Tag Archives: sustainability

What is RealFood really?

The future of health & fitness

Alright folks. I know I’ve been MIA for a while now but I’m not going to write a big story about how my life was super busy or how I enjoyed a great vacation forgetting to blog blah blah. The important thing is that I’m back and I promise to blog more frequently moving forward.

Let’s get practical

So in the last 6 months or so, if you realized, I haven’t written much sciency articles or anything that talks about the minutiae in nutrition and/or fitness. The reason for this is two fold.

1. Most of the important stuff about nutrition and training that applies to the health and fitness enthusiast, I’ve already covered. I’ve written about RealFood and saturated fat and grains and vegetables and protein requirements and macronutrient splits and superfoods and alcohol and overtraining and the best exercises and running and cardio and fat loss and much more.

2. That being the case, I’m trying not to force my readers into the ‘paralysis by analysis’ zone. I find that there are plenty of great websites/blogs that get deeper and deeper into nutrition (and fitness) resulting in (inadvertently) confusing the reader. While analysis is uber important, for the common man and for the health & fitness enthusiast whose profession is not nutrition or health or fitness, such in-depth obsessive analysis only results in paralysis.

What I have realized in the last 6 months to a year is that people don’t succeed in moving towards a healthier fitter lifestyle, not because they don’t know what to do, but because they don’t know how to do it. Let me explain.

Real-life examples help

I have an awesome online client whose goal was to lose some fat and get healthy. She was in the heavier side to begin with and had specific weight loss goals. As you may know, the heavier the person, the more the absolute weight loss you expect to start off with. So when we started, I expected her to lose about 1 kg per week. She started and saw a kilo (~ 2lb) of weight loss in the first 2-3 weeks. This could be attributed to reduction in junk food consumption and water loss and hence not true fat loss.

As weeks went by, she kept updating me with her weight and measurements and weirdly we saw no change. No fat loss. No weight loss even. Measurements were also the same. I checked with her and she said she has been doing everything required – eating only real food, working out per the plan, sleeping enough etc. She admitted that she had a few slips here and there but she had been sticking to the plan for 95% of the time.

This obviously, baffled me. I went back to her food log, again, and had a nice long look. It all seemed fine. When asked about how she felt otherwise, she mentioned that she saw improvements in all areas except weight and measurements. That is, her mood was better, energy levels were high, skin was better etc etc. So, clearly, RealFood was definitely doing its thing, but was not helping with fat loss. While I asked her to wait things out and give her body the time to heal I was concerned as to why this was happening.

My next suggestion was to get her thyroid checked. She got it tested and all her numbers were kind of normal. Her TSH was a little high but nothing too crazy. Again… baffled. We had a few calls back and forth trying to figure this out and then she sent me an email saying she was going to give this plan an honest shot for the next 30 days. If things went well, that’s great. If not, this plan didn’t work for her. I agreed and she said she wouldn’t contact me until the 30 days were over.

At the end of 4 weeks, she sends me an email saying she’s lost 5 kg.

Well… how did that happen? Did we change the plan? No. Did she eat any special superfood or pills? No. Did she go out and start working out 10 times a week? No. Then how did this happen?  Simple really. Initially, she didn’t do the plan as is. Now, in these 30 days, she did it. And why did this happen? During the initial stages, she was unaware of how to do this right and as a result did it wrong. In the last 30 days, since she set a hard deadline for herself, she was determined to find a way to do it and, well, she found a way and did it right.

What’s my point here?

Most people either take this too lightly or don’t put in enough effort to do it right. And why does this happen? Because most people are lost in the “how to do this” zone. For example, my client, from above, would’ve been able to do this right the first time if she had better a better understanding of the “how to” part of the concept.

