From the Blog

How to Lead a Healthy Lifestyle Without Dieting

Progress, not perfection, is one way to view how to lead a healthy lifestyle without dieting.

Recently, a few clients have said “I don’t want to log my food even though I planned it out because my compliance is going to be low.”

I want you to understand 100% compliance is unrealistic.

the word diet in a red circle with a red slashed line through it

If you are preparing for a fitness or bodybuilding competition, then I would absolutely push for 100% compliance.

Otherwise, except for the first 2-4 weeks we work together, I don’t expect you to do this.

Don’t get me wrong. I want you to be 100% compliant, but I realize this isn’t real life.

You should NEVER be stressed about this.

I expect you to enjoy your special occasions, celebrations, and holiday meals. I do not want you to diet your way through them.

If your goal is maintenance, an 80/20 (moderate/celebratory eating) split is feasible.

If you have progress goals, the 90/10 rule applied to life (remember, this is a lifestyle) means you will have 36 days of off-plan eating. That’s 10% of your year.

Let’s say you take the major holidays and enjoy an off plan meal:
New Year’s
Memorial Day
4th of July
Labor Day
Christmas or Hanukkah

Add in birthdays of you and your family.

Add a few other days:
Valentine’s Day
Super Bowl
Mother’s Day
Father’s Day

Now let’s add in an anniversary and there you see that there are about 20 days of some off-plan eating.

Remember these are off-plan meals, not cheat days.

Add in a week or so of a yearly vacation and you are still under the 36 days, making it 10% of your year.

Add in another few isolated or unplanned events and you still have the 90/10 rule.

How to make this a lifestyle?

When it’s listed this way, you can see there are events every month. Look forward to these and use them to help you stay focused on the other days.

This is how you adopt a lifestyle mindset. You won’t feel deprived because you know that you can still CHOOSE to enjoy these times during the year.

So enjoy your day but don’t be a jerk and completely stuff yourself. A major binge is a sign of a problem, as this means there is a lack of control.

Adopt the following “rules” around which you will define your own success:

  • Eat moderate amounts and slowly
  • Put your fork down between every bite
  • Don’t drink a ton of alcohol – have a glass of wine (or an IPA) and leave it at that. You aren’t required to drink to enjoy time with family and friends. You don’t need alcohol to make it through spending time with your family. This is an immature mentality
  • Take 5 full sips of water after each bite
  • Use your plate as a guide: once you run out of space on your plate, go sit down and eat. In some cases you may find filling your plate up 80% is your go-to move. Figure out what works for both your goals and your lifestyle preferences
  • Give yourself at least 20 minutes between the main meal and dessert. Let your food digest and sit a little. You may find that you’re not even hungry for dessert
  • Stop eating when you feel comfortable, not full.

Learn more on how to make this a lifestyle.