Self control and Restrictive diets
People often see that I lost about 55 lbs and ask “How did you do it?”. I don’t mention this to brag, although I’m very proud of what I have done, I say it to show you that I don’t just speak, I practice my own philosophy. A huge part of becoming healthy physically is setting limits and being honest with yourself. I can truly say that I have not cut any particular food type out of my diet. I still eat fast food sometimes, when the mood hits, I still eat pizza; I still have candy and cookies on occasion. I’ve just learned to do it far less frequently. I say this simply to show that there’s no “secret” plan that we who have succeeded adopt that we just aren’t sharing with the rest of you. Sure you can go all restrictive and eat only veggies, chicken breast, and sweet potatoes if you want, but that’s not the only way to do it. That method (restricting yourself to certain foods or food types) can work, but it requires a strong will, and full knowledge that you’ll need to do more work later to maintain your goal.
Through years of experience mentoring others looking to lose weight, I’ve learned a few things, the main thing is to use the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid!). KISS means don’t over think it, don’t use 2 steps when 1 will work, and always look for ways to make something easier. With regards to your nutrition, KISS is great. A lot of people think that by going low carb, or removing cookies, or removing sugar, or raising your fiber will be the cure-all for their issues, it’s not. It’s all about moderation folks. Planning and moderation. Let’s go back to the KISS principle and apply it to a restrictive diet. Say you want to go low carb, thinking that this will get you where you want to be. It may do just that, but when you reach your goal weight or body fat %, what do you do now? Now you have to redesign your plan and rebuild your nutrition, this is much more difficult than one would think, and it violates the KISS principle fundamentally. A better method although maybe a little slower to see results, would be to design your nutrition plan right at the start, just allowing for a larger calorie deficit at the start and rather than changing your whole diet, adding more of the same calorie types to your existing program when your calorie deficit needs to change, eventually adding enough to maintain at the end. This eliminates the need to redesign your nutrition after the initial stage.
Of course, the above technique still requires will power, just because you can have the foods you like, doesn’t mean you don’t have to change your thinking about HOW MUCH to have at any one sitting. Sure you can have cookies, but instead of the whole box, maybe you just have 3 or 4. Will power to resist such things isn’t something we are born with, it’s simply you having the mental strength to say “Yes, I want more, but I need to stop because eating more is not the right move.” On a final note, self-control can sometimes mean disappointing others. Deal with it folks, when your best friend wants to “go out for drinks” because he/she is feeling bad about something, you absolutely can (and maybe should) go with her/him. Here’s the thing, when they ask you to “drink with them” or “eat with them” that’s where you MUST draw the line. No excuse is a good excuse, because no excuse exempts you from weight gain, and don’t kid yourself there is a psychological factor when you “fail” often enough. Succeed a few times and your confidence goes up, as does your conviction. Don’t give in to pressure, your friends and family will get over it if you don’t indulge with them, and if they don’t, that’s their loss (and yours, pun intended).