I used to hate diets. The reason is that many people think that a diet is the end-all-be-all fix that they’ve been looking for.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s not.
Diets can work, but not because of some secret method to the diet. Take a look at most of the popular diets that have popped up over the past few years – they all have merits in common.
Diets get you to:
reduce your overall calorie intake
cut out most processed, high-calorie foods
eat more nutrient-dense foods
build awareness around what you eat
And those are all great things for better health, weight-loss, and feeling great.
But there’s one thing that catches a lot of people off guard. Many diets have a start and end.
That usually creates this situation where someone deprives themselves of every food they love for weeks or months, and then ends up binge eating down the line to satisfy that craving.
Truth is, cookies, chips, and wine are not inherently bad for us. They just become a problem when we over-consume them.
When I coach nutrition, I focus on teaching simple principles. These principles are the same founding elements to all the good diets out there.
What are they?
remove processed foods from your diet
minimize consumption of added sugars
only eat high-fiber carbohydrates
eat mostly vegetables
keep animal proteins to low-fat options
don’t deprive yourself of food
follow all of these rules at least 85% of your meals
The last part is key. I’ve seen many people really struggle, because they believe that they can’t eat certain foods, end up depriving themselves, and then binge eat to make up for that afterwards.
For me, that means planning out most of my meals, so that when I do get a chance to enjoy myself, I’ll take it.
I start my day off with a bowl of oats at 7:30 am, followed by my first smoothie at 9:50 am, lunch at 11:30 am, second smoothie at 2:30 pm, and an early dinner at 4:30 pm. By following that routine, I don’t have to feel guilty when I decide to grab a full pizza on the way home from work or decide that I want a cheeseburger at midnight, because those things don’t happen every night.
So how do you get started? Start by choosing the rules that you’ll eat by from now on. Not for 100% of the time, but let’s shoot for a consistent 85%, instead of a sometimes 100%.