As the saying goes, you simply can’t out-train a bad diet.
Luckily, we live in the information age where information regarding nutrition is readily available at our fingertips for free.
What this means is that with a simple Google search you can learn pretty much everything you need to know about nutrition, whether your goal is to lose fat or build lean muscle mass.
Yet obesity is still on the rise, the gyms are as empty as ever once January passes and people are still struggling to stick to their diet for more than a week or so.
Indeed, it’s not information that people are lacking these days, but rather a method to help them consistently stick to a suitable diet without losing their minds.
This is exactly why I decided to put my coaching hat on today and layout pretty much every single tip I can think of regarding how you can learn to stick to a diet consistently.
It’s a long read but, hey, if you actually apply this stuff, in a year you might just get to be in the 1% of people who have a phenomenal physique that literally turns heads.
Sounds good? Let’s jump right into it…
Have a goal
Whether it be in business, sports or physical fitness, every successful endeavor starts with a person who knows exactly what he wants to achieve and why.
There are two reasons why having a specific goal is so important.
First off, your goal contains your very motivation to pursue it a.k.a. your “why”. And your “why” is the sole Force (yeah, like in Star Wars) that will get you out of bed at 6 am on a rainy Monday morning to prepare breakfast and go to the gym.
Without your “why” you wouldn’t even consider changing your eating habits. That’s why you want to find out your “why” and make sure that it’s strong enough to support you when the going gets tough.
“But, what do you mean ‘find out’ my ‘why’. I already know that my goal is to [build 20 pounds of muscle / lose 30 pounds of fat/ become a Greek god].”
The reason why I say that you need to find out your “why” is because it is not the same thing as your goal. Rather, as I said above, your “why” is contained INSIDE your goal.
See, you don’t really want to look like a Greek god for the sake of looking like a Greek god, do you?
The real reason why you want to develop a head-turning physique might be to: get girls to find you attractive… become famous in order to get more attention, validation or money… become healthier so you’re better able to support and be with your family and kids.
Your “why” is personal and unique to you. And if you cultivate it, it’s the thing that will sustain you over the long run, long after the excitement of starting a new training or nutrition plan has faded.
Given how important cultivating your “why” is, you might be wondering how you can find out yours. There’s a simple exercise you can use right now to find your “why” called “the 5 whys exercise”.
Simply state your goal and then repeatedly ask yourself “why” (usually 3-5 consecutive times will do).
For example, let’s say your goal is to lose 20 pounds of fat. After asking yourself why the first time, your answer might be something along the lines of “so I can fit into my jeans from college”.
Then you might ask “why do I want to be able to fit into my jeans from college?”. Your next answer might be something along the lines of “because back then I was lean and athletic”.
In response to that, you might ask – “why do I want to be lean and athletic like back then?”. Your next answer might finally reveal your true motivation – “I want to be lean and athletic like I was back in college because girls used to find me more attractive back then and nowadays I can hardly get a date with a girl I like”. Again 3 to 5 consecutive whys should do the job.
Now that you have your “why”, remind yourself of it frequently. The pain of not achieving your goal and the pleasure of achieving it will drive you to take consistent action over the long run.
The second reason why having a goal is important is a bit more practical. Firstly, it has to do with the fact that you need to be able to measure your progress. What’s measured improves.
Secondly, it has to do with the fact that your goal is also your final destination, so to speak.
This is important because once you’ve determined your final destination and you’ve assessed your current standing, you can bridge the gap by backward-engineering all the thing that you’ll need to do in order to move from your current situation towards your final destination.
Let’s illustrate this with an example. Say you have a friend named Peter whose goal is to lose 20 pounds of fat, get ripped and reveal his six-pack abs. The logical thing for him to ask would be: what do I need to do in order to get the ripped physique I want?
Losing weight mainly depends on one’s energy balance so maybe the first thing Peter will focus on would be eating 10-20% fewer calories than he’s burning on average. Since, of course, he’d like to keep his current lean muscle mass intact, he would then make sure that he’s consuming a sufficient amount of protein every day.
Next, he might realize that he still needs to consume his fair share of micronutrients (which is harder to do on a caloric deficit) so he might decide to develop the habit of consuming whole unprocessed foods 80-90% of the time.
After he adopts these basic habits, Peter might start experimenting with more advanced techniques like intermittent fasting, carb cycling, etc. And if he stays consistent with all of these individual practices for a long enough time, he will, in fact, get ripped and develop that killer physique he’s after.
As illustrated by our example, having a goal will help you bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, and it will help you know exactly what you need to do next in order to achieve your vision.
After you’ve set your goal, you’ll need to…