5 Steps to Better Health, More Energy, and Weight Loss Without Strict Dieting

fresh-strawberries-and-blackberries-in-little-bowl-picjumbo-com

Often times, I found myself frustrated and down about not reaching my goals. I thought I was covering everything I needed and addressing the right areas.

I wanted to develop a writing habit, a salsa dancing habit, a meditation habit but I couldn’t achieve my desired outcome (despite my effort).

But as I found out, I wasn’t focusing on the important metrics for my desired results.

I was overlooking the basics. We know the basics are a priority, but how many of us are actually following this advice?

Probably few.

Only once I started to truly focus on my fundamentals before anything else did my productivity and results follow suit.

This same philosophy is pivotal in fitness. If your results are lagging despite your perceived effort—odds are you’ve gotten ahead of yourself and didn’t master the essential behaviors for a solid and sturdy foundation.

Dieting doesn’t need to feel like a roller coaster where you’re holding on for dear life.

Weight loss without strict dieting and uncomfortable restrictions are possible and it starts by implementing these five steps.

1.Perform a dietary audit

All jobs need auditing and assessment for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

The same task is needed with your nutritional habits. If you start a diet on Monday; then take a break the next three days; then you’re back on for a day; then off until Monday—your diet severely needs an audit.

When you’re attempting to lose weight—the initial actions for many are to start counting calories, decide on a particular diet, and maybe quit some food groups altogether.

Counting calories are useful, but it’s a useless skill if you don’t know what healthy foods are. If you aren’t making healthy food choices on a daily basis, don’t bother counting calories just yet.

These food decisions lead to getting quality nutrients to help your metabolism, help build lean muscle, and help fight off diseases.

A great way to start is by taking the healthy eating quiz (just useful as a general baseline—not the final word).

Afterward, review and begin to focus on the quality of your food choices and daily healthy habits before micro-managing tactics that aren’t in your 80/20.

Long-term changes in the quality of your diet are equated to keeping the weight off for the long-term.

2.Develop love, admiration, and respect for micronutrients

In my book, Body Architectone of my favorite chapters discusses micronutrients and how they’re often treated as the supporting cast compared to the main actors (carbs, fats, & proteins).

But just as in any quality movie, without a solid supporting cast, the movie isn’t going to be good.

The same holds true with your nutrition.

Focusing only on the big three macros may grant you an aesthetic masterpiece, but without proper micronutrient intake—your internal health and daily energy levels are going to be less than optimal.

The majority of your micronutrients are from your fruit and vegetable intake.

study with more than 130,000 adults discovered that those who increased their intake of fruit and vegetables over four years lost weight.

Your micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) help with supporting a healthy functioning metabolism (thyroid hormones), and prevention and treatment of diseases just to name a few of their many roles.

3.Don’t drink your calories

I’m a fan of making the easiest changes to your diets before anything else. One of the first rules I have my clients and workshop groups I speak with is to eliminate or at least minimize drinking calories.

Sugar-sweetened beverages don’t have their calories hidden, but many people often disregard or forget to count their drinks into their caloric intake.

Drinking your calories is a deceptive way to rack up your calorie count and other associated issues. It’s not just 1 soda a day that can increase your risk for diabetes— it’s sweet tea (my weakness), energy drinks, and other sugary drinks.

The next concern may be how to get your vitamins if you skip out on the multiple glasses of orange juice or milk and that’s where your fruits and vegetables come into play. Increase your fruit and vegetable intake to get these nutrients along with a decrease in calories and sugars.

weight loss without strict dieting
If you’re going to drink your calories, make sure to load them up with quality nutrients.

4.Focus on your portion sizes

Michael Pollan sums it up perfectly in seven words: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.”

If you head to restaurants that offer larger portions, you’re going to consume more food and calories (no shock value here). There’s more research which states that offering larger portions to adults and children leads to extra calories and inevitable weight gain down the road.

An easy way to practice healthier eating is to make half your plate vegetables, then one-quarter of the plate for protein, while the rest is for carbohydrates or healthy fats depending on your specific dietary plan.

5.Be wary of food triggers and environments

Everywhere we turn, it seems we’re seduced into eating and drinking. Food billboards, signs on buses, signs at the subway, tv ads, and vending machines.

