Is your current way of eating working for you?
And how do you know?
Let’s say you’re following a Paleo or vegetarian diet.
Or maybe you’re practicing mindful or intuitive eating.
Or you’re adding back carbs after doing keto for a few weeks.
Or you’re switching from strict calorie counting to using hand portions.
How do you know if those efforts are REALLY paying off?
Yes, you could just go by the scale or your measurements. But that doesn’t tell you much about your energy level, ability to think clearly, or how you feel.
It also doesn’t tell you whether the benefits you’re noticing outweigh any mental, physical, emotional, or social costs they might come with. Because even if a diet gets you super pumped or lean, it may or may not be worth it to you if it means giving up nachos for the rest of your life.
(Watch this video to learn more about the kind of costs we’re talking about.)
That’s why we developed this quick and easy 16-question quiz.
It can help you decide whether to keep doing what you’re doing, make a few dietary tweaks, or abandon the approach altogether (ideally, for something that works way better for you).
How and when you use the quiz depends on the current state of your eating affairs. Consider which of the following describes you:
1. You’re wondering if your status quo is okay.
Maybe you’re not on a specific diet at all. You just eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Is that working?
Take the quiz now to find out.
2. You’re thinking about starting a new diet.
Bookmark this page. (People still do that, right?) Start the diet, keeping notes on what you eat, how you feel, and any issues or frustrations that pop up.
After at least two weeks, come back and take the quiz.
3. You’ve recently started a new eating approach or diet.
Maybe you’re counting macros, using hand portions, increasing your consumption of whole foods, or something else.
If you’re at least two weeks in, go ahead and take the quiz now.
4. You’ve been following a diet or new approach for a while.
Many weeks or months (or years!) in, you’re wondering: Is this eating plan meeting ALL of my needs? Can I stay on this plan long term and remain healthy, energetic, and happy?
Take the quiz now to find out.
Choose the number that best matches how strongly you agree with the following statements.
On a scale of 1 (never) to 10 (always), most of the time…
1. When I eat this way, I feel pretty good in general.
2. When I eat this way, I have reliable, sustained energy without crashing.
3. I try to choose the best quality foods available.
4. This way of eating is easy to do and fits into my everyday life.
5. I know what kinds of foods to choose and eat.
6. I feel confident and capable cooking and preparing food and meals.
7. When I eat this way, I rarely struggle with food cravings or urges to overeat.
8. When I eat this way, I digest my food well.
9. I’m performing and recovering well.
10. On social occasions, such as going out with friends to a restaurant, I can almost always find something I enjoy and feel comfortable eating.
11. I truly enjoy the taste and experience of what I eat.
12. I feel calm and relaxed about my food choices. It’s no big deal, just part of my life.
13. The way I’m eating matches my specific goals for health, fitness, and performance.
14. The way I’m eating measurably helps me progress towards my goals.
15. The way I’m eating reflects my deeper values, or the way I want to live.
16. Even if other people pressure me to do something differently, or my style of eating doesn’t match others around me, I’m able to follow my own cues or goals.
Total score: –
128 and above: Crushing it!
This way of eating is working beautifully for you. Keep on doing your thing.
104 to 127: This is promising.
Overall, things are going well with your eating experiment. You might consider making some small changes, but it looks like you’re moving in the right direction.
80-103: Mixed results.
This approach might be working well for you in some areas, but you’re probably struggling in others. Consider if there are any tweaks you could make that would make it feel more sustainable.
Less than 80: This isn’t working for you.
Based on this assessment, you’re experiencing some issues. But don’t feel bad about that. Instead, think of it as an experiment that helped you understand something important: This eating approach may not be for you—at least not right now.
Where do you go from here? That ultimately depends on you.
Success depends on a plan you can stick with consistently that has trade-offs you’re comfortable with. (To learn more about what we mean about trade-offs, check out: The cost of getting lean.)
With that in mind, you might decide to:
Read up on other diets.
Maybe you’re interested in learning about:
- Carb cycling
- Intermittent fasting
- Low carb diets
- The Mediterranean diet
- Plant-based diets
- Vegan diets
- Hand portions
Or perhaps you just want to follow a well-balanced diet that allows you to consume a wide range of foods—with no hard exclusions. (In that case, use our Nutrition Calculator and check out “the anything diet.”)
Get a customized plan.
Plug your info into the Precision Nutrition Calculator. This FREE macro calculator provides you with an individualized plan based on your personal diet preferences and goals.
Make one small change.
For example, you might:
- Makeover breakfast.
- Add a serving of veggies to your usual lunch.
- Swap your usual pasta for a whole grain brand.
- Take three deep breaths before digging into any meal.
- Try to eat one daily meal more slowly.
- Eat until 80 percent full (or just satisfied)
Whether you make a big change or a small one, keep an experimentation mindset. Try something that seems like it might work for you. Test it out for a couple of weeks. Use the above tool to evaluate how it went—and keep moving forward from there.
Over time, you’ll keep some strategies and jettison others.
Eventually, you’ll arrive at the best diet—for you.
If you’re a coach, or you want to be…
You can help people build nutrition and lifestyle habits that improve their physical and mental health, bolster their immunity, help them better manage stress, and get sustainable results. We'll show you how.
If you’d like to learn more, consider the PN Level 1 Nutrition Coaching Certification.