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Healthy Habit #1: Stop Dieting and Start Living

News flash: diets work…as long as you are on them. Problem: you can’t stick with most diets long-term. Many are designed to starve you temporarily to get you some results that you will immediately reverse once you start eating or living. So STOP DIETING!

Two things typically happen when you go on a ‘diet’ in general, and specifically during the holidays. 1- People will ‘fall off the wagon’ regarding their diet and have a great holidays and gain some weight. 2- Some people will start a diet during this time of year to avoid gaining weight. They end up grouchy, miserable and have a sucky holidays.

healthy habit

Calorie counting

Counting calories is easier than ever before with nutritional labeling and content available online and in virtually every fitness-related app on the market. But let’s face the facts:
  • No matter how ‘easy’ it is to enter the food data into your app it’s far easier to put the food in your mouth
  • It’s not an exact science, even when you try to make it one with food scales
  • If you are diligent about tracking your calories you begin to be a little too obsessed with food and may even develop disordered eating habits

On the flip side, counting calories brings a greater awareness of what you actually are eating. It also makes you more accountable for your actions. These are both really good, positive points.

So how can we get the benefits without the drawbacks? Is it possible to have your cake and eat it too?

An Alternative Strategy

We offer an alternative strategy for our clients to get the best of both worlds. It’s just 3 simple steps. You don’t even have to do the steps in order.

Step 1: Choices Not Calories

We recommend tracking your choices instead of your calories. At it’s roots, counting calories is all about creating a behavior change. So why not focus on those choices that are the direct offspring of your behaviors? By focusing on your choices (good and bad) of what you are doing/eating or not you still get the accountability and awareness for your actions that is crucial for healthy habit creation.

Step 2: The Big 3

This my personal go-to strategy most of the time. This strategy is about rebooting your default selections. Instead of automatically reaching for the soda or other junk food. Your new default is one of three choices: fruits, vegetables, and/or a good protein source.

Fruits and veggies are the good guys. I don’t understand diets that eliminate them. They are chuck-full of fiber which helps you feel full. Ever tried to eat 5 apples? My point exactly. Most people don’t get enough protein in their diets. Protein also helps you feel full. Great go-to options are: eggs, beef jerky, protein bars, protein shakes, meat, poultry, fish, lentils, dairy products. If you reach for 1 or more of those things, you’ll be making better choices, getting better results, and shedding those extra pounds off with no stress.

Step 3: Go On Auto-pilot

Counting calories, even tracking your choices IS NOT an effective long-term strategy. It could be, but it’s not a fun one. With our fitness coaching clients, we recommend tracking their choices consistently for about 1-2 weeks is all. That’s enough time to see some good trends and habits. This next step is often omitted in other diets and programs so listen up.

You should use this data to create a plan that you can follow easily without too much thought, or any thought at all that will still have you on the right path toward creating the healthy lifestyle you are working for. For many in the health and fitness industry this is a novel concept but it’s been tried and true in the financial sector.

How you ever had an automatic savings deposit? Financial advisers are all about putting your finances and savings on autopilot with automatic withdrawals and deposits. When was the last time you physically withdrew money and put it in your 401k? I doubt it’s ever been done. In fact, you are encouraged to save/invest before taxes, or before you even see that money in your bank account.

If you’re sick of counting calories, dieting and having a horrible holiday, stop dieting and start living using these simple steps.