For the past couple of years, I’ve lived with pretty horrible eating habits. All of my poor choices finally caught up with me and it wasn’t fun. I was fatigued, depressed and irritable all the time. I had sharp abdominal pains, i was constipated, and i was having a lot of skin issues.
The fact that I’m only twenty five and feeling like i was seventy years old, plus, the realization that all of our food is riddled with chemicals, preservatives, and GMOs really got to me. I said Enough is enough. I had to get healthy and active. I had to lose weight.
But how was i going to do it?
I’ve never been successful in the past. I used to be a chronic yo-yo dieter. I really have tried every diet in the book. I’d always lose some weight, but then I’d give up. I’d always fall back to my bad habits.
This time had to be different. I don’t have the option to give up. I will not allow myself to because I’m tired of feeling crappy all the time.
It’s not just about losing weight anymore. It’s about taking control of my health and my life. If you’re feeling the same read, on!
This time around i decided to forget everything i thought i knew about dieting and came up with what i feel is a really easy approach to getting healthy, active, and losing all that extra weight. If you’ve tried different diets in the past and haven’t had any luck because you feel it’s too difficult or have felt overwhelmed, then you should give my diet a try.
I call it the “Steps Diet” because it’s based on my belief that it is easier to achieve a goal and create lasting habits if you approach it slowly and break the goal down to smaller steps.
NOTE: Keep in mind that this diet was not meant for FAST results. It’s meant help build healthy habits, train us to “listen” to our body, and leads to long-term weight loss and life-style changes. As such, i would suggest aiming for steady and consistent results. How fast you will get to your goal depends on how hard you want to work to get there. However, i suggest you start off slowly. I will also spare you all the scientific reasoning behind everything.. unless, you want to know.. Send me a message or leave a comment. Thanks!
There are still a couple of rules that you need to follow to really make this diet work.
- No scale
- No Eating out
- No Junk food, pre-packaged meals, or processed meals
- Monthly Dietary Adjustments
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Portion Control
- Cheating the right way
This isn’t primarily about losing weight! It’s about becoming healthier by changing your diet and becoming more active. The weight loss will come if you follow all the steps..
“But whyyyy? I need my scale!”, you say.
This is really important because a lot of us base our success in dieting by the numbers that are reflecting on that stupid scale. However, people sometimes forget the following points:
- Your weight fluctuates throughout the day – that’s why they always say to weight yourself around the same time each day.
- The scale is an overall sum of your body weight! Including all of your bones, muscles, fat and bodily fluids. As such, you won’t really know if the pound you gained was actual fat – maybe you just gained 1 pound of muscle.
- Even if you think you can handle it, constantly looking at the scale and not seeing the numbers go down can be extremely frustrating and discouraging. Especially if you’ve been working your butt off and starving yourself only to come and find out that you’ve gained a pound.. (Not that you’ll be starving yourself.)
If you must weigh yourself, only do so monthly or bi-monthly. I personally, haven’t checked at all.
Instead, base your progress by taking monthly progress pictures, measurements, how your clothes fit, and by physical accomplishments.
No Eating out
None. Not only is it bad for you, It’s expensive! However, if you end up in a situation where you “have no choice”, make sure that you make healthy choices… We all know that you’ll have tons of dinner dates as soon as you decide to take dieting seriously.. It’s just how the way works, apparently. So, choose light healthy meals.
No Junk food, pre-packaged, and processed meals.
Remove all the junk food, candy, juice and soda from your life! – Yes, even diet soda. I don’t care what people say. Just because it says “diet” doesn’t mean its good. I can go on about this, but i wont – do your research.
If you really NEED the fizz, you could have some seltzer water. You could also try Kombucha, or purchase a soda pop machine and make your own at home. If all of that doesn’t sound doable, just limit yourself to only a few a month.
Avoid any type of juice unless its freshly made juice. This is to eliminate as much unnecessary calories and sugars from your diet – so you don’t have to count calories!
Stay away from pre-packaged, and processed meals. This includes things like, Weight watchers, Lean cuisines, Hotpockes, Lean pockets, Frozen microwavable foods.. etc.. Not only do they have tons of preservatives and additives, they have tons of SODIUM.. Sodium will keep you bloated!
You can make your own prepackaged meals at home. Just cook up alot of food and save the leftovers in Tupperware – TADA!
