How Damaging are Small Slip-Ups?

Yesterday you learned setting extremely low quotas, like flossing only one tooth, or promising to exercise for just five minutes, can get you over the hump of starting.

(Because the challenge isn’t doing, it’s STARTING.)

You also know the only way to success is to do what is required over and over again…

…to build a HABIT and put a PLAN in place for reaching your goal (i.e. your daily quotas!)

BUT !!

You also need a STRATEGY dealing with OBSTACLES or temptations.

Ever notice how when we slip up just a little during the formation of a new habit, we suddenly decide to “abandon ship” and give up on all the progress we’ve made??

Have you ever said, “Screw this! It’s not worth the effort!” ??

That’s an “ahscrewit” moment and the negative effect goes far beyond your “quitting”

Take for example a recent study on cookies and dieters, which found that when dieters THOUGHT they’d blown their calorie limit, they ate 50% more! And when they thought they were safely within their limit, they ate the same amount as subjects not on a diet.

Minor setbacks and frustrations are habit destroyers.

They give us the excuse to skip our habit and throw the baby out with the bath water.

Small little slips trick us into thinking it’s okay to blow the whole thing off because we messed up.

Having a plan in place and creating a self-SUPPORTING environment is the first step.

The meal plans are your offense.

The meal plans are your action plan strategy for weight-loss, time saving, money saving, and “eat healthy” goals! (Cook one meal this week - low quota!)

“If this happens… Then I will…”

IF I start craving sweets, THEN I will brush my teeth.

IF I feel too tired to cook, THEN I will open a can of beans and eat them.

The If-Then technique is the BEST countermeasure when you lack motivation.

(It’s also incredibly effective when you don’t want to do your new habit!)

“Progress comes with consistency, and part of reaching your goals is working towards them even when you don’t want to.” - Gregory Ciotti

What If...Then will you create?

Share it below in the comments.

P.S. Today is my 9th wedding anniversary. When I look back at my wedding pics, I can’t believe they’re us. What a transformation!

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Do You Lack Motivation?

Does this sound like you?

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You don’t lack motivation.

(You wouldn’t have opened this email if you weren’t already motivated.)

You just lack a good habit.

More than 40% of the actions we take each day aren’t actual decisions, but habits.

Turning off the lights when you leave a room, locking the car after you’ve parked…

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle

The only way to success is to do what is required over and over again.

Whether it’s losing 20 pounds or saving $20,000, repeat performance (i.e. losing 1 lb per week or saving $100 a month) is mandatory.

Problem is, most of us become INTIMIDATED by our lofty expectations and then don’t perform at all… hoping to find more “motivation” or “inspiration” next week.

The truth is, once we get going, we usually KEEP going.

The challenge isn’t doing, it’s STARTING.

Quick, dramatic change isn’t going to happen.

You’re not going to lose 20 lbs today, or save $20,000 by tomorrow… so don’t keep all of your focus on big picture goals.

BALANCE the big picture with what you can do now… with quotas.

Quotas are the minimum amount of work that you must do EVERY day to make your goal a reality.

For example, there’s a Meal Mentor walking challenge going on right now: 100,000 steps by the end of March. The quota is 3,572 steps per day.

A stepper must step at least 3,572 steps PER day to reach the goal.

Setting extremely LOW quotas is a great way to begin.

Consider this excerpt from Stanford psychologist B.J. Fogg,

“For me, cracking the code on flossing was to put the floss right by the toothbrush, and commit to myself that I would floss one tooth -- only one tooth -- every time I brushed. I could floss them all if I wanted to, but the commitment was just one tooth.”

Fogg admitted once in a while he really does just floss only one tooth, but the majority of the time he flosses them all.

Ample research shows we are far more likely to finish things if we can get over the hump of starting.

Setting a low bar makes the task more accessible AND less intimidating so you get over the hump.

If cooking all your meals for the week in one shot is too daunting, commit to cooking one meal this week.

Perhaps like Fogg, once you start cooking, you’ll get in the groove and cook more than one!

Or maybe you won’t.

But you kept your commitment, which helped build a new habit :)

Aaand if nothing else, you cooked one meal, which is one more than before.

(I trick myself with this technique all the time. “I only have to clean the kitchen for 5 minutes.” Sometimes I do stop and don’t finish all the dishes, but most of the time, once I’ve made an effort to start washing, I finish. This “only 5 minutes” works great with exercise, too.)

Tomorrow I’m going to talk about “ah screw it” moments (and how to overcome them).

You know, how when we slip up just a little during the formation of a new habit, we then abandon ship and give up on all the progress we’ve made.

If you’ve ever done that… be sure to check this space tomorrow :)

But for now, I want you to set a quota, the minimum amount of work that you must do everyday to reach your goal.

Share it in the comments below.

Whether it’s walking 2,000 steps (mine), writing 1,000 words (also mine), reading 5 pages of a book (still mine!), eating 3 florets of broccoli before anything else (not mine, lol)… break your goal down into a daily quota… and set it ridiculously low. “Floss just one tooth.”

