Monthly Archives: March 2018

Mar 23

When Your Weight Loss Goals Ruin You

By Josh Hillis | Uncategorised

What are your goals?  What are your values? 

The short version is that values are a direction.

A goal is a possible, or optional, destination.

People often focus too much on  destinations, and not enough on directions.  We have such a goal oriented society that it’s easy to end up at a destination that isn’t in the direction you actually wanted to go.  That’s how people lose weight, find themselves in a lifestyle they hate and can’t sustain, and then gain it all back.

If you’re tired of gaining it all back, this is an article you need to read.

A Focus on Goals:

If Susan really sat down and clarified her values, she’s say that what she wants for her food habits and for her body is:

  • Peace
  • Confidence
  • Results she can maintain for life

But she sets a goal of losing 15 pounds in 12 weeks.  On the surface, 1.25 pounds per week is a reasonable goal.  But let’s see what happens.

  1. First, Susan starts working on basic food skills like portion size and eating mostly whole foods.  The first week she loses a pound. She feels good that the weight is going down.
  2. The second week, she adds in waiting until hungry to eat.  She loses another pound her second week. That puts her at 2 pounds down, but to hit her goal she’d have to be at 2.5 pounds down by now, she starts to get nervous feeling behind.
  3. The third week is her husband’s birthday.  She knows she’s behind so she makes sure not to order what she wants when they go out for dinner, she doesn’t have any wine, and she skips desert.  She totally feels like she missed out on what should have been a fun meal with her husband. At the end of the week she’s down 0.75 pounds. That puts her down 2.75 pounds, and to be on track for her goal she would need to be down 3.75 by now.  She’s really frustrated and sad, that even with missing out she’s still off track from her goal.
  4. The fourth week she decides to get back on track.  She starts to weigh and measure her food, and track every calorie.  Basically the less she eats the better. She figures that if she can really cut hard for a couple weeks, she can get back on track.  She’s hungry all the time, tracks every calorie, and loses 2 pounds. She’s on her way to being back on track and feels awesome.
  5. The fifth week, she plans to keep cutting hard again and keep catching up.  On Wednesday, hunger gets the better of her, and she smashes a box of girl scout cookies.  She looks at the calories, knows she blew the whole week, and eats whatever she wants for the rest of the week.  Sunday she weighs, finds herself up a pound, and is despondent.
  6. The sixth week, she decides to cut even harder.  No carbs, no fat, just protein and vegetables. Her weight is down 2 pounds in 3 days and she thinks she found the key.  Then she has a terrible day at work, snaps, and eats a brownie. Knowing she blew her no carbs plan, she has pizza for dinner.  Then more girl scout cookies. She follows that with chips. At the end of the night she feels bloated, uncomfortably full, and didn’t even enjoy any of the things she ate.  She gets on the scale the next morning to “see how much damage she did” and she gained back the 2 pounds she lost the first three days of the week. She gives up completely. 

I’m sure we’ve all seen some version of this cycle repeat a million times.  If you look at her values (peace, confidence, results she can maintain for life) we can see that she sacrificed those to try to hit her goal.  

A Focus on Values:

Lets see what that same week would look like if she came at it from the perspective of valued direction:

  • Week six of food skills practice:  Susan has been working on the 5 Core Food skills, and has slowly worked up to practicing all three.  There have been some bumps in the road, but she’s still down 4 pounds in 6 weeks. She feels really good because her skill practice actually lines up with her values.  She feels good because she’s practicing being the kind of person she wants to be.

She already feels more peaceful, more confident, and more like her results will be sustainable, just from how consistent she’s been with her skill practice.  The weight loss has been simply a natural consequence of consistent skill practice. She doesn’t have to stress about how fast or slow it goes, because she’s already being the person she wants to be. She already feels peaceful and confident, knowing she’s doing her skills, and knowing everything is going in the right direction.

What you do need to know, is that if you set goals without clarifying your values, you’re putting the cart before the horse.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t set goals.

