As I have said in previous posts, diets SUCK! I still wish I could eat whatever I wanted and still be as healthy and fit as possible, but unfortunately that is not how the world works. I have learned through experience; however, that diets can also be a lot better than you think… It really comes down to how your prepare yourself for your diet.
How many of you have tried starting a diet, and then eventually given up? I will admit that I have… numerous times. I have talked to countless people who have started crash diets and put in a ton of effort to eat well and exercise regularly, but most of these people end up reverting back to their old ways. My big question is WHY? We know we want to look and feel better; we are willing to put in the effort; we are even able to stay on a pretty strict diet for some time. Why then do so many people end up reverting back to their old eating habits?
I got to thinking, and although this is totally based on my personal experience, views and observations, I ask you to just be open minded and dare you to try what I am about to suggest. I believe people don’t succeed on crash diets, because although they want to lead a healthy lifestyle, they jumped right into a diet with little to no preparation. Your body and mind sometimes need to warm-up to an idea in order to really make it work and become a habit. For example, if you had never been swimming before, why would you jump into the deep end of the pool and hope for the best? Surely, many people would come close to drowning. This is the same for diets. If you are so used to eating one way, and all of a sudden change everything you are doing, your body and mind are honestly not ready for the change, leaving you with uncontrollable cravings and needs.
Think about the last diet and exercise plan you tried. Is this what happened to you?
Right now, after about 2 years of constantly working on improving my diet and exercise routine, I can say that I have formed some strong views and habits that have helped shape a healthier lifestyle. Before I started really working on creating this lifestyle, I would go to the gym, maybe twice a week, if that, and I would honestly eat anything I wanted (I would eat fast food and unhealthy foods at restaurants all the time). Now, if I don’t work out for more than 2 days, my body literally feels sluggish and almost sickly and although I hardly ever even want to go near a fast food place anymore, if I even attempt to eat fast food, my stomach almost immediately rejects it. How have I been able to create such habits while I see other people stopping in my local Wendy’s every day?
After doing some research of how to form habits, I tried to determine on how long it actually takes to create a lasting habit such as eating healthy. Although some researchers say 21 days is all you need, most psychologists cannot actually put a number on how long it takes. They all seem to agree that different habits obviously take different amounts of time to form. From what I read, I concluded that the smaller the change from someone’s current lifestyle, the less time it takes to actually become a habit that the person will eventually not have to intentionally think about doing. A small change in someone’s lifestyle, such as drinking one more glass of water a day, can take two-three weeks to become a habit. A much larger change in someone’s life, such as going to the gym five days a week, can take hundreds of days to actually become a habit.
After realizing this, I remembered the first diet I ever tried that actually worked for me, that I still unintentionally follow today. It worked because it was a small change from what I was already doing, which made it easy for my body to adapt and form a long lasting habit. I made this little diet up myself in my head one day, but it has helped train my mind and my body to really create healthier eating habits and also prepare me for future diets I was going to try.
HERE IS MY DIET CHALLENGE (aka the first diet that worked for me):
Pick one food that you eat regularly (at least twice a month), that you know is bad for you, that you could live without. Some examples of foods would be french fries, pizza, ice cream, bacon, cake, etc. For me, it was doughnuts. Now totally delete this one food from your diet. I am only asking you to pick ONE food. Whenever you are tempted to eat this food now, just simply say no, or replace it with something much healthier. That’s it! I know it sounds so stupid and easy, but trust me, it will help you in the long run with making healthier choices and help you adapt to other diets in the future. To put it into perspective, I used to eat about 2 Chocolate Frosted Doughnuts from Dunkin Donuts a week . I liked eating them, obviously, but I realized I ate them usually out of convenience rather than out of a craving I was having or out of a need. Without eating these 2 doughnuts each week, I saved myself 540 calories and 30g of fat (14g of saturated fat) per week… that’s 28,080 calories and 1,560g of fat (728g of saturated fat) a year. To burn that off, I would have to run for about 35 hours… and I hate running :(. From this diet, I have not had one doughnut for over four years, and now I honestly have no cravings or wants to even try a doughnut again. Right now I am attempting this diet with waffles, and so far, I have gone almost three weeks without eating one waffle, which has saved me bad calories, fat, and a lot of carbs.
So now, I challenge you to try this easy diet out. It is easy! All I am asking you to do is pick one food that you can live without. If you can make it through one month without having this food in your diet, you should be able to start forming healthier habits. NO CHEATING!!!
What are your thoughts on this post? Are you going to try my challenge? Let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alec I love this challenge and I think I’m going to try it! I go through periods where my diet is SPOT ON but I’ve been having an off couple of weeks and have been indulging a bit too much on desserts. I don’t mind the occasional treat but when I see my abs going away because of my diet it’s so frustrating! Anyways I felt like venting and here’s me telling you I’m going to give up cookies using your challenge.
Well it looks like you have made a ton of progress since last time I saw you!!! Keep it up. And yes… try this out. It sounds so stupid, but cutting out one food at a time rather then cutting out a ton of food all at once works so much better for me!
Giving this a try, no more bacon for me! What’s next? What else can I do to be eating healthier? As a college student healthy food is hard to come by, I don’t myself eating at odd times in the day.
Good luck with Bacon 🙂 !!! You are right, eating healthy at college can be hard, but not impossible. Try grocery shopping sometimes instead of going to the café. Also, see if the cafe serves food like grilled chicken instead of fried chicken, egg whites instead of whole eggs, or any other healthier sides such as vegetables or fruit instead of french fries. Search around and learn about the different options offered at your school. Most schools do have healthier options, its just a matter of finding them.
Great article and in turn great information. It is very important now a days to maintain a
healthy diet schedule. So whenever you get chance grab on to the most nutritious food available. Try making it habit and in long run it will pay you back.
Does supplements count? Because I can’t live without them. Ha ha I take muscle pharm assault to help me bulk up. Anyways, great article! You might want to read this blog article of mine, too. Cheers!