Diet vs Lifestyle & Numbers vs Behaviours

January 5th, 2013 by

Every now and then I get asked by a client what their total calories are, or what the breakdown per meal for protein, carbs, fat and calories are, or what the macronutrient ratio in percentages are …

And rarely do I give it to them.


My answer is typically something like, “Well, I don’t provide this and if for some reason you really feel you need to know these numerical details, there are plenty of websites on the internet for where you can calculate it all. My goal however is to get you OFF numbers and onto the process; to get you to focus first and foremost on mastering fat-loss behaviours.”

(I’m sure this will look familiar to some of you.)

Why do I do this? Is it because the numbers (cals/macros) are not important? No, it’s not that, because yes of course they’re an important part of a successful fat-loss strategy.

However, SO many (ie. MOST!) people come into this coaching process handcuffed, sitting in a cell in their personal Diet Prison; they’re long-term serial dieters, up and down, back and forth. There is so much focus on details and not enough focus on mastering behaviour and process.

You’re not always going to measure and weigh food for the rest of your life are you? I mean, yes, it’s important when you’re pursuing a concrete physical/aesthetic goal to be cognizant of how much you’re eating, but when you want to move into more of a ‘lifestyle’ approach to nutrition and fitness – which we ALL eventually should be looking to do by the way – you’re not likely to since the goal then is more one that revolves around maintenance of a healthy weight and body fat and just as important, a healthy relationship with food.

What matters THEN? Your BEHAVIOUR, your choices, your mindset! Not calories, protein, carb or fat calculations.

A big goal of mine/LBC’s is to over time, help people get out of the Diet Prison, to abolish the labeling of good food vs bad food, to loosen up the dietary boundaries you’ve come to willingly or unwillingly create for yourself – for this to not just be what you DO, but for it to become WHO YOU ARE. Big difference. One is restrictive, one is freeing.

That’s the difference between the mindset of a dieter and the mindset of someone living a healthy/fitness lifestyle. And that’s the change that will lead you to be in long-term control of this area of your life. And this is what we all want, especially long-term serial dieters.

So part of making that mental transition from following a diet to living a lifestyle is in my opinion to get OFF numbers and ONTO behaviours and process and this is why I prefer to not provide this information to clients.

Now of course this plays out differently if you do not have a coach and are doing all your own nutritional programming – in that case, you pretty much can’t get away from the numbers. But it’s tough to let go of the dieting mindset and transition into more of a lifestyle mindset on your own … trust me.