2 weeks, then we can manufacture mindfulness by having you chew a minimum of 12 times before swallowing. How does that sound?
Friend: That sounds great
See what happened there? I turned an Outcome based goal (I want to lose 10lbs in 2 months) into a Behavior based goal (I will eat mindfully and until I am 80% full each meal).
I also provided the next steps to show direction for both success and failure, so that they don’t have to fall off the bandwagon after the 2 weeks (more on that in a future post).
So in summary,
- Define your Outcome.
- Identify the Behaviors that will increase the likelihood of success.
- Accomplish and track the Behaviors not the Outcome.
- Enjoy the higher probability of success.
What are some Tracker Options?
There are tons of options. Here are just a few I like:
Spreadsheets: there is always the trusty, handy spreadsheet. Or even use Google Drive for the ability to access your tracker on your phone or tablet.
YouAte: this is a food specific tracking app that is extremely easy to use, customizable to your Behavior goals, utlizes photos for easy tracking, and has a coaches feature so your coach can see your history for better service.
Sticikk: is an app that lets you put your money where your mouth is. Failure to meet your goals can cost you actual money!
Habitica: One fun, nerdy option that I use is Habitica. It turns your Behavior goals into an RPG. It is super fun if you are into games because it gamifies your Behaviors. Meet your Behavior goals to earn weapons, armor, skills, and defeat bosses. Also, it can pump out stats on how compliant you are and you can join with your friends to battle bosses and earn skills as a group.
When you check it out, it may be daunting at first, so here is a brief tutorial on how to set it up and use it. https://www.youtube.com/watch…
FLEX FITNESS: The Physical Wellness System here at Flex Fitness helps you to define you health and fitness outcome and behavior goals and gives you mobile trackers, compliance parameters, education, and exercises to ensure you meet your goals.
Click HERE to Sign-Up Today!