11 Tips to Make Your Nutrition Goals Actually Stick
Did you know 77% of resolution-makers fall off after about 1 week?
I didn’t know it was that bad, but I guess when I’ve been one of those people to fall off the bandwagon… I kind of just forget I ever tried.
If that sounds like you, chances are you’re not in the best shape and you’ve been looking to get rid of this excess baggage for a while. Life hits you, things get tough, and here it is another year where the scale has gone up.
Hell, I’ve had a bad couple of years and it made me gain a significant amount of weight. I could blame life, depression, emotional eating, or whatever… But I don’t.
Related - Ultimate Guide to Setting Fitness Goals
Because when it comes down to it, no one’s forcing you to eat the food, no one’s forcing you to blindly eat as much as you want, and no one told you to turn to food for emotional support.
I’m not perfect and I’m definitely not trying to make you feel bad — trust me. I’ve lost 120 pounds twice (well, 130 pounds so far this time).
So, the tips below are what have worked for me. I’m not a scientist, and I certainly don’t have a Ph.D., but I’ve learned what works and what I don’t need to worry about.
This article is going to be abrasive and frank in some areas, so don’t get offended if you do some of these things. It’s time someone calls us out.
Reach Your Nutrition Goals
#1 - Think Short Term Goals, but Know Your End Goal
When I started, I tried to kill myself by eating — I purposely tried to eat myself to death. So when the scale tipped 400 pounds and I finally snapped out of it, I had a pretty large goal.
I told myself I wanted to hit 199, so losing 200 pounds is a huge goal. Instead of only focusing on losing 200 pounds, I started focusing on losing five pounds. After a couple of weeks, I would lose five pounds… and the next five seemed very attainable.
Currently, my goal is to hit 269. This morning I weighed in at 273.6 pounds. I’m gunning to hit 269 by Monday. Once I hit 269, my next goal is to see 264. I just lost five pounds… what’s five more?
Instead of looking at my almost year-long journey and still needing to lose 75 pounds, I aim to lose five pounds.
This, along with knowing how to cook, has been the most impactful, life-changing skill to use.
#2 - You Have to Learn to Cook
You have to learn how to cook. I shouldn’t have to say anything more about this. If you want to be healthy, you have to know how to get ahold of nutritious foods that nourish your body.
If you want to lose weight, you’re going to have to use extraordinarily strong willpower to eat out but refuse to cook.
But it’s expensive to eat out.
Eating whole foods isn’t as expensive as you make it out to be. Okay, so the price of whole foods is more expensive than fast food… but you lose out on a lot of nutritional value.
Hear me out before you jump down into the comments to tell me how much asparagus is where you live — I’ll show you what’s helped me change.
When you go to your local fast food joint and order your favorite, do you ever stop to think how this is going to nourish your body? Or are you like me and just screamed “get in my belly?” Once I started thinking about what I’m eating in regards to health and performance, I got a rude awakening.
I was an Arby’s junky. I used to love their gyros, the beef n cheddars, and their loaded curly fries. One of my main meals I would get from there was two beef and cheddars and an order of loaded curly fries. At the time I knew I liked it, but I didn’t know at the time that was around 1600 calories.
Of course, I had a hearty breakfast, and I may even eat later on that night… no wonder I was fat.
Tonight, I had 6.5 ounces of grilled pork chops with 8 ounces of pan-fried catfish and half a cup of cottage cheese for dinner. It was 850 calories and it tastes so much better and refreshing.
So think about your food choices. If you learn to cook, you’re going to accelerate your weight loss, it will encourage more healthy habits, and you’ll actually make progress towards your goals.
#3 - Start Logging Your Food
Once I got a weight loss coach and started logging my food, I started to realize I needed some work. I wasn’t too far off, but there were times I would end up 500 calories over what I thought I would be.
Start logging your food. I’ve used MyFitnessPal and it is so easy. They have a decent search and if you have a barcode, you can scan it right in. I’ve been logging for about 110 days now and it has become second-nature. I still struggle with making some food choices and making calories, but actually logging whatever I eat is a habit.
You don’t need to be fancy — get yourself a pencil and notebook.
Don’t change your eating habits, just log them. You can change your foods later. Until you have a solid baseline of what you are eating, you will have a hard time creating a plan.
#4 - Start Being Realistic
I’m a strong believer in learning how to look at food as nourishment instead of entertainment.
If I told you that you could get to your desired weight and still eat the same foods, would you believe me? I still eat some fried foods, I am liberal with olive oil, and I have the occasional sweet.
You don’t need to completely cut out sugars, you just have to quit being fat and overeating it. I used to be okay with eating six donuts after a good deadlift session… Because why not?
I still eat some sweets, I eat fried foods, and my macros and calories are great. And that is all it takes.
Find your balance, stop blindly overeating.
Take control of everything that’s going into your mouth and if you stick to your guns for more than three weeks, you will wonder how you ever let yourself get into those habits.
You don’t need that 44-ounce mountain dew. You don’t need that microwave breakfast burrito. Hell, you could make a better one at home and you could actually get healthier eating it.
#5 - Throw Money Into the Game
Nothing stings worse than losing money. When friends want to play card games, most of the time people don’t want to play if they have to put some skin in the game.
Wanting to lose weight but not willing to put money on your health is purely mental masturbation. You’re stroking your ego and nothing more.
Buy some decent shoes, put the money on the gym membership, buy the healthier foods, and start taking control of your health.
While you have your wallet open, buy yourself a decent set of knives, cookware, pots, and pans. It isn’t hard to create Instagram-worthy food.
#6 - Measure Progress as You Go
Measuring your progress helps tell you whether what you are doing is helping or not. It took a couple of months to find a calorie intake that would support a healthy weight loss, but we finally found it.
As you start your journey, give yourself a few things you can measure the progress of.
These could include:
- How your clothes fit
- Taking body measurements
- Log what the scale says
- Food logs
- Exercise logs
- Mental health logs
Don’t feel like you have to juggle everything, but if you can do a weekly weigh-in and log your food, you’re going to start seeing progress.
Do one thing at a time and add another when it feels like you’ve picked that habit up. Log your food first; you’ll have a much clearer plan if you do.
If you start today, don’t be alarmed when your clothes don’t fit the same in about four weeks.
#7 - You’re Not Perfect
No one is perfect. Do I overeat sometimes? Yes. Have I lied on my food logs? A couple of times.
But I still kept going, doing my best every day. That’s all I can do.
Don’t get hung up on your mistake. Go about your day, realize you messed up, and try not to do that again. There’s going to be times where the eating plan goes out the window, but you can do your best to keep it contained. If you have an impromptu “come out to dinner with us” situation, order something reasonable.
You don’t have to completely bomb your diet just because you can.
I went out to a Mexican restaurant not too long ago after I had eaten all of my calories and I sat and drank water. I felt stupid, sure… but I also lost weight over the holidays.
Just do your best. Keep your goals in mind. Know you can achieve them.
#8 - You’ll Need to Make a Plan
Now that you’ve been logging your food, you can come up with a plan.
Find your TDEE and use this as a rough guide — getting “close enough” will get you results still.
Make an action plan that you will work towards. It all needs to be defined. You don’t need a lot of details now, but make a plan of “hitting x calories, eating at least 3 servings of fruits or veggies per day, and exercising 30 minutes per day” gives you actionable goals you can tick off of your to-do list in black and white.
If you perform your best every day and consistently follow your plan, you’re going to make progress. The only reason you wouldn’t see progress is if you aren’t logging your food right or you aren’t really following through with your plan.
#9 - Ride it Out
I have good days and bad days. I hit my lowest weight one day and I slowly gained weight all week until I hopped on the scale and I was at a new low.
Trust the process and keep riding it out.
Remember how I said I have a goal of 269? I’ve been chasing that for about a month now and have ebbed and flowed the whole time. I should have hit it by now, but I didn’t. Do I think about wanting to weigh 199? Yes… But accomplishing this small goal puts me that much closer.
What I’m trying to tell you is that if you hardly do anything healthier today, you’ve done something healthier. The only way I’ve gotten this far is with the momentum of hitting these smaller goals and taking my wins when I can. Start with one small habit change and pick something new when you’ve successfully changed your first habit.
It’s that simple.
#10 - Be Held Accountable
Having a coach has really helped me. Every time I eat something I wonder if it’s alright. I sit here sweating at night wanting to cheat and hide my food, but I don’t because it’s not worth the guilt.
So find a friend, hire a coach, and find someone to hold you accountable. Demand that they don’t sugarcoat anything just to make you feel better.
Be real with them. They may start their own journey with you.
#11 - Quit Lying to Yourself
Don’t be that person that complains about their weight while you eat a bag of chips and washing it down with soda. Don’t tell me how you had pizza for lunch and I definitely don’t want to hear you talking about how good that milkshake was.
If you want to lose weight, you don’t need to go read hundreds of articles and get paralysis by analysis. Follow these tips.
- Log your food
- Quit eating crap foods
- Introduce more fruits and veggies into your diet and learn to cook
- Shop the perimeter of your grocery store
- Try cooking a steak or bacon instead of eating a McDouble
- Spend 30 minutes out of the 1440 minutes you get in a day to move your body
- Sleep more
- Get out in the sun
- Lift some weights if you want to build muscle
It’s that simple. You either do it or you don’t.
The hardest part about this is changing the habits. The habit of eating crappy convenient foods, the dependency we’ve grown for certain compounds (sugar), and turning to food as emotional support system are all things you have to break.
That’s why you work at them one at a time. You don’t need that soda. Sure it will suck not having it, but once you are “over it,” you’ll never like them again. Fruit will taste sweeter, food will have a broader range of flavor, and you’ll be getting healthier.
There’s no “giving up” anything, and no fad diets. It’s simply adopting lifestyle changes that improve your health.
Quit lying to yourself and start making progress. I’m currently at the weight I was about 9 years ago. I feel stupid because I let myself go, but just because I let myself go doesn’t mean I can’t bring it back in.
Quit feeling sorry for yourself, start making some changes, and you’ll be able to help others get healthy. Being able to bend over and tie my shoes relatively effortlessly, easily wiping my butt, and seeing my wiener are all things that you kind of just chalk off or joke about.
Graphic or not, I know there’s a lot of you that know what I mean.
So are you in or not?