We’re now in Round 2 of ProjectU (and there were even some who piloted this before Round 1 began), so we have a few veterans who have followed the plan, achieved results, and have advice to share. (BIG thanks to everyone for the great advice!) For those of you who are just getting started, this is what they want you to know:
Be open minded with the plan and patient with yourself. The standard American diet that most people follow and what we’ve all been taught is “healthy” really isn’t healthy at all. If you come from the school of healthy whole grains, reduced fat everything, and 100 calorie snack packs of processed food, this is going to be quite an adjustment. You won’t know everything or switch over perfectly overnight and that’s okay. Relax. You’ll get there.
Trust the process. Trust the numbers. Try it for 2-3 weeks and if you aren’t getting the results you want/don’t feel the way you think you should, contact Jeremy to tweak. But give it a good, honest effort before you worry. (and be sure to have before/after photos so he can advise you appropriately)
The beginning is difficult…and that’s okay. You’re likely withdrawing from all sorts of stuff and you’ll probably feel bad…most of us did. Push through and you’ll be fine in a week or so.
PLAN! Plan all of the things: meals for the week and your food for the day. For the week, lots of us do meal prep on the weekend so good food options are available all week without much additional effort. (And yes, you do have time to feed yourself healthy foods) For the day ahead, log what you plan to eat into MFP the day before so you can see what you need and make your numbers work when you aren’t in the heat of the moment, tired, or hungry. Furthermore, plan when you’ll eat throughout the day. Hit big protein numbers for breakfast so you aren’t forcing down shakes and chicken breasts before bed.
Clear out your kitchen of “bad” stuff before you start. On this plan, nothing is off limits, but if you have things in your house that you think you will eat excessively or in a way that doesn’t fit with your macros, get rid of it. And don’t make too many exceptions for your kids either. Healthy food is healthy food, no matter what your age. They’ll live without juice boxes and sugary cereals…promise.
Ditch (or at least limit) the scale. Weigh in no more than 1/wk, and truthfully, progress pictures and the way your pants fit are better measurements than the scale could ever be. But for the love of everything, don’t weigh in every day.
Grab some friends. Be sure you have a small accountability group. That support is crucial. Share progress, recipes, struggles, concerns, questions, and encouragement.
You won’t be perfect, but you’ll still get results. If you have a bad day or two, accept it, move on, and do better. Don’t turn a bad meal into a bad week.
Enjoy your refeeds! They are essential to keeping your hormones (and your attitude!) in check. Don’t skip or feel guilty about them. (if you have more than 50 lbs to lose, Jeremy recommends doing them every other week instead of every week…but whatever frequency is recommended, just be sure you’re doing them)
You’ll learn to eat for function, not simply for pleasure. It makes food YOUR tool instead of you being controlled by your food. Some days you won’t want to eat everything you need. Other days, you may be hungry. Stick with your numbers .
Take good notes. Listen to your body (except in the first couple of weeks…that’s the carb flu talking). How do you feel? How are you sleeping? Where are your energy levels? How do your clothes fit? There are lots of ways to measure success and many tweaks you may want to make along the way, but you can’t do that if you aren’t a good student of the process and aren’t aware of how your body is responding to the different phases of it. Take front, back and side pictures. Take arm, chest, waist, hip and thigh measurements.
Get outside and play! Yes, there are some exercise suggestions that have been added because people asked for them, but this isn’t an exercise and healthy eating challenge. These eight weeks are for you to improve your relationship with food. If you’re in the gym, great! Keep it up! But if you aren’t, that’s okay too. You’ll still benefit greatly from this program. Start small. Walk, hike, play with your kids or your dogs or your friends outside. It’s as good for your mind as this food is for your body.
You CAN do this! It’s a little wild. It’s completely counter-cultural. But it also works. You can be successful and you aren’t alone in this. As a matter of fact, you’re walking this road with a couple thousand people. 🙂
Love yourself! Make your health and wellness a priority for these eight weeks. Don’t apologize for it. This will better many other aspects of your life in ways you don’t quite anticipate yet.