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Why I Kissed Dieting Goodbye: The Naked Foodie’s 10 Steps To Living And Eating Healthy

I’m that guy that’s up 10 pounds and then down 10 pounds. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I’m a foodie and that will never change, and with a love for food often comes unwanted inches on the waist. Can you relate? The most fit I’ve ever been in my life was when I quit carbs cold turkey for nearly a year and went to the gym 5 days a week after work. Last year, I did intermittent fasting, got a personal trainer, and shed some serious LBS. I’ve done the Master Cleanse. I’ve done a fruit and veggies fast. And I’m so over all of it, which is why this year, just in time for summer, I took a bold step and said goodbye to dieting. Here’s what I do now instead:



1. Listen to my body

As much as I love tapsilog or a meat lover’s omelette for breakfast, I feel so much better afterwards when I eat oatmeal with fresh fruit. So that’s exactly what I started having for breakfast. Stuffing myself with protein all day to build muscle and to replace carbs made my stomach feel like it was digesting a bowling ball— so farewell high protein diet. Piping hot bowls of kimchi jjigae for lunch tastes chincha mashisoyo, but that annoying bloating feeling afterward due to ingesting copious levels of sodium wasn’t making me feel my best. Consequently, my lunches became greener and lighter. Thanks for the messages, body, why didn’t I listen to you before?

 

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2. Fill my grocery cart with fruits and vegetables I love

On Sunday, I slice carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, bell peppers, etc. and make a Greek yogurt-based aioli dip. I fill my ref with grapes, apples, melons, and oranges, and I find that the colorful ensemble gives me easy access to the right foods I should be eating, no matter how busy my schedule is.

 

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3. Eat complex carbs

I traded white rice for brown rice, baguettes for a whole wheat loaf, and pasta for quinoa. It wasn’t that hard to do for me and I didn’t have to deprive myself of carbs because, hello, your body needs them!

 

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4. Limit drinking calories

I like to eat 3 square meals a day so I simply cut out juices, sugary sodas, lattes, and sugary cocktails. Imagine the calories I’m banking in one month’s time...thousands.



5. Choose high intensity exercise that I look forward to doing

Ok, let’s be honest, when you’re out of shape and you start doing high intensity exercise, it is wretched. My body was sore at first, I had some asthma attacks, and I had a lingering headache. But after three 50-minute high intensity workouts, I found that my body built up endurance and I was no longer intolerably sore. My stress levels decreased and the endorphin highs are something to sing about. High intensity exercise is a key reason why I was able to kiss dieting goodbye, but if you haven’t found one that you enjoy, just keep looking.

 



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6. Drink less alcohol and diet drinks

After 2 glasses of wine, listen to your body. It’s likely telling you that you’re relaxed and satiated. There’s really no need to keep drinking, so order a soda water with a lemon wedge and keep socializing! On the other hand, diet drinks are a weakness of mine, and I justify them by telling myself there are no calories. So what’s left to make them taste good? Chemicals. Admittedly I still have a diet drink now and then but I cut out about 80% of my consumption.

 

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7. Sleep more

I found that as my diet changed, I was able to sleep soundly for longer periods of time. What an unexpected bonus!



8. Drink caffeine when I want it, not out of habit

Many Americans are notoriously addicted to coffee. I grew up with parents who prepared the coffee pot the night before, and put it on a timer to begin brewing as the sun was rising. By college, I was drinking a pot of coffee while cramming for exams and getting caffeine headaches if I didn’t drink coffee. Reducing my coffee intake makes me less anxious, more focused (oddly enough), and my energy levels are where I want them to be, much due to my high intensity exercise routine.

 

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9. Carry water with me everywhere

Like a dog on a leash, my water follows me around everywhere and I was surprised to observe that I can easily drink 3 to 4 liters of water a day.

 

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10. Cook at home more often

I love to cook, and I can control what goes into my dishes if I’m cooking them myself. I still eat out and thoroughly enjoy doing so, but I make it a point to eat well-balanced dinners at home as often as possible. My waistline and overall health are grateful for that! I still eat a bit of dessert after dinner or snack on chips and salsa as well, but I am more focused on portion control.

 

 

 

Sustainability is the main inspiration for my lifestyle change, and I think I’ve finally found a balance that I can work with for the long term. All of these tips may not work for everyone, but the point is, we either follow diets that lead us into patterns of restrictive eating which, for me, usually leads to over-indulging, or we find a balance that can become like second nature to us. 

 

Lead Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash