Ep 26: Why I’ve Given Up On Food Diaries With Josh Hillis

Josh Hillis is a writer, author, coach, and entrepreneur who is here today to talk about nutritional habits, emotional eating, and strategies for dealing with when life smacks you in the face. He is the Chief People Officer at One By One Nutrition a coaching platform that offers tons of free DIY courses and coaching options when it is time to take things to the next level.

Josh also writes tons of nutrition, fitness, and kettlebell articles for his personal blog Lose Stubborn Fat. On this site, you can find over 1100 posts, a coaching program, and information about Fat Loss Happens on Monday a book about reasonable workouts and habit based nutrition that Josh wrote with Dan John. Josh has been a personal trainer since 2004 and teaches workshops for trainers all over the United States.

Today’s topics include:

  • How walking to the beach is much tougher than one would think.
  • Josh was involved with kettlebells and got hooked and became a trainer.
  • He transitioned to focus on food and food habits which is now called skills based coaching.
  • Coaching comes down to planning and skills.
  • The importance of taking action with your values. Using goals when they are motivating and not using them when they have the opposite effect.
  • External reward is the least form of motivation. The most persistent form of motivation is clarified values.
  • Picking your values from a list. Asking people who or what matters to them to pull out values.
  • People often find they have values for parenting or careers, but they are doing the opposite when it comes to food.
  • Applying the things in your life that you want for your family or career when it comes to nutrition.
  • How Josh was the king of food diaries, but he has mostly given up that philosophy.
  • He cared more about the habits of what his clients ate not actually what they ate.
  • Food judging can be a food journaling trap.
  • Eat 3 to 4 meals with no snacks is skill 1.
  • Skill 2 is eating just enough and paying attention to when you have had enough food.
  • Get good at this and you never have to manage weight loss for the rest of your life.
  • Introducing clients to habits and skill based nutrition.
  • Emotional eating and diet and really strongly correlated.
  • First thing Josh does is go through their diet history and see what did and didn’t work. Then they find where it broke.
  • The cycle of emotional eating, dieting harder, and binge eating.
  • A skill based approach is flexible and apply to a lot of circumstances.
  • Portion control, mostly whole foods, and being hungry before you eat.
  • All of the skills triangulate to create a self check if you are having the right amount of food.
  • They have the core skills, but they start with just one.
  • The core 5 skills were well for emotional eaters. Track behavior not eating.
  • Diffusion and fixing thoughts and emotions.
  • Having a client take an active role so that they generate motivation for themselves.
  • It’s important to understand why you are doing things.
  • How there is a tension between self-acceptance and change that is required. Accept your thoughts and emotions and change your behaviours.

Links and resources:


“People’s behaviours, habits, and food skills made a bigger difference than macros and percentages.” Josh Hillis

“Sometimes I feel like everything I know about coaching, I learned outside of fitness.” Josh Hillis

“A goal is a game that you play in search of your values by clarifying your values and taking action with your values.” Josh Hillis

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