Now, no diet, no one way of eating healthy, is ever a breeze. We’ll start by saying that. Because they all take effort. And they’re all a bugger in the sense you have to learn to balance compromises and claw your way into a caloric deficit somehow. You can’t have your cake, in other words, and eat it, too. Unless, of course, we’re talking about rice cakes, that is. Which in that cakes, hand ’em over! Hold on.
Christine, come and read this. Yep, I did it again!
Said she’ll be right down.
Christine is my wife, by the way. That is who “Christine” is.
Now, we know any diet can work so long as you stick with it. That, we can all agree on? Yes? Everyone? A nod? Something? OK, good. So the best diet, then, is not whatever one you read about in whatever magazine it was that said this is how they helped so and so drop fifteen pounds in three days for her role in that one, upcoming film nobody cares about because it isn’t the new Star Wars–but the one you’ll actually get done, the one that is practical and reliable and not overly a miserable experience–that is the diet you want to use.
And that diet, The Diet that Actually Works, is never found in celebrity gossip columns. Because The Diet that Actually Works boils down always to the same old, somewhat boring series of needed-reminders: Eat mostly whole foods, not too much, and chew with your mouth shut. Yes, a little wine is OK. Go ahead, dear.
Here’s The Diet That Actually Works
What makes The Diet That Actually Works actually work, is that it’s focused not on eating a particular set of foods, but rather about engaging in a particular set of behaviors. Habits are what determine success, not Jenny Craig, Vegetarian, Paleo, or If It Fits In This Little Plastic Bin, You Can Eat It. And like we said, any diet can work in the same way that any diet can also not work. So we need to look beyond what to eat and what not to eat, and begin to explore what those who experience success have in common. And don’t worry. I’m not going to ask you drink any weird or hard to pronounce, viscous biological substance, either. I tried Slim Fast, and didn’t really like it.
First, a food journal. You’re going to need one. Because nothing could be more patently obvious so far as success on a diet goes: Those who track what they eat, do better than those who don’t. So, if nothing else, open a log–or if you want, you can call it a diary–of everything you bite into. Don’t worry. It’s cool to call your food tracking system a diary. Nobody’s going to say anything. Why would they? Just go for it. Flowers? Sure, get the one with flowers on it. Go right ahead, peanut. You’re going to see results from this, I promise.
Secondly, is you need to examine your environment. Don’t go at it alone, and don’t surround yourself with shitheads. Find someone to hold you accountable on one end, and avoid those who try to trip you up on the other.
And just one other thing about environment: Get the junk food out of your house, already, will ya? It’s time to start putting success in your way. So have healthy foods handy and make it as hard as possible to grab hold of something that might screw you over. Say it with me now, “Fare thee well, Mint Oreo. I will see YOU in hell.” Then chuck it in the trash, and tamp it down nice and tight.
Remember that convenience increases adherence. So after you dispatch of the junk in the house, be sure to have a steady supply of go-to-healthy meals. Use templates/recipes if you need. I have about a million of these as part of my Inner Circle, with a new one created every week. Use them.
Now, you may have noticed that I have said no specific thing about calorie counting or tracking macros or any of that. I don’t feel either of those are necessary. I know neither of those are necessary. Because you can self-monitor in other ways, by swapping around what you eat, or when you eat (fasting), becoming aware of portion sizes, using templates and meal replacements (read: protein shakes), and so on. Calorie counting may work for some, but is in no sense something you have to do. There are many ways to floss a billy goat, you know.
Obviously you need to reduce your overall energy intake in order to lose weight. I get that. I’ve always gotten that. And I think most everybody gets that. Even an idiot, should get that. The mistake, however, is people think you need to drive calories down in a straight line, counting every single one along the way as you go. Incorrect! What you want to focus on is finding a plan that is flexible, practical, and agreeable to what you want to achieve. Maybe that’s fasting, 5/2, low-carb, Weight Watchers, whatever. Maybe it IS counting calories, tracking macros, or seeing what foods fit into those tiny plastic tins. But then, to focus on habits and behavior. To get the environment convulsive to your success, to not hang around saboteurs at suppertime.