In our recent survey, over 50% of Friendshippers said that “Accountability” was what they needed help with the most in Nutrition. Over the years, I’ve helped hundreds of people lose thousands of total pounds, inches and percentage points off their body fat. I’ve given tips and tricks, videos and recipes and below are the things that I’ve consistently found to work the most.
Most of us have a friend, coach, co-worker, roommate, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or child that is a positive addition to our life. They support us when we take on new challenges, and we support them in their adventures. These are motivating people, and the people in our life who we feel comfortable being vulnerable to. Because telling someone that you want to lose some weight to re-kindle the sex in your marriage, have better luck dating, or feel confident in a bathing suit requires a degree of trust that is going to make this whole thing work better. This person will carry a few roles in your life throughout this process:
- Anytime you cheat, you should have an agreement to ask or tell that person. They should then respond with “Is it worth not feeling sexy?” “Is it going to taste better than having that 6-pack would feel?” or “Have you been disciplined and worked out all week?”
- You will do it together — Sharing in a goal with someone else will make you both better. You could even make a friendly bet with the other person. Find something that will motivate BOTH of you, and take action.
- Celebrate together. Set a date, organize something special for it. It can be buying a special bottle of wine to crack open together, a trip or vacation, or a special meal at your favorite spot. BUT…only take action on this celebration if you’re successful. This will breed the action from the other person “We can’t cheat, because I want to go to Hyde Park on the 30th.”
- Have integrity. On the bet, on the celebration, on the daily practice! #HonestyIntegrity is a motto of Friendshippers. It is something we pride ourselves in, and hang our hats on.
**NOTE** — I’ve found over the years that it is best to NOT force this onto your husband or wife if they are unwilling to hold you accountable (oftentimes spouses are our worst enablers, like me to Maria). It will end up entirely backfiring on you, and you will not receive the intended support or stimulus.
2. Keep Track
This can be a huge cliche and is most commonly the one that I get eye rolls about. Oh the pain and suffering of entering food and water numbers onto your phone…I know, I know. This is what I’ll say about it though: At some point or another, I would bet that anyone who has been successful in the world of fitness, physique, or nutrition, has probably checked in on what they’re eating in terms of daily consumption.
Just like it would be hard to tell if you’re getting faster if you never timed a race, or hard to tell if you’re hitting better if you never looked at your batting average…it’s damn hard to tell if you’re eating right if you’ve never looked at the numbers or types of food you’re eating. The biggest surprises that everyone sees from doing this are:
- Most women under eat, setting themselves up for a low metabolism and poor muscle growth (aka added fat storage). Especially on protein.
- Most people don’t drink enough water.
- Most guys consume anywhere from 800-2500 calories just in liquid (beer/soda) a week, the effects of which are immense. (Women more typically with red wine, which is “better” but still not great in terms of wasted calories).
- People eat for satisfaction or necessity…not for recovery or performance.
Food is a fuel source. If you give your body crap, and not enough of it…you can expect it to run like crap. That means stress, high body fat, poor muscle growth, poor joint and ligament function, increased inflammation, poor organ function and bad sleep patterns. Logging acts like therapy in a way. Often times my first meeting back with someone after they log a full week comes with a scene like this: We sit down, I ask for the documents, I get them reluctantly handed to me. Then, suddenly, the person can’t stop talking about all the issues they had. Things that didn’t come up just a week before suddenly just appear!
Logging is a tool. It helps us check and assess. I once logged for a year straight, full paleo, full macro counting (2010-2011). The results were amazing, but unsustainable for me. Luckily, after weighing, measuring and logging for a year…I’ve been able to do it in my head just in passing with 90% accuracy for the past 8 years. It was a hard year of discipline, structure and habit building…but its benefits will pay off for the rest of my life and that is priceless. It has allowed me to look better and have a better body composition at 32 than I did at 22, or 25. I fully plan on looking better at 42 than I do at 32 also…and I know nutrition is the only way to accomplish that.
As coaches this tool allows us to see some (often times very) low hanging fruit. I’ve seen a change as simple as “Instead of 6 nights a week of beer, and only 60oz of water a day, we’re going to do 1 night a week of beer and 200oz of water a day” cause a loss of over 10lbs and 5% body fat in less than 2 months. We would not have been able to see that simple flaw without looking into the numbers. If you don’t know what you’re looking at, find a coach or get to reading and making up your mind on “who is right” (It’s a very interesting plunge into self-education).
3. Plan it
I’m not big in the “food prep” and tupperware game that so many are. I’ve tried it, with mixed success, and if that works for you it is an amazing tool that requires consistent discipline to sustainable, and that is awesome. But, most people, at some point or another, fall off preparing weeks or days worth of meals and then end up in the same boat as the rest of us.
Here is the situation we get stuck in that immediately leads to bad decisions: It’s 7pm, you’re tired, its been a long day, you’re driving home and you remember your fridge is empty. No eggs for breakfast, no meat ready for dinner, no fresh veges or rice available…and you’re hungry. Subway, chik-fil-a, Canes, or PIZZA! are all on the way home and you take the easy way out (you might even be able to text your order in ahead of time).
Unfortunately, the decision to skip the store last night, and have a bad meal, also now turns into a bad morning the next day. No breakfast food is ready, so you’ll grab something on the way. No lunch either, so we’re gonna maybe push for a salad and be “good” at lunch. And home we drive again that night…in a similar scenario. It is a hard cycle to break. What makes it even harder or worse, is that even if we DO go to the grocery that night, we’re hungry. And hungry people at the grocery really like E.L. Fudges (trust me…I know, but only if they’re double stuffed). It’s life, work has projects that run late, kids have games, shit gets in the way…unless…you plan for it.
My fix: Put your grocery times into your calendar at the beginning of the week. Set a “date” with your roommate or spouse, Maria and I like to get a burger and sweet potato fries at Whole Foods and then have a “shopping date” on Tuesday/Thursday nights when we leave the gym around 8:30pm. Plan on getting a weeks worth of eggs, and breakfast food. You should NEVER cheat at breakfast…it is one of my main rules of eating well, so you have to have good breakfast food ready to go every day. There will never be time in the morning to go to the store, and if you grab something on the run, you will 100% cheat.
At the end of the day, it will come down to your decisions. The most amazing part about nutrition, is that it always kicks you the real deal (just like The Iron). If you are consistent and disciplined; anything is achievable. There is truly no limit to what you can look like or how you can feel and perform. It is a miracle drug that can grant you better sleep, less stress, better joints, better sex drive and nicer skin…all of those things can make you a better husband, father, wife, mother, son, daughter, boyfriend, girlfriend, boss, employee, entrepreneur, soldier, firefighter, policeman or protector. What do you want to be better at? Are you eating to be better at that? Do you even see that connection?
Author: Jeff Binek at 18 years old (145lbs), 27 years old (225lbs), 31 years old (212lbs)