What Is The FLASH Diet And Why It Might Be For You

We break commitments to ourselves with embarrassing regularity” is a quote from Tim Ferris’s, Four Hour Body. When I read this quote it sticks with me for two reasons; one because it is so definitely true, and two because it made me think “How do we AVOID that?”

The greatest example of breaking commitments to ourselves is often in regard to dieting or “eating better.” We want to lose weight and we want to eat better but we constantly sabotage or just give up those commitments.

I love that Tim goes on to say that the solution to the conundrum of breaking commitments is fourfold. If we do the following four things, we will experience much greater commitment “follow-through.”

Tim’s four commitment commandments 

  • Make your commitment conscious.
  • Make it a game.
  • Make it competitive.
  • Make the commitment small. (“What is the smallest meaningful change I can make?”)

Number one caught my eye in regard to nutrition. How do we make our commitment to good nutrition conscious? Well, we must externalize it.

Dr. Lydia Zepeda and Dr. David Deal of the University of Wisconsin-Madison took a group of subjects and had them photograph all of their meals and snacks prior to eating. Unlike food journals, that typically occur after the food has been consumed, this instantaneous “food feedback” served to force participants to think about their food choices before they lifted the fork. The researchers concluded that the photographs were far more effective than a traditional written food journal.

[Tweet “Would you want to take a photo of a large bag of M&Ms?”]

 Now, what if we took Dr. Zepeda and Deal’s research one step further and set up a small community of 2-3 motivated friends? What if we agreed that for four weeks we will load our photos to a common area (Whats’app, FB messenger or private Instagram account) and make these motivating images more public and subsequently more motivating?

The Flash Diet is born.




Here are the steps.

  • Pick 2-3 equally motivated friends, coworkers or complete strangers.
  • Assign a start and end date to the plan.
  • Set a personal outcome goal for yourself and post it to the group. (“I don’t want to eat any sugar during the program.” “I want to eat smaller portions.” “I want to lose six pounds.” )
  • You can also use the camera to take before and after photos of yourself. Research has shown that dieters who do before photos experience dramatically more success than those who do not.
  • Everyday load your photos. Anything and everything you eat or drink including snacks, coffee and supplements must be included.
  • Comment positively or constructively on each other’s photos. (Smack talking actually has been shown to increase positive results!)
  • Compare results at the end.


“What gets measured gets managed.” Peter Dicker



This week, consider taking three days of photos of your food and then analyze them on the fourth day. What do you notice? Are there patterns in your eating you see now that you didn’t before? Are there things you would like to change? This is a great exercise to go through!



Here are a few APPS you might enjoy! These are apps that analyze photographs of your food and provide nutritive data feedback.




Want to learn how to create your own circuit workouts using just a set of stairs and your body weight?




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23 Responses

  1. I never would have thought to take photos of my food for accountability purposes. That’s a really good idea! I also like the point about setting small goals. There is nothing worse than setting your sights too high only to leave your discouraged. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Such a good idea. I like t look back at what I ate in a day and sometimes it is really surprizing!

  2. I think anytime you are held accountable in some way can be motivating! I can see where this would work. I have logged my daily meals into an app, and that works well for me.

  3. I’ve never heard it called the flash diet before, but I have had clients do this with me successfully. Although it’s not a long term solution… people can only take so many food pictures 🙂 But a great way to stay connected with your accountability and not have to log all your foods the old school way.

    1. I know, right? Casey, this little plan is really useful for those who self-sabotage – like most of us!! 🙂

  4. Okay, my husband and I started doing something like this last month and it’s been working so well for us! We each stated a goal and came up with three things we wanted to do to work on to get to that goal (no soda, no sweets & going for a walk each day.) We made a huge posterboard chart to fill out together every night in our room so we can see how we’re doing and we’re actually making progress! YAY!

  5. This is such a great idea! I love how you tackle the diet with friends, I would probably be more likely to stick to a diet if I have a support system to back me up and hold me to it. Thanks for sharing!

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About Dr. Denniston

Dr. Denniston is a wellness strategist for elite leaders and their teams, bridging the connection between personal well-being and professional success. She provides custom solutions for burnout and stress and facilitates cohesive habit-training strategies that maximize vitality, productivity, and resilience.

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