It’s been said that changing your diet is harder than changing religions.
And if you’ve read my old posts you’d see I fell off the bandwagon over and over again. Jordan didn’t have this problem, but there sure are many of us who do.
I struggled with this so bad, I once wrote Jordan a check for $1,000 dollars. If I cheated on SCD he was to cash it immediately and spend it.
At the time I had over $24,000 in credit card debt,$ 90,000 dollars in student loans, and was making $40,000 dollars a year working my day job. Not only that, but we lost over $4,000 dollars that year on SCD Lifestyle.
In other words, I didn’t have $1,000 dollars.
If he would have cashed it, I would have missed a student loan payment and my rent. Which is precisely why I was able to go 90 days straight during the summer on SCD.
The summer is the hardest time of the year for me. And I knew if I was going to get healthy I needed to stop the vicious cycle of self-sabotage.
There are plenty of underlying reasons for this self-sabotage, like hormone imbalance, neurotransmitter imbalance, gut infections, emotional wounds and mental weakness. The amazing thing I’ve learned is that while all the above reasons are valid, your mind can create them or correct them and overcome them almost instantly.
Huge Results Require Uncomfortable Actions
Positive results require getting outside your comfort zone. Whether you want more money, better health, or a spouse… the reason you don’t have it right now is because of the actions you are presently taking. But you can change those actions whenever you are ready to get uncomfortable.
If you need a completely new diet, it can be a daunting idea.
You will need to learn to shop, prepare, cook and clean a whole new set of foods. And while that sounds hard the information to learn these physical skills is readily available. The hard part of the change is actually the mental part.
“Knowledge is potential power,” as Jim Kwik says. If all we needed to make massive health changes was more information, there’d be a lot more healthy people walking around.
The reality is knowledge is not enough.
Almost 4 years ago when I started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) I realized right away that it was as much a mental battle as it was money, habit or anything else. I could Google almost any of my problems and find an answer in almost 10 minutes. Sure there were some unknowns but I could find the information very fast 90% of the time.
So, why did I fall off the diet several times in the beginning? Why is it so hard for so many of us to switch to SCD? I believe it’s because this change is psychological.
If You Don’t Get Your Head Right, You Won’t Eat Right
Our minds are infinitely powerful both good and bad. As you begin to change how you eat, around every corner your mind is waiting to trick you. Almost everyone has to process through thoughts like this:
- What will others think of my new diet?
- They will make fun of me
- I’ll start next week after the dinner party
- This new diet can’t be all that great, I’ve been eating healthy the whole time
- Pizza, Beer, and Chocolate taste so good I can’t give it up
And it goes on and on. Your mind will give you every answer you need to never start the diet. And then one day you will start. Now the whole thing begins again; there’s a million reasons to cheat.
Halloween? Thanksgiving? Your birthday? Super Bowl? Christmas Dinner? This weekend??? If you let your mind run, it will create endless reasons to cheat, quit and pause your diet.
So, that’s why we need to prepare for this trap and just accept that it’s part of being human. We can plan ahead to short-circuit all of these problems using the tips below. The more weight you stack against your mind the better chance you have to succeed.
1) Old School Journaling and Tracking
You don’t need a smart phone, you don’t need more money, all you need is a pen and paper (and a big pinch of dedication). Because the oldest and simplest way to make sure you start and stick to your diet is to journal morning and night.
Don’t hold back, curse, get rowdy and tell your journal just how much you’re struggling and succeeding – how much you want a burger or cupcake. Let it all out on paper and then read it.
It sounds too simple but it’s brutally effective.
And while you’re at it, talk about how you feel. How many bowel movements did you have? How was your energy, mood and sex drive? Record them.
If awesome health changes happen like they should, in about a week you’ll forget just how bad you feel right now. Trust me, I’ve done it myself and coached 100s through it. We all forget.
A powerful way to prevent your mind from forgetting this pain and to work through these complex emotions is to write day and night.
Better yet… combine it with a tech idea like the next tip: LIFT.
