What are your "LEAKS"??
...and where can you make the biggest difference?
I was chatting with one of my nutrition coaching clients the other day and he was telling me about this concept in poker called “leaks” and how he connected the idea to his nutrition.
According to poker-king.com, a "leak" is a fundamental flaw that a player has that makes them a far less profitable player than they might be otherwise.
Poker players can study their game and see where there biggest “leaks” are and make adjustments to, essentially, play better and make more money.
For example, if you’re prone to playing a certain hand all the time, or making a certain bet, that then shows to hurt you more than help you, you can adjust away from playing that hand/making that bet. (That’s as I understand it at least, any poker pros can feel free to correct me in the comments below!)
To be able to account for their leaks, players have to do two things:
Study their game.
Be willing to make changes in their game to see higher winnings.
(Worth explicitly noting, this concept focuses on making changes around the biggest area for improvement, not every aspect of a person’s poker game all at once…)
I imagine my client is correct in saying that he can use the same strategy in his nutrition practice.
Here, I edited the image above to include a nutrition twist:
Now that we understand the concept….
To be able to account for leaks in your food plan, eaters have to do two things:
Study their intake.
Be willing to make changes in their food plan or routines to see better results.
Essentially, when you take time to really look at what you’re eating, drinking, how frequently you’re moving, what your sleep looks like, etc., what is the one area that sticks out that is holding you back? Or, what is the one area that would make the biggest difference in your progress if you made changes around it?
What are you doing that’s working against you the most?
Once you identify that thing, you can work on making progress around that ONE thing, and then allow it to trickle down to positive changes in your progress.
For example, if you notice that you only get 5-6 hours of sleep per night, you can work on going to sleep 15 minutes earlier each week until you get closer to 7 hours of sleep, at least. In week 1, you’ll move bedtime from midnight to 11:45. Then in week 2, you’ll move it to 11:30, and so on.
If might take you a few weeks to get to that desired sleep time, but I imagine that as you start to make this shift, you would notice things like:
Increased energy during the day, and thus more productivity overall
Better performance in workouts, leading to better overall results
More clarity in making healthy food choices (Studies around sleep deprivation have shown that we make less-healthy choices, and eat more calories overall, when we’re tired.)
As we start feeling better and more rested overall, we will want to build on that feeling and make healthier choices, buy foods that support our goals, etc.
These are hypothetical results, but I really believe that if you adjusted for that sleep quality leak, you’d find many of them, and likely other results, to be real!
What about a real life example?!
Here’s a little personal story…
I have a habit of eating a sweet treat at night after dinner.
Traditionally, I’ve been able to include this as part of my food plan, and make it fit within my overall intake and goals.
However, during the spring of 2021 I noticed that I was eating more and more treats at night… it was going from 2-3 Oreos to 5-6… and then also a piece of chocolate… and so on, until that increase in treat consumption (and decreased movement due to the pandemic) was leading to unwanted weight gain.
I avoided making changes around this for a while, because, well, Oreos are delicious and I didn’t want to acknowledge that they were “the problem.”
But, taking this idea of leaks into account and some real reflection on what I was eating, this increase in evening treats was DEFINITELY the biggest hole in my game, and the biggest area of improvement I had.
So, instead of making any drastic changes like cutting out treats completely (this part might be deviating from the poker metaphor just a bit, but bare with me and my nutrition philosophy…), I created reasonable boundaries around my treats.
It wasn’t drastic like trying to have ZERO treats, but I created that reasonable boundary of 2 Oreos per night. And if I was literally still hungry/wanting more food, then I would eat as much fruit as I wanted.
To this point, I’m happy to report that I still include a treat every night, and enjoy that habit, and have now reigned in the intake enough to maintain my body composition and continue with the results I’m looking for.
I took time to really look at what was going on (despite not wanting to acknowledge the real problem at first…) and made adjustments to the one area that could make the biggest difference. Filled the leak!
What do you think of this connection?!
Where do you have “leaks” in your food plan?!
Share your thoughts in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!
And if you would like to chat further about identifying or adjusting around any food-related leaks, please reach out! (Email email@example.com)
If you’re looking for help in identifying your poker leaks, I’m not your girl! But, I also learned that there are poker coaches out there who would be more than willing to help you!
If you like this post and want to see more like it, go ahead and subscribe ; ) I’ll keep them coming!