The Non-Diet Diet

Enough with the low-carb, no-carb, all-carb. Quit with the gluten-free, lactose-free, salt-free, taste-free. Stop eating copious amounts of lean beef and washing it down with raw oats (seriously, who thinks of this stuff?), and stop trying to figure out how many points your breakfast burrito has (and then typing into your phone while you’re walking to work). Do you know why you should stop?

It’s stupid.

Do you know why it’s stupid? It isn’t sustainable. It isn’t realistic. And it sucks. Unless you ate plain boiled chicken breast by the pound before your diet, you probably aren’t going to keep eating it for the rest of your life. I don’t care how sincerely you’ve convinced yourself that you can keep up your all-radish-all-the-time diet, you’re not going to, and you’re going to end up quitting it with a mountain of nachos. You know what I like? Cheese. You know what is really shitty and tasteless? Fat free cheese. And that is why I subscribe to the non-diet diet. And you should too!

Photo on 2013-03-01 at 15.44 #3

My general rule of thumb is this: 80% good, 20% naughty. And no, that doesn’t mean you can eat 80% of the Kraft Dinner that you normally eat. If you keep 80% of your diet really clean, you can cheat on 20% of it with the ooey gooiest most chocolatey dessert of your choice. Generally, I give myself three cheat meals a week. So, once a week, I get to have the most delicious, stinkiest, cheesiest cheese of my choice. And you know what? I’m a lot more satisfied with that once a week than fat free cheese every day of the week. Not only am I more satisfied, but I’m thinner. This is all sorts of awesome. It will set you free. A lot freer than constantly typing into your food log on your phone.

Now, this isn’t a magic pass. You’ve got to be honest with yourself, and you’ve got to acknowledge that your candy bar salad (see my post on this phenomenon here) isn’t going towards your 80% goodness. When I say it’s got to be clean, I mean it. We’re talking lean animal protein, plant-based fiberous protein sources (beans, tofu, tempeh.), low glycemic and whole carbs (quinoa, sweet potatoes, squash, bulgur wheat) and LOTS of the green stuff. See this post for my grocery “staples”, and of course check all of my recipes.

Now, you’re not going to lose 20 pounds in a week. But any diet that promises that is either a) lying or b) telling the truth, but neglects to inform you that you’ll also gain a bitchy attitude and 30 pounds within the month.

So stop writing off entire categories of food (especially the ones that you love). Stop alternating between weeks of torture and gluttony. Stop panicking, counting points, and being miserable while reading books about how carbs are the devil. Calm down, treat yourself occasionally, and the weight will fall off. And it will stay off.