To try and solve that issue, I’ve written in the past about how to create your own optimal diet and about how to design your own training plan. I’m know it helped a bunch of folks, but I still don’t think it is enough. So, moving forward, I plan on writing a lot addressing the practical aspects of RealFood, optimal training and lifestyle changes. In other words, my future articles will focus on…

  • Sample diet plans
  • Examples of training routines that can be done with little to no equipment
  • Ways to eat RealFood when traveling
  • RealFood recipes
  • Simple non-obsessive ways to include more RealFood in your diet
  • RealFood for kids
  • RealFood for older folks
  • RealFood with little to no meat
  • Motivation

In my dictionary, sustainability is more important, MUCH more important, than anything else. If you look at RealFood as another diet to lose weight, then it will only act like another diet i.e making you skinny, weak, unhappy, irritable and eventually, fat again. The point is to make lifestyle changes.

We live in an age of information overload. The problem is not lack of information but over abundance of it. The future of health and fitness is sorting through the BS and finding a way to make sustainable lifestyle changes. And that’s exactly what I’ll be focusing on.

If you guys have any thoughts on this or any suggestions as to what you’d like addressed talk about it in the comments section and I’ll be sure to address it.

Peace out.

Paleo, primal, eat real food, GAPS… really?

This is probably what you'd look like at the end of this post

I think everyone will agree that the best way to eat right is to eat plenty of nutritious foods and, if possible, eat only nutritious foods. And hence the nutrition concepts concepts such as paleo, primal, eat real food, GAPS, WAPF etc. are pretty awesome. Forget the different diets circling around the internet. Forget high fat low carb. Forget moderate protein. Forget macronutrient ratios. The concept of good nutrition is that quality of food is paramount. As long as one eats foods that are devoid of anti-nutrients and wholesome and unprocessed, it can be accepted that the said person is ‘eating right’.

So in as little words as possible, any good diet concept should preach the following.

  • Eat meat, whole eggs, vegetables, roots, tubers, fruits, unprocessed whole dairy and nuts.
  • Stay away from any and all potentially allergenic grains like wheat.
  • Stay away from any and all legumes, beans and lentils unless they are soaked/fermented.
  • Stay away from sugars.
  • Stay away from anything processed.

As you can see, the emphasis here is staying away from all foods that could potentially hurt you and eating only foods that are benign. And as it turns out, the foods that don’t hurt you are actually filled with plenty of nutrients and actually help you w.r.t health and longevity. Now getting into a little more detail, the following minutiae really matter.

  • Red meat is great but all red meat should be grass-fed/finished.
  • Poultry is healthy but all poultry should be free range.
  • Seafood is filled with nutrients but all seafood should be wild caught.
  • Whole eggs are more loaded than multi-vitamin tablets but all eggs should be organic and free range.
  • Vegetables and fruits are king but all vegetables and fruits should be organic.
  • Dairy, and especially dairy fat, is healthful but all dairy should be from grass-fed animals or should at least be organic.

What’s the problem really?

All these nutrition concepts – paleo, primal, eat real food, GAPS, WAPF – work and there is absolutely no surprise there. If you eat high quality food and stay away from any and all anti-nutrients that irritate your gut, there is no chance that you won’t get healthier.

But here’s the catch. These concepts only works under one condition – you have got to do it right!

Let me explain.

Health is a not short-term goal. Health is the cumulative result of many years of eating good food among other things like leading an active and stress-free lifestyle. So for any of these nutrition concepts to help with long term health (and hence longevity), one needs to ‘do it’ for many many days. In other words – the diet needs to be sustainable. So then, the question is…

Are these concepts sustainable?

If you live in the US or in any other developed country, you’d notice that most things are easy. This holds true for everything from cleaning the house to depositing cash to eating nutritious food. But if you live in India or in any other developing country, you’d realize that it is indeed hard to get things done. And eating right isn’t an exception.

As much as advocates of all these nutrition concepts (yours truly included) argue that their concept of eating is suitable for everyone, sustainable and more environmentally friendly than agriculture dependent feeding, I still haven’t found answers to the following questions.

