How to Diet Sustainably – The SAID Principle Applied to Dieting

We’ve all seen it before.  Our friend wants to lose weight so they start a new diet plan.  However, their new diet is so restrictive that they give up in a few weeks with nothing to show for it.  Or, if they do follow through, they gain the weight back soon after.

So what is the answer?  How can we make a lasting change to our eating habits and our bodies?

The SAID Principle

We live in a day and age where everything is quick and easy, so we expect to lose weight with a quick fix too.  However, if you want to see lasting results, it’s important to make long-term changes to the way you eat, not just temporary ones.

When you work out, your body gets stronger and stronger as you increase the difficulty of your workouts.  That is the SAID Principle – Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands.  The more you ask your body to do, the stronger it has to get.  It adapts.

Small, Lasting Change

The key here is that you need to increase the difficulty of your workouts consistently, but not increase them too much at once.  If I can bench press 100 lbs. on Monday and then try to bench press 300 lbs. on Tuesday, I’ll get crushed.  Unfortunately, this is what most people do with their diets.  They go from eating 4,000 calories a day to 1,500 overnight, and their body resists.

So, what can we do differently?  If I wanted to increase my bench press, I would want to add 5 lbs. each time, lifting 100 lbs. on Monday and then 105 lbs. on Tuesday.  If I wanted to change my diet, I would do the same thing: make small but consistent changes so that my body has the chance to adapt over time.

For example, when I was in high school I decided to stop drinking soda.  Instead of trying to change my ENTIRE diet, I just chose one thing to change.  Within a few weeks, soda didn’t even appeal to me anymore.  By eliminating just one thing from my diet, my body was able to adapt and actually begin to crave what was good for it.

The key here is to choose just one thing to change and stick with it until it becomes your new normal.  This will probably take a few weeks, so give it some time.  Then, choose a new goal.  Take it one step at a time and you’re sure to succeed!

What About You?

So what is the one thing you are going to change today?

-Eat one serving of vegetables at every meal.

-Start drinking your coffee without creamer.

-Have one cookie instead of two.

-Lick a carrot every day.

Make a small change today and stick with it.  Those small changes will add up and have a huge impact on your health long-term.

So tell me, what is the one thing you are going to change today to invest in the health of your future self?

Keep transforming.


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