You decide to go on a diet. Let’s start with what you “think” you are going to do:

1). Tell all your friends you are going on a diet.

2). Buy a Costco supply of Tupperware.

3). Spend an entire day grilling, chopping, weighing and measuring the exact grams of food to package in each container.

4). Eat the same thing every day.

5). Buy extra groceries for those in your home that don’t plan on dramatically depriving themselves.

6). Try to make it to Wednesday without getting tired of your food and binge eating your entire pantry.

7). Avoid all sugar, salt, fat and processed.

8). Avoid all social events, this presents far too many temptations that can derail all of the above.

9). Quit diet.

10). Forget steps 1-7, change your mindset, behavior and enjoy the food you eat.

The Google definition of a holistic diet is “a personal road map to eating that goes beyond the food on your plate, counting calories, and exercising a few times per week. It takes into account your whole person, and encompasses a healthy lifestyle.”

Let’s get real, although strict dieting and macro counting may help you look the part it won’t necessarily make you feel better. Many of us have been lead to believe that in order to be successful with our food intake we need to follow a very strict plan. Seems easy right? Then why do so many of us fall short just weeks and even days into a new program? Although strict dieting and macro counting may be good for those in a fitness competition, living with that many rules and restrictions is not sustainable. Therefore, it makes it so overwhelming that the average person simply gives up.

Meticulously measuring out and scaling your food can often times lead to food phobia, guilt and shame? I could give exact values of how much protein, fat and carbs you should consume but this would be doing you a disservice. Setting so many rules and depriving yourself works in an ideal world but we are human and imperfect. We lead busy lives, we have cravings, we like to socialize and using macros as our main dieting method teaches us nothing about adapting to our changing day to day.

Let’s try and switch gears for a moment. Rather than thinking about the exact number value of each macro that you should be using consider instead what your body needs to thrive. Macronutrient is a term simply used to describe the 3 nutrients your body needs in larger quantities relative to others. Hence the word Macro meaning “large”. These 3 include protein, carbs and fat. Each play a crucial role in the daily functions of your body and should be included in all your nourishment.

Therefore…..your ultimate goal should be to make healthy meal and snack choices that are balanced, and even include an occasional indulgence. Stop trying to be perfect. As we mentioned in our article, Better For You Snacking, snacks are a critical component of a holistic, balanced diet. Check out the article here for some of our favorite, trainer approved snacks. Here are a few changes that will change your mind and body and help you establish a healthier relationship with your food.

Prepare in Advance:

Chose a day on the weekend to create your menu for the week. Take your list with you to the grocery store to make sure you don’t miss anything. Head to the store well fed, shopping hungry can sometimes make you feel like you NEED everything.

Chop it up:

Chop all your veggies and greens. Think about what you would normally do as a pre-holiday dinner preparation. The goal is to do as much as you can to make it easier for your meal preparation throughout the week.

Cook it:

Cook your protein of choice (chicken, fish, tofu etc.) Separate into bags and keep on hand enough to get you through about 3 days. Store the remainder in the freezer and thaw when your first supply begins to run low.

No cheating!

This may sound extreme but cheating implies that you are unhappy. Feeling guilty about satisfying a chocolate craving is a very unhealthy approach. Give yourself some wiggle room. A small treat once a day is perfectly okay, and if you are eating out choose meals that include the key players (protein, fat, carb) and are nutrient dense (vitamins and minerals). If your food is satisfying you wont have to plan “cheat meals”.