If you’ve been reading our blogs for a while, you may already know this. However if you are new, we thought it might be relevant to tell you what IWON stands for. IWON is an acronym for I’m Winning On Nutrition. This is not a brag about the quality of our vegetarian snacks. This is the goal that was formed from two powerful life experiences: winning and health. IWON founder, Mark Samuel, discovered long ago that his food and exercise habits directly affected his quality of life. He also enjoyed winning in life. Experience led him to create a line of plant-based snacks and breakfast cereals to help others experience wins with their nutrition. We use the word nutrition because “diet” has lost its integrity and turned from a winning way to eat into a multi-billion dollar industry of confusion.
There are two definitions of the word diet. One is what people eat. Two is a restrictive eating plan intended to cause a physical outcome. For the purpose of this blog, we are using the second definition, and we will use nutrition as the word for what you eat. With that clear, we also want to say that the following information is not intended to counteract the advice of your doctor or medical practitioner. When a diet is prescribed by a doctor for a particular medical result, that is something else entirely. We want to dive into diets for weight loss and whether they work.
To avoid too much resistance, let's start with this: most diets work. When you change how you eat, restrict calories, cut out major food groups, kill off an entire macronutrient, remove solid foods, eat only one food, or whatever diet you are trying, you will see a physical change. Everyone’s bodies will react to changes in their current eating patterns. Most bodies will lose weight when any form of restriction is implemented. So this is not a blog to say your keto, vegan, weight watchers, beach body, diet doesn’t work. Sure they work.
When we ask, “Do diet’s work?” We are asking for the big win, the third inning, the fourth quarter, the long game. When you start a new diet, it’s important to ask yourself, “Can I stay with this for five years? Ten? Into retirement?” If the only win you’re focused on is the next 10, 15, or 30 pounds, it will be a short celebration. The argument is not ‘does the diet work.’ The argument is, ‘is the diet sustainable?’
According to the Cleveland Clinic, 80-95% of dieters gain their weight back!(1) So when looking at the long game, it’s fair to say that DIETS DON’T WORK!
Don’t feel frustrated. We understand that the information out there is incredibly hard to sift through and find the truth. That’s why IWON operates with a very simple mantra: small wins. Nutrition and health do not need to be complicated. They need to be based on small wins.
We all know what is healthy and what is not. All-natural, high protein snacks are healthy. Organic, non-gmo, fruits and vegetables are healthy. Whole, unprocessed, non-bleached grains are healthy. Raw, unsweetened, unsalted nuts and seeds are healthy. Even organic, grass-fed, free-range, hormone-free animal products are healthy for the body in moderation. Non-chemical, unprocessed, low to no packaging, preservative and colorant free, as close to the original as possible, foods tend to be healthy. So what’s the secret? MODERATION!
We all want the magic pill, foolproof diet plan, guaranteed steps to health, fitness, and that ideal body image. Well here it is: small wins. Every single morning, you want to wake up and plan your small wins for that day. Perhaps it’s as small as buy vegan snacks. Or you may be a bit further along and your small win is complete one hour circuit training. Try writing down one to five small wins you can scatter through your day. Make them things you can do right here, right now without any roadblocks in the way. If you want to set a small win to go to the gym, but you don’t have a gym membership or the money to pay for one, then don’t set that as your workout. Choose to walk around your neighborhood or take on any number of the free workout videos online.
Set up some small wins each and every day that will get you closer to your nutrition and fitness goals. Aim for a dense, whole-food breakfast. When this becomes second nature, aim for a dense, whole-food lunch. When you master walking a mile, make it two, or give jogging a try. Whatever habit you want to build in your life, starting small and creating a foundation is the key to its success. When we dive head first into large changes with little up front reward, they are very hard to sustain. Health and fitness have very little up front reward. Weight loss takes time. Building muscles, endurance, or a physical skill set takes time.
So get your long term goals in focus, and then begin to set up small wins every single day to get you there. Stock your pantry with healthy high protein snacks, fill your freezer with your favorite pre-cut, pre-washed veggies, load your fridge with fresh, ready to eat fruits, pre-cook a big batch of whole grains, and set yourself up for success.
There’s one more big key to small wins and that is to celebrate! When you only eat a quarter of that pint of ice cream which you usually devour, be sure to congratulate yourself. Notice the win you just made for your health. If you turn off the tv and choose to go for a power walk, give yourself a pat on the back. And when you get on the scale and see you’ve dropped two pounds, let yourself feel proud. Go retro and give yourself a gold star. Find ways to celebrate yourself that aren’t counterproductive to your goals. In other words, don’t eat a whole cheesecake because you lost two pounds.
If you would like to explore the principle of small wins further, check-out Mark Samuel’s free e-book, “Small Wins, Big Victories.”