A tale as old as time: to burger or to bikini? We’ve all, or at least most of us have struggled with our body image, our eating habits, or our general health and lifestyle. In this article we’ll be discussing the noun version of the diet, not the verb. The key difference is, the verb version, or dieting, is being restricted for a couple of weeks or months to reach a goal weight and reverting back to old habits.
The noun version is a sustainable system where you maintain a healthy lifestyle and refrain from returning to old patterns.
Find a Goal
One of the first tasks you must do to have a healthy diet is to know your goal. Is your goal to boost your metabolism? Is it to lose a certain amount of “fat”? Build muscle? Or is it simply to have a well-rounded style of living grounded in moderation in terms of food and exercise? Keep in mind, that the word “weight” was substituted by “fat” – that is because losing weight could include losing muscle mass, which is necessary to maintain and build.
At Your Own Pace
Once you’ve answered your goal, start slow. It’s easy to write with a pen and paper that you’ll exercise seven days a week and eat very restrictively. Before you do that, use an online BMI calculator to know where your body mass and your body fat index lies, the three categories are underweight, normal, and overweight. Then use another website to calculate the number of calories you need to either maintain, gain or lose weight. Once you know both those numbers, get started.
Start by going for about three days on your normal habits and get your trusty pen and paper out. Start tracking your habits, the types of food you eat and at what times you eat them. If your average caloric intake of those three days is more or less than it should be, then you should be increasing it or decreasing it depending on your goal. There are many good applications out there that can help you track your daily calories and macros. If your goal is to lose fat, there are also guide on how to boost metabolism to kick start your journey.
Know Your Weakness
When you have your daily caloric intake, write down your ‘trigger foods”. These are foods that you deeply enjoy, for some that could be Nutella and peanut butter, for others it’s a burger and hot French fries. Instead of thinking that you “can’t” have those foods, start off by having those foods incorporated into a meal about twice a week. This kick starts the 80/20 rule, which is 80 percent healthy foods and 20 percent our beloved junk food. As time passes by, you can decrease the amount of times you have those foods, but never goes cold turkey, or stop them altogether – that will lead to binge eating, and just hating this lifestyle as a whole. You can also start by having a cheat “day” and decreasing it every week until you reach a free meal.
Wrapping it up
If you choose to bikini, this should be a complete lifestyle change. Yo-yo dieting, or constantly stopping and starting diets, can slow down your metabolism drastically. It’s very essential that you keep in mind that this is something that will last you a lifetime, and there are no “ruining the diet” moments. If you indulged on foods you love, then enjoy the meal, and the next day continues your journey, don’t feel guilty or over exercise to compensate.
We all have those days where we’d just love to sit down, relax enjoy a wonderful meal or snack, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of or feel guilty about. As long as you have that long-term goal in mind, there’s no stopping you.