I‘ve test driven more diets over the years than I can remember. Being a fat kid at heart I’m always wary of the return of the rolls (sans Royce). There’s been some approaches that worked a hell of a lot better than others for me at particular junctures in my life. This originally lead me to believe that said approaches were better than others, when in reality they simply aligned with my views, bias and my life at the time. Many dietary stars have risen and fallen; low carb, paleo, low fat, gluten free, intermittent fasting, zone, back loading, and much more. Many I’ve tried and backed, til eventually I ended right back where I started or somewhat worst.

All diets share certain commonalities, they manage calories through some form of restriction, common ones are managing caloric intake directly (weight watchers, IIFYM), removing a food type like gluten, dairy, wheat (Paleo), or manipulating macro nutrients such as carbs, fats (keto). There’s thousands of different diet approaches but the fact is if you adhere to one with any sort of consistency and maintain or increase activity all these things will generally lead to varying levels of success (some exceptions apply).

There’s something very important about dieting that’s often forgotten, overlooked, or misunderstood and frankly not discussed often. It’s the fact that dieting especially chronically and for extended periods will typically really disturb or royally fuck your relationship with food. The effects of this can be hard to escape. Once you see a little success with a particular approach you think this is the only way to eat and declare war on all opposition. This causes a problem when one fails to resolve the root of ones food issues, and once you step away from said diet you find yourself right back where you started. In most cases you probably can’t stand the approach that yielded you success in the first place so either you continue to put in half ass effort to repeatedly hop back on the wagon or you give up and accept your form till frustration and conviction move you towards another star of the hour.

Much of what I do is helping people repair their relationships with food and realize there is no perfect diet. There is simply choices you need to make to keep you moving towards your goals whatever they may be. Some of these are harder than others. This may sound cliché but the truth of this is you need to figure out how to create and maintain a lifestyle for permanent change. This is considerably slower than the “6 weeks to shredded on cabbage starvation cleanse!”, but it’s the path to permanent change. Getting there doesn’t necessarily have to involve a diet per say for the majority of people. Most of the time it’s simply a conscious and concerted effort to not eat like shit most days, eat more, and move more. Yes, it’s really that simple. Is it easy? No not usually, but it’s simple. We all want quick fixes but that’s not what’s going to hold you in the long run.

Here’s a few of my lifestyle choice “Rules”, they work well for me. Maybe some aren’t for you but I encourage you to make a list of your own. Most of the time the things we need to do we already know we simply need to add a level of consistency and accountability to them.

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Jason’s Lifestyle Habits

Train minimum 5 days per week
  • Walk at least 2 hours per week
  • Make 2-3 large batches of food every Sunday (meats, stews, chili, sides)
  • Eat 3-4 meals per day with at least 50g of protein per meal
  • Don’t drink your calories (juice, pop) with the exception of coffee, tea
  • Have a shake or two daily
  • Cut out the obvious crap (pizza, fast food, cookies)
  • Don’t drink or drink less, avoid beer stick to wine and the hard stuff
  • Cut out or drastically minimize pasta, bread, milk and cheese (they simply don’t agree with me)
  • Write down everything you’re eating and drinking when you feel you’re getting fat

So my suggestion to you is to consider your list and what you’d include. It’s not permanent, in other words it can evolve but write down some things you can commit to 27 out of 30 days a month. Once done stick to this list for a minimum of 30 days before modifying it. Here’s some suggestions to include:

  • Train 4 days per week minimum (lift weights and move your body with purpose)
  • Do atleast 2 hours of non-exercise activity per week (walk, swim, play with your kids, whatever just move)
  • Eat a minimum of 3-4 whole food meals per day (lean meats or vegetarian alternatives, veggies, fruits, nuts, and water)
  • Cut out the obvious crap (don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about)

That’s 4 items that can have a huge long term impact on how you look, feel, and perform. It should also allow you to stop looking for or dogmatically following one fad after another and still make progress.

Good luck people, feel I missed something or have a list to share? Write it in the comments!

 

Bonus: Great video with Martin Rooney offering the best dietary advice for the over thinker in all of us