  • If meat, seafood & eggs forms a considerable portion of one’s diet and if high quality meat (grass-fed, wild caught etc.) is a requirement, what about places where high quality meat is unheard of?
  • If dairy is healthful and necessary for healthy living (especially in the absence of meat), what happens if grass-fed cows don’t exist and the term organic milk is always associated with ‘what is that?’ or ‘now you owe me your car’? You could go raw, but what happens if raw milk is diluted with questionable water and if raw milk is indeed unhygienic?

If you’ve read even some of my articles, you’d know that I’m a big proponent of sustainability and I keep banging on the same point over and over again…

Is your super healthy diet and/or nutrition concept sustainable?

The answer to this question depends on many factors and two of the main factors are ‘availability’ and ‘affordability’. Sure, you may have discovered the world’s best diet, but can you ‘do it’ right? Are high quality foods available? If yes, are they reasonably affordable? If yes again, is this affordable availability sustainable?

And IMHO, if you don’t have answers to these questions, then you’re just buying into another fad! Why? Well, because what isn’t sustainable doesn’t last!

Coming to India:

As most of you know, I recently moved to India (a developing country) from the US (a developed country) and I cant guarantee that the fight to ‘eat right’ is harder here… much harder.

Allow me to elaborate.

Let’s say Rahul, a chubby 40+ metabolically deranged desk-job worker with a sedentary lifestyle and limited experience and enthusiasm towards health and fitness, has been advised by his doctor to ‘eat right’. So he decides to try one of the above stated nutrition concepts. All his meals contain mostly meat, eggs, vegetables and fruits. He consumes limited whole milk dairy and enjoys a cup or two of rice say every once or twice a week.

While Rahul read the right literature, took the best advice and is following the plan as closely as possible, he doesn’t realize a few things.

  • The commonly available meat (beef, lamb, chicken etc.) is in no way close to grass-fed or free range.
  • Most commercially available seafood is farmed.
  • All commonly available eggs are from factory farmed hens.
  • Whole milk available in regular supermarkets are made from milk solids.
  • Vegetables and fruits are loaded with pesticides.

Ummm… this is what I call – epic fail!

I’m sure many of you can relate to our imaginary Indian – Rahul. You’ve made up your mind, modified your pantry and even tweeted your resolution! But are you doing it right? If yes, care to share? If not, what are you going to do about it?

Do I have answers to these questions? Have I modified my dietary recommendations? Are things really that bad or am I just orthorexic? We’ll find out in the next post.

Peace out.

Grains – Friend or Foe?

Note: This post is dedicated to my very own bread-loving, exercise-hating, makes-life-worth-living, astonishingly gorgeous wife-to-be!

I’ll be honest here. I’ve been working on this post on grains for a long time now and I wanted to talk about what grains really are and how they became a staple and how they wreak havoc in our bodies and how they are the most evil things in the word and you know, other such usual blabber you would expect from a no-so-much-of-a-grain-fan as me. But then, I wasn’t able to do it. I tried multiple times but with no success. I had some sort of a block. Finally I realized, this wasn’t because I didn’t have the time to write or literature to back this up, but because I just didn’t really believe that grains were evil!

Picture credit: Pinch My Salt

As you guys know, I don’t blindly follow the herd but like to question beliefs and experiment everything on myself before recommending it to others. That being the case, I just found it impossible to write a post demonizing grains when I didn’t really think it was the case. This might come as a surprise to a lot of you folks considering I am known for hating grains and recommending against their consumption, but my argument here is really not for or against grains. It is about the all or nothing approach that is being applied towards grain consumption in general! You know, like the concept of distance running. It was once touted at the panacea for everything and now its being demonized and blamed as a cause of everything from Oprah’s bellay to Osama’s death!

So, Raj, are you just going from loathing to actually recommending grains?

Well, sadly, you won’t know until you read the rest of the post! So hold onto your horses for a second and read the post to fully understand my thoughts on the subject.

The Debate:

Firstly let’s look into the arguments generally used in support of and against grains and my thoughts on each one of these.

