Whoever you are and whatever your goals – here are eight food rules everybody must be following!
Here on Tone-and-Tighten.com I get a lot of emails and questions about diet and how it really relates to fitness. In fact when most people write me for advice one of the first things that I always discuss in my reply is the diet. I don’t care how hard you work in the gym – you can throw it all away in the kitchen with one dessert (that’s a sickening though, isn’t it?! That hour you spent in the gym this morning *POOF* gone! With one delicious slice of cheesecake!). Weight loss is really a simple matter of mathematics… calories consumed in a period of time have to be less than the calories burned in the same amount of time; check out this post for a simple rundown of How To Lose Weight with proper diet and exercise.
So today I thought I would make it easy on myself and share with all of you 10 of the most basic, simple, foolproof diet rules that everyone has to be following. If you’ve ever wondered about where to begin fixing your diet and how to get it on the right track – THIS is the place to start. Right here… right now…
1. Know how many calories you’re consuming. I am a food label junkie. Before anything goes in my gut I usually try to figure out exactly how many calories, fat, sugar, carbs, and protein it’s giving me. An incredibly over-simplified rule that you can follow is women need 1,800-2,000 calories every day and men need 2,000-2,200 (sorry ladies – faster metabolisms). These needs change depending on your fitness level (or lack there-of), height, weight, etc, but as a general rule they work out. Your first step is to at least be aware of what you’re putting into your body! You’d be surprised at what kind of foods you’ll avoid just by knowing what goes into them!
2. Eliminate soda forever. How soda is still legal in this country or any is honestly a mystery to me. If there’s one thing that you can work on and only one thing – this is my recommendation. Eliminate soda beverages from your diet forever. Did you know that in one 12-oz can of soda there are 138 calories and and 33 grams of sugar?! But think about it – when was the last time you had just 12 ounces at a time? Average gas station fountain drink sizes are 32, 44, and 64 ounces. That’s 368, 506, and 736 calories respectively!! For someone who is supposed to be consuming 1800 – 2000 calories daily, that’s 1/3 of your dialy allotment of calories in just one drink! In my opinion that’s a complete waste! Do yourself a favor and eliminate soda from your life forever.
3. Eliminate fast food from your life. While we’re getting rid of things – let’s get rid of fast food! Have you ever noticed how delicious fast food tastes? Seriously – it’s delicious. There’s a reason why… it’s MANUFACTURED to be that way (please note I chose my wording very carefully there. It’s not made, produced, or even processed – the food you consume from these places is manufactured to taste the way that it does). It’s usually injected with added sugars and fat to make it taste even more delicious. Do yourself a huge favor and eliminate fast food from your diet for forever.
4. Don’t eat after 8:00 pm. After 8:00 pm, the kitchen is on lockdown. Period. Just don’t go in there! When 8:00 hits you should turn an imaginary key in your brain (better yet – install a real lock!) on your pantry and not go in there again. Our metabolisms slow down significantly after 8:00 as we’re (supposedly) getting ready for bed. Consuming additional calories as your body is going into shutdown mode causes your body to store this energy in the form of fat. It figures “I’m not going to burn this now; better save it for later”. Thank you, body. Just don’t eat after 8:00.
5. Portion control. My biggest tip that I can offer here is this… throw out your dinner plates. All of them. Don’t ever serve dinner on a dinner plate again. Know why? They’re ginormous!! If you look at the progression in dinner plates over the last 50 years it’s really pretty comical! We’re practically eating off platters these days! One of the best things you can do for yourself is start to dish up all your meals on a salad plate (salad plate – not like a dinner roll plate; those are way too small). You’ll find you start eating a lot less during your meals and that you actually won’t eat as much as you used to.
6. Drink more water. Just like we need to eliminate fast food and soda – on the opposite end of the spectrum we need to be drinking a lot more water. The average recommendation is 64 ounces daily. That’s eight 8-ounce glasses of H2O that you should consume every single day. My life-saver in the water department is my big ol’ water bottle that goes with me everywhere. This Nalgene holds 32 ounces of liquid refreshment – I know that when I’ve drained it twice I’ve done enough for the day. Find a system that works for you and stick with it!
7. Schedule your treats. Let’s be honest – none of us are perfect. You’re going to slip up somewhere along the way and break one or two of these rules. Here’s the clincher… SCHEDULE your slip-ups! Use them as rewards! Think about it – if you’re sitting there at 8:30 pm craving a hamburger, fries and a soda and give into that craving and go get one, what’s your reaction to it? Guilt! Remorse! Shame! Feelings of “oh man I shouldn’t have done that and now I’ve messed up forever and I’m an awful person”. Not the affirmation that we’re necessarily after. Now in contrast – say you’ve been crushing your diet lately. You’ve been so good and feel like you should reward yourself. You tell yourself – “Okay – on Thursday I’m going to allow myself one fast-food meal of a regular, human-sized burger, small fries, and a small lemonade (I’m still not budging on giving up soda forever)”. Thursday rolls around and you enjoy your reward either at lunch or dinner with friends and/or family as a celebration of your success. Now what are your feelings? Accomplishment! Reward! Pleasure! Re-affirmation that you can do this! You’re reacting to a decision instead of an impulse. Do it the right way, and these “moments of weakness” can become “moments of strength” that you will look on with satisfaction.
8. Be consistent. Be diligent. And be patient. Finally – you need to understand that pounds do not fly off overnight. Pills, fads, and gimmicks are temporary and dangerous. Many people get frustrated when they follow all these rules and they don’t see the pounds come flying off immediately. Did you know that HEALTHY and NORMAL weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week? Don’t get frustrated with yourself if you don’t see faster results than this. All too often I hear from people who stuck with a diet “2 weeks without seeing any improvement” and they usually give it up. Oh if you could but learn this principle – be diligent with following these guidelines, consistently make and keep these goals for yourself, and be patient through these initial stages and I can promise you that you will start to see the success that you so desire.
So there they are! Not too difficult, right? 8 relatively easy diet rules that everyone, regardless of their health and nutrition goals, should be following. Put them to work for you and you’ll experience first-hand exactly what I’m talking about!
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Looking to get started on the right track with your diet and fitness but aren’t too sure where to start? Check out my “8-Week Beginner Workout Guide” ebook! It’s easily our best-seller; it contains workouts, healthy recipes, tips, and motivation to start you off on the right track and finish up the 2-month period stronger than ever before! Check out this link to learn more about it:
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Make it happen,
By Jared Beckstrand