These triggers and discreet psychological cues lead us to have cravings and mindlessly eat. Eating even when you’re not hungry is a common symptom of these cues and a big reason for obesity.

When you’re in these types of environments and feel food urges, stop and ask yourself “why do I want this food” three times before indulging. Also, don’t head to the grocery store empty handed—always have a list. Eat a filling meal before heading out to sporting events or movie theaters where less-than-ideal food is being served.

How to Simplify Your Diet And Have More Energy With These 9 Proven Nutritional Laws

How to Simplify Your Diet And Have More Energy With These 9 Proven Nutritional Laws

In the world of health and fitness, nutrition is notorious for being unnecessarily complex. Instead of determining how to simplify your diet, the current theme seems to be how to make your diet more complex than is necessary.

The basics don’t sell (they’re far from sexy).

However,  add some fancy jargon and rules—now you have a money maker.

Losing weight doesn’t need to be a roller coaster. Unfortunately, many people will diet and abandoned their plans within a couple of weeks due to the intense and regimented approach they forced upon themselves.

Instead of adopting habits that are truly beneficial to their particular lifestyle, many people find themselves adopting habits and strategies that perfectly suit someone else—not themselves.

Nutrition doesn’t have to feel like a game of tug-of-war. Food doesn’t have to be viewed in a negative light. Eating doesn’t have to feel like a chore.

Instead of dreading and resenting your diet, implement these 9 core nutritional laws that I use to simplify my diet.

1.Live by the 80/20 rule

The first objective on how to simplify your diet is to simply let go of the trivial nutritional tactics. Unless you’re a competitive athlete, prepping for a photo shoot, or a bodybuilding show—obsessing over minute nutritional tactics is counterproductive.

Before macro counting, measuring food, comparing whey protein powders—ask yourself “am I making good food choices on a daily basis?”

If you’re not making good food choices, don’t even look into advanced strategies. You can’t count, weigh, nor debate nutritional tactics if you don’t even understand how to properly make good food decisions.

Master your basics before anything else.

2.Have a bias for longevity

Looking fantastic at the beach, the pool, or on the boat is wonderful, but what good is it if the trade off is poor overall health.

A plan that focuses on longevity views internal health over external health while recognizing that each macronutrient plays a pivotal role in supporting an optimal and high performing physique.

As you’re designing your nutrition plan, make it a goal to eat a well-balanced diet and have all macronutrients represented appropriately as well as an ample amount of vegetables with each meal.

how to simplify your diet
Balance and diversity are keys to your nutrition.

3.Intelligently eat with purpose

You are what you eat. Eating just to eat is mindlessly eating and is the reason why so many people secretly put weight on over the years without recognizing what they’re doing to their body.

Intelligently eating is eating with an objective and purpose in mind.

It’s eating foods that you understand will not only help your internal health but also support your external (aesthetic) goals. Everything you eat should be able to help repair and build lean muscle while providing you with the energy needed to show up as the best version of yourself.

4.Have a green drink every day

I will gladly admit, I’m not the biggest fan of vegetables.

However, one the best decisions I’ve made in the last few months is to have one green drink each and every day. Our greens are so important because they contain a plethora of micronutrients which are the forgotten members of a healthy overall body. Many of our daily functions couldn’t be carried out without a plethora of micronutrients.

5.Have protein with every single meal

Protein gets a lot of the spotlight, but rightfully so. It plays a role in keeping our metabolism operating  smoothly, maintaining our energy levels, stabilizing our blood sugar levels, and is used in every single cell within our body.

Building lean muscle, maintaining proper neurological functioning, aiding in digestion, balancing hormones, helping maintain proper moods, and helping satiety levels—protein is a nutritional superhero.

Each woman should aim for at least one portion of protein (palm size serving) and males should be two portions (2 palm size servings). These aren’t set in stone but are a good place to start.

6.Have a few default meal options

Decision fatigue is a real thing. Information overload will make you less likely to take action or make smart decisions.

There’s a reason the president, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and many other high achievers wear the same outfits predominately throughout the week—it frees up space to make decisions and have energy for the important matters of the day.

The same applies to your nutrition. Eating a handful of the same meals throughout the week is the best thing you can do to turn your nutrition on autopilot. You know exactly what you’re putting in your body without wasting too much mental bandwidth thinking.

