THE YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT PROGRAM

There is a lot of value in the actual act of recording what you eat. It’s a behaviour that truly takes seconds to minutes a day to do, but each and every time you pull out your app or diary, you remind yourself of your healthy living desires and strategies. This 2-week habit coaching program encourages you to record what you eat and explains how to use the information to help inform any future dietary changes.

 

DAY 0 - INTRODUCTION OF HABIT (SUNDAY)

Habit Challenge: Record what you eat

For the next two weeks, I challenge you to ‘record what you eat’. There is a lot of value in the actual act of recording what you eat. It’s a behaviour that truly takes seconds to minutes a day to do, but each and every time you pull out your app or diary, you remind yourself of your healthy living desires and strategies.It’s through regular and conscious effects and reminders that new habits are formed, and any behaviour that helps you to keep your goals and intentions at the forefront of your busy mind is a good one. The point of this habit is awareness, not change. What I don’t like about food logging is when it becomes punitive or judgmental. Food diaries aren’t there to tell you what you are or aren’t allowed. A food diary is simply a source of information to help inform your decisions, as well asan incredibly powerful habit-building tool. So this is not a calorie counting habit.

Recording what you eat isn’t meant to replace your dietary strategy;

it’s there to supplement it. Whether you’ve been intermittently fasting, following a Paleo or low-carb plan, or even just doing your own thing, food logging, regardless of its imperfections, oversights, and shortcomings, may be just the thing you need to figure out why you might be stuck.

How can I personalise this habit?

Choose how often you feel comfortable writing down what you eat. Is it for just one meal a day? Two? Just the snacks? Or all meals? Any amount will do. Choose how you’ll write down what you eat. On a paper journal? In your progress log? On a food logging app? You won’t have to share any of your notes. They’re only for you.

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 track specific meals (just breakfasts, lunches, or dinners), or decide that journaling on paper is easier than an app for you. Have one day off per week from completing the habit.This is very important: whatever you pick, it should only take you one to two minutes to complete each day.

 

What can I piggyback off of?

Look for an event you can use as a reminder to write down what you eat: after your morning coffee, getting to work, after your workout, getting home from work, when an alarm goes off on your phone, whatever you want. 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 record what I eat on paper for 6 days per week after I finish my last meal of the day.

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)

No matter what level you are currently at with your nutrition, a daily food log will provide so many benefits.

I will agree with these who say food logging also comes with its shortcomings and inaccuracy, but here’s the truth...

It’s science – you can’t outrun the law of physics.

If you consistently eat more calories that you burn, you’ll tend to gain weight.

Some people may gain weight incredibly quickly, some incredibly slowly, but due to the conservation of energy, if you happen to consume more energy than your body burns, you will dutifully store some of that energy for the future.

There’s no more readily available source of energy information than calories.

Sure there might be flaws in calorie counting, yet currently it is our most accurate number to track energy in our food.

Knowing what you’re currently eating (and when) leads to better results.

Studies have shown those who use a food diary lose twice as much weight as those not tracking.

From my own coaching experience, those clients who log the most, achieve the best results. Just a coincidence? Surely not.

Food logging on this programme isn’t going to replace the good dietary strategy that we’re putting in place – it’s there to support it. Nor is this a habit that you must keep doing for the entire programme - but we’ll come back to it again.

We’re using it now to help you create more awareness of your current dietary habits. So that over the coming months you’ll know how to personalise the habits we work on. You’ll know the areas you need to improve the most.

You’re laying the foundations to incredible results. Keep up the great work and enjoy your weekend!

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

This week is often the week that people quit doing the habit, even if they were fairly motivated and successful the first week.

Why? The mind gets tired from continuous focus and effort, and wants to quit.

Today I want you to notice your resistance.

Watch for any resistance you have doing the habit today, or reflect on recent resistance you’ve seen in your mind.

Be curious: what does this resistance feel like? Is there a way to accept the thing you’re resisting, accept the discomfort, relax into it, and find gratitude for it? What is good about the discomfort?

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DAY 13 - NO lesson 

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

As you do your habit today, reflect on what your mind is telling you about the habit.

What ideal or fantasy do you have about this habit? What story are you telling yourself about it?

Now turn your attention to the reality of doing the habit, and be curious abut what the habit is actually like.

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DAY 6 – No lesson 

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

It’s possible you’ve missed a day of doing your habit...if not then you likely will in the next week or two.

When you miss a day or two, you can either feel bad about it, and possibly get derailed completely, or you can flow around it and not make it a big deal.

There will always be disruptions – due to travel, crises, big work projects, exhaustion, forgetting, illness, other priorities – and these disruptions very often lead to people quitting the habit.

A key habit is learning to flow around the disruptions and just keep going. Put aside the idea of doing things perfectly, and instead embrace the new landscape that you need to adjust to.

Even if you haven’t missed a day yet, start adopting a flow mentality today.

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DAY 14 – END OF HABIT REVIEW (SUNDAY)

Over the last two weeks you’ve completed the ‘record what you eat’ habit challenge – nice work!

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

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

What have you learned?

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

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

 

There’s a tendency to treat a habit like a chore, and rush to move on to the next thing you need to do.

Notice the rush to move on, and instead, try to slow down and enjoy the habit.

Smile

Enjoy this learning process, and reflect on the sense of accomplishment when you’re done doing the habit.

The more you can give yourself this positive feedback during the habit change process, the better, because positive reinforcement is what keeps you doing the habit over time.

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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)

Missing a day of doing the habit isn’t a big deal, but if you miss a second day, it can sometimes trigger a downward spiral.

You might feel bad about missing two days, making it likely you’ll miss a third day, and feel so bad that you just avoid thinking about the habit.

To avoid this downward spiral, you might create a new rule for yourself: never miss two days in a row.

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 track what you eat this weekend.

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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 writing down what you’ve ate for breakfast, then extend that to lunches too.

Or if you’ve been writing down everything you ate on paper, try an online food app to see a more detailed report of your diary.

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)

We’re almost at the end of the ‘Record what you eat’ habit challenge.

For the next few days, pay attention to your motivation levels – is it as high now as when you first started?

If it is dipping, this is probably because the reality of doing the habit for this long isn’t something you’re used to.

This is a great opportunity to turn from your expectations for this habit, to learning what other things can motivate you. Other motivations you could explore: the joy of doing, the pride of accomplishment, the feeling of satisfaction when sticking to something, tackling difficulties, the love of learning.

These are all great motivations to explore for any pursuit. Stay focused this weekend and remember to have some fun in the process!

© Ben Scott Fitness 2018