For…

  • Whole grains are heart healthy – In a country where leading fitness trainers recommend Faker’s Oats and companies compare thier cereal to the ever awesome egg, this is not surprising, but still, this claim is a bunch of crap! Why? Because the studies done to prove this were flawed! Any and every study that proved that whole grain consumption in test subjects improved health markers, compared people’s health when they consumed the standard junk food laden diet to a diet that had whole grains along with vegetables, fruit and lean protein.
  • Whole grains are fiber rich: Ever heard of vegetables and fruit? Any idea how much fiber they contain? Check this!

Against…

  • Grains are empty calories: True dat! No arguing here.
  • Grains are high in carbs: Legit! But so are potatoes. And I think we all know carbs dont kill. The act of OD-ing on carbs (and anything else for that matter) is what kills!
  • Paleo peeps didnt eat it so we shouldn’t eat it either: Meh! Too stupid to even reason.

Ummmm…

So they’re not bad and they’re not good. Great Raj! Thank you! Now we’re back to knowing nothing!

Well, not so soon.

The Knowledge:

Considering all the scientific and anecdotal evidence we have and having read arguments for and against grains and having tried and tested grain consumption on myself, my clients and my loved ones and having looked at the Ayurvedic diet, the Vegan diet and (all forms of) the Paleo diet without bias, here is what we actually know today…

1. Though there is evidence of grains being consumed millions of years ago, grains were NOT a significant part of the paleolithic people’s diet and were, at best, nutrient sparse survival food.

2. Grains have been a part of the human diet for about 10,000 years and many (if not all) traditional cultures soaked/fermented grains and included them in their diets and lived long healthy lives.

3. There is enough scientific and anecdotal evidence to prove that chronic grain consumption is detrimental to health and prosperity.

4. Wheat consumption has been associated with various different minor and major health issues ranging from acme to asthma to IBS to celiac and has a bunch of published literature supporting it.

5. White rice, though completely devoid of nutrients, seem to be extremely benign for most people and all traditional cultures that have predominantly consumed white rice have experienced little to no negative health effects.

6. All studies showing negative effects in health due to grain consumption have looked at chronic overconsumption of grains. Anecdotal evidence shows that small amounts of grain consumption (< 10-15% of total calories) does not have any significant or measurable effects on one’s health. Note: Exceptions exist here based on health condition and type of grain consumed and they will be discussed shortly.

7. Many other factors, including but not limited to vegetable oil consumption, stress, sedentary lifestyle, pollution etc., have been proven to be much more harmful to health in comparison to grain consumption.

From this mixed bag of scientific, epidemiological and anecdotal evidence, I’m sure the following questions pop right into our heads.

  • Are all grains detrimental to health?
  • What about in small quantities?
  • Are all humans allergic to grains at some level?

Honestly, I don’t have the answers. And I don’t think anyone has the answers to these questions. Let me rephrase that. I don’t think anyone has the right answers to these questions yet! I’m sure you can point me to blog posts and articles that talk about perils of grain consumption but, as mentioned above, even those articles are related to chronic and/or excessive grain consumption.

Gary Taubes, the greatest proponent of low carb eating and the author of Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat, when on Robb Wolf’s podcast asked this question (Note: not verbatim).

I get the paleo thing. But are you telling me that my health will drastically improve if I substitute the one tiny piece of pumpernickel bread that I have everyday with, say, sweet potato?

And thats exactly my point. No one knows! We all know grain dominance is a bad news for long term health, but is the poison in the dose? Can you get away with 1 cup of corn everyday? How about a slice of bread? Or how about a cup of oatmeal? Again, no one knows! And guess what – no one is going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars designing and performing a study that analyzes the effect of 1 slice of bread in an otherwise very well controlled real food diet.

So, Raj, how do we find out what works?

Let me shoot that question back at you…

Just going by common sense, how would you find out what works for you?

And you’ll say…

Self experimentation?

And I’ll say…

Attaboy!

You’ve abso-bloody-lutely got to find out what works for YOU! There is no substitute to that. But, while this is a part of the puzzle, its only a part! Some general guidelines need to kept in mind by all of us when it comes to grain consumption. So with merely common sense being the governing factor, here are some general recommendations.

