Finally!” the readers exclaim in unison. “She’s gonna get to the point about what to eat, how to eat, and how to actually lose weight!”
Oh, don’t get your panties in a bunch. Of course I was gonna get to it, but you can’t just jump in at this point without laying the proper groundwork. How do I know that? Because that’s exactly what I used to do every time I started a new diet! In fact, most diets start by throwing down lots of rules about what you can and can’t eat on their plan and offering up meal plans, recipes, and grocery shopping lists. Yet none of that stuff means anything if you haven’t got a solid foundation to build on and a clear understanding of why this is important to you. You must believe at your core that you deserve something better for yourself, and that “something better” is losing weight and improving your health. Otherwise, you’re just trying desperately to follow somebody else’s rules again, like every other time you have dieted. For weight loss to be long lasting, your new habits and behaviors must be aligned with your lifestyle and values. You must understand your own motivations and be willing to come up with strategies that play to your strengths and manage your weaknesses. At the risk of sounding immodest, this is exactly why I have succeeded where many fail. I am brutally honest with myself about what I can realistically do. When I stopped relying on diet experts’ opinions about what should work and figured out for myself what actually does work . . . I succeeded.
This chapter and the next two are a rundown of the healthy eating strategies and principles that I used to help me lose 120 pounds and keep them off for more than eight years. The strategies and principles reflect my lifestyle and my values. They are as unique to me as my fingerprints, but I encourage you to try them because, based on my own experience and what I have heard from many others, I believe they solve some of the most common problems we run up against in healthy eating.
While you’re reading, keep these four things in mind:
- These are everyday working strategies for incorporating healthy habits into your life. It is not a list of foods to eat or a shopping list. You already know that Cheetos are bad and broccoli is good.
- The strategies work no matter how much weight you want to lose, how much money you have, how old you are, or how busy you are. Forgive a little tough love here, but every time you hear yourself muttering, “Oh, that’s easy for her to say—she doesn’t have ___________,” whatever’s in that blank space is an excuse. I’ve heard ’em all. Heck, I’ve said ’em all! Resting on excuses will get you nowhere.
- While this isn’t a diet—you’re developing an eating plan for life—I suggest you use a program for structure and support. It can be a formal program (I like Weight Watchers a lot), it can be a food-tracker app (I like Fooducate and MyFitnessPal), it can be weight-loss surgery, or any of a number of other well-tested plans.
- This process is all about creating change. In order to succeed you must embrace it. You must revel in it. If you resist it, gritting your teeth, cursing me under your breath, you will hate it. If you hate it, you will fail.
Transformational behavioral change isn’t just a paradigm shift; it’s a thousand paradigm shifts. And the biggest shift of all? “This is the best thing that could possibly be happening to me right now, and I can’t wait to get out there and start creating my new life!”
Let’s go get it!
Click here to purchase Eat Like It Matters: How I Lost 120 Pounds and Found My Inner Badass (And How You Can Too!) to change the trajectory of your life and your health!