EAT REAL FOOD

Overeating, along with the consumption of over-processed foods, is ruining people’s health. This 2-week habit coaching program encourages you to increase your frequency of eating healthy single-ingredient foods while reducing unnecessary processed ones.

  

DAY 0 - INTRODUCTION OF HABIT (SUNDAY)

Habit Challenge: Eat single ingredient foods

For the next two weeks, I challenge you to eat mostly real food i.e. swapping processed foods for single-ingredient foods.The type of food you eat will have a massive impact on your end results.

Overeating, along with the consumption of over-processed foods, is ruining people’s health. Many processed foods are packed with sugars, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and other man-made chemicals. Nobody feels good eating this stuff. Making the correct food choices is a must if you want to support your goals. This habit challenge will show you the benefits of single ingredient foods.

How can I personalise this habit?

Choose where your current biggest pitfall with this habit may currently lie.

Are you eating a lot of processed meals or foods? If so, which ones in particular? And are you doing this on a weekday or weekend, or both?

Think about what area needs your focus and attention the most to help you add more single ingredient foods to your diet, and put some small changes into place to make it a success.

How can I make this habit easy?

The first step is to scale the habit to something you are 90-100% confident you can do for 6 days of the week. You might want to start with eating a 100% single ingredient breakfast (or lunch or dinner), or focus on specific foods you always eat e.g. replace snacks like crisps for an apple.

 

Note: The goal here is not to eat only single ingredient foods 100% of the time. To help you get this balance right is to follow the 90% rule. So for every 10 single ingredient foods you eat, have one that doesn’t match the rules. The same applies if you are only following this habit 70% of the time, so 7 times out of 10. If you want to see further progress this needs to increase to 80% and then 90%.

What can I piggyback off of?

It’s likely the existing trigger to eat something will be the cue for this habit. It could also be linked to meal preparation if you like to bulk cook for days ahead. Just pick a pre-existing habit to use as your reminder.

TO DO: Create your personal version of the habit to commit to this challenge!

 

Here’s a template:

I am 90-100% confident that I will [insert habit] for 6 days a week after I [insert what you’re going to piggyback off of].

 

Here’s an example:

I am 90-100% confident that I will eat a single ingredient breakfast and lunch for 6 days per week after I decide to eat/cook.

P.S. Don’t worry about making this perfect. We’ll help you adjust.

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DAY 1 – START OF HABIT REVIEW (MONDAY)

 

How was Day 1? Did you complete a personalised version of the habit?

Today, after completing your habit for the first time, I want you to answer these two questions:

1. What did I do well today? 2. What did I learn today?

These questions are so important that I want you to reflect on them every day.

The truth is, the most overlooked factor in building new habits is bridging the gap between what you want to do and the behaviour that you’re trying to make automatic.

You’ve got to close the loop between your intention and your behaviour, and it’s as simple as answering these two questions.

So here they are for you again:

1. What did I do well today? 2. What did I learn today?

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DAY 5 – DAILY LESSON TO REINFORCE HABIT AND ACCOUNTABILITY (FRIDAY)

One of the nutrition world’s favourite arguments is that of ‘quality’ vs. ‘quantity’ of food intake. When it comes to changing bodyweight, quantity is an important factor. But high performance people want a lot more

than just weight loss! For us, quality and quantity of our food is equally important. We want to understand why some foods give our body the energy to power through intense workouts, whilst others leave us lethargic. Throughout this habit you’ll learn how to make the best food choices, in both quality and quantity, for your time, money and environment.

When I first learnt about the benefits of certain foods (and the lack of nutrition in processed foods), I took it to the extreme. I cut out all processed foods and drastically limited any man-made products. I essentially tried

to live on meat and vegetables alone. This was a bad diet! And it threatened my relationship with food.

Today, I have more respect for lifestyle balance. I realise that we create

09 The Eat Real Food Program

 

a better relationship with food by maintaining an inclusive diet, over an exclusive one. This approach is much more sustainable in the long-term.

By restricting my food choices, I created an on-going mental battle. We are constantly surrounded by processed foods and food advertising, making it increasingly difficult to avoid temptation.

That’s why I’ve encouraged you to use the 90% rule and keep some processed foods in your diet. This ensures you develop a diet that focuses on being inclusive, rather than good vs. bad food.

A great advantage of this style of eating is having the options to eat a wider variety of enjoyable foods. You’ll never lack key nutrients, nor send yourself into a spiral of cravings that only a large pizza and chocolate dessert will satisfy. You will also find that even when you do fancy a change from the typical weekly menu, you choose healthy and nutrient packed options.

The best bit? We can eat for both nutrition and enjoyment. Eating whole, single ingredient foods doesn’t mean you are confined to boring and bland chicken and salad meals. We want real food. Good food. Delicious food! Meals bursting with flavour and packed with the nutrients your body needs.

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DAY 9 - DAILY LESSON TO REINFORCE HABIT AND ACCOUNTABILITY (TUESDAY)

LONG ONE HERE SORRY! Here’s some advice when considering your single ingredient foods this week.