General recommendations:

* Realize grains are ‘unnecessary’ in a healthy diet. You can argue all you want, but grains have nothing to offer that you cannot get from real foods. ‘Nough said.

* Move the heck away from a grain based diet! Now this is key. Like I mentioned before, all data that points towards demonizing grains are actually demonizing chronic overconsumption of grains i.e. grain dominance. So whatever you do, do not eat a diet that is dominated by grains. And yes, this applies to whole grains too. As a matter of fact, this applies especially to whole grains.

* Realize the difference between fine wine and cheap liquor! Fine wine is prepared with great care and tastes like heaven and not readily available and only consumed in limited quantities purely for enjoyment and never for the ‘buzz’. Cheap liquor is, well, cheap and crappy and inexpensive and easily available and overconsumed and results in a whole host of issues from liver problems to orphans! If you didn’t get the analogy, eat exquisite and specially made grains that are well prepared and stay the hell away from junk grains! For eg. freshly baked sprouted sourdough walnut cranberry bread? Yes please! I’ll have a slice. A dozen bread sticks? Heck no! Thank you for trying to kill me.

* Nourish your body with whole real foods and supplement your taste buds minimally with grains (and sugars) realizing they aren’t helping you and possibly slightly hurting you. Stated differently, don’t eat a pasta/bread dinner every night and end up walking to celiacville. Instead, load up on meat/tempeh/seafood with roasted vegetables and have a spoon of a decadent chocolate cake/ice cream.

* For God’s sake know your limitations! No sane person will have a sip of alcohol (even the finest wine) if he/she has liver complications. And no sane person should have even a bite of any bread or any other grain, if he/she has gut related issues (IBS, leaky gut, celiac etc.).

* Understand health and work towards it! Health is a result of a real food based diet, stress free lifestyle, good sleep and happiness that spans over a lifetime! Sustainability. is. the. key!

* Stay true to your short term goals. If you are on a leaning out phase and are eating fewer calories than is required for optimal functioning of your body, stay the crap away from grains and sugars because they add empty calories and possibly weaken an already weak immune system. If you are an endurance athlete who needs 4500 calories a day but are adamant about not eating any grains and feel that your performance is dropping, stop kidding yourself and eat some cooked white rice! Yes you can get those carbs from sweet potatoes but for how long are you going to chomp on 3 lbs of sweet potatoes everyday? Once again… sustainability! Similarly, if your short term goal is gaining bodyweight, getting calories should be your primary concern and it doesnt matter if you get those calories from rice and beans or potatoes and cheese. Do what suits your body (bloating, gas, sleep, energy etc.) and yourlife style (cost, availability etc.). Keep it simple and sustainable!

* Understand preparation and do it! You wash your hands before you eat. You wet your hair before you shampoo.  You better soak/ferment your grains before you cook ’em!

* Differentiate yourself from your ancestors. You can’t eat like your ancestors when you don’t move and cook like your ancestors did! Yes you should embrace your roots, but you should also understand that you’re not half as active as your ancestors were and the grain based meal you eat today is not prepared with even a fraction of the care and detail used to prepare grains back then.

* Be smart and understand that the success of a diet solely depends on physical nourishment and mental satisfaction. Customize your real food diet in a way that it keeps you healthy and happy! Healthy here is strong, immune, lean and disease/allergy/symptom free and happy here is giving you the leeway to eat your favorite foods.

* Listen to your body! If you eat a grain and it messes you up, stay away from it. This is not rocket science.

* When you start, create your diet with purely real food (vegetables, meats, eggs, fruit, nuts and organic dairy). Drop any and all form of unstable PUFa (vegetable oils). Throw the junk out. Remove all grains. See how you feel. Now try having a small serving of whatever grain you desire. See how you react. Bad? Dont do it again. No change? Perfect. Now, you  can eat it every once in a while. This is exactly how I work with my clients. I don’t give them any random diet/meal plan and a macronutrient split. We work together. From the bottom up. And ten out of ten times, my clients find what works for them! I just merely facilitate it.

