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The “Never Two in a Row” Rule

I used to be speaking with a good friend lately who mentioned he had hit a little bit of a plateau.

We’ve all been there – that uncomfortable place the place the dimensions stops transferring, or the energy gainz decelerate.

Heck, I’ve even written a complete article about busting through a plateau.

As I’ve been revisiting the final 15 years of Nerd Health, I stumbled throughout an absolute doozy of an previous video of me.

It’s child Steve, from 11 years in the past, sitting on a poop-brown sofa (Why did I feel this was the appropriate coloration sofa to purchase?), with helmet hair.

I laughed as I watched this video, however I’m additionally happy with Previous Me for placing this out on this planet!

The “By no means Two in a Row” Rule

The “By no means 2 in a Row” Rule is straightforward:

  • Observe up any “unhealthy” meal with a wholesome one.
  • In the event you miss a exercise, do it THE NEXT DAY.

In different phrases, who cares for those who “mess up” as soon as? Simply don’t “mess up” twice in a row. As a result of lacking two in a row shortly turns into 3 or 5 or 10 or a misplaced 12 months. However lacking as soon as? High quality! Simply get proper again on observe.

Consider it this fashion: for those who adopted up each unhealthy meal with a wholesome one, then no less than 50% of your meals can be wholesome! That’s a reasonably dang good p.c.

It may additionally assist us keep away from an “all-or-nothing” mindset.

Now, I needed to replace my philosophy round plateaus and this rule, so let’s get bizarre.

A plateau doesn’t need to be a nasty factor.

A plateau is commonly irritating, as a result of we people love progress.

Right here’s the factor: when the choice is “transferring within the mistaken course,” a plateau IS progress, particularly for those who’re used to shedding pounds after which backsliding.

If we’re not shedding pounds, and we’re not gaining weight, then we’re consuming roughly the identical variety of energy that our physique burns each day. That’s it. That is neither good nor dangerous, it’s simply math.

In different phrases, a plateau generally is a actually actually good factor. It may imply you’ve chosen to simply tread water for a bit, otherwise you’re taking a strategic pause.

In the event you’re not getting stronger within the gymnasium, there’s nonetheless a profit to maintaining your muscle mass warmed-up with a primary exercise, even when it’s not an enchancment over the previous exercise.

When life is a dumpster hearth, a “plateau” generally is a HUGE win.

Subsequent, let’s discuss “By no means two in a row,” and the way I’d replace my language today.

Wholesome vs Unhealthy

In my video above, I say, “comply with up an unhealthy meal with a wholesome one.”

15 years later, I don’t love utilizing the phrase “wholesome” vs. “unhealthy,” as a result of it assigns some morality to the meals we eat.

(I notice most of us know roughly what we imply by wholesome, so I don’t get rid of the phrase fully from my vocab!)

As a substitute, let’s discuss a reframing of “wholesome vs unhealthy”:

Typically, we eat quick meals as a result of our youngsters need to eat it (or as a result of we’re touring and it’s the one choice on the airport). We don’t need to all the time optimize for weight reduction or energy. Typically we optimize for comfort, or household, or sustenance.

That is neither morally good nor dangerous. It’s merely a meal we selected to eat.

If now we have a purpose that requires a calorie deficit, nice! We will comply with up a high-calorie meal with a lower-calorie meal. No morality or disgrace or judgment required. Simply math and progress.

As a result of a “calorie” is only a unit of measure, not a sign of its high quality!

That is how a professor famously misplaced weight on the “Twinkie Diet,” particularly to indicate the maths of weight reduction does come all the way down to energy:

On his “comfort retailer weight loss program,” he shed 27 kilos in two months.

For a category undertaking, Haub restricted himself to lower than 1,800 energy a day. A person of Haub’s pre-dieting measurement normally consumes about 2,600 energy each day. So he adopted a primary precept of weight reduction: He consumed considerably fewer energy than he burned.

His physique mass index went from 28.8, thought of obese, to 24.9, which is regular.

Two-thirds of his whole consumption got here from junk meals. He additionally took a multivitamin capsule and drank a protein shake each day. And he ate greens, usually a can of inexperienced beans or three to 4 celery stalks.

As I talked about in my 5 Beliefs I’ve Changed My Mind On, I’ve lower approach again on my worry mongering round sure meals – we beat ourselves up sufficient, and our weight is unbelievably sophisticated and nuanced.

So the place does that go away us?

We’re adults and we will make our personal selections. We will select to comply with up a excessive calorie meal with a extra nutrient dense, low calorie meal. We will combine and match.

It’s NOT all or nothing, and it’s not immoral to eat chips or ice cream. It’s what it’s!

In our “Guide to healthy eating,” we level out which meals are nutritionally-light and higher-calorie (processed meals, snack meals, sweet, soda, and so forth.), and which meals are nutritionally-dense and lower-calorie (vegetables and fruit, lean protein, entire grains).

You’ll be able to resolve what “wholesome” means to you, and what “unhealthy” means. You can too resolve to change your language to “larger calorie vs. decrease calorie.”

After which apply the By no means 2 in a Row Rule!

Lacking a exercise

Typically, we miss a exercise.

This additionally doesn’t have to be a supply of disgrace or guilt.

Nor does it imply “I suck and I’ll attempt once more subsequent 12 months.”

It’s only a factor that occurred.

As a substitute of claiming “I didn’t have time to work out in the present day,” which brings up emotions of guilt and disgrace and disappointment….

As a substitute we will say, “Understanding in the present day was not a precedence.” Strategic! Certain, we would must do some compassionate interior work on why it wasn’t a precedence, however typically it’s simply because life was an absolute dumpster hearth that day!

This previous week, my exercise schedule was thrown off, and I didn’t work out on my common exercise days.

It wasn’t as a result of I didn’t have time to work out…however as a result of understanding wasn’t a precedence for me…I had different issues occurring that have been extra necessary to me.

On the identical time, I knew my psychological well being would profit from me doing one thing, so I did my two half-assed exercises, went for a fast stroll on the opposite days, and that’s it.

By no means Two in a Row

To recap: In the event you miss a exercise, who cares! Simply do no matter you possibly can to not miss two exercises in a row. This might help us from dropping an excessive amount of momentum.

In the event you eat a high-calorie meal, nice! I hope it was scrumptious. Observe it up with a lower-calorie meal, hopefully one which’s satiating and nutritionally full.

All-or-nothing doesn’t work. And we don’t need to be excellent.

And if we overeat at one meal, modify the subsequent one.

If we miss a exercise, get the subsequent one.

Simply, don’t miss two in a row, and also you’ll be shocked how a lot progress you may make!

Even when that progress is a plateau…it’s higher than going within the mistaken course.


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