These are the first several habits from the Precision Nutrition program.
The full program is one year long, completely online, and sends you daily lessons going more in depth into all of the habits (and gives you more ideas about how to practice them). The online system also includes accountability checks, where you check off every day to say whether you practiced your habit. If you’re interested in doing the full program and getting personalized nutrition and habit-coaching help from our awesome PHD in psychology and certified nutrition coach Doc Hoff, just click here to get signed up (for just $19 a week!)!
PS: We’re so confident in this system, we’ll coach you up for a full year and, if for some reason you’re not happy with your experience or your results, we’ll give ya 100% of your money back! Hooya 😀
How it Works
The basic structure is to practice a new habit for 2 weeks (so that it becomes pretty automatic and a part of your daily routine) BEFORE moving on to the next habit.
So, DON’T TRY TO DO ALL OF THESE HABITS AT ONCE!
Add them one at a time, about every 2 weeks (take longer if needed to feel really confident in them).
I’ve listed the first 7 of the habits here, so this should take you at least 14 weeks to get through ☺ . The habits start really simple (like just trying to slow down while you’re eating) and then get more challenging over time, encouraging you to eat a diet consisting primarily of whole, unprocessed foods.
That said, because it starts slow, you’re not going to notice dramatic results really quickly. This is supposed to create real, lasting changes to your eating habits, and to do that, it takes time! The habits build on each other, so once you master one, you keep on doing it as you move on to the next habit.
This program doesn’t make you “give up” any of the foods you love.
It’s all about adding more whole foods to your meals. Eventually, though, you’ll find that the more you add the healthy unprocessed foods to your meals, the less room you’ll have for other foods!
There’s also no conception of ‘good food’ vs. ‘bad food’. Just food that you should have more often or less often, and food that makes you feel healthy and energetic or doesn’t. You also shouldn’t feel like you have to follow this 100% of the time. If you’re hitting your habit for 5/7 days, or even the majority of the days, that’s a huge win! But the more consistent you are, the more visible changes you’ll notice over time.
Try to think of all of this as experimental – you’re just trying new things and finding out what you like, what makes you feel good, what fits into your life, etc. There’s no such thing as failure, only feedback!
The other key thing is to just try to make choices that are 1% better every day. For me, just to give you some examples, this has meant ordering my fast food burger without fries, or eating 3 pieces of pizza instead of 4 ☺. The focus isn’t on perfection, just on slowly getting a little bit healthier every day.
The first two habits (eat slowly and to 80% full) are the simplest and the most important. Once you get through them, try to practice them no matter what the circumstance: even when life is too crazy to get in whatever other habit you’re working on, when you’re on vacation, enjoying holidays, eating out with friends, eating your favorite foods, etc. They’re the reason you’ll never have to count calories or carbs and still be able enjoy the foods you love!
Habit 1: Eat Slowly
See if you can add 5 or 10 minutes to each meal. Sit down. Savor your food. Put down your utensil (or handheld food), look up, and take a breath or two between bites. Use a timer if necessary to see if you’re making progress. To take it up a notch, try eating without any distractions. Fully observe and enjoy the taste, texture, and experience of eating.
Note: don’t feel like you need to change WHAT you’re eating at this point or HOW MUCH you’re eating. Just focus on slowing down ☺
Habit 2: Eat to 80% Full
80% full is eating until you’re just satisfied. No longer hungry, but not full, and definitely not stuffed. You should still feel like you could easily eat more after you finish your meal. You should also feel like you would be able to do something active after your meal (like taking a walk, for example). How to practice: start by eating just a little bit less than normal at each meal and notice what it’s like to stop a little earlier. You can see how you feel eating 50% less than normal as a start. If you’re hungry an hour later, up it to 25% less than normal.
Note: you still don’t need to change anything about WHAT you’re eating at this point! Just focus on slowing down and eating a little bit less than normal.
Habit 3: Eat lean protein at each meal
Step 1: Recommended protein sources
Lean meat such as beef, pork, or wild game
Poultry such as chicken, turkey, or duck
Fish & seafood such as shrimp or scallops
Eggs & egg whites
Cottage cheese or strained plain Greek yogurt
Protein powder such as whey, egg, vegetarian blends, etc.
Cooked lentils or beans
Tempeh or tofu
Step 2: Pick a protein from the list and add it to every meal you eat! A typical serving of protein is the size of your palm (for meat sources) or the size of your cupped hand (for vegetarian or dairy sources).
Habit 4: Eat 5 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables each day
Serving of fruits: cupped hand
Serving of veggies: the size of your fist
Focus is on colorful fruits and veggies – the white ones (think garlic, onion, mushrooms, bananas still have nutrients – still eat them if you life them — But they don’t count towards this habit). Below are some ideas.
Red / pink
red berries (strawberries, raspberries, fresh cranberries, etc.)
fresh red currants
red-skinned apples and pears
Orange / yellow
orange / yellow peppers
orange / yellow tomatoes
winter squash, pumpkin
orange sweet potatoes
peaches, apricots and nectarines
gooseberries, yellow raspberries
(You’re looking especially for dark green.)
sweet peas or snow peas
fresh herbs such as parsley or basil
cactus pads (nopales)
green onions or chives
blueberries and blackberries
fresh black-skinned figs
fresh black currants
blue / black grapes
Habit 5: Make Smart Carb Choices
“Smart carbohydrates” are carbs that are:
higher in fiber (so they digest relatively slowly, giving you long-lasting slow-burn energy)
full of vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients;
friendly to your blood sugar, hormones, and digestion;
versatile and easily cooked;
whole, relatively minimally processed foods; and
Smart carbs include:
fruit (fresh or frozen)
starchy tubers such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, yuca/cassava, taro/tapioca, etc.
other starchy fruits and veggies, such as plantains or sweet winter squashes (e.g. Hubbard, butternut, buttercup, kabocha)
whole, minimally-processed grains (such as quinoa, brown or wild rice, slow-cooking oats, buckwheat, sprouted grains, etc.)
beans and legumes
Focus on eating BETTER carbs, not FEWER carbs. You never have to give up carbs ☺
Try eating a cupped handful of one ‘smart’ carb at each meal and experiment with switching out or substituting carbs you’re currently eating with one of these.
Habit 6: Eat Healthy Fats
Recommended healthy fats:
Oils such as:
flax seed oil
hemp seed oil
omega-3 oils such as fish or algae (more on this later in the week)
Avocado or guacamole
Nuts such as almonds, Brazil, cashews, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, etc.
Nut butters such as almond, cashew, etc.
Peanuts and natural peanut butter
Seeds such as chia, ground flax, pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, etc.
One serving of fat: about 1 thumb-sized serving per meal (this is probably a lot less than what you typically think of! Also use this as a guide when adding cheese or dairy fats to your meals.)
Try eating healthy fats at most meals.
Habit 7: Plan Precision Nutrition-Friendly Meals
Focus is on thinking and planning ahead, not perfection ☺
PN-friendly meals can mean including:
Colorful fruits and vegetables
Slow-digesting, high-fiber carbs
Foods you know you can eat slowly and mindfully, to 80% full
Foods that feel good to YOU and that YOU enjoy
If you spend a few minutes looking ahead and figuring out how to get at least 2 to 3 PN-friendly meals into your routing, that counts as practicing this habit!