You’re shopping with a friend, and she turns to you and asks you to put a pair of pants in your bag and walk out of the store … without paying for it.
She wants you to shoplift.
My guess is your answer would be – “no way!” You’re not a thief, and you definitely don’t want to deal with the repercussions of getting caught (like facing charges, going to court, and so on.)
I am also assuming you would not have to think very hard on this one. You’re immediate answer would be no because you don’t steal. It just isn’t who you are.
Because you live by certain values that tell you stealing is wrong, you would not even consider doing it.
Those same rules, ethics and beliefs apply to many things in life. They can also apply to the way you eat.
When you have certain belief systems in place about what kind of food you want to put into your body (and those you don’t) it makes eating healthfully much less of a struggle.
When someone offers you junk, you don’t even have to think about it before saying no.
Soda and Doritos? No thank you. I just don’t eat those things.
If you’re not sure this is something you can do, I promise you it isn’t as tough as you think.
I’ve broken this down into 13 “commandments” of a healthy lifestyle.
- Aim for one serving of protein at each meal (20-30g)
- Keep trigger foods out of the house – if you can’t have just one serving stop buying it
- For packaged foods or bars, think double digit protein, single digit sugar
- Hydrate. Keep a water bottle with you at all times
- Carbs before and after your workout , protein post-workout
- Keep it realistic – if you can’t maintain it for a year don’t even attempt it
- Leave room for foods you enjoy in reasonable quantities
- Pop (soda), energy drinks, flavored coffee drinks and alcohol
- Fast-food, fatty restaurant meals and cheap on-the-go options like TV dinners
- Sugary snacks and treats like candies, cookies, and cakes
- Eating high fat and high carbs together (example: greasy burger and fries)
- Waiting so long to eat that you’re starving and want something fast and easy
- Starving yourself as a shortcut to losing weight
Now this list might be a cake walk for you if you’re already living this way. But if you are not (or someone close to you is not and you want to help them change) my advice is to start small.
Pick one of the recommendations to start with and work at that one ONLY. For example, you could start with eliminating microwaved meals and canned foods. Or if you’re a pop drinker, start by slowly reducing your soda intake.
Oftentimes we fail at diet change because we attempt to do it all at once, it is hard, we slip up then feel defeated and give up. Taking things slowly and recognizing this as a gradual lifestyle change over time is more likely to set you up for success.
Once you’ve managed to make this way of eating a natural part of your every day life, you can decide if you want to do more.
Clean eating is a lifestyle, not a diet.