I went to Japan for the first time in my life. I put on a nice little roll of fat from the trip. The food, at every meal, was just incredible. I mean, even their 7-Elevens have great food.\n\n\n\nThis is me on the far right during my trip in Japan. I have a proper little belly on full display.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nOnce I got back home, I decided to get in shape. I had indulged, and it was time to balance things out. Just before leaving for Japan, a friend got in touch about a successful year-long physical transformation. He went from being soft around the edges to a visible six-pack. I asked him to walk me through the details of everything he did. Turns out he just took care of the fundamentals. Clean eating, working out every other day, and good sleep.\n\n\n\nI\u2019ve tried to get for a few times over the last few years. It always starts great. Lots of exercise, aggressive diet changes, loads of vegetables and protein, and then everything fizzles out a few weeks in. The exercise side of things I can handle, it\u2019s the eating that gets me every time.\n\n\n\nMy friend proposed starting a WhatsApp group where we share photos of every meal we eat. There were no hard rules. He knows what eating clean looks like. He knows that I know what it means. So if I started posting junk, he\u2019d give me some shit. If I\u2019m eating lean proteins and lots of vegetables at each meal, I get a little positive reinforcement.\n\n\n\nHere\u2019s a grainy picture of me six weeks into our WhatsApp project. I signed up to a gym the day I got back home from Japan\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nThe WhatsApp group has been surprisingly effective. I\u2019ll get a little ping in my pocket every few hours with a picture of his meal. This keeps the project top of mind throughout the day. Just the act of posting a picture of my meal helps me make better food choices. Eventually, we started posting pictures of our grocery hauls each week. Gradually, a few other friends joined the group. The group became a helpful source of inspiration for new healthy things to plan and eat throughout the week.\n\n\n\nSome of us would post progress pictures each week. Other times, someone would have a question about sleep or their exercise split, and the rest of us would help troubleshoot and figure out different ways to fix the problem.\n\n\n\nI\u2019m 13 weeks in now and still going strong. I honestly didn\u2019t expect a WhatsApp group to be so effective. It has turned out to be what\u2019s holding everything together for me during this transformation. I\u2019m enjoying this transformation, and I don\u2019t see myself stopping any time soon.