Meat and Eggs

The quality of your meat matters and my motto is ‘quality over quantity’.

One of the best ways to source quality meat is from a local butchers, after all, these businesses are dependent on serving good meat.

They are also usually happy to explain how the meat has been sourced. It is likely to come from locally reared animals, reducing travel time to your plate, meaning better quality and sustainability

Not everyone has time to go to the butchers every week, and there has been a rise in popularity of online butchers. Again, quality appears to be higher than supermarkets and the meat is cheaper too.

Budget depending, always buy the most expensive cuts you can afford, there really can be significant benefits. As the saying goes, we are not just what we eat, but what the food we eat has eaten, too.

Fish and Seafood

Having some fish and seafood in the diet can provide a nice break from the typical meats and can provide a number of health benefits. Aim to eat at least 2-3 portions of fresh fish per week.

Just as with our meat and eggs, the quality of our fish should be considered. Farm raised fish has been fed pellets, antibiotics and forced to live in cages, but it is not always clear that this is what we are buying.

The equivalent of grass fed or organic meat in fish and seafood is ‘wild’, so that’s what you should aim to buy if budget permits.

Again, a good local fishmonger is your best bet.

Fruit and Veg

You can probably guess what I’m about to say here – source fresh, local high quality fruit and veg.

Supermarket produce is usually imported and quality and freshness is therefore lower.

 

It’s not necessary to buy organic fruit and veg, but if you do then concentrate on the following 12 fruit and vegetables (known to have a higher pesticide content):

  • Apples

  • Blueberries 5 Grapes

  • Nectarines

  • Peaches

  •  Strawberries

  • Seeds and Nuts

  • Bell Peppers 5 Celery

  • Cucumbers 5 Lettuce

  • Potatoes

  • Spinach and Kale

Seeds and nuts not only taste good but pack a high nutrient punch too.

Something that may be new to you is ‘nut butter’ in its various forms.

This is simply a spreadable paste made from raw nuts. You can buy peanut, almond, cashew and many more varieties. Most large supermarkets now sell these.

Buy the most natural forms, with no added salt, sugar or any ‘extra’ stuff – we just want the raw nuts. My favourite brand is ‘Meridian’.

Herbs and Spices

A selection of herbs and spices is essential to boost flavours in your meals and enhance variety.

Stock up with as many as you can, with the fresh options always being best. There are also a number of health benefits (including anti-inflammatory and anti-viral) from eating them, so make sure to include them in your dishes.

You will find all these herbs and spice in the large supermarkets.

Cooking Oils

The best cooking oils are those from saturated fat. That’s because these don’t oxidise and become inflammatory due to high omega 6 content when heated.

Believe it or not, this makes extra virgin olive oil a poor choice for cooking. Instead, when cooking, use extra virgin coconut oil, coconut butter, organic ghee, grass fed butter or goose/duck fat.

Save the polyunsaturated fats (the ones damaged at high heat) as healthy oils to add cold after cooking, on salads or in vegetable dressings.

Examples of dressing oils would be extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil and macadamia oil.

You should buy these in dark coloured glass bottles to protect the oils from sunlight, and store them in a cool dry place to protect them from heat.

Tea and Coffee

Coffee is awesome. It is however one of the crops most sprayed with pesticides, so try to buy organic. Herbal teas serve as a tasty alternative to the traditional English tea and should be an addition to your daily selection. They are caffeine free and have a number of health benefits that can boost energy, improve recovery and enhance sleep. Most supermarkets have a large selection of different flavours.

I highly recommend buying them as loose herbs and using a tea strainer to reap the most flavour and benefits.

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DAY 13 - NO lesson 

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DAY 2 – DAILY LESSON TO REINFORCE HABIT AND ACCOUNTABILITY (TUESDAY)

When I talk about eating for nutrition and good health, I mean good, real, whole food. I’m taking about single ingredient foods that have grown in the earth and haven’t been manufactured or processed in a factory. This means choosing foods that are as close as possible to their natural state.

Avoid fast food and processed items as much as possible. That’s because most of these products are devoid of real nutrition. They are packed with sugars, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and other man made chemicals. Who actually feels good eating this stuff anyway? Not me. I don’t feel

they offer me any health benefits. In fact, they lower my health and make me feel like the ‘old’ me. Now that I understand that I actually create the experience of my entire life by what I eat. 

Knowing which foods to eat and which foods to limit should be something everyone knows about, right? But shockingly, this isn’t the case, and so many people know very little about the nutrition of the food they are eating.

Society on the whole is getting fatter, sicker and unhappier, and poor nutrition is a key factor. Overeating, along with the consumption of over- processed foods, is ruining people’s health.

This is why eating single ingredient foods is such an important habit to focus on. Making the correct food choices is a must if you want to support your goals.