Monthly diet adjustments
Now, for our food rules!
Try to do all of your grocery shopping once a month. If you can’t – it’s no big deal. In my opinion, it just makes this part of the diet easier. It forces you to eat what you have at home and nothing more.
After removing all of the junk food from your house, you need to do a quick inventory of all the things that you currently eat. Figure out what the biggest culprit to your diet is and GET RID OF IT! Then add either a healthier alternative, or try a new healthy food in its place.
You will be doing this every month. Remove one bad food, and add a healthy alternative in its place. Stick with the change for a month and then do it again next month. This is to help you adjust to eating healthier slowly.
Its too difficult to change your whole diet overnight. The most depressing part of dieting is giving up all the food we love all at once.. If we try this approach, we don’t have to give it all up at once. This gives us time to adjust and makes it easier to stick to!
(If you think it will be too difficult to give up Junk food, it’s perfectly fine to give up Junk food for the first month and starting the diet adjustments the next month. Whatever you think will be easier for you. If you think you need two months, then do so. )
The first thing that i gave up was red meat and pork and replaced it with Tilapia. I traded ground beef for ground turkey. (If you season it correctly, you won’t even notice the difference.) This month I gave up bread and milk and added kale and almond milk – you get the idea.
Don’t feel like you have to give up or add the same things that i did. The great thing about this Steps diet is that it’s completely customizable for you and your lifestyle! Just make sure that you limit fried foods !
Keep adding and removing and adding things until you find a good balance. Eventually, you’ll have replaced all the bad stuff with healthier choices. You want to adjust your diet to something that you can live with for the rest of your life because it’s not really a diet – it’s a life-style change.
You’ll see that it’s just so much easier to stick with a diet when the changes are small and gradual.
Here are some ideas of items you would may choose to remove to really boost the weight loss, and wellness. I’ve also listed healthy alternative suggestions.
Red Meat and Pork* – Replace with Chicken, Turkey, or Fish
White Bread* – Replace with Whole Wheat Bread, Gluten free bread, or No bread!
White Flour* – Replace with Whole wheat flour
White Pasta, and Rice* – Replace with Whole Wheat pasta, Brown Rice, or Quinoa.
Cow Milk* – Soy milk, Coconut Milk, Almond Milk, or Goat Milk
The more effort you put into this the quicker you’ll see results. It’s all about adjusting and finding a healthy diet that works for you!
Drink your water!!
Make sure that you are getting at least eight 8oz glasses of water daily. Drink more if you can! The more water you drink, the more bad stuff you’re washing out and it helps you lose weight quicker too. When you drink less water, your body compensates by holding on to whatever water it already has. If you increase your water intake, it will be like a natural diuretic.
Fruits and Vegetables!
Try your best to include as much fruits and vegetables into your diet as you can. This is so important that it needs it’s own section! Vegetables and Fruits are great because they have a lot of vitamins, minerals, and medicinal properties that benefit us immensely. They keep us fuller for longer, and are overall excellent for us! However, if you’re like me and you aren’t too fond of vegetables – drink them!
An easy and tasty way to get your vegetables is to make them into smoothies or juices! I’ve found that the secret to tasty smoothies is using frozen items. I usually freeze Kale and other vegetables so that i can throw some into my smoothies. Frozen items blend extremely well.. I always wonder what happened to all the kale and spinach that goes into my smoothies – i can’t even taste them!
You can even have these smoothies as meal replacements or between meal snacks. Add protein powder to help make you feel fuller for longer periods of time.
You can be like my and get crazy with your smoothies. I concoct smoothies based on my current health issues. For example, if i want something that will benefit my colon and relieve GI issues. I add clover powder, garlic, papaya, ginger, Greek yogurt, and random fruits for sweetness.
If I’m sick, i even throw in some elderberry syrup into my smoothies. YUMMY!
Get creative, go!
Make sure that you watch your portions. I serve myself about a fistful of whatever I’m having for dinner. I also make sure to drink a glass of water before and during my meal. When you feel satisfied, stop eating. If I’m still hungry, i wait ~20 minutes. This gives my body time to realize that it has just been fed. It is my personal experience that after the 20 minutes, i realize that I was not actually hungry. However, If i still really am hungry, then i give myself another fistful serving. Doing this trains you to focus on your body’s signals to help you become more in-tune with yourself. It also helps keep you from overeating.
