On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m talking with Paul Salter, a registered dietician whose mission is to help people break free of poor relationships with the scale, food or feeling trapped in the cycle of weight loss and regain.
We start with the problem of girls starting to diet as early as 5 and 6 and being taught so young that being thin is essential. And yet, my food story starts with weight loss, with losing the 85 pounds I was carrying from pregnancy. Paul talks about the scale as one marker of progress, but that it isn’t always the right marker and shouldn’t be the only one. Energy can become a powerful marker instead.
Then we dive into why dieting doesn’t work. How we don’t think about what or how we’ll eat after our diet or cleanse ends. Short plans—usually 30 to 90 days—are designed to make you feel successful. You feel like you can do it, knowing it will end, but when it does end and the plan doesn’t fit with your lifestyle, you don’t know what to do. We need to find the sustainable plan for our food.
We talk about:
- Keystone habits, things we do that have the biggest return on investment, such as meal planning and meal prep
- Getting clear on your foundational foods—your 4–5 main staple food groups that you need every day—making a list of foods you know you like and make you feel your best, and flexing what and when you eat around your foundational foods
- How to get past the noise to know what to eat. For everyone, that’s wholesome nutrient-dense foods and then paying attention to what doesn’t sit well with you
- The “what the hell” phenomenon and ways to reframe to get overall or nothing/black or white thinking when it comes to food
- Two ways to handle feeling weird about food choices at family or social events
- Training your brain to scout the positives by writing down a non-scale related victory each night
- Having an after-action plan for when you get off track
He’s obsessed with helping men and women who have a history of yo-yo dieting develop the mindset and behaviors essential to achieving long-term weight maintenance and he takes great pride in his ability to provide impactful education, resources, and support to help you do just that.
The past few years, he’s worked one-on-one with more than 1,000 men and women, helping them to transform their lives while collectively losing tens of thousands of pounds of body fat.
He’s served as a Sports Nutrition Consultant for the prestigious Renaissance Periodization, a lecturer in the Health Sciences Department at Northern Arizona University, as the Nutrition Editor for Bodybuilding.com, and as a Sports Dietitian for IMG Academy.
Doable Changes from this episode:
- CULTIVATE A VISION. The first step is to cultivate a vision of what you want your future relationship with food and the scale to look like. Answer questions like What does my social or dining out lifestyle look like? How many times do I want to spend having meals out or tending social gatherings with your family? How many times do I want to work out in a week regardless of the form of exercise that you choose? Having a clear, detailed vision is necessary to taking action steps to move in the direction you want to go.
- WRITE DOWN WINS. Each night before bed, write down one non-scale victory or positive. It could be related to your workout, the way you feel, the way you felt wearing a certain outfit, your energy of the day, or some other non-nutrition or exercise related positive. This practice helps retrain your brain to scout out the positives, which can help you keep moving forward.
- MAKE AN AFTER ACTION REPORT. We all “screw up” or go off track as we try to eat better. Instead of beating yourself up or deciding that it’s all over, reflect on why you got off track. See if you can identify any specific triggers or stressors or challenges you faced then take a step to reflect what you could’ve done differently to better navigate the situation. This can help you make a plan to handle similar situations that you encounter in the future.