Ten Ways to Never Diet Again
Updated: Jan 14
If you are lazy about dieting like me, then this is for you. I like easy foods, usually processed. I don't like to cook and most definitely don't meet my fruit and vegetable quota. And, just like you, I've done all the fad diets (some successfully, some not). And I'm so tired of trying to disseminate all the information out there - Carbs, proteins, vegetarianism. They (whoever they are) can't even decide if a banana is okay!
Aren't you tired of your sister/friend/anyone saying "You just need to cut down on [carbs, sweets, alcohol, insert your vice]." I always answer: " I know what to do. We ALL know what to do. We just don't do it!"
So, I've vowed to stop dieting. Instead, I've compiled a Top Ten list of all the best advice I've heard over the years that isn't a diet. These aren't anything new to us. Really, they're the bare minimum. But definitely Not a diet!
Don't Pig Out. I had a friend and roommate who was always around thirty pounds overweight. We enjoyed many evenings spoiling ourselves over decadent meals and cocktails. And then, of course, we complained about our weight. One afternoon, after not having seen him for a while, he walked into the restaurant a new man - thin, fresh and crisp! Like everyone would, I asked him, "Did you follow a specific diet plan?" He answered, "Yes, it's called the Don't Pig Out Plan!" I laughed at first. But then I realized how simple it was. Spot on, in fact. The next time you find yourself about to indulge, ask yourself - If I have this, am I pigging out? You'll know the answer.
Break a sweat every day. I heard Matthew McConaughey say this in an interview years ago, or maybe it was an article. I can't even cite it anymore. But his advice on staying fit was to break a sweat every day. If you don't have time to exercise, just do enough to break a sweat. Make that your bear minimum. And if that's just 5 minutes of exercise that day, then you can be done. Sounds simple enough to me. I'm so out of shape it should only take me 1 minute to break a sweat. I'm sure he didn't mean to stop there, but for the fat and lazy like me, this sounds like a great place to start.
One moment at a time. What's the best thing I can do right now? This little trick works pretty well. Another interview I can't cite, but I think it was Alison Sweeney who said that every [television/movie] set has a table full of every food option imaginable. And when she's feeling indecisive or being pulled in the wrong direction, she asks herself, "What's the best thing I can have right now?" I love this method because it takes all the pressure off. It removes any guilt or diet grudges from past behavior and circumvents what may happen in the future. All that matters is the present. Right now. What would be the best thing to have right now (that's in my reach)? When I remember to ask myself this question, it almost always leads to something healthier.
Limit your treats. I had a piece of cake on Saturday. So, I love sweets and have them regularly. And, I guess I didn't realize how regularly I indulged (daily) until a neighbor stopped by one day while I was cutting a cake that was leftover from some weekend celebration. "Would you like a piece of cake, Chuck?" I so graciously asked while happily serving myself up a second piece that day. "No thanks," he said. "I had some cake at a wedding on Saturday." It was Tuesday. [Blink, blink, blinkety, blink] I could barely conceive why anyone would decline a piece of cake on Tuesday on account of having had one on Saturday! And that's why I'm fat and he's skinny. Such an easy and obvious example, right?
Stop being On or Off a diet. This is a huge problem for me and is what led me to write this article. Speaking of cake every day - I must have been Off a diet that day. It seems I only either eat healthy or completely indulge based on whether I'm on or off a diet. I don't have a regular, daily, healthy, moderate neutral zone. If I am On a diet, then I'm following that plan and eating sparingly, but if I'm Off a diet, then it's like all hell breaks loose. I not only indulge, but then I over-indulge. And this is the problem with being on or off a diet. If I never diet again, then I need to find that healthy moderate. And eat less cake. Damn it.
Liquidate your asses. This is sort of three rules in one, but since they're so obvious, I'm going to bundle them. And everyone likes a good bundle. So, in short, drink more water, cut back on alcohol and don't drink your calories. Easy and obvious, right? Notice I didn't say to cut out your alcohol completely? Because that would be too restrictive, like a diet. So I think if we're never dieting again, then the goal should be moderation, in every category. But especially alcohol. Have it. But not as frequently. And pay attention to drinks like lattes and fruit smoothies (those smoothies are loaded with sugar!)
Eat like 1950. I think this is the whole French women don't get fat concept. I think. I never finished the book. But you already know what I'm going to say so I'll be brief. Watch your portions. Portion sizes have quadrupled since the '50's (I made that statistic up). And now we're fatties. So have what you want, but eat less of it. Fairly simple concept, right? If you absolutely have to have something naughty, then make it just a teeny, little bite-sized naughty. Hmmm, bite-sized naughty. I have to pause and go write something else. Be right back.
Have fruits and vegetables every day. Sounds obvious, right? Well, let's see... This morning I had cereal for breakfast, then a deli sub sandwich and chips for lunch, followed by two cookies, then a chicken breast and some french fries for dinner. So, there you have it, a whole day without fruit and vegetables. I'll bet if you're honest, you're eating way less than you should. Chomp, chomp snackers! Let's get back to the greens! Eat all you want of these!
Get Your Beauty Sleep. I don't know, because they all say so. Just sleep more, or at least enough, okay? But seriously, it's important.
Listen to your body. How often do we ignore our belly? We know if we over-eat we'll get a tummy ache but we do it anyway. We ignore cravings because we think we have to (we don't, just keep it small). Or how about the fact that we eat when we aren't even hungry - just because it's meal time? You know all those fasting trends? Maybe good for you, maybe bad. But I do know that when I'm eating healthier, I can go much longer between eating. Or graze if you prefer to graze (just don't graze on donuts all day). How about this one? I've even eaten deserts when I didn't even want them - just because they were there! (you have, too, yes you have) And if your tummy is growling, then eat for heaven's sake! Does it really matter what time it is? ...Pick the best thing you can have right now. Listen to what your body is really asking for and be kind to it.
BONUS TIP #11 - Shop the perimeter. You know how in the grocery store all of the fresh foods are around he perimeter and the processed foods are in the middle? And, we can all agree that we should be eating more fresh foods and less processed, right? So try to buy more items from the perimeter than the middle. And if you have to go into the cookie aisle for your kids and you see those bags of Pepperidge Farm cookies like chocolate chunk macadamia nut (mmmm), then use the rule of Say No Once. Say no to that bag of delight just once at the store, so you don't have to fight with yourself regularly at home.
So, there you have it. I haven't denied you anything, have I? Except maybe cake on Tuesday. Damn it. But here's the good news, you NEVER HAVE TO DIET AGAIN! In fact, I'm so sure this will make us all healthier that I'll make you a promise. I will use all of these rules for one month straight and see what happens - I'll keep a log. Sign up to receive the results!
(Full disclosure: This is a blog, so yes, it's possible I'll email you crap in the future. That's the whole point of capturing your email (and you know this). And I'm honest like that. But you won't hear from me too often. And I'll never sell my lists!)