P.S. One point I tried to stress in the Batch Cooking video (and the video showing how I cook 7 meals for the week in one hour using the meal plans) is that I formed a habit. Batch cooking all my rice, beans, or soups became part of my ROUTINE. It was never about finding time, but saving myself time later and making it happen passively, on a schedule.

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The Support You Need NOW

Yesterday I shared my biggest confession: I need help and support to stay on track…

AND that research solidly backs up that you’re 10x more likely to stick with a health routine over time if you’re part of a formal group.

Most of us need a little extra motivation and ALL OF US can use added incentive once in a while.

Accountability is KEY.

While we’re willing to let ourselves down, we’re not willing to bail on our friends.

They need us (and we need them too).

What if you had someone who wouldn’t let you get down on yourself?

What if you had someone who could be your cheerleader… or drill instructor… whatever you needed that day?

What if you were feeling weak or tempted but had 100 of your new best friends holding your hand saying, “You’ve got this!”

Most importantly, what if there was a big, super cool community club where everyone understood you. They understand what you are going through because they’re doing it too.

Because they’re your peers and mentors -- your accountabilibuddies and motivators!

That’s EXACTLY what you’ll get with membership.

2,436 new besties!

(My favorite part is seeing pictures of all the meals everyone is making each week. It’s hugely inspiring for me since I’m a visual person. I also love reading all the recipe ratings and reviews before I cook!)

ANNND because YOU GETTING BIG RESULTS is what I care most about...

If you commit, I’ll commit.

You + me + LIVE video chat every week for the next month!

You can ask me anything AND hangout with other groovy members at the same time.

(I’ve never done this before--and I won’t again. This is super VIP!)

If you’re READY for the ULTIMATE accountabilibuddy, we’re ready for you too.

Become a member of our new community now.

I can’t wait to “meet” you in a chat!

P.S. Check out the awesome foods we’re eating together this week...Crispy Tofu Strips, Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Roll-Up, Sweet & Sour Stuffed Bell Peppers, and Falafel Burgers.

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The Struggle is Real, Isn’t It? My Confession

Yesterday I shared how I was a yo-yo dieter, and that I kept gaining and losing the same 10 pounds for years.

I finally lost the weight, and kept it off (for 2 years now!) by following the meal plans strictly.

But here’s what I didn’t say:

I am a food addict and overeater,

and I could really use some support.

One of the biggest challenges for me wasn’t changing my diet, but doing it by myself.

I had the education.

I knew EXACTLY what I needed to do and WHY.

I’d even figured out what foods were triggers for me! (Brownies, ugh, hem)

But it wasn’t happening. I was failing with my follow-through.

I WANTED to stay on track…

...but it’s hard to run laps around a track alone!

I needed an… accountabilibuddy!

Or at least someone who could share my frustrations and cheer me on when I needed it.

To be fair, my husband supported me, and even my friends were pretty supportive…

BUT they didn’t have the same GOALS.

They weren’t setting the same standards of nutritional excellence for themselves, which was their right, but I felt like a drag saying “Hey guys, can we not order the deep-fried tofu? How ‘bout some steamed veggies?”

And while I didn’t want to admit it, seeing my husband eat our favorite vegan junk foods was hard, too.

Part of my saving grace was always having a plan in place. Knowing what I was going to eat and when. Cooking my meals ahead so I couldn’t stumble into temptation was KEY.

The meal plans made a HUGE difference… but there was still a missing component.

I needed a community, a group of like-minded peers to talk to.

People who just… understood.

And were doing it too! Alongside me!!!

I used to LOVE Facebook, but it’s become a cyclone of elitism and negativity.

It stopped being the place I could go where I felt like I belonged.

With one exception: The private Facebook group for annual meal plan members <3

I soon discovered I wasn’t alone in my “need a buddy” feelings -- many of the annuals felt the same way.

HALLELUJAH I‘VE FOUND MY PEEPS!

This is why I created Meal Mentor Member Forums.

A private, community-driven forum (with chats!) for our members.

SO YOU’RE NOT DOING IT ALONE.

Even if you’re not a newbie anymore, old pros still need a community.

Research solidly backs up that two IS better than one and that you’re more likely to stick with a health routine over time if you’re part of a formal group.

Success is about creating a self-supporting environment…

and having a plan.

(And maybe a mentor and coach on demand when you need one.)

All that now comes together with the new Meal Mentor!

Become a member of our new community now.

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Let’s do this together!

P.S. BIG hugs and thanks to all the people who shared their real (not-a-number) goals yesterday!

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Me, a Pair of Jeans, & My Ideal Weight (Pictures)

Last week Sara asked if I ever got to my ideal weight.

I got into one of those “I want to weigh #” situations, but as I kept being unable to get there, I realized the number was pretty arbitrary anyway.