An example of a template I use is the rice bowl strategy:

  • Your meat of choice
  • Your preferred style of rice
  • Vegetables (at least 3 different types)
  • Coconut oil (used to prepare my chicken)
  • The serving size is entirely up to you and your desired goals.

7.If you’re having the urge to binge—ask why 3 times

Whether it’s a tough day at work, relationship stresses, discomfort from traffic or anything else—emotional eating is powerful enough to halt your fitness goals.

Before I make an impulse food decision, I ask myself why I want this item three times. If it’s three sound and logical reasons, then I buy the item with no guilt. Often times, by the second and definitely the third reason, you’ll realize this impulse food decision was only a distraction to something else going on within your life that you’re avoiding.

8.When you do indulge, indulge guilt-free

Guilt is a terrible and unnecessary thing.

I love tacos, tamales, arepas, empanadas, ice cream, and wine. I resist from binge eating by having control of my emotions and indulge by selectively planning for moments of indulgence.

Diets are important, but they don’t equate to deprivement of the foods you enjoy.

chocolate cake
There’s always a time and place for some chocolate cake

9. Eat foods that you (actually) enjoy

If you’re on a nutrition plan that includes foods you don’t enjoy, how realistic is it to expect that you’ll stick to it?

Willpower is finite and motivation is fleeting.

I don’t like brown rice so I’m not going to eat it (there are many types of rice & other available starches).

Don’t like broccoli? No biggie, there’s a plethora of other green veggies.

According to a study published in “Eating Behaviors” in  2005, individuals who took a strict, rigid, all-or-nothing approach to dieting were more likely to have a higher BMI (Body Mass Index) and compulsive eating behaviors compared to those who were a little more flexible with their dieting approach.

When you give yourself options and feel in control of what you’re eating, you’re going to create a better attitude toward nutrition and yourself.

5 Major Signs you Need to Divorce Your (Pretend-Healthy) Diet

5 Major Signs you Need to Divorce Your (Pretend-Healthy) Diet

In America, there’s one divorce every 36 seconds.

Reading this article from top to bottom will most likely end with a handful of couples filing those separation papers.

That’s nearly 2,400 divorces per day, 16,800 divorces per week and 876,000 divorces a year.

First marriages that end in divorce often have an average lifespan of eight years before both parties call it quits.

The good news is that divorce rates were around 50% in the 80’s and they have decreased to around 40% currently.

Not the most positive of stats—sorry.

But, it is what it is.

Just as most of those marriages that take eight years to finally end often times needed to be annulled a lot sooner, most people’s relationship with their diet drags on longer than it needs to.

While the average woman will stick to her diet five weeks, two days, and 43 minutes.

There’s also a large majority of men and women who stick to a diet that makes them miserable and isn’t beneficial to their quality of life.

Just as it’s tough but essential to call it quits on bad relationships—the same courage is needed when it comes to divorcing your diet.

Divorcing your relationship or diet doesn’t mean you’re weak or lessens your worth—in fact, this often shows that you have courage and care for yourself more than the average person.

Don’t be one of those average people who sticks around in a relationship for longer than they need to (it’s not going to work out, just move on). Don’t be one of those people whose scared to divorce their diet because they think there isn’t other options.

Here are five signs it’s time to divorce your diet.

1.Your diet is treated like a religion

Religion is a powerful force in people’s lives. It helps them make decisions, choose partners, and guides them through their daily lives.

Religion to a certain extent also closes the door on seeing particular things a certain way. Committing to a religion means abiding by all those principles and rules of that particular way.

This isn’t bad necessarily, since it helps provide direction and keeps many on a good path.

However, when it comes to our health and fitness—this isn’t such a good idea. Closing all your nutritional doors leads to some biases.

Diet trends are getting more and more popular each year.

In 2013 and probably still to this day, The Paleo diet was the most searched diet on Google. Ahead of the Mediterranean diet, Atkins diet, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, or any type of diet that you can think of.

In fact, in the U.S., the number of vegetarians has doubled in the last decade while vegetarian cookbooks are the fastest growing division in the food sector business.

Whether it’s Paleo or becoming a vegetarian, the potential issue lies in the rigidity and inflexible allegiance people pledge to their diets. Some people cut off all carbs while another percentage swears that all the problems revolve around dietary fats.

Imposing these self-imposing rules on yourself and anything that goes against those beliefs are automatically assumed false despite any possible and logical merits is problematic.