I would advise against cheating, but no one is perfect. We all slip up now and then. The important thing is to recognize that you messed up and moving on. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just forget about it and keep pushing forward.
If you are going to cheat, make sure you cheat the right way. When i was first starting i was craving french fries and burgers. Instead of getting the fast food version of this, i made myself some homemade seasoned french fries. They were baked instead of fried. So, really.. i didn’t even see that as cheating and I got away with my craving fulfilled.
So, if you want cookies, cakes, brownies or whatever. Get your butt in the kitchen and start baking them from scratch. Also, make sure that you only allow yourself to eat a small portion. Choose healthy ingredients to make these..
If you are bad at baking or don’t have time.. AND YOU REALLY NEED A FIX.. Choose weight watchers versions of desserts.. They are usually low calorie, and taste good. HOWEVER, it’s still PREPACKAGED!
The important thing is to prepare for those cravings. If you know you love burgers, why plan ahead and save some homemade patties in the freezer. Have them seasoned and ready to go when you need them.
Be prepared and you won’t end up in bad situations.
You already knew it was coming and there really is no getting around it. If there was, we’d all be fit! You need to exercise!
Don’t get crazy on me, though! If you’ve been sedentary, don’t just rush yourself to the gym. Rushing is great way to overwhelm yourself and make this a lot harder than it can be. Take it easy, Rocky. You don’t have to join a gym or do anything crazy to get a good work out.
Save yourself the money!
This is diet is all about taking SMALL steps towards a greater goal. Instead of getting into the “All or Nothing” state of mind , start off with a daily 15- minute walk. Even if you KNOW you can walk more, just keep it simple. I really have to stress the importance of taking it slow. This is how we will start building good habits – by taking it slow! We want to ease our way into success! You want to take your time to form the habit of excersing regularly.
Just the fact that you actually pushed yourself to take that 15- minute walk is an accomplishment in itself. I bet, you’re going to think.. “Wow, that was pretty easy. Can i actually do this?” YES, YOU CAN!
You’ll feel the confidence building after that first walk. You can push yourself harder if you want to by jogging instead of running but please keep it short and sweet.
Always remember to give yourself a good pat in the back every time you push yourself harder!Be proud of yourself for doing your best for health.
After two weeks of 15 – minute walking, increase it to a 25 – minute walk. You can stay on 25 minutes for the rest of the month.
I would suggest to make monthly changes just like you are going to be doing with your diet, you need to work up to a minimum of 45 minutes of exercise a day.
However, if you want quicker results you’ll have to increase your exercise. I would advise against “going hard” in the beginning, though.
Just make sure that you always push yourself to make your short workouts count.. If you aren’t making yourself sweat, then you need to push harder. For example, If you can’t jog the whole 15 minutes, just push yourself to jog as far as you can and walk the rest of the way. Start jogging again when you catch your breathe. This will help you build up your stamina, and you’ll be jogging the whole way in no time!
Then you can try running as far as you can and jogging the rest of the way – you get the idea!
You’ll feel so good when you start to see that the whole “working out thing” actually works!
“I’m not comfortable with walking!”
Not a problem! You can do anything you want as long as it will get your heart rate up. I usually go out to my garage with some tunes and dance my booty off for a good 45 minutes to one hour. It’s fun and doesn’t make me feel like I’m working out. You can get as creative as you want!
You also need to make sure to add in some resistance training too! After the first 3 weeks, start adding weight training.
Don’t have any weights? Do what i do! Use whatever you can find.. Rocks, Gallons full of liquid, cans, or whatever you can find. Do sit ups, push ups, planks, chair dips.. Whatever you want, just don’t skip the resistance training! This is what will help you sculpt your body!
That’s about it…
That’s what I’ve been doing for the past couple of months and I’ve seen great results.I still don’t know how much i weigh. I don’t have a scale. However, I can fit into jeans that are two sizes smaller, i have more energy, I’m happier, and got rid of that stupid double chin! I’m healthier and i don’t feel like I’ve worked too hard to get here.
I have more stamina than Jeff, which makes me extremely giddy. 😀
I no longer feel overwhelmed by dieting and exercise.
Losing weight no longer seems impossible… I may not be losing 10-20 pounds a month, but I’m definitely consistently losing weight and making progress.
Try it out, and see if my Steps diet works for you!