2) New School Lift App
Lift is an app that is all about the name. The goal is to lift you up and support you in your new life change. And it does it through logging in each day to record that you did what you committed to doing.
The best part? It keeps you honest because there’s no way to go backwards and say of course I stayed true yesterday. Nope, you mark it down today or forget it.
And then others in your group get to congratulate you when you keep to the diet and see when you “forget.”
And over time it keeps track of how long you’ve made the change and trust me after 80 days of green you’ll be really upset if you score a red for skipping a meal.
Give it a shot and then watch as other’s join the Specific Carbohydrate Diet group.
3) Make it HURT by Putting Money Up
Some of us just need a good kick in the rear to keep going with a new diet. And luckily there’s a solution; it’s called Stickk.com. It’s a website where you can make your new idea real…
By betting money that you’ll actually do it.
See some of us need a bit more motivation and the loss of $100, $500, or, like my story earlier, $1000 might just be what you need. When you sign up for this site there is no going back. You either do it or you lose money.
It’s a simple, but effective way to use technology and money to keep you on track.
4) Announce it to the World (Social Pressure)
There are some changes that are best kept close to the heart. But let’s face it, food is an integral part of our culture. Your co-workers, friends and family will begin the question barrage the minute you say no to cake or pizza. And you won’t be able to run and hide. You’ll be sitting in the fire of their questions.
It’s uncomfortable to say the least, unless…
You preempt them. You start the fire yourself and then spread the news. With pride and hope you announce to those close to you what you are doing, what you can and cannot eat. And don’t back down for a minute. Talk about it all the time. Be proud of it. Most people will never be as bold as you.
And then go to the next level by announcing it on Facebook, twitter or your social media outlet of choice. Get help from those in your network. In my experience they will be more supportive and less judgmental than those close to you. But they will hold your feet to fire if you cheat.
Tell your followers you’ll post your meals each day or check in after dinner and tell them how it’s going. Every. Single. Day. No excuses. And don’t forget to announce it on our Facebook page.
The social pressure of those around you can be a powerful motivator, so leverage your network to make this great change in your health.
5) Create a Contract – Signed in Blood
Ha, just kidding… you still with me? No blood is actually needed for this step but a contract can be a powerful symbol of trust. No one wants to let down a trusted loved one.
When the ice cream is calling your name… if you have a contract with a spouse or parent that says you’ll do 60 – 180 days straight of a certain diet, it’s a very symbolic and powerful way to keep you in-line.
Our culture is one in which we drill into our kids at a young age not to break their word and especially to those nearest to them. We actually recommended it in our eBook 3 years ago when we wrote the first version. And people still send us emails thanking us for the idea, because while we share many ideas this one itself can be the most powerful of all.
Remember this journey to health isn’t just about you. It’s about those who love you, everyone you talk to, and the ones who look up to you. It might seem like a selfish journey at times but it’s distinctly not. As you change and get healthy you’ll become a source of inspiration for everyone else, especially the one you signed the contract with.
Throw Your Shoe Over the Fence
Imagine you bump into a fence and look up to so it is at least 8 feet tall maybe taller. If you could get over this fence, which looks impassable, your health would be forever great. But here you stand neither in shape nor ready to climb something that high. Yet, that’s all that’s left between you and your dreams.
Well, one way to get over it could be to throw your shoe over the fence. It’s an idea that comes from the self-help industry. For the ladies, if it was your favorite pair you might go get it. But for us guys I wouldn’t bet on it. So, next I’d suggest throwing your wallet or purse over that fence. At that point, you have to go get it. Because if you don’t, you lose money and a bunch of time going to the DMV to get a new license.
The point is: you’ll figure out a way to get over the fence. And that’s the message of this post.
Use the tools above. Pick the one that scares you the most; the one that makes your stomach drop and your heart flutter, because that’s the one that will propel you to your new goal.
And if you are really bold you’ll use several, because creating new habits is hard work and stacking the deck in your favor will only serve you to succeed.
Are you struggling to stick to your diet? Tell me about it below.