4 min read

Five Reasons, Food Guides Don't Work

And what to do about it!

While I admire, the efforts by our governments, in developed and otherwise overweight nations, these guides have been around for more than a couple decade snow and we still pack on the L-B’s.


Well, these are the top 5 reasons I don’t think these guides work the way they are supposed to:

1) Information alone does not educate anyone.

2) Interaction is the key to experiencing and ultimately understanding.

3) The information is merely a vague guideline with no associated meaning.

4) The presentation of the information is anonymous (no association to an entity, business or person)

5) There is no simple breakdown to follow, people often try to do it all at once and consequently fail.

If you’ve come to this blog, you’re looking for more information and at some point we all need that.

However, I regret to inform you that information alone, may not help you get more fit or eat better.

You need to try to utilize that information in small steps and go through a process or education.

Let’s go through an example;

If you eat little to no vegetables or fruit right now, a load of simple carbohydrates, a lot of pre-packaged or fast-food items, are allergic to dairy, afraid of legumes and have difficulty eating enough lean proteins, which habit should you try to change first?

Can you really change all of those habits at once to fit the guidelines?

If we tried to learn math, science, sociology, psychology, anatomy, and visual arts all in the same class, would it work?

Obviously not, yet this is how most people approach weight-loss or trying to change their eating habits.

We decide on a ‘diet plan,’ buy the book, then feel overwhelmed by all the changes in a week or two, and resort back to whatever they were doing before because it was simply too much at one time.

Now at that point most people are no better off than before, so the real question for me is, “how can we facilitate a better course of action?”

I decided to break down how we can get more out of these tools.

Education is a necessity.

Know anyone who got a college degree in one day?

Neither do I. If it takes 4 years just to finish an education and another 6 years to become an expert in your field (or 10,000 hours), what makes us think we can join a gym and be fit 3 months later?

We need to learn in sequential steps at some point in our development, so that the sum of the parts that make up our physical well-being can be accumulated as skill over time.

The same is applicable for psychological control and nutritional prowess. Repetitive conditioning is very important for all of this to happen.

Interaction is a key component to understanding.

You should be asking questions, helping others learn and sharing information with others as much as possible. Just reading the guidelines and trying to follow them by yourself is not enough.

You have to play with those guidelines, experience them and decide what works for you and what doesn’t.

This is a perpetual process, not a one time thing.

Find Meaning in what you want to accomplish.

Guidelines are just that, guidelines.

Hate broccoli? We can find some alternative veggies you may like.

Hate jogging? There are hundreds of different things you can try.

Don’t want to have to think about it at all? We can find ways to make it seem automatic.

This whole process of change really has to make sense to you, or you simply won’t do it.

Recommendations are often useless because people don’t know how to use them, so associate a meaning to your own life.

It is like going into a turn at 30 when the yellow sign says 40, or conversely taking it a little bit faster, that speed is merely a suggestion or guideline.

The real speed at which one can take the turn is dependent upon the make of the car and the experience of the driver.

The same is true here for you, so make the most of what you can do for now.

Associate yourself with a club, organization or group of people with a common objective or interest.

Yes, a group of 12 anonymous people constructed the physical activity guidelines, and you don’t know who they are, so put a face to it by utilizing an experienced mentor, coach or social group you enjoy the company of.

Join a gym with a strong community of like-minded individuals, join a running group if you love running, play on a sports team if that’s your ‘schtick’ instead, just find something that involves socializing with other people you enjoy.

Break It Down and focus on one thing at a time.

Ideally you find the biggest limiting factor and address it in positive light.

What is your biggest limiting factor?

As always I recommend the use of a good coach or mentor who may be able to help you find it.

While I can’t say for sure, here is a small list of places to start, if you are supremely confident you can achieve the behavior change (9 out of 10 commitment) in any of these things, it may be worth a start to hammer it out for 30 days (a month) and see where that gets you.

  • Eating only real, whole foods?
  • Exercising consistently? (start with twice a week and move up to 5 if you want)
  • Training with intensity once you’ve established that consistency?
  • Integrating Strength and Power training?
  • Utilizing mobility training?
  • Eating lean protein with every meal?
  • Eating Veggies with every meal? (5+ servings a day?)
  • Eating healthy fats every day? (Almonds, Avocado, Nut Oils, fish oil, etc….)
  • Eating Slowly?
  • Eating my unhealthy favourite thing to eat once a week, after exercise only?
  • Eating starchy carbohydrates only when I deserve them? (3 hour window after exercise)
  • Drinking only non-caloric beverages?
  • Taking a fish oil or MCT supplement every day?
  • Taking a multi-vitamin?

The most important thing with this, is to stick with one and be patient, you might not see huge changes with each one. Some habits may yield bigger changes than others, but the accumulation effect will happen eventually and when you discover what is really holding you back.

As I said last week, weight loss is not a linear process anyway, something these guidelines fail to mention every time.

It’s time some of us broke the rules