A goal, actually, can be a fun game to play inside of moving in a valued direction.

What you do need to know, is that if you set goals without clarifying your values, you’re putting the cart before the horse.  You have no idea if your goals, and the methods you use to pursue them, are moving you towards or away from the kind of person you want to be.

If you notice your goals are taking you away from your values, then you’ve set goals taking you away from the kind of person you want to be.  And it’s all about practicing being the kind of person you want to be.  

Your values are how you know.  Clarify your values, and then you have a filter to test your actions against.  You can ask, “Is this moving me in the direction of my values?”

The funny thing about weight loss, is that it tends to come with being the kind of person you want to be. Most people, after clarifying their values, have tremendous clarity around what kinds of food habits and skills they want to practice.  All of a sudden, diet culture looks fairly repulsive. On the flip-side, eating balanced meals, eating meals not snacks, learning to cope with emotions without food, moderating treats, eating vegetables, eating slowly, these are all things that people feel good doing.  These are things that fit their values. These are also the same things that work best for long term weight loss.

Mar 16

How to Adjust Your Meal Composition to Fix 3 Common Problems

By Georgie Fear | Uncategorised

How To Adjust Your Meal Composition to Fix 3 Common Problems

Using your body's cues to guide your eating is reliable and more effective for losing fat than counting calories or avoiding carbohydrates. But it is not easy. "Eat when you're hungry and stop when you're satisfied" is one of piece of weight loss advice that is, while technically true, more irritating than it is helpful. That's because it's a gross oversimplification.

If you were seeking instruction on how to change your car's oil and someone said "take out the old oil, and put in clean oil", you probably (and justifiably) wouldn't feel very... helped.

To successfully change the oil in your car, you'd need specific action steps laid out clearly and explained. Managing to eat well is arguably more complex than changing the oil in your car, which is why we actually teach our clients how to do each skill.

In this article, I'll share some information on how you can adjust your meals in terms of composition to achieve greater satiation and satiety. These terms actually are two different things, satiation meaning you feel full enough to put down the fork and conclude your meal, and satiety being the length of time between meals, or in other words, how long hunger stays out of your way for.

Before we get into that though, it's important to establish some background info. This advice to optimize macronutrients assumes you are already eating 3-4 meals without snacking and also that you are eating mostly whole foods. If you are grazing throughout the day, check out this lesson before worrying about macronutrients. If you currently are eating mostly convenience foods like frozen meals and fast food, you also can get more returns on your efforts from starting elsewhere, so begin with the skill of choosing mostly whole foods.

Problem Presentation 1:

I am full when I stop eating, but in 30-60 minutes I feel like I didn't eat enough. What should I change?

Most often this happens when people are loading up on veggies and not enough other stuff, like protein, fat and starch. Is your plate more than half veggies? If so, and you feel like the description above, you are probably setting off your rapid satiation signals from stretch receptors in your stomach, which triggers immediate fullness, but that feeling won't last long if its not followed up by signals that you've eaten enough carbohydrates, proteins and fats.  Rather than try to pack in more grains and chicken and oil on top of a full belly of vegetables, ease off on the veggie portions a bit so you have room for the other stuff too. Bottom line: increase calorie density so you get lasting satiety without busting your stomach.

Problem Presentation 2:

I eat until satisfied, and feel satisfied for a few hours but keep getting hungry too early to make it four or six hours until my next meal. What should I change?

You don't have to eat until you're overfull, you're doing a great thing practicing stopping at satisfied. If you aren't feeling satisfied for long enough, step one is to check if your meals are solid or liquid. Liquids empty from the stomach faster than solids, so if you're drinking smoothies or soups for your meal, try adding a solid component (like a piece of toast with cheese) instead of something you were blending into the smoothie.

If you are eating solid food, step two is to check up on how much fat is in your meal. If it's typically under ten grams, then you definitely could benefit from more. If it's around 15 or 20 grams, you still might find it helpful to experiment with adding some more fat to see if it helps you get an extra hour or two before hunger shows up. Check out our free course on how to optimize your intake of fat.

