When I started my own transformation, I remember starting on a Wednesday. Sure, everyone else starts on a Monday, but I’ve never understood that. But I do remember that the first day of the new year started on Wednesday that year, and I was planning on jumping on the New Year’s bandwagon.
I decided to give myself one cheat day a week, and 95% of the time, that cheat day was on Saturday. So, that was actually a good strategy for a guy that was eating ridiculously (it’s a word, look it up) bad. This was basically my diet at the time:
Breakfast – an iced honeybun and a Mr. Pibb
Lunch – a supersized meal at a fast food joint with 2 large servings of a soda
Snack – candy bar and a soda from the vending machine
Dinner – an entire bag of chips as I decided what to eat for dinner, which usually ended up being an entire frozen pizza followed by 2 big bowls of ice cream
I’m guessing dinner alone was typically around 4,000 calories…good times. Looking back, I wouldn’t be shocked if my entire day was around 10,000 calories or more sometimes.
So, to sum it up, I would allow myself to eat like this one day a week, while the other days, I just simply “ate better”. For example, I switched my morning iced honeybun and soda for water and a bowl of oatmeal (with a tbsp of peanut butter).
By the way, if you haven’t tried that – you’ll LOVE it. Be sure your oatmeal is hot before add the PB. I’m telling you – it’s AWESOME.
Anyway, for lunch, I remember going to the mall instead of a fast food joint and getting chicken with green beans. I made the green beans better by putting hot sauce on them. Sure, it’s weird, but they are my beans and I can do what I want.
For dinner, I basically tried to improve what I was already eating. I wanted to take it slow. So, if I ate pizza all the time, I made my own instead of using frozen pizzas and getting deliveries. It wasn’t a DRASTIC improvement, but that’s what it’s all about – baby steps lead to long-term success.
That’s how I ate 6 days a week. But when Saturday hit, I went all out. The old Mikey came out to play.
But here’s the thing – as weeks went by, my “cravings” for the junk food each Saturday were lighter. The next thing you know, I went from cheating all day to just having 1-2 cheat meals all day, and the portions weren’t nearly as big.
And these days? I’m giving a conscious effort to call these “reward meals”. After all, it’s a reward for eating well the rest of the week and it keeps us sane, right? I recommend you do the same.
I was eating salad almost every day… what the heck? This was coming from a guy that despised lettuce, let alone salad with a bunch of lettuce. My taste buds were literally changing. It was actually pretty awesome.
So, I basically followed that method for 6 months and it changed my attitude towards food. Luck? Perhaps. I don’t know… all I know is that it worked.
So, if you’re a junk food junkie like I was, cheating once a week might be the ticket for you. But let me be honest with you, too. It could be a DISASTER. Everyone is different. Moving on…
Losing 105 lbs is one thing, but how would I keep it off? That’s just as big of a battle as losing weight.
Here’s the truth – I get bored with using a specific diet. I find myself having to “change it up” as much as my workouts (that’s a whole new discussion – I change my program every 4 weeks).
One approach that I don’t get away from week after week is intermittent fasting. I’ll be honest with you and trust me when I say I’m a little shy of admitting this – I scoffed at the idea of fasting. I thought it was ridiculous and was a fad.
But one summer, I had about 5 weeks before we were heading to the beach for vacation in Hilton Head. Sabrina, my wife, was knocked up and I knew it would be our last vacation with just the two of us.
By the way, yes, I said she was “knocked up”. She hates that and I know she’s reading this at some point and I like to push her buttons. There is no reason to push buttons other than it rocks.
So I read all about intermittent fasting and was fascinated by the science of it and how well it worked.
I’ve been using some kind of intermittent fasting now for about 2-1/2 years or so. Now it’s a lifestyle that has helped me keep my weight off (and it’s much easier).
I’m not saying intermittent fasting is for everyone, but it certainly works for me and several of my coaching clients.
Other than that, I typically eat the same foods just about every day with the exception of dinner. I know it works, that’s why.
Do I cheat? Well, sure. I’ll be the first to admit I like pizza, mexican food, etc. (You already know my infatuation with pancakes).
I bolded “pancakes” because that’s how important they are to me.
My diet isn’t perfect… nor will it ever be. After dinner, I usually eat 1-2 Dove chocolates for dessert. When I’m out of town, I hit the local Starbucks in the morning for a cinnamon latte knowing that it has sugars. I don’t sweat it though.
At the end of the day, each and every bite you take will take you closer or further away from your goals (thank you Alwyn Cosgrove for that insight). You just have to find an approach that would work with you, not against you.
If you love fruit, and try to go low-carb, you’re going to fail. So my advice to you is this – try anything that might fit your lifestyle for 2 weeks. If you find that it doesn’t match you and your personality, skip it. Move on to the next approach.
Society tells us that we shouldn’t do that and that we have to stick to it even if it makes us miserable. So, tell Society, “Bite me” and do what works for you.
Don’t be afraid to try different approaches.
That’s part of the journey – finding the “perfect diet” for YOU.
P.S. If you want a sane and simple approach to nutrition that’s the ultimate “anti-diet”, check out Nia Shank’s “Sane and Simple Nutrition” that breaks down a variety of ways to lose fat and not go insane.