I have written about diet sustainability a number of times over the course of time. The basic concept with diet sustainability is that although crash diets, fad diets, and ultra-high restriction diets can sometimes be used to lose a lot of weight very quickly, they do not work for the long-term.
For example, a bodybuilder can use what is referred to as a “contest prep” type of diet for a 12 to 16 week period in preparation for a show. However, to sustain that diet over a long period of time may not always be that "do-able" and could even temporarily slow down the thyroid (metabolism).
This is exactly why you will see these amateur bodybuilders (such as I have done in the past) on Instagram posting their show results followed by their post-show feast. The reason you see this a lot is simple: the dieter has eaten barely anything enjoyable over the past 4 months and the cravings have now overcome everything else.
Then, there’s the rest of us: we don’t necessarily have a contest to prepare for and we aren’t necessarily trying to be 5% bodyfat; however, we’d like some basic tips on how to up-keep general dietary best practices over the course of the long-haul. Queue heandshefitness.com with three (3) simple tweaks you can make to your diet today.
1) Substitutions, substitutions, substitutions.
This one comes first in the list for good reason: it is probably the most important aspect of happily dieting for long periods of time. So what is meant by “substitution”? It means that when you would normally eat an unhealthy version of a food, you would simply substitute a healthy (but tasty!) alternative and go about your business of eating.
For example, let’s say you go to a restaurant and have a craving for some red meat. You would tend to reach for the trusty bacon cheeseburger and fries, however, you are a wise-enough fitness-savvy individual to know that it is not the best option in regards to health!
So, instead, you order a nice lean sirloin steak and a baked potato. Best diet food choice ever? No. Similar to the cheeseburger? Sort-of: steak substitutes out the burger and a baked potato substitutes the fries. Sanity level maintained and satiation / satisfaction level reached? Yes. Calories saved? Yes. You get the point.
2) The rule of portions (and plates).
So you want to keep your daily food intake in check but you don’t want to be counting calories all day in your fitness app? Who can blame you: although sometimes necessary, counting calories at every step of the way does become tedious after a while ("am I really enjoying this?").
Therefore, a simple trick to use is to keep your meal portion to a maximum of the size of a dinner plate AND certain types of foods to the maximum portion of a fist (that you make with your hand, yes).
For example, you keep your lean meat choice to the size of your first (or 1/3 of the plate), you keep your complex carbohydrate to the size of your fist (or 1/3 of the plate), and you fill the rest of the plate (it’s okay to go over the 1/3 rule here) with vegetables. Simple, right? Effective, yes.
3) Eat slower and talk more.
Last but not least, we let our stomachs catch up with our eyes.
This one may sound a little fluffy and ridiculous to you, but slowing down, taking the time to chew and savor your food, and engaging in stimulating conversation really does have an effect on the overall amount that you eat in a given meal.
Those who shovel in food as fast as they can lay eyes on it tend to overeat whilst those who slow down and have a nice conversation tend to hear the signal from the stomach (“I’m full) more often and sooner over the course of the meal.
Keep speed in mind next time you are ready to dig into some of your favorite dinner foods.
That’s it. I like to keep my lists short, simple, and to the point. With that said, I KNOW there are more practical “every day” tips we can share with community. So read, share, like, and comment away on some of your simple tweaks you can make to your diet today.