Diets exist to confuse and cause grief and anxiety. Diets are a temporary eating protocol designed to help one lose weight and get healthy. In this sense, I am using the word diet to mean restricting oneself to small amounts of food or to eat special types of food in order to reduce body fat — to lose weight, if you will. Easy definition but good luck in sticking to it. From my personal experience back in college, any diet I underwent failed me miserably. Of course while adhering to the diet, good results happened: I lost weight. However, restriction only left me ravenous, angry, and anxious — not to mention hungry. I could stay on the diet for 2 weeks or sometimes 2 months. Inevitably, like clock work, once off the diet, the weight came back with a vengeance. I went through the weight loss/weight gain roller coaster for years. Thankfully I have found the solution. Listen up folks.
The way to succeed in this weight loss game is to rethink the definition of diet and act accordingly. Most people may know that diet can also be defined as the way one eats. Vegan, Carnivore, Paleo, Vegetarian — these are all types of diets. Of course, this definition of diet is a bit more complex than just slapping a label on it. For instance, within the world of veganism one can choose to eat only organic sources of vegetables and fruit. Or one can choose to not eat much produce and instead eat almost exclusively just nuts and grains. Both are still vegan but vary considerably in terms of nutrient content and the affect such foods may have on weight and overall health.
With that said, I challenge you to define your own diet; define your food rules. What is your way of eating? What are your food rules? Creating food rules shades in the grey making it easier for you to comply long term because of better control and management of what goes into your mouth; hence fully incorporating a lifestyle change — not a temporary diet. Let’s use the example of driving. As drivers, we stop at red lights regardless of if we see the police. We can be the only car at the red light at 3am in the morning, but we stop and wait for the light to turn green — then we proceed. There is no question as to why we stop at red and go at green — these are simply the rules in which we follow; it is ingrained within our minds. Even a 5 year old knows about red-light/green-light. Imagine applying this simplistic “follow the rules” approach to the way you eat. My my my, just think of the break-thru that may follow: no more guilt when offered a cookie in the office; no more anxiety about trying to lose 5 lbs before a wedding; reduced stressed which equates to potentially less body fat accumulating around your mid-section. Win, win, win!
I want to share with YOU a few of the “food rules” in which I abide by and strive to follow because I want YOU to succeed in your journey to excel in your health goals. Author Michael Pollan’s Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual was my inspiration in adopting this model. Being the type A personality that I am, having food rules allows me to focus on the bigger things in life. No longer do I go on diets. I just eat in ways that fit within the realm of my “food rules” – I eat wholesome foods. To some, my rules may seem a bit restrictive. But it works FOR ME. Make/modify these rules in a way that will work for you and give it time so that you may get accustomed. If it adds stress to your life, then tweak the rules as needed. Working with a Nutrition Coach will provide you support as you adopt a healthier way of eating.
My Food Rules
1. Eat food, real food
2. Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food
3. Avoid food products that contain more than 5 ingredients
4. Get out of the supermarket whenever you can. Choose farmers markets instead
5. Limit your snacks to unprocessed plant foods. i.e. fruits, vegetables, nuts
6. Serve a proper portion and don’t go back for seconds
7. Treat treats as treats
8. Pay more, eat less. “Quality over quantity”
9. Eat animals that have themselves eaten well
11. Break the rules once in a while. Obsessing over food rules is bad for your happiness and health
Food rules = the new-age way of viewing diet. In fact, throw the word diet out of your vocabulary and go ahead and adopt the food rules mentality. Of course you must first create your own set of food rules and follow them unapologetically — the same way you mindlessly stop at red and go at green.
Automate the way you eat, change the way you look.
What are the food rules you have adopted into your life? Share in the comments.Follow @soulwholesome