Your thoughts are like a running commentary in your life. These thoughts help you tell the story of who you are. They influence how you feel and the actions you take. Weak thoughts promote weak decisions and actions. While strong thoughts empower your choices and actions. Part of your long-term success in any way of eating (or any aspect of your life, really) depends on how you think.
If you don’t change your thinking about food and health, then the results you get won’t change either. This process of changing your mental perspective is part of what I call Intelligent Dieting. Becoming a healthier person doesn’t only mean changing your appearance by losing weight and exercising, it also means improving your mindset. That’s what I’d call an evolution inside a revolution.
Therefore, your long-term diet success is highly dependent upon changing the way you think about food. So how do you change your thinking? While there are many ways, I’ll share what I feel are the top two habits to adopt that will change your thinking and make you mentally stronger in all circumstances with your diet and in your life.
In the various communities on the Internet that I visit from time to time, I often hear people ask, “What can I eat on this diet?” That always strikes me as an unusual question. Which is why my reply would be, “Whatever you choose to eat.”
People don’t realize how critical their intentions are no matter what diet plan they are following. Most people talk out of both sides of their mouths. That is, they say they want to eat low-carb, then they don’t. They say they want to lose weight, then they don’t. They say they want to exercise, then they don’t. (And FYI, I’m referring to the average person who doesn’t have any physical or mental-health challenges getting in the way.)
One thing I am convinced of is that your actions always reflect your true priorities. Talk is cheap, but actions tell the whole story because they are aligned with your truest intentions, whatever they really are.
If your weakness is drinking wine and your priority is drinking wine, you’ll drink wine. If you say you’re going to stop drinking wine, but your priority is drinking wine, you’ll drink wine.
Have you considered quitting sugar but don’t know if you have the discipline to pull it off?
Are you thinking about cutting back on carbs but you don’t want to eliminate some of your favorite foods?
As with most things in life, quitting sugar isn’t one-size-fits-all. It might just be possible that you should consider other options rather than quitting sugar cold-turkey. But what other options do you have? Let’s explore this.
Food for Thought
I sometimes like to go against the “whole” grain. Especially when it seems like people aren’t thinking for themselves. A lot of people learn something new, hear it repeated ad nauseam, make assumptions, and then stop questioning things. Bad move. That’s where I come in. I like to speak plainly and honestly so you might make a more informed choice. It’s not that I have all the answers, but I do have a lot of questions, which leads to a great deal of critical reasoning, and that’s a good thing.
The truth is, some people shouldn’t give up sugar. Yes, yes, I know. In the nutritional-eating world, I’ve just committed a dozen sins. But somebody has to say what needs to be said.
“What if bad fat isn’t so bad?” This is the title of an article I came across recently from MSNBC and the subtitle stated: “No one’s ever proved that saturated fat clogs arteries, causes heart disease“. That sounds like health blasphemy, right? But I am living proof that it’s not. Why? Because I quit eating sugar and greatly increased fat in my diet and the results are completely the opposite of what we’re told will happen if you eat a diet that’s high in fat, including saturated fats. After years of trying to eat a low-fat diet and struggling to lower my cholesterol, the results were that I was always hungry, which caused me to eat more food, my weight steadily climbed higher every year, and my cholesterol continued to rise, regardless of how healthy I tried to eat. The truth is, since adopting a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb diet (think Atkins Diet)–which is exactly the opposite of the “low-fat, healthy whole-grains” diet that most doctors, public health officials, and health-regulating government bodies promote–my weight dropped over 20 pounds and I have not struggled to keep it off. Also, I’m not always hungry, as I was on a low-fat diet. My cholesterol levels have improved dramatically. And finally, I feel great.
The Truth About Low-Fat Diets
One good thing about eating a low-fat diet is that you reduce your intake of sugar which helps with weight loss, but otherwise, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. But how did the unhealthy low-fat diet ever get accepted as the healthiest diet on the planet?
Recently, I posted a quick exercise for developing conviction on the Quitting Sugar Facebook page. I think having conviction is critical for quitting sugar and staying strong enough to resist temptation. In fact, if your conviction is strong enough, temptations and cravings can be greatly reduced or even eliminated altogether.
Yes, I know it seems unlikely that you can eliminate the feeling of temptation, and you’re probably thinking, “Scott just doesn’t understand! I cannot live without [favorite sugary treat]!” Maybe you’re right. But I was in your shoes once. Read my post, “Me: On The Floor In A Blissful Sugary Fog” and see what I mean. I never even entertained the possibility of giving up sugar until fate handed me a powerful wake-up call that changed my life. If I can do this, you can do this too.
Below is a brief exercise that will only take a few minutes. You may want to record yourself reading the steps and play them back or find a partner and take turns reading it to each other so you can focus completely on getting into the right state of mind.
Since quitting sugar on October 24th, 2011, I’ve adopted a low carbohydrate, moderate protein, and high fat diet. Basically, the Atkins diet. That’s been going really well.
Though I’ve lost a lot of weight, it was never my primary focus. Sure, I’m stoked about being leaner. It feels great to fit into some of my old clothes. Also my abs are beginning to resurface, which totally rocks. And one of the benefits of the Atkins diet (if you do it right), is that you never…and let me emphasize this point…NEVER(!) have to go hungry. There’s always something you can eat when you’re hungry. In fact, if you’re keeping only fresh and mostly unprocessed foods in your refrigerator and pantry, you can almost eat whatever you want when you’re hungry and not gain any weight.
So when I hear about people following other diets, I almost pity them. I want to pull them aside and explain how awesome the Atkins approach is. I’m pretty much convinced that it’s hands-down, the best diet, period. …or is it?