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It's time to stop the ups and downs of dieting. Don't diet! There are simple food adjustments you can make that allow you to eat out, drink, and just enjoy the social aspect of eating. Plus, you improve your physical health and lifestyle habits forever.

Diet should be viewed as a daily choice. You make conscious decisions about what you put in your mouth every day. No one said they were easy choices because Heaven knows that we are surrounded by food temptations every day. Plus, we live in a culture that celebrates everything with food. So, how can you go about living a “normal” life and maintain the physique that you desire?

Take Small Steps

It’s time to stop the ups and downs of the diet roller coaster. If you try to quit all your regular eating habits cold turkey, the likelihood of quitting after a few weeks of what feel like torture and your body rebelling is much greater than if you can make small changes over time. We are creatures of habit. However, if you make one change to your habits at a time, you are much more likely to keep the change.

Restaurant Hacks – Learn To Manipulate The Menu In Your Favor

My mom is diabetic. One day I told her that my competition diet would be good for her. She became upset with me and said,

“I am not going to give up the quality of my life.”

She was talking about food, or was she? I replied,

“I didn’t know that the quality of your life was determined by food.”

After internalizing what she said I realized it was about more. I have had to live parts of my own life on prep for bodybuilding where I can’t fully partake in family events or birthday parties involving food or drinks because of my prescriptive diet. It sucks.

I realized that millions people associate their quality of life by being able to eat and enjoy food with loved ones. It’s a social connection.

No one wants to stop going out to eat with family and friends or socializing at happy hour because they are on “a diet.” So, don’t be on a diet. When you know what foods and drinks to avoid or how to make food and drink substitutions, you can still “live.”

PS – I hate eating SALAD as a meal, bleck!

Here are some tricks I use at different restaurants:

  • Burger joints: Peel off the top bun to make an open face burger even if that means getting double meat to fill you up. Skip the fries! The double protein is better than the carbs.
  • Panda Express: Get a Panda Bowl with half steamed veggies, half rice and look for the healthier meat options. They post the nutrition information at eye-level. Try the mushroom chicken. It’s lowest in calories and high in protein.
  • Subway: Order your sandwich with double meat for only $1.50 extra. I opt for the meatball sandwich and have the additional meatballs put in a cup. I have them load the sandwich with veggies. I don’t actually eat the bread. So why not order the salad you ask? I save money going the sandwich route.
  • Pei Wei: If you haven’t had their Traditional Chicken Lettuce Wraps you are missing out. No rice involved, but you get a tasty, filling meal.
  • Chipotle:  Ask for half the rice and just a sprinkling of cheese. Skip the sour cream. The salsa is salty, but at least it’s made from fresh veggies.
  • Non-alcoholic beverages: Tea trumps soda all day long. Go for half sweet half un-sweet. Continue to lower the sweetness over time until you are able to drink un-sweet. Or opt for water. Ask your server for a bowl of lemons. Use the lemons and a packet of stevia to make lemonade. Very refreshing.
  • Alcohol:  If you plan to have drinks order vodka and soda (not Sprite). Carry around the sugar free water flavoring that you can buy at your local grocery store and use that to add a fruity twist. Skip all creamy drinks and high sugar beverages.
Do you see the common theme? Skimp on processed carbs and sugar.

I’m not here to tell you that carbs are an enemy. You actually need them, but you should not eat processed, refined carbs or devour sugars. These are the present day diet killers and they are highly addictive.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • Lally, P., Van Jaarsveld, C. H., Potts, H. W., & Wardle, J. (2009, July 16). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world†. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejsp.674/abstract
  • jsessionid=14F4605914F3237DAE7A124A90C2DBFE.f04t02
  • Lennerz, B. S., Alsop, D. C., Holsen, L. M., Stern, E., Rojas, R., Ebbeling, C. B., & Goldstein, J. M. (2013, June 13). Effects of dietary glycemic index on brain regions related to reward and craving in men. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/06/26/ajcn.113.064113.abstract
  • Photo courtesy of Michael Stern: www.flickr.com/photos/68711844@N07/15204286153/
  • Photo courtesy of armydre2008: www.flickr.com/photos/armydre2008/16237306687/
  • Photo courtesy of Michael Stern: www.flickr.com/photos/68711844@N07/15204286153/
  • Infuser Water Bottle - https://www.amazon.com/Infuser-Water-Bottle-Hydration-Infusion/dp/B01BJV2XZI/ref=sr_1_6?s=sports-and-fitness&ie=UTF8&qid=1474585463&sr=1-6&keywords=fruit+infused+water+bottles Bean and Lentil Pasta - http://ancientharvest.com/product-category/bean-and-lentil-pastas/