Weighless or Precision Nutrition?

We’re often asked about how the Weighless program compares to Precision Nutrition’s program. Both are 12-month programs that promise to create sustainable behavior change. Both incorporate nutrition and fitness. Both cost about the same.

Let me start by saying, I have a ton of respect for what John Berardi has created there. From what I’ve seen, the concepts and philosophy of Precision Nutrition are 100% aligned with our approach–although the name might suggest otherwise.

The name “Precision Nutrition” implies that they focus on getting exactly the “right” number of grams or percentages of various nutrients. In reality, their approach focuses more on making small sustainable shifts in habits and setting up the systems that support your goals: very much like what we do in the Weighless Program as well.

(This is the opposite of what we’ve seen of the Noom program, by the way, which promises psychology and behavior change but delivers the same old, doomed, calorie-obsessed diet.)

How Weighless is different

So, for those who have already tried Precision Nutrition, or are trying to do decide between the two, here are the three things that set the Weighless program apart:

Your Curriculum. In the Weighless program, we don’t just have a method. We also have a process for teaching that method. Our 52-week curriculum guides you step-by-step through an incremental, cumulative process of behavior change. You’re not only learning how to weigh less without dieting, you’re learning a method that can be used to create any change you’d like to see in your life.

Your Coaches. Brock and I didn’t just create the Weighless curriculum. We’re there personally, throughout the program, to help you understand, implement, modify, and problem-solve, and to offer insight, feedback, and support. We do not outsource this support to free-lancers. And unlike Precision Nutrition, we do not run a training or certification program for other coaches. Your success is our primary bottom line.

Your Community. In Weighless, you’ll go through the entire program with a small group of people (we’re talking dozens, not thousands)–all of whom you will know by name, and all of whom will be working through the same material at the same time. The private member’s forum (not on Facebook) becomes an information hub, a co-working space, and a place to connect with us and your fellow members. It’s available to you 24/7 and with members located around the world, the lights are always on. This tight-knit community becomes an invaluable source of support, ideas, and camaraderie.

Other questions? Need more help deciding whether or not Weighless is a good fit? Feel free to email us.

But I’ve tried so many times before

We asked people to share the biggest thing keeping them from tackling their weight issues. And one answer that keeps cropping up is breaking my heart.

“I have tried (and failed) too many diets in the past.”

“With a history of yo- yo dieting, I already feel discouraged.”

“Knowing myself, I won’t succeed.”

Ouch. I get it. You’ve tried again and again to lose weight without success. Or you’ve lost weight and always gain it back. The thought of trying and failing again is just too painful.

But the alternative seems just as painful: simply giving up and accepting that you’ll always be unhappy with your body and your relationship with food.

But there is one more option. And it’s not simply to try again and hope that this time, somehow, it will be different. It’s to try something you haven’t tried before.

Instead of going on yet another diet to lose weight, you could start creating a life in which you weigh less.

You can accept that this process will involve a certain amount of failure. But if properly utilized, those failures can actually become stepping stones to success.

And just like mountain climbers clip into each others’ lines for safety, you can hook into a community and a system that will keep you from falling off the mountain when you slip, and hold you in place until you regain your footing.

This is what we do in the Weighless program.

Here’s the thing: Every single one of the people who has succeeded with us had a long history of failed attempts.

I’m so glad they didn’t give up. I’m so glad they decided to try one more time…but to try something completely different.

There’s a choice to be made

I know it seems like a lifetime ago, but think back to before we were all plunged into this global pandemic. What was on your personal To Do list? What goals were you working toward? What projects were most important to you?

Are those things still important to you? Why or why not?

Does it still feel possible to make progress toward your objectives? Why or why not?

It may be tempting to use this disruption and uncertainty as a reason to give up on goals you have been working towards.  Or as an excuse to (over)indulge in things that move you even further from your goal. 

Alternatively, you can choose to find the ways in which this disruption offers an opportunity.

  • Cooking more at home means eating more nutritious meals.
  • Less commuting means more time to exercise.
  • Fewer trips to the grocery store means less impulse buying.
  • Not eating out equals less temptation to overindulge.
  • The loss of old routines is a golden opportunity to establish new patterns.
  • A change in employment status is a chance to pursue a new path.

You can decide which of your previous habits you want to return to when conditions allow and which of them you’ll shed for good. After all, not all of what we used to consider “normal” was good for us. 

How do I know that it is possible to grow and thrive in the midst of chaos and uncertainty?

I’m watching you do it.

In March, just as Covid was shutting down the world as we know it,  a new cohort was just beginning in the year-long Weighless program.  We’ve got teachers, parents, essential workers, business owners, furloughed workers, and first responders. And these people are KILLING it!  They aren’t making excuses. They are figuring it out.  (And if you can learn to weigh less during a global pandemic, there’s really nothing that can stop you.) 

