Do anything enough and you’ll learn a thing or two about it. You’ll start to find out what works and what doesn’t. A musician doesn’t develop perfect technique overnight. She makes minor adjustments continually in hopes that she’ll one day be satisfied with her performance…but let’s be honest, she probably won’t be.
Dieting is pretty similar, actually. If you’re like most people you’ve probably tried a handful of times to eat healthier in hopes that your changes would stick….and then they didn’t. What were you missing? A seasoned musician could answer this for you —perfect technique isn’t the result of immediately applying a cacophony of changes.
Perfect technique is the result of the compounded effect of years of minor tweaks. When you’re just getting started, you haven’t had time to learn what works and what doesn’t.
So what is perfect technique in terms of dieting and nutrition? Does it mean never eating another scoop of ice cream? Not from my point of view. Perfect technique is the diet that allows you to be your happiest, healthiest self! If that means never getting to experience the bliss of Limited Edition Cookie Dough Oreos, so be it….but i’ll take the latter.
At some point after I committed to change my previously lazy and inactive lifestyle I started to realize that. I wasn’t following a certain diet plan or only eating certain foods, I was just getting better at thinking about what|how|when|why I was eating something. Really, I just came up with a list of strategies that I used — A Diet Strategy, so to speak.
What I ended up discovering is that my “diet” (it’s a shame that word has such a negative connotation in our minds) was really just me being smarter about eating. Much like a musician revises their technique constantly over time, so did I constantly revise my approach to eating and nutrition.
That constant revision is what lead to where I’m at today — something that’s healthy and sustainable — and that’s exactly where you want to be. Do I eat broccoli at every meal? Hell no. Have I actually learned what moderation is? I like to think so.
I’m not running a 9 second 100-meter dash, but I do wake up every day with the intention to be just a tiny bit better than the day before.
I’m not about to say that I didn’t meet a lot of roadblocks along the way. I think you have to be comfortable with that — you’re going to mess up a lot. Even if I told you everything you could do correctly to put you on the right track — you wouldn’t do those things. At least not all of them. Some (well, most in my experience) lessons you have to learn for yourself.
I guess what I’m hoping is that I can at least point you in the right direction. There’s a reason that every self-improvement article or book or post you read tells you to make small changes, not big ones— because it f**king works. Pardon my french, but sometimes I’m perplexed by why it’s so difficult for us humans to implement concepts that are so simple!
So back to the checklist. After putting all of my ideas down on paper, I realized that I’m a complete hypocrite! I just got through explaining why you need to learn some things yourself and here I am trying to prescribe a “checklist” that tells you how to diet. That’s just it though! It’s the concept that’s useful here — how you implement it is up to you. I want to give you a few examples that help you build your own checklist!
Anyway, here’s what my Master Checklist looks like:
- Drink water every chance you get. This one makes the top of the list because of how stupidly simple it is. Everything on this checklist is, really, but this one yields the biggest benefits.
- Don’t drink your calories. For me, this is absolutely paramount. If you have to have soda, drink diet soda. If you have to drink alcohol, stick to straight hard liquor and not a raspberry cosmopolitan.
- If you must consume junk food, do it later in the day. It takes almost zero willpower to do this. If you see that doughnut in the office and you really want it, make a deal with yourself that you’ll have one later tonight instead.
- Eliminate foods you CAN live without. Seriously, if you don’t absolutely adore french fries then don’t freaking eat them. Don’t eat them just because “they’re there”. If you don’t ever crave them, I promise you won’t miss them.
- Your willpower is a limited resource, so spend it wisely. If you have to use some of it to say “no” to a slice of cake, expect that you’ll have to replenish it with another indulgence elsewhere.
Okay that’s it! Haha, just kidding. Truth be told I have about 40 of these strategies that I try to implement, and I’m constantly expanding that list.
I hope you see my point though — It’s a whole helluva lot easier to think strategically about your diet than it is to follow some BS diet plan. Especially when you don’t have to think about each strategy and they become automatic behaviors.
Well, I hope this is helpful. These strategies have been absolutely huge in helping me fix my relationship with food. If you’d like a copy of the entire checklist that I work on, please do subscribe to my blog! Additionally, any comments are thoughts are always welcome.
Happy hunting, my friends.