You have decided to start a diet! You are really motivated, you get Mr. Reborn to list off some crazy diet hacks, rip an easy meal plan from a magazine, buy healthy foods, and download a new app. and you’re rockin’ it! “This diet is easy”, “should have started sooner”, and all that. But then, day three, and you find yourself eating your favorite triple meat double cheese burger with whatsit-sause, a side order of fried carbs and the biggest sugar liquid they have. What happened? Why does this always happen? What went wrong?!?!
Consumption of calories is probably the hardest part of a healthy lifestyle, however, it’s the single most important part. The saying is, “You can’t out train a bad diet.” This is very true, simply put, if your goal is to gain weight you need to take in more calories than you burn. If you want to lose weight you must consume fewer calories than you burn. It’s that simple. So why is it so hard?
First, most people don’t have a clear goal in mind. You have to know if you are planning on gaining or losing weight. You should also know exactly what you are trying to loose. When most people say they want to lose weight they are really talking about fat. You can lose 10 lbs of fat while at the same time put on 10 lbs of muscle and end up the same on the weight scale, yet look completely different in the mirror. So what most people really mean is they wish to change their body’s fat to muscle ratio. To reach your goals you need to be very clear what body composition you are aiming for, from there you can plan your food intake.
Second, most people are looking to radically change their bodies in a month or two, after 10, 20, 30+ years of neglect and/or bad habits. Chris see’s the above scenario all the time, but these fad diets are never going to work. Humans are creatures of habit, the first bad day, lunch meeting with few healthy options, or fast food craving you give into deflates you. To add to this most of the processed foods consumed in America have addictive additives that make us humans want to eat it again and again.
The secret success is to stop dieting. Instead make small changes that you can stick too and easily track. Set yourself up for success, chose something you know you can do. Add new, slightly more challenging small changes as the first become second nature, slowly replacing bad habits with healthy ones. As Mrs. Reborn likes to say “baby steps”, so you can make it a lifestyle. Making healthy food choices cannot succeed as a diet, it must become a habit and habits take time, time, and disciple.
Lastly, you need to pay attention. For the first few months of your move toward healthier eating you should make eating a pain in the neck. We don’t mean that you should starve or start to hate food, that completely goes against the previous paragraph. But until you have firmly created new habits, you need to be completely aware of what, when, how much, and even why you are eating. When given a choice most people will naturally pick what they are used to. If you are trying to create a new habit, you are going to have to break an old one, and that’s probably the hardest part. In addition, you are probably fighting against the food industry’s ingredient lists that may have you unknowingly addicted to bad food. Combine those two factors and changing your ways can become very hard. So apps on your phone that can be ignored aren’t going to cut it.
When Kat started learning to control food she wrote down every item that went in her mouth, time of day and notes (i.e. tired, having cravings, etc.). When Chris first began taking control of his diet, he measured and pre-packed every meal the night before, including almonds in zip lock bags for snacking. Chris also had a notebook for tracking and to list weekly goals. This might all seem a bit extreme, but it worked really well. We slowly made progress, and more importantly, by being forced to think about what we were doing it was possible to break old habits and create new ones. Kat no longer eats entire bags of cookies for dinner, and Chris can pass by a certain fast food joint without ordering a bucket of 3 piece white meat. And both of us would rather snack on healthier options when there is hunger in the tummy.
We hope this blog has helped in some way, and hopefully it will encourage you to start taking the steps necessary to create lasting healthy food choices. Try out our weekly food chart, it is designed to be printed so that you have to carry it around with you, making you think about it. If you have any questions, or need help making those first steps call Chris or email either of us.