I’ve never been on a diet that worked long term. I don’t have the patience to measure food, count points and calories, or think about my macronutrient (protein, carb, fat) intake. And I don’t want to wear a watch that tracks what I eat because it feels like an obsessive behavior that sucks the joy out of food.
Food is a lot of things: fun, social, fuel for your body, sensual, enjoyable, satisfying. But it should never be the enemy and it definitely shouldn’t be a part-time job.
So why are we obsessing over our food intake?
It’s not our fault that just trying to eat well is riddled with guilt, frustration, and confusion. We’re constantly bombarded with terrible advice. Our parents, friends, blog posts, magazine articles, and TV pundits all preach “watch what you eat!” and “cut back!”
We've got calorie charts, carb charts, and fitness apps that calculate the nutritional or caloric value of everything we eat.
It’s time to graduate from diets. Pounds may drop temporarily, but many of us regain the weight – then feel bad about it. And it’s not because we’re all unmotivated or lazy. It’s because diets are deeply flawed.
1. We have to make this choice EVERY SINGLE TIME WE PUT FOOD INTO OUR MOUTHS. Whether we’re busy, stressed, tired, or cranky, diets tell us we HAVE to use our limited willpower first thing in the morning, every day, every meal, every snack...forever.
The results look something like this:
Graph: motivation declines over time with effort. (Thank you Ramit Sethi for the graph and Big Win inspiration!)
2. Even if we’re “successful,” we're never really free from “focusing on food.” Congrats! You’ve counted every calorie and macronutrient for 365 days. You have really enjoyed yourself and loved eating right? Probably not. All that work, and at the end of the day even if you look and physically feel pretty good, it’s still complicated, a lot of effort, and really no fun...which isn't sustainable.
Big wins are the 3-5 actions that can significantly impact your diet, health, and life – such as transitioning to whole, plant-based foods, getting fully-prepared plant-based meals delivered, and stocking your pantry with healthy choices.
The beautiful part about Big Wins is you do the work up front — and they pay rewards for the rest of your life. One decision to eat plant-based whole foods means you never have to count calories again. Imagine that! (Not to mention you are doing more to improve your health than any amount of calorie counting and exercise ever could.)
Next time you hear the same old tired advice on dieting — track macronutrients or count calories — ask yourself: Has that really worked for the millions of people who’ve tried it? Are they really not “trying hard enough?” Or is there perhaps a systemic problem urging people to waste their limited willpower on near-meaningless tasks with little reward? Should we instead focus on high-leverage areas that will result in massive payoffs?
Put another way — how can we focus on using Big Wins so we can enjoy eating (and life) again?
For any easy Big Win, we've put together a Get Me Started bundle filled with prepared and delicious plant-based meals.
Have your own diet stories? Tell us about them in the comments!
Is counting calories a necessary evil for healthy weight loss? Heck no! Keep reading to learn why you don't need to micromanage your calories to see results.