Getting to that number didn’t guarantee I’d achieve what I really wanted, which was to fit in this pair of jeans I’d been carrying around for 10 years. TEN YEARS!

I bought them back in 2005.

They were the last pair of a limited edition and two sizes too small. I knew I had weight to lose, so I bought the pants for “inspiration” and “motivation.”

Here’s me in the pants last week:

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I first fit into them nine weeks after I decided to follow the meal plans and stop trying to wing it or do it myself.

I was so fed up gaining and losing the same 10 pounds over and over, that in mid-December (2013) I decided to follow the meal plans strictly.

I committed to nutritional excellence -- no more vegan junk foods “in moderation.”

No more getting caught without a nutritious meal or making excuses.

Within the first six weeks I lost the 10 pounds I was always regaining and chasing, but unlike all the other times, I didn’t relax the reigns as a reward.

I stayed committed and compliant.

I ended up losing another 5 pounds, which brought me below my high school weight.

That’s when I found my old (never worn!!) 2005 jeans in the closet.

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Point is, I DID finally get into the pants (they’re still a little too loose…2 years later!! ) and I FEEL GREAT, but I never got to that number on the scale.

(I would have to lose another 10 pounds to reach it).

My email exchange with Sara reminded me that numbers on the scale are really just numbers on the scale.

It can be a helpful tool, certainly -- but it isn’t finite.

Your weight doesn’t say if you’re healthy or not, if you feel amazing or not, and it doesn’t guarantee you’ll get what you want (i.e. fit into a pair of jeans you wore a decade ago).

Sara replied to me, “I have been chasing a number that I am 30 pounds away from, but truly I just want to run without pain. If that happened at 140 or 160 and not 120 pounds, I wouldn't care. I just want to be comfortable in my body and clothes.”

What is it that YOU really want?

I want you to be like Sara and set a measurable goal that isn’t a scale number and share it in the comments below.

P.S. since I’m sure someone will ask ;) I don’t do crunches or any kind of ab work. We all have a 6-pack of abs, they’re just hidden under a curtain of fat. You gotta pull back the curtain with the right diet!

P.P.S. I’m going to reveal my biggest confession tomorrow -- check this space :)

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3 Ways to STOP Self-Sabotage

I need you to make a promise.

Promise me you won’t be the person telling yourself you can’t do something.

(Because as long as you say it, it’s going to be true.)

If you’re READY to stop the subconscious self-sabotage…

If you’re tired of the deep, inner self-betrayal…

If you’re ready to self-SUPPORT...

1. Reframe your thinking.

Think you’ve been using exercise to unknowingly eat more?

Stop thinking of exercise as “burning calories.”

Instead, think of it as toning, or therapy, or simply a scenic walk ;)

41/50 people reported this type of reframing made them less likely to reward themselves with extra calories!!

2. Match your words and actions.

Cheryl kept SAYING she wanted to lose weight, but her ACTIONS told another story as she kept eating ice cream, cookies, etc.

Cheryl knew EXACTLY what she needed to do to lose weight (follow the meal plans, stop eating sweets) but she wouldn’t do it, often blaming cravings for her failure.

“After I eat something spicy I NEED something sweet to balance it out,” she’d say, or, “I CAN’T give up chocolate ice cream.”

One day another member corrected her and said, “Cheryl, you don’t “need” it, you just want it really badly. Wanting and needing aren’t the same.”

That was a light bulb moment for Cheryl.

“It turned the whole thing around for me,” she explained, “I suddenly felt empowered and not powerless. I was in control. I DIDN’T need it.”

A simple shift in language created a huge shift in Cheryl’s mindset.

3. Finally, make plans in advance.

You struggle the most when you don’t know what to expect or how circumstances will unfold.

When you lay out solid plans for the future -- how you will respond to circumstances, what you will eat, etc. -- that’s the very moment you take control and start building proactive momentum.

Most of your life is out of your control, but what you eat is ALWAYS in your control.

Take control of your health with this week’s meal plan.

Put a plan in place to eliminate counterproductive behaviors and self-betrayals.

You know what you have to do!

STOP saying “I can’t” and START saying “I will”.

If you want to start running, don’t say “I can’t run today because it’s too cold or snowy.” Say “I will put on an extra layer” or “I will walk circles in the garage.”

If you want to start taking dance lessons, don’t say “I can’t afford lessons” say “I will watch free dance lessons on YouTube.”

If you want to start eating healthy, invest in the meal plans right now. Take away the analysis paralysis and “too busy” excuses.

All the heavy lifting (finding recipes, creating a shopping list, balancing the meals and being mindful of total calories) is already done for you.

Self-SUPPORT with Black Bean & Corn Taquitos, Spicy Sweet Potato Noodle Soup, Kale & Sweet Potato Frittata, and Baked Caprese Pasta.

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STOP the self-betrayal. STOP self-sabotage by creating a self-SUPPORTing system.

And remember! You promised not to degrade yourself or your goals!! :D

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