Don’t say diet. That’s a word that will make people squirm and head for the exits quickly. Well, maybe not everyone, but most people don’t want to hear the word diet. Nothing about a diet sounds fun. Even the word it self…diet. It has the word die in it. How can we convince ourselves to diet when there are so many negative thoughts around it?
What Is A Diet?
When we hear the word diet, most of us think of the activity defined here:
“a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight”
Bleh…look. Another word we don’t like…regimen. Who wants to be on a regimen? Not I and I suppose you don’t want to either. Ugh, another bad word…sparingly. No way, I am not convinced that I want to have a diet. Ever heard of those 28 day, 14 day, Keto, or Vegetarian diets? Do any of those convince you to want to start a diet? Not me!!!
Now look at this definition:
“food and drink regularly provided or consumed”
Well, that doesn’t sound bad. In that case we are all on some kind of diet. This makes the word seem like something we all do, not something people who wish to inflict suffering and pain on themselves do.
*** Shout out to m-w.org for the definitions of diet!!!
Is A Diet Good For You?
Diets can be good for you or bad for you. If you have a diet of healthy fruits, vegetables, and protein, in moderate amounts, then a diet is good for you. But if your diet consists of fast food, potato chips, and ice cream..well, that’s probably not good for you. Then again, if your goal is to be overweight, unhealthy, and increase your risk of an early death, then maybe the fast food, potato chips, and ice cream are the way to go. But I would advise against it!!!
I try to have a healthy diet. I focus on good proteins, fruits and vegetables. Sure, I have the weekend pleasures of unhealthy snacks at times, including my ice cream. But that is what the 5and2Guy is all about. Having 5 days where we do our best, and then 2 days to cheat a little.
When I say “Cold Turkey,” I am not referring to having that in your diet, although that is a really good choice in my opinion. In this section I am talking about doing a complete turn around on your current diet. Let’s say you have been eating poorly for a long time, are overweight, and have decided it is now time to change things. I would not recommend going Cold Turkey…that is doing a 180 and drastically changing what you eat. When you go Cold Turkey like that, you are relying 100% on willpower, and unfortunately willpower is limited. Don’t believe me? Well, go to your neighborhood gym in January and you will see a ton of people exercising. Go to the same gym in February and watch how the numbers have dwindled. This is because willpower ran out and Cold Turkey doesn’t work.
I view a diet as a system. It’s a system where you need to make small changes at a time, testing it out, and then making more changes. When I first started exercising, I didn’t worry about a diet. I exercised so I could eat anything I wanted. But after about six months of seeing improvements, I thought to myself, “I wonder what would happen if I focused on foods higher in protein.” You see, that is a small tweak. I just started to pay attention to the protein in foods I was thinking about eating. I asked my wife to buy certain types of foods high in protein. That small change worked out great. After a few weeks of that, I decided I was going to move my big bowl of ice cream to only weekends. That’s another tweak. And trust me…if you want to drop weight, eat ice cream only three days a week rather than the seven you typically do. The weight will start to come off.
How Should I Start?
First: You need to truly understand that a diet is just the foods you consume on a regular basis. Sure, there are times where you can go on a 28 day diet, or hardcore diet for a short period of time, but the goal here is to establish a sustainable system of eating. One that promotes good health, with the occasional guilty pleasures.
Second: Decide you are going to do your absolute best to stick to this diet 5 days a week (Monday – Friday). You know…the 5and2Guy way. Do your best during the week to stick to the healthy change you are trying to implement in your diet. Then, on the weekend, you can cheat a bit. I wouldn’t go HAM (hard as a…), although I have done that too. Just have your guilty pleasure on the weekend. If five days is too much to start, then do your best Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. This will give you a day in the middle of the week, in addition to the weekends, to cheat if your willpower is failing you.
Third: Pick ONE thing you want to change. Don’t try to go Cold Turkey and make a drastic change to everything you eat. I recommend identifying ONE thing that you know is good or not good for you and make that the change you will focus on for the next couple weeks. Don’t be tempted to make more than ONE change. Your willpower probably won’t survive it, and you will fail.
Fourth: After you have established this positive eating change with the ONE thing, pick another change you want to make and start implementing that, while also keeping your first change in place. Remember that you don’t want to implement too many changes too quickly. It may take you two to four weeks to establish the first healthy change, or even longer. No matter what, stick with it. ONE change at a time!!!
Can’t I Eat What I Want?
Absolutely you can and that is what we are working on. You have two days a week (Saturday & Sunday) you can eat what you want. The other five days you are trying to make the better choice. But there is something else happening while we are establishing these habits. A trick we are implementing. The trick is that we are changing what you want. When you change what you want, you can eat what you want.
Here is what I mean. Each night I always wanted some unhealthy snack before bed. I would eat ice cream, peanut butter Kandy Cakes, or some kind of sweet. Yeah..that’s right. I would eat the Kandy Cakes before the ice cream because in my sick head, the ice cream was purely for pleasure, not to lessen my hunger. Over time, tweaking my diet system and using the 5and2Guy approach, I swapped out those unhealthy snacks for healthier ones. Today I eat fruits, oatmeal, or nuts before I go to bed. I find myself wanting them too!!! Over the time I have been improving my diet system, I have changed what I want. And you can too!!!
If you are serious about wanting to improve your health, lose some weight, and become more physically fit, then you have to treat it like a system. Your diet HAS TO BE a system where you are constantly tweaking and improving upon it. You need to start swapping out those unhealthy foods for healthier ones. But you can’t go Cold Turkey. Don’t overpower your willpower with too much at one time. If you do, you’ll be just like one of those New Year’s Resolution people who can’t get through a month with their new resolution still intact.
Use the 5and2Guy approach and tweak your diet as you go along. Adhere to the positive changes you are implementing in your diet Monday through Friday. Give yourself a break on the weekends and treat yourself. The net gain of eating healthy five days a week will be much more positive than eating not so good two days a week. And this is sustainable. That’s what makes it work. You have the power and restraint to go five days on restriction for two days of fun. Don’t think so? Well, most people trade five days of work for two days off. You are probably one of them. So, see, you do have the power to do it.
Just do your best and understand that life is a marathon, not a sprint. Implement positive changes to your diet and treat it like a system. One that you improve upon over your lifetime. Stick with the positive changes and watch how your mindset will change too. Pretty soon eating healthy is just what you do. You will see the positive outcome of these smart choices. Just stick with it!!!
Remember…5 and 2 For a Better You!!!