How To Stick To a Healthy Diet ? (The Best Advice I Can Give You)
How to stick to a healthy diet? I get this question A LOT, and to be fair, there are hundreds of right answers. However, in this video, I decided to boil it down to the best piece of advice I can give when it comes to staying on track with your nutrition.
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“The best diet is the one you can follow.”
Ok, so a sustainable approach is necessary but how do you do that? That’s the million dollar question.
The human mind is a complex system and doing the “right thing” isn’t always as simple as having will-power.
In a previous video ( I’ve discussed how learning to say “No” is critical for long term success with your health and fitness.
One great study on the topic of how we make decisions comes from Standard University’s Baba Shiv.
The goal was to remember a number. One group received a simple two-digit number and the second group had to remember a seven-digit number.
Afterward, when participants were presented with two different food options: a slice of chocolate cake or a bowl of fruit salad they measured if the complexity of the mental task had any influence on their decisions.
And here’s what happened.
The students with seven digits to remember were almost twice as likely to choose the chocolate cake.
Baba Shiv speculates that memorizing the 7-digit number caused the prefrontal cortex to be more overtaxed, and making the decision more instinctive.
Now, of course, this is just one experiment, it’s not the ultimate answer.
However, it leads us to an interesting thought experiment.
How many times did we say No to a dessert in a restaurant just to find ourselves eating double the calorie amount later that night?
Or when we decline a bit of chocolate and then later in the day we eat the whole thing.
This experiment could explain how sometimes these small acts of “self-control” backfire on us.
So what can do about this?
Most people would say, why not just increase will-power through meditation or simply by practicing more self-control. And this is a valid option, and we should definitely invest time in building up our willpower muscle. However, we know that will-power does have it’s limited.
And if you’re on a fat loss diet, in a calorie deficit, as stress increases and hunger increases you’ll find that willpower can be depleted much faster.
We all know that first 6-8 weeks of a caloric deficit isn’t that hard, but once that “Honeymoon” period is over that’s where it gets complicated.
Is there’s anything else we can do to stick to a healthy diet?
In fact, there is. And it’s one of the most powerful behavior change techniques in existence.
What would have happened in that experiment if there was no chocolate cake offered? What if there were only fruits?
Naturally, the participants would eat fruit.
And they would eat fruit regardless of willpower, motivation, self-control or whatever else is there because of one simple fact.
The environment was now designed to offer fruit. The power of environment and the influence it has on our decisions is often neglected in the fitness and nutrition world.
The reality is if it is highly palatable, high food reward, calorie dense snacks around us we’ll eventually eat them. Self-control can’t win against the environment, it doesn’t stand a chance. So why not just design the environments you spend 80% of your time in to be the ones re-enforcing healthy habits and sticking to a healthy diet?
Most of your days we spend in same places. It might take a bit of initial effort and some planning but think of the rewards you’ll reap when this is in place.
Your diet will become effortless and so will maintaining a great physique.
Hope you enjoyed!
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