How to Get Control Over Your Diet
Whether you are looking to lose some weight, a lot of weight, or just maintain your current weight, this article will help you get control of your diet.
My inspiration to write this came from the 4 weeks I recently spent in Ubud in Bali. The locals in Ubud are VERY healthy. We ate smoothie bowls like I’ve only ever seen in stock photos and on Pinterest. You know, the kind that you look at and think “Ain’t nobody got time to make that!”
They don’t cook with MSGs, and processed food at the grocery store is more expensive than eating out at the local, healthy restaurants.
In a nutshell, Alex and I basically went through a detox for 4 weeks while we were there. We ate completely clean and avoided sugar and processed foods for 4 whole weeks.
Alcohol is also expensive because they don’t have any produced locally (except for Bintang beer). So we only had alcohol twice in that 4 weeks as well. Like I said, serious detox.
Four straight weeks of a lifestyle like this had MAJOR impacts on us. We decided that we were going to write a new healthy living program in 2017, and we finally made the decision to only eat organic meat from now on (something that we previously had told ourselves that we just couldn’t afford).
It really brought us a lot of clarity about what is important in our lives, and I want to impress some of those healthy habits on you today in the hopes that I can help you stick with your goals as well!
Some of these you will have heard before, and some of them are my own personal tricks that help me stay on track with my diet.
How to Get Control Over Your Diet
Have clearly defined rules.
If you’re trying to lose weight by being a “generally healthy,” you likely already know that it just doesn’t work.
You try to eat the right foods, avoid sugar, do all the right things, and it still just doesn’t work out.
That’s because there are no clearly defined rules. It’s too easy to cheat and too easy to justify social events and ‘just this once’s.’
Compare this to being a vegan. How often do you see them eat a piece of pizza or a chicken leg? (Okay there are some out there that do, but most wouldn’t even think of it!)
I’m not saying that you need to be a vegan, but find a healthy diet or a cause that you think will fit you. Paleo is a great place to start because it’s high protein and cuts out processed foods and sugars.
We also have a 21-day diet plan that I will explain in more detail at the bottom if you are interested. It’s similar to paleo, but it has a few modifications. It’s also the way that Alex and I eat!
The point is that there is a major difference between the following two statements:
“I can’t eat that.”
“I do not eat that.”
The first implies “I can’t eat that… right now…” The second implies “I don’t eat that… ever…”
See the difference?
The diet must be aggressive.
There have been tons of recent studies conducted on aggressive and militant diets, and they generally always rule out over more relaxed diets.
What does aggressive mean? Well similar to what I just explained above, an aggressive diet is a strict one.
But it goes beyond having a set of clearly defined rules. There are still a lot of overweight vegans and paleos and everything in between in the world.
Some vegans eat processed, fake cheese and fake meat products. The point is to give up cheese. It’s not to search for a processed “pseudo cheese” product to replace it.
How many paleo brownies and cupcake recipes have you seen on Pinterest? Coconut flour and sugar are STILL flour and sugar. Sure, they are a bit healthier. But only marginally.
Another good example is these fancy little “energy balls” that are also all over Pinterest. Still full of carbs and generally sugar.
I’m not saying that desserts need to be given up forever. But if you’re trying to lose weight on a diet that still allows you to eat dessert at night, it’s not going to work out in the long-term.
These types of foods STILL spike your dopamine receptors, and they don’t help you build solid, long-term, healthy habits that will help you lose ALL of the weight and KEEP it off!
Another little mental exercise you can implement regarding this is to think of it like breaking an addiction.
“It’s been 3 weeks (or 21 days) since I’ve had sugar…” (or processed foods, etc.accident free). Think about that when you feel the urge to reach for it. You’ve made it SO far! Don’t stop now, or you’ll be right back at Day 1!
“This workplace has been accident-free for 0 days.”
Build healthy habits to replace the old ones.
When we have too much time on our hands, we tend to think about our food cravings (especially when they are in the house) and justify those ‘just this once’s.”
The solution is to keep yourself busy. Do things that will keep you constantly reminded of your healthy goals.
One of the ones that we recommend in our 21-day plan is to take daily walks. This gives you a chance to get some fresh air, clear your mind, meditate, chat with a friend, walk the dog, burn some calories, think about your life, etc.
Making time for a 30-minute walk every day is a constant reminder of the commitment that you have made to be healthier, and it will make it easier to make good decisions about your diet.
Drink a lot of healthy drinks though out the day.
This goes hand-in-hand with the above point about healthy habits. My healthy habits include several healthy go-to drinks that I have every day.