* Always remember that food is meant to nourish the body and the mind. Why do you think repressed emotions (anger, stress, jealousy etc.) result in health issues? Because such repression can change your entire gut flora leading to digestive issues and, since health begins at the gut, this paves the way for other diseases! Consume only foods that ensure health and happiness. Both the “H”s coexist and one  cannot exist without the other. If you absolutely need to eat some rice/quinoa/oats to stay happy and consistent and if it only causes very minimal discomfort, then by all means include it in your diet. But only as much as or as frequently enough to not cause any considerable discomfort.

Remember…

Customization is a requirement for consistency and consistency is a requirement for sustainability and sustainability is a requirement for long term health and fitness!

What about my diet?

From whatever experimentation I’ve done, I’ve learnt a lot about my body and the following are what I do to keep myself healthy and happy!

1. I know oatmeal destroys me! Maybe its the whole grain or the avenalin in oats, but having a cup of cooked oats makes me run to the little boys room half a dozen times! So the health va happiness graph is pretty crappy here and so I stay away from it.

2. But I know that white rice works like magic for me! Maybe its my roots or the fact that white rice is basically benign, I feel awesome everytime I eat white rice. In this case the health vs happiness graps looks pretty darn great and so I make it a point to eat white rice multiple times a week. Since I workout pretty hard, I mostly consume post workout in an effort to put the starch to good use, but if I am caught at a social event with crappy food, white rice is always my goto grain.

3. I’m 20 something. If I really want to eat pizza, I will eat pizza. Simple enough. But the key words here are “really” and “want”. I have pretty good self control and hence wont down a pizza everytime I remotely feel like eating one and I don’t tolerate the ‘Oh have just one slice! It wont kill you’ crap one bit and hence wont have any just because someone else thinks I should.

4. I’m not a fan of couscous or corn really, but if I do go to an authentic isereli/mexican restaurant and my host tells me their couscous/tamale is to die for, I’d order it without hesitation or guilt.

The way I see it, all food is good and all food is bad… either for the body or the mind. A food that nourishes you with nutrients but makes you feel deprived and stressed is just as bad as a food that gives you happiness but destroys your body. It all depends on the dose and the your physical state. This is what works for me right now and so this is what I do. If, at some point of time, this stops working for me or my experiments show me something better, I’ll certainly be happy to change things up.

The Summary:

1. Call a spade a spade. Grain consumption is not the issue. Grain dominance and dependance is!

2. Grains have nothing nutritious to offer and so don’t try to make it a part of your diet.

3. Grains are not evil and you needn’t avoid them like the plague! Be smart and eat grains for the experience/enjoyment and call it a day.

4. Cut your losses by soaking/fermenting grains before preparation and consumption.

5. Eyes on the goal. If grains throw you off, you better be ready to throw them out.

What are your thoughts? What grains do you love? How often do you eat them? What works for you? I’m very curious to know what you guys think about this. Do share your experiences and thoughts in the comments section and please take a moment to share this post on Facebook, Twitter and other networking sites!

Stay sane. Stay happy. Stay healthy. Stay fit!

Peace out.

Cheat to Win – The 85/15–>95/5 Rule

Perfection is the enemy. This is true with whatever that is that you do… but I’m not here to tell you how to live your life. Just here to tell you how to eat (and how not to).

I go on and on about eating clean, giving up sugar, eating only the good fats, cutting out grains, increasing vegetable intake… but… let me ask you this… assuming you make a dietary change, are you going to do this all your life? Hell, am I going to do this all my life?? What about the donuts? The cakes? The pizza? The burger? The Indian food? The unlimited sushi? The Chinese food? My oh my! Truth is… life is more than just eating clean and staying active. Make no mistake… life is mostly about eating clean and staying active… but there is a little more to life. Read on.