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DAY 6 – No lesson 

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DAY 10 - DAILY LESSON TO REINFORCE HABIT AND ACCOUNTABILITY (WEDNESDAY)

The biggest difficulty with changing long-held bad habits is struggling with the urges to do the old habit, like eating processed foods.

Your mind will constantly try to get you to do the habit, will want to give in to strong urges, will rationalize and otherwise try to do everything it can to talk you into doing the old habit.

14 The Eat Real Food Program

 

Usually we just give in to urges without thinking. But you can learn to be vigilant. Learn to recognize the urges as they arise. Instead of acting on them immediately, delay. Just pause, and watch them rise and fall, without acting.

Delay again. Breathe. Walk around. Drink some water. Go for a long walk. Get out of the situation. The urge will go away, if you just delay.

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DAY 14 – END OF HABIT REVIEW (SUNDAY)

Over the last two weeks you’ve completed the ‘single ingredient foods’ habit challenge – nice work!

Today, take a minute after practicing your habit to reflect again on the past week of doing the habit.

5 What has the habit been like and how have you done?

5 What have you learned?

5 What parts or how much of this habit will you continue to do?

Consider writing a short journal entry about these reflections, to solidify your learning. Treat habit formation as a learning process, as a way to learn about yourself, your mind, mindfulness, resistance and more.

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DAY 3 – DAILY LESSON TO REINFORCE HABIT AND ACCOUNTABILITY (WEDNESDAY)

If you want to quit eating junk foods or stop overeating with them, these can be difficult changes, because we have lots of food triggers.

Track your triggers over time, because some of them don’t come up every day – being at family gathering, going out for drinks with friends, feeling really lonely, being stressed out by a work project.

Figure out what need food is meeting (a way to lesson social anxiety, a way to bond with others, giving you some satisfaction, relieving stress) and see if you can find replacement habits for each trigger that meets these needs.

Know that food changes can take awhile to enact, because we have been doing our old habits for so many years, usually dating back to childhood or teenage years.

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DAY 7 – WEEKLY GROUP REVIEW (SUNDAY)

When you complete the habit today, take a minute to reflect on the past week or so of doing the habit.

5 What was it actually like, as opposed to the fantasy you had about it before you started?

5 What have you learned?

5 What do you appreciate?

5 What obstacles have come up, and are there ways to overcome them for next week?

Consider writing a short journal entry about these reflections, to solidify your learning. Treat habit formation as a learning process, a way to learn about yourself, your mind, mindfulness, resistance and more.

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DAY 11 – WEEKEND WIN (THURSDAY)

 

As we finish up this important second week, let’s reflect on not wasting this precious time we’ve been given, and instead study this habit change as if it were the most important change of our lives.

So let’s set you up to win this weekend and achieve your habit.

Today, think about your super easy, almost effortless version of the habit for the weekend.

How and when will you do the habit this weekend?

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DAY 4 – WEEKEND WIN (THURSDAY)

It can be difficult to stay consistent with a habit if you have a lot going on in your life, or if you take a break from your normal routine.

The perfect example of this is the weekend. So let’s set you up to win this weekend.

How? By doing an easy version of your “Record what I eat” habit for the weekend.

This should be so easy that it should require as much energy as brushing your teeth.

Today, I want you to plan how you’ll continue to eat single ingredient foods according to your habit challenge.

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DAY 8 – ADJUSTMENT OF HABIT (MONDAY)

If all went well last week, and you didn’t struggle or skip the habit for more than a day, I recommend that you lengthen the habit this week. If you’ve struggled, keep it the same as last week or make it even easier.

For example, if you’ve just been focusing on eating a single ingredient breakfast, then extend that to your lunch now too.

Or if you’ve been focusing on replacing processed snacks or treats, try to focus on the ingredients of one of your main meals this week too.

Never make too big an adjustment so that it becomes too difficult.

This slow change process of expanding the habit a little at a time helps overcome the resistance of the mind to change and discomfort.

Each step isn’t difficult, so your mind doesn’t rebel much. Gradually the habit becomes your new normal and you can expand a bit more, pushing your comfort zone a little at a time.

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DAY 12 - DAILY LESSON TO REINFORCE HABIT AND ACCOUNTABILITY (FRIDAY)

As you prepare to move onto the next habit challenge, you’ll want to put this current habit into ‘habit maintenance mode.’

This is a way of continuing it with less of a focus.

By now, the habit should start to become more automatic if you’ve been at least a little consistent. You don’t need reminders to start the habit, and it’s feeling a bit easier, more part of your ‘normal.’

 

So as you begin to move your focus to the next habit challenge, all you want to do is not forget about this habit. You don’t need to keep track of it every day, as long as things are going well.

But every few days, pause and reflect on this habit and check in to see that everything is still going well. Maybe once a week, use one of our Sunday reflection sessions to assess whether you have any obstacles around this habit, need to make adjustments, learned anything new.

After a while, you need to reflect on the habit less often, as it becomes ingrained in your life.

© Ben Scott Fitness 2018