Problem Presentation 3:

I feel insatiable (thanks to PMS or increased workouts or activity). Like I can't get full?! What can I do?

It can be scary to feel like a bottomless pit if you are weight conscious; on one hand you don't want to inhale 1500 calories in a single sitting, but on the other it feels impossible to stop eating when you are not satisfied. Relax, take a deep breath, you will get full. You don’t want to speed eat or you’ll end up with a bellyache and likely getting overfull.

First, the king and queen of immediate satisfaction are volume and protein. So you'll want to play those cards big-time when your appetite feels out of control. For volume, go big with your servings of veggies. Have a plate of green beans or mashed cauliflower if you like them. Liquids help too, so fizzy water, tea, coffee or soup can all help trigger impulses along the nerve from your stomach stretch receptors to your brain, saying 'Heyo, we're full!'

Protein also helps, so find some chicken, Greek yogurt, lunch meat, or eggs and put them in your pie hole asap. Especially if you're choosing lean protein, don't worry if you want to increase your usual portion. Extra protein is highly satiating calorie for calorie, so load up on that. Eat an extra chicken breast, it's ok. (For more on how eating protein will help boost your weight loss, read this.)

What to avoid is equally worth mentioning in this case. Steer clear of going first to fat rich foods when you are extra ravenous, because fat is the slowest macronutrient to trigger satisfaction feelings. Nuts are wonderful foods, but some of the worst choices to grab when you want to be satisfied as soon as possible! They are small in volume, so put little pressure on the stomach walls, and in the 20-30 minutes it takes to start to break down the fat and transmit the chemical signals up to your brain... Well we can eat a lot of nuts, easily 600-800 calories!  Save the nuts and peanut butter for garnishing or topping, not for eating by the handful/spoonful in a ravenous moment.

3 Take Home Points: 

  1. If you feel full but then realize soon after you’re not satisfied enough, ease off of the veggies and add some more calorie density with fat, protein or starch. 
  2. If you need more satiation (to help put down the fork), up your high volume foods (veggies and fruit) and protein. 
  3. If you need more lasting satiety, add some more fat to your meals. 
Mar 09

How to Beat Perfectionism and Start Losing Weight

By Josh Hillis | Uncategorised

One of the most common obstacles that clients face in weight loss is perfectionism.  Clients who identify as perfectionists almost always have a similar cycle:

“I was doing really well for a few days, then I blew my diet.  I couldn’t be perfect, so I decided I’d just start again Monday.”

The thinking is — they want to do really well.  So, if they can’t “do well” they’d rather not do it at all.  I get it, we all want to do well.

Unfortunately, research into perfectionism shows that it always produces failure.  That perfectionism isn’t defined by doing well, it’s defined by quitting.

If you want to do well and hit your goals, there are two other things you should do instead.

We’re going to take a look at what perfectionism is, we’re going to change your context for perfectionism such that you can break free of it, and then we’re going to look at the two things you can begin practicing, today, that will actually have you hit your goals.

If you want to lose weight, and perfectionism is getting in your way, this post is a must read.

Perfectionism — Working Really Hard Until you realize you can’t be perfect at something, then quitting.

Perfectionism is that cycle of working really hard and quitting.  But it’s the action of quitting that distinguishes something as perfectionism.  Researchers studying “positive perfectionism” vs. “negative perfectionism” found that there is no positive perfectionism.  It’s only negative. It’s only about quitting.

If it were positive, it would be “pursuit of excellence” or “conscientiousness,” which we’ll talk about later.

The perfectionist is someone who works on her diet really hard for Monday-Wednesday, then has some sort of mistake on Thursday, quits, and says “I’ll start again next Monday.”

The lie is — “If I can’t do it perfectly, I should start over again next week.”  

