I gave out some pretty simple advice early last year to a friend. I never realized how much of an impact it had until I caught up with him recently.
Let’s frame the question first. My friend, recently new to working out, asked me for some tips on what to include in his diet. He wanted to hit all food groups, had a grocery list of items that looked like an Arabic scroll and had a plan of what he was going to eat and when. It was pretty impressive. However, I felt he was over-complicating it.
Here was a guy who before that moment would skip breakfasts and maybe eat three meals a day and he wanted to all of a sudden start plowing 5,000 calories into his system. I had to control myself from laughing too hard when he told me this.
So what was the advice?
I called it the pasta and beans diet. I told him to leave his grocery list alone and just start stuffing his face with pasta and beans everyday as much as as possible throughout the day. And why pasta and beans? I’ll tell ya: because they’re both dirt cheap.And a great source of protein too!
See the problem is that most people try to do too much at first and than end up disappointed because their high expectations fell flat. So they stop.
But pasta and beans don’t stop. Pasta and beans keeps you going. Pasta and beans gives you gas. In more than one way. And once you begin to get sick of pasta and beans, that’s when you start adding variety to your meals.
Small achievements begin to add up. And they’re much easier to accomplish than a large, pie-in-the-sky goal. That’s what the pasta and beans diet goes to accomplish. Stop complicating your diet by having these grandiose plans of what you’re going to eat and when and just eat.
But back to my friend
So what was the impact? Well, the same guy who wouldn’t have three meals a day was now actually consuming close to his original goal of 5,000 calories a day. He was hitting the weights hard and had an impressive physique to boot. He credited the pasta and beans advice that I gave him a year prior with leading him down the path to finally achieve his fitness goals.
The key is that is that it lead him down the path. All you have to do is simplify what you’re doing at first. Ground yourself and ground your goals and simplify what you’re doing. Then once you feel ready, start to add on top of these goals.
So for any beginners looking for a good initial diet, try pasta and beans. And let us know the results of it after a few weeks.
(photo credit: Osvaldo_Zoom)