They not only give me extra antioxidants, energy, vitamins, and nutrients, but they keep me busy, full, and keep me from snacking.
My daily healthy drinks include:
- Warm Lemon Water – I start my day with this because it’s incredibly detoxifying and helps me get in some water in the morning. The natural enzymes from the lemons are great for your digestive system on an empty stomach in the morning.
- Matcha Green Tea – Because who doesn’t want a big cup of antioxidants in the morning!? 10x the amount of antioxidants in regular green tea!! I drink 2 cups in the morning. I put them in my yeti, so they stay hot. This means that I drink them slower, and they last longer. Get it here.
- Coffee – I alternate between drinking matcha and coffee and sometimes have both. Coffee is filled with all kinds of antioxidants, increases productivity, suppresses appetite, and tons more when it comes to health benefits. You can also drink decaf if you have trouble with caffeine.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Water – ACV is great for gut health, suppressing appetite, joint health, and lots more. You can drink 1 tbsp in as little as 8oz of water (or take a shot of it), but I prefer to mix 1-2 tablespoons in my very large water bottle and drink it over the course of an hour or so.
- Water – I make sure to drink at least 100 oz of water every day (lemon water and ACV water count towards this). Most of the time when we think we are hungry, we are actually just thirsty. This is another staple in our 21-day plan. I use this BPA-free water bottle because it’s very large and has a big enough mouth that makes it easy to clean!
It seems like a lot, but the drinks taste delicious, have tons of health benefits, and keep me full throughout the day. They are also a good reminder of the commitment to be healthy!
Get it out of the house.
This is not a new one, of course. You have likely heard this one multiple times before, but it really is SO important. If you can, THROW IT AWAY!
I realize that this can be very difficult when you have a family (or roommates). Not having temptations in the house can make all of the difference.
If you live with a family that eats differently, try to have open communication with them to help get them on board with *some* of the changes you are making. I say some because it can be very overwhelming to others to make these changes when they don’t share the same goals.
Try making small swaps at first. More veggies at dinner, less butter when cooking, etc.
I know that kids love cereal, and it makes a mom’s life a hell of a lot easier. I ate it most days growing up.
But think about the long-term effects of your kids starting our their days with a bowl full of carbs and sugar. All this does is make it easier for them to have problems with food in the future.
Start the process slow, and ease them into it.
If this isn’t an option for you or not one that you want to take, you can try hiding the bad food so that it’s at least out of eyesight.
Focus less on exercise.
What!? Yes, you heard me right. If you’ve read any of my articles before, you know that I don’t advocate exercise at the beginning of a new diet.
Why? Because dieting is hard enough as it is! And because only 15-20% of your weight loss results will come from exercise anyway. Diet is SO much more important.
Focus your first week or 2 on really solidifying your goals and your healthy habits. Only when you feel pretty comfortable with where you are at and heading should you work exercise into it.
Until then, focus on the daily walks that I outlined above.
Another reason I recommend this is because weight loss results are FAR more successful when you start out with a detox.
One of the reasons that weight loss comes so hard to so many is that the body becomes very insulin resistant when it has been overloaded with carbohydrates (aka the modern Western diet).
A detox must happen in order to get the body to become more insulin sensitive and able to properly process carbohydrates again.
Exercising during a carbohydrate detox will deplete glycogen levels, leave you completely without energy, and more likely to cause cravings and make you give in to temptation.
These are some of my main tips that I personally use every day to make healthy eating decisions and stick to my diet.
This is a step that is often overlooked. Weight loss and dieting (whether to lose weight or just to be healthy) are never easy, but it can be made SO much easier when you have someone to help keep you accountable.
Alex and I have a running joke when we get really serious on a new diet or healthy habit. If it’s been 3 weeks since we’ve had sugar, we’ll say “I’m not breaking before you do!” It becomes a contest to see who can outlast the other.
This can come in the form of a family member, friend, or a complete stranger (more on this below)!
Make a bet or a wager. Reward yourself with something nice after you reach certain milestones on your journey.
You deserve it!
These are also many of the core principles of our 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge that I wrote with co-founder, and certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist, Alex Nerney.
Our clients lose an average of 10-21 pounds in 21 days! But even better than the weight loss is the feedback we get from them about how the program has taught them how to change their eating habits and find a diet that truly works for them in the long-term.
If you are interested in an aggressive diet plan to help you reach your health goals, we’d love to have you join our community! The concepts that we teach will help you make the necessary changes in your diet and your lifestyle and how to keep them “beyond the diet.”
Leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article on how to get control of your diet or have any questions!
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