Let’s talk diet Pt. 3
(Subtitle: Hints/Tips/Cheats/Hacks to help you stay sane.)
Even if you’ve taken my advice or are contemplating taking my advice about choosing a sustainable diet it’s still going to be a diet. That means it’s still going to force you to change your habits and it’s going to force you to choose between what you want to eat and what you should eat.
No matter how disciplined/motivated/crazy you are a diet is still a grind and any grind will cause a person to crack eventually. With the possible exception of vegans. Here are a few ideas to try to help you stick with your new diet while staying sane at the same time.
- Cheat. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not so you might as well control it. Some people like a cheat meal other people like a cheat day. Either way set your diet aside and go nuts. The planned cheat is like a pressure release valve. It relieves the pressure that builds after 6 or 7 days of following your plan. Plus it can work as motivation. If you’ve got a Tuesday night craving for pizza but your cheat isn’t until Saturday you’ve now got something to work towards and look forward to for the rest of the week. A weekly cheat meal will probably get you to your goal a little faster than a weekly cheat day but you need to decide what works best for you.
- Don’t let a single day derail you. Things are going to come up on a non-cheat day that cause you to miss your calorie goal. Take a step back and look at the week as a whole. So you blew past your calorie goal by a few hundred calories one day. In the scope of a whole week it’s not that big a deal. Just divide the overage by the number of days left in the week and subtract it from your daily calorie goal to compensate. That way at the end of the week you’ve still made your total goal.
- Don’t let the scale drive you crazy. Some people like to weigh-in every day. I can’t handle it. The little fluctuations lead me to make crazy decisions. If you’re the same way pick a single consistent time each week to weigh-in. Doesn’t matter when it is as long as you know more often than not you’ll be available at that time. For me I weigh-in Friday morning right after I roll out of bed.
- Don’t let the scale be the only metric you use to measure success. You could plateau weight-wise for a few weeks but still be decreasing your overall body fat percentage and losing inches. For less than $10 you can get a flexible tape that will allow you to measure your thighs, waist, arms, etc. Track those measurements along with your weight each week so you have a more complete picture of your progress. If you want to go a step further get a handheld body fat monitor. It isn’t as accurate as a professional wielding calipers or a hydrostatic test but it will get you in the ballpark.
- Be patient. This whole process is going to take time. Your body isn’t going to magically change over night. Anytime you make a change in your plan give it at least two weeks. Anything less and you’re not going to be able to accurately judge if it has had a positive or negative effect. Your body needs time to adjust and if you’re making changes every couple of days that doesn’t happen. You’ll be spinning your wheels and possibly giving up on changes that could have a really positive effect.