In my experience, people don’t have trouble going on a diet – they have trouble sticking to it. It’s just too easy to get side-tracked and tempted. On top of just normal temptations, as soon as we begin a diet, we start obsessing over food. We are constantly thinking of what we can and cannot eat, what we should eat and what we want to eat. I even see people doing cardio watching the food network. Does that really make any sense at all?
I believe people don’t set enough boundaries – not just with food, but with their thoughts. We trust ourselves just a little too much. We put ourselves in stupid compromising situations and then wonder why we fail.
Personally, I think we think about food way too much. We “allow” our thoughts to explore territory our mouths should never go while dieting. Instead of thinking about our training and new fit bodies, we are dreaming and scheming up ways to create some “healthy” dish we can try to squeeze in our plan so we don’t feel so deprived – but are we really deprived? When was delicious grilled chicken and asparagus an example of being deprived? When was having abs and feeling great not worth going without pizza? Do you really want to taste pizza more than wear some kick-butt jeans without a muffin top? Let’s put things in to perspective so you can begin succeeding!
Before you explore these tips, first decide whether you are in maintenance or weight loss mode. If you are maintenance, you can be a little less strict – or you can follow these rules during the week, but enjoy a little more freedom on the weekend. If you are in diet mode, then these 7 tips should help you stay on the fast track to success.
7 Practical Diet Tips to Help You Stay On Track
1. Stick to a routine. Eating the same foods, like the same one or two breakfasts every day, helps keep dieting simple. The less you have to think about what I should eat, the easier it is to eat healthy. The more variety you have, the more excited your tastebuds will get – and they may want more. If you eat oatmeal every day, I doubt you’ll want to overeat or go back for seconds.
2. Avoid restaurant menus. Should an alcoholic spend time looking through the drink menu? Should they walk the isles of ABC liquor? Of course not! So why should a dieter spend time shopping a menu with pictures of food they shouldn’t eat. All it does is open the windows of our hungry mind. If you must eat out, either make your decision before you even show up to the restaurant, or have someone else help you order if you are tempted to go off plan.
3. Make rules and stick with them. In our house, dinners are always one meat and one green veggie. Period. Since we don’t need carbs to sleep, we save carbs (like a sweet potato) for lunch. Setting rules helps us stay on track. No rules, no boundaries, no success.
4. Prepare your food when you aren’t hungry. We cook a good bulk of our food on Sundays AFTER we eat lunch. When meals are made in advance, all we have to do is heat them up when you get hungry. If you wait to cook when you are hungry, you are more likely to focus on what you want to taste rather than what you need to eat – and you may whip up something higher in calories because you are thinking with your stomach, and not your new fit brain.
5. Rely primarily on whole foods. I love making turkey meatloaf and yummy meals, but Steve can’t control himself around them. So, 75% of our meals are whole foods, and only 25% are multi-ingredient dishes. This gives us just enough variety without sabotaging our diet.
6. Be patient when cooking. Rely on seasoning and slow cooking (like a crock pot or roaster) to boost flavor instead of sauces and added ingredients. Many times we add more calories than necessary simply because we cook too fast and don’t allow seasonings to be absorbed in the food.
7. Know what you can and cannot handle. No matter how motivated someone is in the morning, that motivation can be forgotten by the time you are standing in the pantry staring at the nuts at night. If you can’t handle having certain snacks or foods in the house, don’t let them past your front door. Sometimes it’s best to go without than to try to practice self-control (and fail over and over).
Remember, the only way you will be successful is to be honest with yourself. Some people are super disciplined and some people aren’t. Be honest with yourself and set goals accordingly.
Results Taste Better
Whatever your goal is, whether it’s to lose a few pounds or compete (like this chick below), spend more time thinking about your training, and less time thinking about food. If you want abs more than you want ice cream, then put a set of abs on the freezer door to remind you what you want long term. Because, honestly, 10 minutes of pleasure isn’t worth ruining a reward you can enjoy all day every day – because I’m pretty sure this chick is not the least bit upset about the foods she missed out on while she stands fit and proud on stage.
How do you jump back on the right track, after a totally blowing your diet on Holiday weekends like Thanksgiving? Here are the steps we take at the Pfiester’s, to get us back in the groove.
Purge the crap. No, I’m not promoting bulimia. I’m saying get rid of the junk in your house. For example, Steve bought a pint of ice cream Friday weekend. Sunday night he said “my diet starts tomorrow. Do you want to know how serious I am?” And he proceeded to take the ice cream out of the fridge and toss it in the trash. It’s hard to eat clean when you are surrounded by junkfood. So, like Steve, if there is food in your kitchen you know is something that will tempt you, get rid of it. If you feel guilty for throwing food away, get over it. Keeping it doesn’t help solve hunger – and giving it to your friends or family is like passing along a disease. Do you really want to make someone else fat? Just get rid of it. No one needs that stuff.
Stock up. Once you purge all the crap, it’s time to replenish and do some healthy grocery shopping. Many times we eat poorly because we don’t have anything healthy handy. If you want to eat healthy, you have to shop healthy.
Prepare. After a weekend of feasting, I cooked up all our healthy food for the week. Grilled zucchini and squash, grilled fish, new potatoes, slow cooked chicken, and a whole roasted turkey is what’s on this week’s menu. Now that we’re stocked up, there’s no reason to go off plan.
Shrink the tummy. The first few days of getting back on track is all about portions. I eat several small meals and snacks, without ever filling all the way up. I also do a lot of watery, low-calorie density foods like soup, fruits, vegetables and smoothies to keep me full while reducing calories. In a matter of days, my stomach flattens back out and the smaller portions are perfect portions.
