“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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