In a few weeks, we’re planning to open enrollment for our next group. We don’t know how the current situation will affect enrollment.  We may have a smaller group than usual. And that’s totally fine.  In fact, it may be a bonus. Because these will be people who understand that conditions are never ideal and that health and well-being is not a luxury. And that right there is a powerful predictor of their success. 

In the meantime, I want to encourage all of us to use the challenges we are facing as an opportunity and not an excuse. 

Photo by Mark Duffel on Unsplash

Exercise is making me ravenous

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

One of our Weighless Community members recently emailed with a dilemma:

I recently started hiking 5-10 mi a day and I am now ravenous all the time.  I eat my usual sized meal and I’m still hungry…or I’m hungry again 30 minutes later. I have upped my calories a bit, but that didn’t seem help. I also tried eating more frequently. No luck there either.

Eventually, my body acclimates, but if I increase my speed or add more miles, it starts over again.  Is there a way to control this? I was hoping to lose 5-10 lbs, not gain it!

In fact, there are some strategies for dealing with this.  But first, I needed to know what KC’s motivation was for continuing to increase the intensity and duration of her hikes.  It’s usually one of three things. 

Exercising to lose weight

If you’re exercising more in order to burn more calories in order to lose weight, then you may be shooting yourself in the foot.  

Exercise can stimulate the release of hormones that increase appetite. This is your body’s well-meaning (but perhaps unhelpful) attempt to replace those lost calories.  And moderate intensity, long duration activities like hiking, cycling, and jogging are the ones most likely to have this effect.   (Consuming a lot of gels and goos during your workout can make it worse). 

Exercise has so many benefits–and we want you to enjoy them all!  But as a calorie burning strategy, it often backfires.  You log more minutes on the treadmill in order to burn more calories but then end up hungrier as a result.  And this is why, in the Weighless program, we don’t encourage exercising in order to burn calories or lose weight.  (More about that here.)

Exercising to get fit

If the goal is simply to get fitter (which we certainly DO encourage!), you might want to opt for shorter, higher intensity workouts or interval training. These (when combined with a generally active lifestyle) can get you fit a lot faster. And they are also less likely to stimulate the appetite to the same degree. 

Training for a challenge

Now, as it turns out, KC was not hiking in order to burn calories or simply to get fit.  She wanted to get to the top of a certain mountain.  Just for the satisfaction of meeting the challenge (and, of course, enjoying the view).  This is an awesome reason to train!  But in that case, part of the challenge will be figuring out how to manage the impact of endurance training your appetite without overeating. 

We tackled that question on this episode of the Nutrition Diva podcast.  But in the meantime, we’d like to hear from you!  What is YOUR motivation for the various types of exercise you do? Are you exercising to get fit? Training for a challenge?  Or in an attempt to manage your weight? 

Why you don’t stick to your plans

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

We’re hearing a lot these days about the value of planning: A daily schedule to impose some structure to our suddenly formless days. A task list to keep us focused and productive while working or studying from home. A meal plan to keep us from mindlessly grazing all day.

So we dutifully make a plan for the day…and then abandon the plan by 10am. It’s tempting to conclude that planning doesn’t work.

But here’s the thing everyone forgets to tell you about planning. The trick is not in making the plan. The trick is in sticking to the plan you’ve made.

Because I can almost guarantee you that however solid and reasonable your plan, when it comes time to execute it, your brain is going to rebel. It will argue that it doesn’t really matter whether you write that email now or later, or whether you eat this or that. After all (your brain will say to you), you made the plan. You can change the plan. No big deal, right?

And the more often you throw the plan out the window, the easier that “no big deal” moment becomes. Each time you alter your plan, you empower the part of your brain that always wants to give up.

At the end of the day, however, you’re very likely going to be disappointed with the results. A lot of the work you planned to do is still undone. The exercise session you planned somehow didn’t happen. Instead of the nice salad you planned to have for lunch, you ate an entire tube of saltines, 4 slices of american cheese, the cookie you planned to enjoy after dinner plus three more. You’ll wonder how the day got so out of control.

The problem here is that your brain has (at least) two parts: A higher brain that’s looking out for your future well-being and a lower brain that favors immediate gratification.

Which part of your brain do you want calling the shots?

In the Weighless Program, we often refer to that lower brain as our Inner Toddler. And just like a child testing limits, our lower brain is constantly testing to see whether it can get the higher brain to cave in on all those pesky, no-fun plans. But just as a child actually feels much safer and happier when they realize that there are limits that prevent them from doing whatever they want, you will feel so much calmer and more in control when you know that you can count on yourself to stick to the plan. And every time you do, you strengthen that part of your identity.

