Has anyone ever told you about a diet or weight loss wonder drug? We're betting you've heard the pitch more than once. They’re everywhere! You can’t walk down an aisle in your grocery store or scroll through your favorite Instagram accounts without hearing something about the newest solution to the age-old struggle.
Well, a wise person once said “all things in moderation”. That wise person was Aristotle. And to us that means, too much of anything is probably not a good thing. And that certainly includes food.
Being militant about your macros or guzzling massive amounts of protein may be a strategy for some hardcore personal trainers, but let’s be honest: it’s probably not for you.
So what is for you?
The answer: MODERATION.
Taking a balanced approach to your health can empower you to improve your life over a long period of time. No burnout, no guilt, just a marginally-improved-self every day. That's MIS for short.
So, regarding weight management, there are two principles we follow and each principle comes with two (life-changing) rules.
1. Practice Food Mindfulness
2. Avoid the Big Addiction Traps
Food Mindfulness Rule 1: Plan Your Meals
Planning your meals is a step towards “mindful eating”. Mindful eating means that you don’t eat just to eat, you eat when you need to, and you think about what you’re eating. Planning your meals for the week, or even just the night before, allows you to prepare more meals, and to notice trends in your diet. You don’t have to get some ultra-strict pre-ordered diet meals to see almost instant improvement in what you’re eating.
Now for the real trick. If it’s not in your plan...don’t eat it! If you feel hungry during the day, then plan a snack during your day. A snack you plan is likely going to be infinitely better than the treats that tend to pop up during the day.
Food Mindfulness Rule 2: Keep a Food Journal
Keeping a food journal is the second step towards mindful eating, and it doesn’t take very long. Simply keep a log of what you actually eat throughout the day. There’s no guilt or shame if you don’t stick to your meal plan, but studies have shown that just reviewing each meal after you’ve eaten it makes you more aware of what you’re putting into your body. Awareness makes good food decisions easier over time.
Your food journal also makes it easier to stay consistent with your meal planning. This way you recognize what you eat and when, so you can plan accordingly and take charge of your diet.
Ok, now onto principle 2.
Avoid Addiction Traps Rule 1: Don’t Drink Your Carbs
Drinks can be a crutch. Whether it’s a soda while driving, an energy drink at work, a couple of cold ones during happy hour after work, or a creamy latte in the morning. The sad truth is that most of those drinks can pack major calories. And because we’re usually multi-tasking while we drink them, we don’t actively count them in our daily calorie intake, nor do we adjust our meals appropriately to account for the calories.
Worse yet, the drinks with copious amounts of sugar and/or caffeine may seem like they’re the perfect pick-me-up, but they end up creating a vicious cycle. You might know the feeling of needing more of these drinks to pick you up from the crash they likely caused. This results in even more unaccounted calories.
Caffeinated drinks may also dehydrate you while tricking your brain into thinking your thirst is satiated, which means your body will start to feel even more sluggish due to low water volumes.
Our solution? Stick to water. Water will give you lasting energy and will keep your body cleaner and healthier-not to mention the skin, eyes, and organ benefits. It may take a few days to break the addiction cycle, but it will be well worth it.
PRO-TIP: Buy a really nice water bottle and take it everywhere. Not being thirsty makes it a lot easier to avoid those liquid calories.
Avoid Addiction Traps. Rule 2: Avoid the color white (most of the time)
Looking at you, Wonderbread. One of the biggest things that can hold you back from moderate weight management are those white starchy carbs. While they’re so delicious, most starchy white carbs like white pasta or white bread are high on the glycemic index and low in fiber, which means your body quickly converts all of those carbs into glucose which spikes your blood sugar levels. The dark side of that spike is the crash that comes along with it. This crash will induce your brain into a low blood sugar level which will then signal you to eat more glucose, i.e. sugar. Another dangerous cycle.
Opt for carbs that are high in fiber and low on the glycemic index to help keep your tummy full and your blood sugar levels regulated.
In summary, going hardcore into a healthy lifestyle will definitely work for those who stick with it. Unfortunately, the number of people who stick with it are few and far between. However, if you eat moderately well, exercise moderately often, and then put that track on repeat, you’ll find a long-term improvement that can last a lifetime.