With mass media, long work hours, abundant and inexpensive fast food places everywhere, and general laziness our society is getting sicker and fatter every year. The lack of active adults and cost of processed foods being so low are causing tightened stress to our healthcare system and increasing our pants size.
A common myth we often hear is that it's too hard or too expensive to eat clean and proper. Another excuse we hear from people who have a poor diet and have become overweight is that exercise is too hard and that is the problem. It's not exercise or lack of that is making you fat. It's the poor diet choices.
It's easy to let your diet spin out of control and cause crash and burn problems for your health and body image. Below I go over some important keys to take charge of your diet and your life! It's not hard to eat clean and it can be extra delicious and satisfying- even crushing those sweet cravings!
- Take 100% Responsibility for what you put in your mouth.
It's not on your wife or husband, mother or father, or whoever else besides YOU to make sure you eat well. If someone in your household is "causing" you to eat poorly, you're making excuses. Nobody will force feed you unless you're 2. If a person in your home buys Oreo cookies and orders Chinese food, you have no obligation to eat those things. You may be weak in the knees and lazy to the point you don't want to cook, but when you know your diet is poor- YOU need to stand up and take charge by taking responsibility. Cook for yourself. Buy food for yourself. This is about YOU.
- Avoid Gimmick Foods.
Eating 100 Calorie Snack Packs of Popcorn or Pretzels is not taking charge of your poor diet. Just because they say 100 calories doesn't mean it's good to eat when looking to clean up a diet. Try baby carrots or blueberries instead. Even a handful of almonds. Special K and Cherrios saying they're good for the heart and good for a healthy body is a marketing gimmick. Avoid that aisle in the grocery all together. Buy shrimp and cook it, take a handful and pack that as a snack. Wouldn't you rather taste delicious shrimp packed with protein instead of genetically modified bullshit?
- Throw away the garbage in your lazy susan.
Seriously. You may have things like Pastas, Canned Sauce, Potato Chips, Cookies, Hamburger Helpers, and other stuff that doesn't expire. Okay it's tough to throw stuff away that you spent your hard earned money on. Stash it away for the Zombie Apocalypse and start a Doomsday Prepping supply.
- Shop for food twice a week.
When you want to lose weight or build lean muscle making the proper food choices is critical to your success. One important factor when deciding on what food is "good" or what is "bad" is the shelf life. Shop for foods that need to be cooked today and eaten tomorrow. Shop for food that will go bad within a few days if not eaten. By doing this you should be shopping at least twice a week. Fresh preservative free foods go bad in a few days. Most people who eat this way shop at farmer's markets or farms like Mini Mac Farm in Long Valley, NJ.
- Make Your Life One Big Do-It-Yourself Project.
And stay busy! Sitting idle and being bored is a quick way to run to the store and buy a tub of ice cream. By keeping yourself busy with work, family time, reading, working out, and starting that business you've always dreamed about, you will keep your mind active and away from food. Make a clear structured plan of your daily life and assign "feeding" times. Most people can do well with Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Snack, Dinner and be satisfied throughout the day. Whatever you need to keep busy do it!
- Take it One Day at a Time!
Just like a recovering addict does, take one day at a time and don't stress over the future. Don't stress about up coming parties or family gatherings. The first step of taking 100% responsibility should take care of your commitment. Just focus on what you are doing at the current time and what your mind is telling you.
- Tell EVERYONE what you are doing!
There is no quicker way to ruin a good diet than having a co worker force a donut into your space. Bosses love to call meetings with catering, meetings at the Olive Garden and the lady down the hall bakes as a second job. Make sure you tell people "No Thank You". If they insist tell them again No Thank You and if they continue it's time to punch their lights out.
- Drink a ton of water.
With Fresh squeezed lemon or frozen blueberry ice cubes if you hate plain water. Nothing will soothe those stomach rumblings better then an ice cold glass of water.
- Stop using the Excuse and Myth "Eating healthy costs too much."
This is not true, actually far from it. If you measure and weigh your food you will be surprised at what a serving size looks like. When you buy healthy foods and commit to a clean diet you will start to notice the plates getting smaller and in turn so will the grocery budget. Also, your medical bills will go down, the time spent sick or recovering will go down, and the purchases of pain relief meds or cold medicine will be few and far between.
Taking charge of your diet starts with your mind. It's easy to drift away from clean eating to suck down a few beers or have some deep fried Oreos at the fair. However when this happens don't stress about it and don't think a 60 minute treadmill run will make you feel better or ease the guilt you may feel. Pick up where you left off and take it a day at a time. If you have a family that loves Macaroni and Cheese and a husband or wife who need to "Have it their way" you need to take responsibility for YOURSELF and do what you need to do. If it means telling your family to cook for themselves because they don't want baked chicken and a healthy salad for dinner and you don't have time to make 2 different meals than so be it. It is what it is and we have a very special unique talent that helps us avoid starvation. Your edgy husband or wife or cranky kids will adapt! Sometimes you need to put yourself first!
A few days out of the year of eating like a College kid should be looked at as a treat and something you have to earn. While it's awesome to eat burgers and dogs and drink beer with friends at the lake or down at the corner pub, keep it to some special moments during your year! The way you feel when you clean up your diet and take charge of your life is way better then a bag of Doritos.
- Do it Now. Don't Wait!
Don't wait for the cereal box to be finished. Don't wait for the leftover Pasta and Potatoes to spoil. Don't wait until you are out of food and need to go shopping. Start your clean diet right now! You know what you need to eat and what is healthy. Don't wait for the ball to drop and the hangover to begin!