Starting a new diet

There is a lot more to dieting than trying to follow the latest diet people are talking about. If you truly want to lose weight and become healthier you need to educate yourself along the way. If you do not learn the why to a diet or lifestyle, once you finish or quit the diet, you will fall right back into the way you ate before.

1. Decide how or what diet to start with.

You have to determine how disciplined you are before you pick a path to a healthier lifestyle.  If you struggle with this, I would suggest a very slow approach so that both your body and your mind have plenty of time to adjust as you go.  It will not be super sexy and you won’t lose 20 lbs in a month, but it will stay off because not only are you not shocking your body into starvation mode, you will also be learning what to do and why to do.  This is very important because if you follow a diet blindly without understanding it, you will eventually fall back into old habits because that is what you KNOW.  

If you feel like you are disciplined enough to follow a more aggressive diet, then by al means, go for it.  My only recommendation is to research as much as you can about the diet and the WHY it has you do certain things.  The educational side of dieting is more important than the diet itself, IMO.

I will recommend a couple diets farther down, but want to address a couple other steps first.

2. Habits and behaviors.

Another aspect of changing to a healthier lifestyle that is not talked about is understanding the behaviors and habits that got you into an unhealthy lifestyle to begin with.  Everyone has habits that they follow blindly (good and bad), and these are very hard to remove because they are ingrained in our self conscious.  How many times have you driven in your car to a specific place, and the next thing you know, you are going to work or home (on mental cruise control).  This is what I am talking about.  What I suggest is not to try to remove or completely break the habit in question (almost impossible), but rather identify the bad habit, understand what pleasure you receive from the said “bad habit”, and find a substitute “good” habit to replace it.

For example, a friend of mine smokes 10-12 cigaretts a day and he wants to quit.  I know nicotine is physically addictive, but there is a lot of mental cruise control habit behaviors that contribute to the problem as well.  He always like to have a cigarette at around 10:00 AM at work.  I probed the potential reasons for having a cigarette at that time and asked him to identify the pleasure or reward he received in having one.

1. Did he just need a break from his desk?  If so, instead of having a cigarette, I suggested getting up from his desk and walk around the building for 5 min.  This would satisfy the “need a break”, get his blood flow moving, be better for his lower back and posture, and give him a mental break from dealing with customers.

2. Did he just need an opportunity to “turn work off” for a few minutes and interact socially with other.  If this is the case, take your break, seek out co-workers that you can shoot-the-sh*t with for a few minutes. I suggested that he does this standing up to receive the benefits I mentioned in 1.

3. Did the cigarette help calm him down?  If he thought this was the reason, I suggested trying different drinks like warm tea or a healthy snack.

I think that understanding the WHY we do something is more important than people give it credit for and could be the difference maker in a successful lifestyle change and another failed attempt.

3. Increase you energy expenditure with exercise

Here is another category that I think people screw up, even though they have good intentions.  When you start an aggresive exercise program before you are mentally or physically ready to do so, you will run into the following problems.  

1. exercise too aggressively and become be very sore and  hate working out.

2. It will be too cardiovascularly difficult and you will become demoralized and hate working out.

3. Because your body will not be used to the new activity, you won’t have the energy to start, or it will be “too difficult” to work into your daily schedule.  Because of this inconvenience, out of lack of desire to do it, you will give-up as your life is too busy right now and you will hate working out and quit altogether.

4. What diet will you decide to follow?

There are several proven diets out there and I will try to write a summary and my opinion on each of them in the future. There is a Carnivore diet, Paleo Diet, Ketosis Diet, whole30, wise traditions Diet, Mediterranean diet, fasting diet, and the Longevity diet, to name a few.

Even though all these diets have proven to be effective in large numbers of people, everyone’s body reacts differently to food, so it becomes very important to find which one works for you.

This becomes especially difficult when you learn that several diets conflict with each other, indicating that there is no one solution. Some are high fat and others are low fat. Some are no meat (vegan), where others are primarily meat. This is why it is important to learn the why you are doing something and paying close attention to how your body reacts. What should result with this process is learning what works best for you.

For me, I played with the Keto diet for 6-7 months and saw very good results, but I am already customizing it to better fit my lifestye and my performance.