If you haven’t given much attention to your diet, you should know that a) it matters more than you think, and b) it doesn’t have to be complicated. So for those of you wanting to reap the benefits of eating better (more energy, stronger immune system, better sleep, better performance, etc), I have some good, practical stuff broken down into actionable chunks here.
This is not intended to be comprehensive or absolute, but this approach and these adaptations do work.
Most people fail diets because they don’t take a manageable approach, and don’t build in a reward system. We’ll deal with the approach in the following sections, and the reward system now.
To start, give yourself a binge day 1x per week where you can eat whatever you want and as much as you want of it. Seriously, absolutely anything goes. Apart from being fun and something to look forward to, it actually keeps your body from getting into a result-limiting rut. You can read more about this in The 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferris. If you don’t need to know more, then just do it.
Remember, do what you can maintain. Don’t take on everything at once.
- Cut sugar. Stay away from soda (diet and regular) and sweets. If you need to wean into this, try a square of Baker’s bittersweet dark chocolate here and there.
- Limit alcohol. No beer or hard liquor. 1 glass of wine is fine, red is preferred.
- Cut out fast / starchy carbs. Basically, white potatoes, white rice and anything made with white flour (pasta & white bread). There are good alternatives with vegetable and gluten-free pastas now.
- Tighten up on the sugar and alcohol. Save it just for binge day.
- Replace breads, tortillas and the like with extra vegetables. Sweet potatoes are great.
- Consume more chicken and fish than beef.
- Reduce dairy consumption by 75%. Cut cheese and limit milk.
- Increase frequency between meals. Aim for 5-6 small-to-medium sized meals each day.
- Cut back on sauces and condiments. Dust with spices in their place.
- Cut dairy.
That’s it. Follow this process and you’ll experience a change. Stage 2 and 3 are when you’ll see an increase in metabolism (especially 3) that burns fat faster, but stage 1 will often drop you 3-5 pounds in the first week. Keep with it and it eventually becomes normal. Especially when you experience the difference in energy and output after eating good compared to eating junk. It’s a night and day difference – think working out when you’re sick compared to being fully healthy.
Don’t be intimidated by the “world of diet.” Just make some small changes and move up the stages over time.
Last thing: never, ever give up or get down on yourself if you blow it. Just get back on the train like you never did.