Everybody I know that has been on a “diet” pretty much ends up hating life, whether they’re on the low-carb diet, the South Beach Diet, the Super Mario Diet (spaghetti, mushrooms, and stars), or the Jack Bauer Diet (terrorists). Most people stay on a diet for a few weeks, starve themselves and cut out everything they love, and then after losing five pounds go back to their old eating habits and put all the weight right back on. What a trendous waste of time! Now, I realize I even talk about “the Nerd Fitness Diet” in my FREE E-BOOK (hows that for a shameless plug!), but I want to set the record straight on what I mean when I talk about a “diet.”
When you make the decision to lose weight and get healthy, the first thing you need to do is adjust your attitude. Yeah, I realize I sound like your mom right now – that’s because moms are right all the time (mine is…hi mom!). If you’re actually serious about turning your life around, it cannot be a competition between your stomach and your mind. “Oh I can’t eat that because I’m on this diet, or “I get one snack at 4:15 because the book said so” is a losing mentality. You can’t be fighting with yourself and your stomach because ultimately you’ll lose. Your diet (what you eat, not some program you subscribe to) has to be part of who you are. Temporary changes are useless – they need to be permanent, and they need to work for you.
G.I. Joe teaches us that “knowing is half the battle.” Until they tell me otherwise, I think the other half is execution and dedication. Once you know what’s good for you and what’s bad for you, it’s up to you to determine what to do with that knowledge. If you’re in a competition with friends to drop a certain amount of weight by Thanksgiving, you’re gonna need to make some serious adjustments. If you’re a 40 year-old dude in a happy marriage and you just want to fit into your pants a little better, a few small changes will suffice (provided you stick with it).
Let’s go back to your overall mentality: If you love to eat chocolate cake, don’t give it up completely. Recognize the fact that chocolate cake isn’t good for you, and find a way to either eat it in moderation or find a way to give up something equally bad that doesn’t give you as much satisfaction. Tyler over at 344 pounds has lost more than pounds in the past 9 months and he still eats the food he loves. Check out his weekly meals to see how he’s been so successful without changing up his diet (along with substantial exercise, of course).
My best advice is this: make one change a week, not because you’re on a diet, but because it’s part of you. Switch out Cokes for water at work (trust me on this one), have a bag of almonds on your desk rather than M&Ms, and/or start bringing in your lunch once or twice a week. These changes can really make a difference. Example: if you drink three Cokes a day, switching to water can result in almost 30 pounds lost in a year. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. It’s amazing. I used to eat fast food probably four or five times a week. Now months go by between visits. It’s not because I’m forcing myself to stay away – it’s because I honestly just don’t want to eat food from there.
Have fun (isn’t that what life is all about?). Eat what you want, but in moderation, and not all the time. I know you’re smart enough to recognize what’s good for you and what’s not good for you – it’s up to you to decide how important being healthy is. Eventually, you’ll get to the point where eating right is just “what you do.” Not because a book told you to, not because your doctor told you to, not because you think you’re supposed to, but because it’s part of who you are.
In honor of referencing G.I. Joe in today’s post, here’s a classic re-dubbed PSA announcement from the old G.I. Joe cartoons. Here’s one of my favorites: