There’s a sequence for any sustainable habit that’s just plain necessary if you want to be successful:
- Become clear about the value you place on the outcome of the practice.
- Be honest with yourself about what’s required of you to attain your goal.
- Once you begin, keep your eye on the prize and don’t give up.
Through my private client practice and the small group training program at our studio, I meet a number of people who tell me they’d like to be leaner and eat more healthfully. I can usually tell within minutes how serious each person is by the way they explain their struggles and respond to my suggestions.
Sometimes I hear what they’ve done in the past that has worked and an openness to focus on problem areas (often exercise but almost always eating) with enthusiasm and commitment.
Often I hear a drawn out, detailed lament about how what they are already doing should be working, although it’s clearly not. That is wasted energy and counter-productive to change.
Pardon my bluntness, but, if you’re fat, what you’re doing is not working.
So dwelling on the obstacles is not really going to be helpful. Thinking about what you want and how to get there is where your head needs to be at – if you’re serious.
So here’s the template in a nutshell, at least as far as eating is concerned:
- Eat small amounts frequently to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day.
- Make sure produce accounts for at least half your diet; and vegetables account for at least half your produce.
- Focus the remaining half of your diet on whole grains and lean protein sources.
- Avoid empty calories (alcohol, sweets, fatty and salty foods), especially at night.
- Eat until you’re satisfied, not full.
If you’re doing all that for a year, and you didn’t start out morbidly obese (over 50% body fat), it’s very likely you’ll be at your lean ideal body composition by the end of the year, or before.
That may sound simple, but for many, choosing healthy options consistently is the real challenge. You shouldn’t deprive yourself an enjoyable experience when you eat. You should re-orient your ideas of how to enjoy the process described above.
Look through the pictures in this article for some ideas for delicious, nutrient-dense options here in town, nearby and while traveling. Included are selections from local restaurants and a combo I put together at a bed and breakfast in Capitola. But I can make a healthy meal at a gas station mini-mart. You can too. Here is a link to one of my blog posts laying out a sample seven day food diary.
This should get you off to a good start, if you’re finally serious about getting lean.