Workout of the Day

Dietary Change is Hard


Changes to your diet can be hard. As much as your eating practices are about your health and wellness, they’re also inextricably tied to your daily habits and schedules, your beliefs, your emotions, your relationships, and your culture. What this all means is that change can be hard. You will come up against resistance -- internal or external -- in the face of making change.

That being said, setting yourself up for success is the name of the game. Below are a few considerations as we make our way through the second week of the Whole Life Challenge. And these ideas apply outside of the WLC, too!

1. Don’t mistake a change in quality for a change in quantity.

Perhaps the most common mistake I see made on the WLC (or any quality-based dietary change) is undereating. In general, whole, unprocessed foods are less calorie-dense and more satiating than their processed counterparts. What this means is that you might actually need to eat more (by volume) to get the same number of calories. Eliminating common staples like processed grains and dairy can also leave a big empty hole where that food would ordinarily go on your plate. Find a worthy substitute (yams instead of bread, nuts instead of cheese, etc.). After all, the best way to sabotage a change in diet is to make yourself miserable and underfed while doing it. (Side note: Even positive changes can make you feel “off” while you adapt! Consider that when a smoker stops smoking cigarettes, he will feel like absolute death for a while. This isn’t because cigarettes were good for him, and not having cigarettes is bad for his health. It’s a matter of habit, withdrawal, and adaptation. Give it time.)

2. Don’t just make the same “junky” foods with “healthy” ingredients.

While I’m not at all averse to more whole and unprocessed versions of “junky” foods, cookies made with date paste and coconut flower are still cookies. Sure, the ingredients are of a less-processed and more whole nature, but patting yourself on the back for crushing a half-dozen date-and-coconut cookies instead of Toll House cookies is missing the point. The point is that you don’t need to eat cookies all the time. Want an occasional sweet treat? Your date-coconut concoction is a better choice that what’s on the supermarket shelves, of course. But let’s not fool ourselves here.

3. Make your food taste good.

Good quality food, when well-made, tastes good. You’ll never find me asserting that cauliflower rice or red lentil pasta tastes as good as the real thing (it doesn’t), but that doesn’t mean that your meals should taste like rabbit food. This may mean that it’s time for you to look into expanding your horizons in the kitchen (there is a practical infinity of excellent recipes online, such as HERE), try new ingredients (root vegetables, anyone?), or opt for a meal-prep service that specializes in quality ingredients like Territory Foods (more info and referral discount HERE). The point is, you’re not going to want to stick with it if sticking with it means begrudging every meal.

4. Plan and prepare.

Tupperware is your friend. Small containers, large containers, meals, snacks. Have them prepared and at the ready. There is a 1:1 ratio in my success with a dietary change and my planning and preparation. A fridge full of prepped and portioned meals and a pantry full of grab-and-go snacks is a game-changer.

5. Understand the purpose of the change.

This idea piggybacks on the first point. Speaking to the Whole Life Challenge specifically, understand that the goal is to eliminate processed foods, nutrient-poor and calorie-dense foods, foods that induce gut irritation or inflammation in many individuals, and to limit foods that are commonly over-consumed. Unless you are coupling the WLC with your own additional dietary changes, the intention is not to eliminate carbs, fats, to cut calories, or anything of that ilk. Your options will be limited (cutting out all sugars, for example, will cut back significantly on carbohydrate consumption in any Standard American Diet), but the focus is not macronutrients. Really dig into understanding why you’re doing this, and your approach and follow-through will benefit immensely.

You’re in the driver’s seat -- take the necessary steps to make your dietary change a success!

- PS


  • 25min AMRAP

    • 400m run

    • 10 deadlifts

  • *start with (135/95)lbs and add (30/20)lbs every round