Unfortunately, humans are never perfect.  The most successful weight loss clients aren’t perfect.  The most successful weight loss clients are the ones who have practiced becoming comfortable with their imperfection, while they are practicing pursuit of excellence and conscientiousness.

Let’s take a look at those next two things.  Practicing these two things are the best ways to avoid “perfectionism failure.”

Pursuit of excellence — Working really hard at something. When you mess up, you work harder or you get coaching.

The 2018 Olympics are on as I’m writing this.  It’s easy to imagine that all of the Olympians have been perfect every second of their lives, and that’s what got them there.  In reality, it’s the opposite. It’s that they’ve become very comfortable with working really hard, then when they mess up, they get coaching on how to do it more effectively.

An interesting thing in figure skating — some of the top skaters fell during their performances.  Did they give up and leave the ice? No, they finished their routine, amazingly so, and actually won medals despite having made a mistake.

So, quick review:

  • Perfectionism is defined by quitting when they make a mistake
  • Pursuit of excellence is defined by getting coaching when you make a mistake.

Conscientiousness — Honoring your word about what you said you would do.

If someone is conscientious, when they mess up, it has no effect on them continuing to do what they said they would do.

The person who is conscientious is someone who diligently works on her food skills Monday-Wednesday, then has some sort of mistake on Thursday, and then diligently works on her food skills Thursday-Sunday.  A mistake one day has zero impact on keeping her word the next day. The only game she is playing is to keep her word the next day.

Now, in honoring your word, depending on what you mess up, that may include letting someone know who you are accountable to that you messed up.  But that’s done without emotion or exaggerated bad feelings. It’s done with conscientiousness: “I said I’d do this for seven days, and I did six.”  That may be followed up with, like pursuit of excellence, some coaching. Or, it may just be that that’s how life goes, that humans are imperfect, and that’s okay. 

Another quick review:

  • Perfectionism is defined by quitting when they make a mistake
  • Pursuit of excellence is defined by getting coaching when you make a mistake.
  • Conscientiousness is defined by doing what you said you would do, regardless of if you make a mistake.

Perfectionism Is Not A Fixed Human Trait, It Is A Practice

Perfectionism is an action —Quitting in the face of adversity.

Pursuit of excellence is an action — Getting coaching in the face of adversity.

Conscientiousness is an action — Doing what you said you’d do, in the face of adversity.

All of those are actions that can be practiced.  If you’ve practiced perfectionism around food for years (decades), it’s going to be hard to practice pursuit of excellence or conscientiousness.  

When you first begin to practice practice pursuit of excellence or conscientiousness, you may notice you still have perfectionist thoughts.  Don’t fight the thoughts. You’ve had those thoughts for years, they may stick around for years. Just let them be. Just notice. You don’t need to change the perfectionist thoughts, you need to change the perfectionist actions.

You can have perfectionist thoughts, and still practice pursuit of excellence or conscientiousness actions.

The only route to getting rid of the perfectionist thoughts is by practicing pursuit of excellence or conscientiousness actions, for months or years.  The action is your way out. In the beginning, don’t worry about the thoughts at all. Let the thoughts be there, while you practice the actions for the kind of person you want to be.

Weight Loss Success

Weight loss success is defined by pursuit of excellence and conscientiousness.

Granted, if you’re doing a diet, you’ll still fail.  Which is why we recommend using the One by One Core 5 Food skills.  Skill-based weight loss just works better for real people, in real life.

So, weight loss success is:

  1. Practicing pursuit of excellence (get coaching when you need it)
  2. Practicing conscientiousness (doing what you said you would, even when it’s hard)
  3. Practicing the One by One Nutrition Core 5 Food Skills

Keep it that simple, and you’ll steer clear of perfectionism failure.

Again, notice that all three things are practices.  You don’t need to do them perfectly (there’s that word again!), you just need to practice.

If you think about it like anything else you’ve ever learned that was hard (like a musical instrument or a language) you know that it’s just about practice, pursuit of excellence, and being conscientious. Practice, practice, practice your way to weight loss success.