Q. What is a diet?

Ans. A diet is what you eat and drink any day, everyday. But the diet we’re talking about is ‘going on a diet’. Going on a diet is either reducing the sheer quantity of the food that goes into that pie hole i.e. calorie restriction or banning certain foods (which results in restriction of calories).

Q. Why would you go on a diet?

Ans. Possibly one or more of the following reasons.

1. You’re fat and you would want to lean out to look better.

2. High risk of CVD (cardiovascular diseases) or diabetes could force you to eat clean and not eat junk.

3. You might be an athlete and losing some body fat (or even body weight in some cases) might benefit you in your sport.

4. Other reasons which aren’t critical for this post.

Q. What is the best diet?

And. The Ultimate Diet 2.0 by Lyle McDonald? Or The Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordian? Or The Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier? Or The Cookie Diet by Dr. Siegal? Or The Fruit Diet? Or one of the other hundred diets available?

To be honest with you all these diets work and produce the results they promise… IF you stick to the prescribed diet for the prescribed period of time. Let’s say I give you a diet which is so miraculous that it would reduce your body fat, make your lipid profile shine, improve athletic performance and extend life. But what good will come from that diet if you can’t stick to it?

The best diet is the diet you can stick to for the prescribed period of time.

Q. How do I stick to a diet?

Ans. 85/15 –> 95/5 rule

In short…

Don’t eat clean all the time. Have a reasonable planned cheat meal every once in a while.

In other words…

Dieting is psychological as much as it is physiological. I’ll spare you the crap and get directly to the point because neither you nor I have time for crap. Dieting is hard. Period. Whatever diet you are on… you are allowed certain foods and you are banned from eating certain other foods. The way your brain works is that it eventually craves the stuff you can’t have! And the worst thing you can do at that point is to force your brain to suppress the craving and tell it that you can never eat that chocolate cake again.

Never… deprive yourself of the little pleasures. I don’t care what the ‘purists’ say.  From a general health and fitness stand point you need to ‘give in’ every once in a while.

This is where the 85/15 –> 95/5 rule comes into play. Let’s assume you are a first time dieter and that you eat ~ 20 meals per week.

– During your first month of dieting, plan on having 3 cheat meals per week. This will result in eating clean 85% of the time.

– From the start of your second month reduce the number of cheat meals to 2 meals per week. This will result in eating clean 90% of the time.

– From the start of your third month reduce that number to 1 cheat meal per week. This will result in eating clean 95% of the time.

Once you are in your third month of dieting successfully it is assumed that you have reached a stage where you have the capability to practice portion control or ingredient control without insurmountable cravings.

So your goal should be to get to a 95/5 diet plan (which is 1 cheat meal per week). Plan for it. Choose a day… choose a meal… choose your favorite food item/entree/dessert… enjoy it! And please … do not feel guilty about it! You are merely rewarding yourself for having eaten clean throughout the week (and hopefully for having exercised the required number of days that week). Even better… for most folks a cheat meal can bridge the gap between plateauing and success.

Cheat Meal Rules:

1. Do not regret a cheat meal. Do not fear it.

2. Plan for it during the week. Look forward to it. Enjoy every bite of it. Love it…!

Naice!!

3. Make sure the cheat meal doesn’t derail the rest of the week’s clean eating. E.g. Don’t walk into a dessert shop/burger joint and roll out on a wheel chair.

4. Remember… it is a cheat meal… not a cheat day! One meal… reasonably sized.

5. Reasonably sized = 30-40% of your allotted number of calories for the day.

Probably not such a great idea.

6. For some people a cheat meal is a step in the wrong direction. It makes them go completely out of control and they never return to their regular diet. If you are one of those people…. be extra careful and don’t fall prey.

7. The higher the number of cheat meals… the more careful you need to be to ensure you don’t go overboard.

To Sum Up…

What is better… a 85-95% clean diet or a  100% clean diet? The 100% clean diet.

What is better… a 85-95% clean diet lasting 6 months or a 100% clean diet lasting 1 month? The 85-95% clean diet.

– Peace.

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