What matters when it comes to your diet? Hint: it isn’t the supplements you take, whether you eat breakfast or not, or your macronutrient ratio.

Food Relationship: How you eat must come first. Why do you overeat, snack at night, and drink too much? You know these actions are counter-productive, yet you continue to do them anyway. If you can’t solve food relationship problems, they will carry over into all dietary changes you make.

Food Selection: Once you have begun addressing your ‘how I eat’ issues, food selection becomes more critical. Are you eating whole foods? Are you avoiding/reducing processed versions of those foods? Are you making the majority of the meals you eat?

Food Quantity: Once the how (food relationship) and what (food philosophy) are sorted, you can start worrying about issues of quantity. How much food do you need to serve your body? Chances are you’re taking in a little more nutrition than you need.

Food Timing: Once steps 1-3 have become routine, you can worry about the details. This includes meal timing, how many meals you eat per day, fasting/feasting windows (time-restricted eating), and even what to eat before and after exercise or when not exercising at all to maximize your food.

Food Content/Details: This is usually where people believe progress begins, which is why most people don’t progress. Only when steps 1-4 are on auto-pilot do things like protein, fat, and carb ratios, supplementation, and other food categorizations and specifics matter. Even then, they matter very little when compared to the impact of the previous steps.

Start at the top, and you might lose a few quick pounds and then gain them back. Start at the bottom, and you’ll have to delay your gratification, but you will spend the rest of your life progressing and succeeding with permanence.

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