DON’T Put the Cookie Down
Oh, hello…I’m in Europe being all fancy pants.
Luckily, I lined up some excellent guest posts for you while I’m away. Here’s one from San Antonio based trainer, Jonathan Acosta.
“Put That Cookie Down!”
You hear that all the time from nutrition zealots. Shit, the legend himself, Arnold, said it and the interwebs even created a meme out of it.
But what if I told you rather than putting the cookie down……….Eat it!
Yes eat that cookie! Follow your dreams man!
No this isn’t the beginning of an Instagram supplement commercial.
Don’t worry I haven’t gone bat shit crazy….YET.
Listen: nutrition is one of my favorite topics. Fitness and nutrition is my profession. Im all for buckling down and getting your nutrition in check. You have a show or a competition you need to get ready for?
Cool, lets buckle down and get your nutrition in check.
I’m all for meal plans and strict adherence. My brother’s girlfriend likes to joke that we can eat the same thing day in and day out.
If you have an important goal or deadline, then hell yea I recommend a detailed plan and strict adherence…………….
But the reality is, most people don’t need that kind of strictness. At least not in the real world, or at the beginning of their journey.
A funny thing happened when I started training and working on people’s nutrition.
I would write a detailed plan out and by Week #2 it was out the door and back to old habits. Only my competitive clients would grit through it and last through the plan.
You see, this is the real world. And in the real world habits are king.
Most people juggle their jobs, families, kids, and everything in between. Just starting a workout plan alone is stressful enough.
Life happens and building better habits keeps you on point.
It’s not realistic to change your entire eating patterns to almost a robot like state and expect to hit your goals and stay like that forever.
Working on better eating habits works wonders.
Search Google for nutrition tips and what do you hear?
Cut out the sweets, eat chicken and broccoli, don’t drink alcohol. You name it.
You probably read that while rolling your eyes thinking duh we know all this.
Which brings me to my point.
All the above tips are practically common knowledge now. So why isn’t everyone rocking a six-pack or first in like to take part in a shirtless volleyball game at the beach???
The answer to that is two fold.
Habits and consistency.
Creating habits that ensure this whole “nutrition thing” is life long.
All while being consistent. Day in and day out.
That’s what its all about. That’s the real secret.
It’s not about what diet plan you follow. Or if you’re paleo, warrior diet, or intermittent fasting. It’s about finding something that WORKS FOR YOU AND YOUR WORLD.
Right now the cool thing to do is follow what these peeps on the grams of Insta are showing.
Meal prep consisting of nothing but chicken and broccoli – CHECK
Taking selfies with meals – CHECK
Repeating the steps above – CHECK
Get paid – CHECK
That last step is for the Instagram peeps.
That step for most folks looks more like this….
Realizing that this isn’t realistic and its boring. Throw the meals away, go back to old habits and eat what you used to eat.
I’m gonna pause right here. All of this depends on your goals and the amount of time you give yourself for your goals and its urgency.
If you have a wedding or something that is a necessity then yes by all means, bite the bullet and have a PROPER plan of attack and go for it.
If your goal is similar but isn’t as urgent then you’re better off not worrying to much about your short game.
Think about your end game.
- In the grand scheme of things, what makes more sense? Following a strict diet for 2-3 weeks then “relapsing” and go to F-it mode for 1-2 weeks. Then starting all over again.
- Gradually working on habits and cutting back on a few things here and there until eventually we’ve completely changed our entire nutrition approach.
I first learned about habits through John Berardi and the crew over at Precision Nutrition. I’ll be completely honest and say that when I first read a few articles and saw how they approached things I was dumbfounded.
How were their clients getting crazy results and they weren’t even following a strict diet?
They didn’t even know their macros!
There is no way adding in a small habit here and there bi-weekly created all that change.
In my defense I was young and naïve. The older I got, and the more people I worked with, the more I started realizing that habits are the cornerstone of everything.
Turns out Berardi really hadn’t lost his marbles after all. (I dived right into the Precision Nutrition certification the moment it became available)
In reality, what seemed so simple was actually pretty ground breaking.
Sure you can give someone a diet plan and they may or may not follow it. But if you change someones habits, I mean really rewire them from the inside.
That’s when you start changing lives.
So what can you do TODAY to improve?
Here are some action habits I’ve used with clients:
1) Add in Two Protein Shakes a Day.
One of the first things I see in peoples nutrition habits is lack of protein. For the sedentary person that doesn’t workout, this isn’t a huge priority. But if you workout frequently then this habit will go a long way.
2) Cut back slightly on starchy carbs.
Lets say you eat four meals a day and normally 3-4 of those meals contain carbs. Then cut back slightly by replacing starchy carbs with veggies for 2 meals.
3) Take notes on how you feel after a meal
Although this doesn’t directly help your results, finding out what foods make you feel like crap and which ones make you feel energized goes a long way in helping you make better food choices.
4) Save the reward.
Save the rewards for the last meal of the day.
I don’t know about you but come evening time I’m starving!
No matter how many meals I’ve eaten I’m ravenous. So saving a reward treat for the evening helps curb whatever cravings I have. If you’ve got a sweet tooth than this works especially well for you.
The trick is to make sure the rest of the day is on point and aligned with our goals.
This means making sure your protein intake is good, you’re mindful of the starches, and you workout. If all things go right then a small reward wouldn’t be too harmful. Remember this is temporary while were weaning off per say.
Finding less goal harming treats is even better. Some of my go to’s are:
- Cool whip (a small serving is super low)
- Almond butter, protein powder, heavy whipping cream pudding
- Proscuitto and mozzarella (don’t ask me why but a slice of each kills any sweet or salty cravings I have, maybe itll work for you)
- Sugar free chocolates (Be mindful on these as some people cant handle the sugar substitutes well and have G.I. issues. Bloating sucks.)
Small habits that build up to amazing results. Nothing fancy. No drinking a protein shake made with fresh milk from a grass fed intermittent fasting cow who was born on the summer solstice.
Just practical habits that cater to you in the real world. Habits that dont require you to sacrifice your social life and over stress about everything else.
So get your habits in check and eat that cookie if you need it.
Until you level up and its time to PUT THE COOKIE DOWN!!!!!
(Please eat responsibly).
About the Author
Jonathan Acosta is the founder of Underground Performance Center and head trainer at Get Sexy San Antonio and is a certified personal trainer though both ISSA and the NCEP, as well asPrecision Nutrition Level I certified.
He likes lifting heavy things, reading books with big words in them, his steaks rare, funny stuff, writing stuff, hanging out with friends, and laughing.