Vegans don’t want to hear that a little meat is actually beneficial. The meat-loving crowd doesn’t want to hear anything about how a more plant-based diet is beneficial.

Why can’t all nutritional camps be friends (maybe they should listen to this song)?


All macronutrients are beneficial and serve a specific and vital purpose to making our body the best version it can possibly be.

By approaching your nutrition with a tunnel vision mentality, you’re actually slowing your fitness and general health goals.

At the end of the day, the main objective for everyone should be to provide their bodies with the quality nutrients it needs. These nutrients enable you to live an optimal life with longevity in mind and maximal productivity.

2.It puts you on an emotional rollercoaster

If you’re tired, cranky, sick, and other emotion descriptions—it’s time to divorce your diet.

Eating a well-balanced and nutrient dense diet is designed to give you an ample amount of energy—not leave you feeling even more drained.

 

If that’s the case, you’re not consuming enough calories. Secondly, you’re not consuming enough quality nutrients within those daily calories.

If your diet is emotionally throwing you off balance, there’s a higher likelihood that you’ll binge and emotionally eat to temporary improve your current mood.

roller coaster-divorce your diet
If your diet is taking you on a roller coaster—file those papers.

 

Avoid this situation by assessing and taking note of how you’re feeling while on your nutrition plan. Are feeling more energetic? Are you sleeping well? Are your workouts going well or is your strength decreasing in the gym? What about your sexual drive—that’s a key indicator as well?

Eating to improve your physical appearance is important, but more important than that is eating in a way that goes along perfectly with your daily life.

3.You have poor (or infrequent) bowel movements

We all poop and need to recognize this. In fact, we should be pooping every day (on a random note, the word poop is funny and always makes me smile).

Let’s have a brief chat about poop.

Your poop is going to be one of the best indicators to how beneficial your current diet is.

With a set of healthy bowels, anytime you insert food in there, those bowels are going to remove your toxins.

If those toxins aren’t removed and your bowels aren’t eliminating as they should be—then you’re going to be headed down a road of constipation (literally).

Constipation equals a not-too-happy body where those toxins are able to enter your bloodstreams and cause inflammation. This constipation puts your body at risk for a plethora of health issues.

If your poop is rock hard and comes out like little pebbles—you need more fiber (and more water as well to go along with the increased fiber).

4.You exist for cheat days

You force yourself to eat on this nutritional plan for the entire week and when Sunday rolls around—it’s time to gorge with no remorse.

While I’m all for indulging oneself and enjoying foods guilt-free, there’s a difference between indulging because of pleasure and indulging due to deprivement.

Playing this mental game of deprivement usually, backfires because those cheat days get out-of-control. Next thing you know, you’ve eaten an entire pizza, a tub of ice cream, and some more eateries.

Indulging on a cheat day where restriction and rules dictate your life leads to eating just for sakes of eating because most of those items you’re eating are normally forbidden and labeled bad foods.

This strategy isn’t likely to last for long-term weight loss.

As mushy as this sounds, long-term weight loss starts with a focus on our overall health and treating our body well—not treating it like a yo-yo.

If you focus on eating to feel good, the rest of your process will fall into place. Less restriction and more intuitiveness.

5.It makes you do a complete 180 with your lifestyle

If you canceled dinner with friends because you were afraid it was going to ruin your macros or progress—then it’s time to divorce your diet.

If you have to make excuses as to why you can’t eat something all the time or seem to always be using some type of cleanse that affects your normal routine and interactions with people—you’re unbalanced.

Your “healthy lifestyle” is negatively affecting your relationships and decreasing your quality of life.

Not cool.

Living a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean being inconvenience with every turn you take in life.

The way you choose to eat isn’t a one-way street that leads to a dead end, it’s instead an open highway with many paths to the end destination. The route you choose to arrive by is completely up to you.

nutrition has many lanes to success—divorce your diet
Nutrition has many lanes to success

 

Nutrition and your preferred lifestyle is a creative choice that is 100% in your hands.

Food is meant to be enjoyed and shared with others. It’s also fuel for your body, but eating healthier doesn’t mean giving up on the important events of your daily lifestyle and abandoning the important people in your life.

File those papers and seek a nutrition plan that treats you well and allows you to feel great and look great.