Burn it off. After falling off the wagon, I not only get back to my routine but I do double duty. I do 2 cardios a day to help boost my turn around. It helps erase my mistakes and gets my head back in the game.
Count calories. Even though I know what to eat, I always go back to tracking calories (I use the Lose It app) after going off my regular routine. It helps me stay focused, as well as get results quickly. Without calorie counting, my bounce back is normally slower and I’m not as strict. Accountability is key – and nailing the diet is essential to success.
Stick with it. To prevent going off my diet too soon, I stick with a plan and set goals for how long I will stick to my routine. Consistency is key, so I don’t let myself cheat until I’ve either fulfilled the time, or hit my goal (which is normally a goal weight).
Diet Tip of the Week: Calorie Density
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So you’re committed to working out. Whether you just joined our Boot Camp program or you are training on your own – you’re dedicated to getting results. What about your diet? (sound of car skidding to a stop here)
Yes, I said “Diet”. When I speak of diet, I’m not talking about a fad, a quick fix, or a miserable period of time you starve yourself in order to lose weight. I’m referring to managing your calories and nutrition.
Do you know how many excuses I hear when I ask someone if they know how many calories they eat? First they tell me HOW GREAT they eat. Then they tell me WHAT they eat. Then they tell me how HARD they work in the gym. They’re doing everything they can BUT counting calories – and most people don’t know where to start.
Weight loss isn’t about how healthy you eat, what you eat, or how hard you work in the gym. Although all those things are awesome, weight loss is determined by how many calories you are eating PERIOD. If you aren’t losing weight the way you are eating now, then you are eating too many calories – plain and simple.
How Bad Do You Want It?
Working out is hard, but it’s the easy part when it comes to weight loss. You can’t rely on exercise alone for weight loss. Although exercise is awesome, exercise makes you hungrier so many people just replace the calories burned exercising by eating more – and they don’t even know they’re doing it. It’s similar to getting a raise and ending up just as broke as before. You can’t say where the money went, but it’s gone. Unless you BUDGET those calories, you can’t count on everything just magically balancing out like you want it to.
1 Day Commitment
Give me just one day to journal you regular eating habits. You can’t really know what to fix, if you don’t know what’s wrong. Write down everything you eat normally all day long, without modifying portions or foods. Write down exact measurements, including sauces, dressing, drinks, toppings, vitamins, coffee creamer, etc. Using a calorie counter or google, tally your calories for the day, taking a mental note whether this is truly a normal day or not.
Analyze Your Results:
1. Was was your total calories? (most diets are 1200-1500 calories for women, 1500-1800 for men)
2. Where you are getting most of your calories from (carbs, fats, protein).
3. How many grams of protein are you getting? Most people are very low in protein.
4. How often did you eat? Eating 5-6 times a day boosts your metabolism.
5. Look for high-calorie mistakes.Was it food choice or portions?
Getting Started: Your 7 Day Commitment
So you want a meal plan? Of course you do! I’ll give you a meal plan if you will give me 7 days to prove you really want this. Anyone can count calories for 7 days. Right? Listen, if you TRULY want to get results, you must quit avoiding the inevitable. You may have gotten by with reducing portions, cutting fat, or limiting carbs in the past, but it’s time to take it up a notch. The only way to get guaranteed results is to have accurate information. NOTE: Weigh yourself on an empty stomach on Day 1 and Day 8. Dedicate the next 7 days to managing calories.
10 Quick Start Tips To Calorie Management:
1. Sign up for a free online calorie counter or phone app like LoseIt, MyFitnessPal or FitDay.
2. Before you eat ANYTHING, look it up first.
3. Aim to keep meals between 300-400 calories each and snacks 100-150 calories.
4. Eat 5-6 snacks and meals per day.
5. Try to get .5 – 1.0 grams of protein per pound of ideal bodyweight a day.*
6. Eat whole foods (meat, vegetables, etc instead of casseroles, etc.) Keep it simple by eating simple.
7. No guessing. Everything must be measured or weighed. We always underestimate portions.
8. Don’t eat at any restaurant that doesn’t offer nutritional information.
9. Eat prepackaged meals & snacks, if necessary, to simplify things at first.
10. Be honest. If you ate something you shouldn’t have, input it anyway. You need to see it in black & white.
Your New Meal Plans
At the end of your 7-day commitment, look at the days you felt, and ate, your best. Use these days as templates for the next 7 days. YOU just started your own meal plan! (I promised you a meal plan didn’t I? Yes, I’m sneaky like that!) Most of us are creatures of habit and eat the same thing often. Are you ready to do this for another 7 days? The longer you manage your calories, the more meal plans you will have to choose from the easier it will get!
*PROTEIN: If you are working out, a woman who wants to be 130lbs would shoot for 65-130gms a day. I personally prefer to eat 75% to 100% my body weight in protein, which would be 97.5gms to 130gms). Using that formula, a 180lb man would shoot for 135-180gms of protein a day.
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CUT: Sever, Separate, Detach, Remove, Delete.
If you want to rearrange your body, you will need to rearrange your life – and some things will need to be removed altogether. You can’t keep the same things in your life and expect a different result. You also can’t lose weight unless you are taking in fewer calories than you are burning. That’s just science. If you’ve maintained your weight the way you have been eating over the last year, you can cut calories easily by cutting stuff back (or out) of your diet.
1.) Cut portions in half (use salad plates instead of dinner plates to manage portions)
2.) Cut bite sizes (use small forks and spoons instead of shovels)
3.) Cut out high calorie drinks
4.) Cut down on sauces and condiments Read the rest of this entry