Those who I’ve spent any time with during the month of March know one thing about me.

I went on a diet.

While I generally try to eat right and get a fair bit of exercise, I’ve never been on a bona fide “diet” before.

I’ve just never had a reason.

This time, I just didn’t have a reason NOT to (though those who are [un]fortunate enough to see me roam with my shirt off may suggest otherwise).

The diet was the Whole 30, and the impetus was my Vantage team. A few ambitious souls who decided to do it together invited me in.

I couldn’t say no, right? I didn’t. And I’m glad.

30 days later, I’ve experienced much of what I figure the diet was supposed to achieve. I’ve lost some weight. I feel better. I’ve got insanely rock hard abs. (Prove otherwise.)

I’m also smarter though. More creative. And I’ve got a business edge over my slightly younger (and heavier) self.

Below, I’ve outlined some of what I’ve learned. Consider it the Cliff’s Notes to a 30-day self-induced, slow grind torture fest. Kidding. But not really.


Lesson #1: You have to be ready to start something ambitious.

I’d never dieted before. When I committed to the Whole 30 diet, I was told I couldn’t eat 5 things that I really kinda like: no [added] sugar, no grains, no legumes, no dairy, no alcohol. Eff.

Let’s just say this wasn’t happening in December. Or November. Or anytime I was content with my status quo.

To start something ambitious, we have to be ready to challenge ourselves. And this isn’t something we can do at the drop of a hat.

We need some level of discontent or discomfort. Something we know needs to be changed, if given enough reason. And then we need a spark. Something that jump-starts our ass into gear.

For me, the discontent was a feeling of sluggishness that sort of grew over the holidays as I overindulged in most ways possible. And by “the holidays,” I’m referring to the previous two calendar years.

The spark was simple. I was asked by people who influence me.

Already ready to do something, but no plans to do anything, I was a bundle of potential ambition – but with no momentum. A vulnerable target.

Lesson #2: Accountability to others makes it a hell of a lot easier.

I had a lot of opportunities to cheat over the past 30 days. As I write this, I’m travelling at 35,997 feet, and daddy would sure like some color in his drink.

But soda water is all I get. I made a commitment, and other people know about it.

I’m not quite as rigid with lines in the sand when I’m the only one who can see ‘em.

Could I do the Whole 30 by myself? Maybe, but I’m not sure.

On day one of this Whole 30 though, I KNEW I’d be successful. No doubt in my mind.

Why? Because I’m in this with others. Peer pressure. The good kind.

When it comes to business, nobody likes risk. We do everything we can to mitigate it in order to make our future more certain.

So if making a public commitment to others can dramatically increase our chances of success, why don’t we make them more often? We should.

Lesson #3: You’re more creative than you think.

I’m not much of a cook, and I’m lazy in the kitchen. Just never been that into it.

So, I’ve always looked for efficiencies. When I cook, I cook what’s easy. Times 43 years and you end up with a guy who only knows easy.

Easy pasta. Easy grilling. Easy veggies.

Until I was forced to change. Until easy would no longer cut it.

In order to make meals with no added sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, and alcohol, I had to get creative. I had to find alternatives. (And a big shout out to my daughter and wife for putting their creativity on loan for me.)

Pasta became creative vegetable combos made from squash and yams. Diet cola became soda water. Hamburger buns became lettuce wraps.

And the list goes on. And on and on.

We got creative. Cooked stuff we’d never tried before.

And I freakin’ loved it. All of it.

And the only reason I got the opportunity to enjoy these new creations is because we were forced to be creative. More creative than I ever knew existed.

So it goes in business too. I do what I do at Vantage because it’s what I know.

Much different than because it’s what’s possible.

If challenged (or forced) to be more creative about our products and solutions, what could we come up with that will help our clients? What other hidden gems can we uncover in our business by dieting for a while?

The Whole 30 diet wasn’t torture. Far from it. It was an eye-opening, mind-shifting exercise that left my mind and body in a better place in more ways than one.

I’ve got a few more takeaways which I plan to share in a follow-up post. You’ll learn the importance of the number 30, what I mean when I say “crap is everywhere,” and how travelling while dieting taught me one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the last 30 days.

Stay tuned, but until then I’d love to hear your “diet” story @tannusquatre or via email at tannus at