The art of planning

Whether you are planning your work schedule, your meals, your exercise, or any other habit, you may need to experiment to discover what level of detail is flexible enough to be realistic without being so flexible that it fails to keep you on track. But whatever level of detail you arrive at, it’s helpful to write it down. Because then when your lower brain starts negotiating or you conveniently “forget” what the plan was, you can refer to that document and remind yourself, “Nope, this is the plan. End of discussion.”

At the first moment of rebellion, when your lower brain starts to argue that it doesn’t really matter whether you eat a salad or saltines for lunch, you calmly tell your lower brain, “No, we’re going to stick to the plan–simply because that’s what we planned. If we decide we don’t like this plan, we can make a different plan for tomorrow. But today, we’re following the plan. “

And then you follow through. You trust that what your higher brain planned for you was in your best interests.   When you’re tempted to have an unplanned snack or treat, remind yourself that your plan includes a snack and a treat. Just not this one and not right now.

So, you also want to be kind to yourself when you’re making your plans. You want to be looking out for your best interests, whether that’s finishing the work that needs to get done, or eating nutritious foods, or getting some exercise. But in addition to all of these ways of taking care of yourself, remember that your plan should also include ways of resting and relaxing, things to enjoy and look forward to.

It’s OK to plan a food treat but remember there are lots of other ways that we can give ourselves small pleasures through the day, whether it’s a call with a friend, a nap, a half hour with a book or magazine, or an episode of a favorite show. When we include treats in our plan, it makes it much easier for us to resist momentary urges–because we know we have treats coming our way.

If only as an experiment, I want you to see what happens if you stick to your plan all day long. You owe it to yourself to see what it’s like when you actually take care of yourself that way.

There may be a few bumps. You may feel a little grumbly at times. But at the end of the day, I want you to notice how it feels to have completed (most of) the work you meant to complete, to have eaten (pretty much) the way you intended to eat, just moved your body (more or less) the way you planned to, to have enjoyed the treats that you selected for yourself–and to have both the pleasure of anticipating them as well as the pleasure of enjoying them.

Does it feel better or worse than you feel when you abandon your plan because it doesn’t seem appealing or important in the moment?

If you didn’t stick to your plan, think about why your plan failed. Was the plan too strict? Simply unrealistic? Maybe your work plan needs to include an extra hour to handle unexpected stuff. Maybe the meals you planned weren’t quite enough to satisfy your hunger. Or, maybe you needed to leave a little more time for preparation. How can you adjust tomorrow’s plan to make it serve you even better?

How to feel better right now

Photo by pine watt on Unsplash

How many times in the last 24 hours have you said (either outloud or to yourself) “I’m so stressed”  or “This is so incredibly stressful!”?

And it’s true: We are all going through something completely unfamiliar and unknown. We have to do things we’ve never done before, We have to find completely new ways of doing things that we’ve been doing all of our lives.

This is the textbook definition of stress.

For most of us, the word “stress” has a very negative, even harmful connotation. And when we hear and say and think it over and over again, it enhances the sense of doom and disaster.

But stress is not inherently bad or good, positive or negative. It’s just challenging.  And simply replacing the word “stress” with the word “challenge” can ratchet down the anxiety. And help you reclaim a sense of control and resilience.

Challenges can be energizing. They may cause us to discover strengths and talents we never dreamed of. We may have ideas and inspirations and experiences that we would never have had otherwise.

Of course, challenges can ALSO be difficult. They may be frightening, or painful, or sad. We may feel fatigued or anxious or numb.  I’m not denying that.

But we can work with those feelings (and our responses to them) much more effectively if we can name them more specifically.

So, instead of saying you feel “stressed” and diving for the chocolate, see if you can be more specific.  What actual physical sensations are you aware of? What emotions are you feeling?

And then consider how you can relieve that sensation, or address that feeling.

  • If you’re hungry, fix a meal that will nourish both body and spirit.
  • If your muscles are tense, try a gentle stretching routine.
  • If your breathing is shallow, try some deep breathing.

  • If you are tired, try taking a nap.
  • If you are feeling grief, allow yourself to mourn.
  • If you are keyed up, try releasing some energy by taking a brisk walk.
  • If you are worried about someone, try reaching out to them.
  • If you are anxious about having too many things on your to do list, do one of them.  (Or, remove one of them!)
  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask for help.
  • If you’re depressed by news, turn it off.
  • If you’re anxious about the future, bring your focus gently to the present, which is the only realm in which you have any agency.
  • If you’re lonely, reach out to a friend.

We are all stronger, more resourceful and more resilient than we ever imagined.  I don’t think any of us would have chosen to be in our current circumstances. But every challenge is an opportunity for growth. And massive challenges offer the opportunity for massive growth.