The Clean Slate Policy

Have you ever missed a workout?  Have you ever cheated on your meal plan?  How did it make you feel?  Personally, I have missed workouts.  I have eaten food that is not part of my meal plan.  It makes me feel guilty.  Incredibly guilty.  At least it did until I learned about and accepted the “Clean Slate Policy” from Precision Nutrition.

The Policy

If you miss a workout or deviate from your meal plan accept it, enjoy it and pick up the next day where you left off.

Why it Works

The Clean Slate Policy does not punish you for slip ups.  It allows you to be human and enjoy life.  If you want to eat cheesecake go right ahead.  Combined with a host of nutrition  education and behavioural adjustments such as understanding how much to eat and daily activity requirements this policy allows you to enjoy that cheesecake because you understand that one small piece of cheesecake will not make your heart explode or your jeans rip apart tomorrow.  The old saying “This is going straight to my hips” does not apply here.  We banish that mindset and accept that we are not going to be perfect.

We aim for 90% adherence.  Sometimes we will meet that standard and sometimes we will surpass it.

Following the Clean Slate Policy allows us to be in control of our behaviour.  It allows us to make decisions for ourselves.  It does not come with punishments like so many other systems out there.  It allows you to feel in charge of your health rather than governed by some fitness dictatorship.

What The Clean Slate Policy is Not

It is not an unending free pass.  It is not a daily get-out-jail-free-card.  If you find that you are “picking up where you left off” daily and that you’re actually restarting from a point 3 weeks ago this is not the Clean Slate Policy.  If you wake up daily and remind yourself of the clean slate policy then in fact your plan may need to be adjusted.  Maybe you tried to add too many behaviours at once?  Maybe you didn’t consider the challenges ahead of you by adopting a new behaviour and it just wasn’t realistic at this point.  That’s OK.  After you have re-evaluated and created a new plan or simply modified your existing one then you can go back to the Clean Slate Policy.

For example if you wanted to stop drinking your daily 4 cokes by going cold turkey and you found yourself saying “Clean slate tomorrow!” for two weeks maybe we would look at switching one of the cokes with a glass of water and then you could still have 3 for two more weeks.  Then, if one day you had 4 we can pick up the next day trying for only 3 and progress as this becomes the new normal.

The key is to be as consistent as possible and accept that eating a donut once in a while does not have to result in reducing your caloric intake tomorrow by the 250 extra calories you had today.  Simply keep going tomorrow and the world will keep turning.  This approach may take longer for some but will result in a much more enjoyable experience and sustainable change in the end.

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