One of my least favorite questions that I get asked is “are you on a diet?” As much as I try to give a simple “no” or “just eating healthy,” I inevitably end up going into a long explanation about balanced eating, why it’s important, and how it’s not a diet, but something that my family does all the time.
Now, you may be wondering how is that different from dieting? Aren’t you still depriving yourself of foods that you love to eat? The answer is NO!
Balanced eating is not about deprivation, cutting out food groups, or taking the joy out of eating. Balanced eating is about finding healthy substitutions for the foods that you love. Let me give you an example.
Imagine that your favorite food is burgers. If you go to a restaurant, you order a burger. On a Friday night at home, you want to grill burgers. Instead of giving up burgers entirely, which would set you up for failure, find a healthy substitution.
• Replace a beef patty with a seasoned turkey burger patty
• Replace a full burger bun with a sandwich thin
• Top it with lettuce, tomato, pickles, avocado and mustard
• Replace fries with baked sweet potato fries and brussels sprouts on the side
Because you’re not giving up on your favorite food, it’s much easier for you to stay on track with those healthy habits. You won’t feel like you need a “cheat day.” There are so many other healthy substitutions that you can on a daily basis that will help you stay balanced AND satisfied:
• Vegetable noodles instead of spaghetti
• Ground turkey instead of ground beef
• Chicken, bison, and turkey burgers instead of beef burgers
• Sparkling water instead of soda
• Coconut milk instead of creamer in your coffee
• Almond milk instead of regular milk
• Almond flour instead of flour
• Unsweetened applesause instead of oil in baking recipes
• Greek yogurt instead of sour cream
• Cauliflower rice instead of white rice
• Mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes
The list goes on! As you can see, you can still keep your favorite foods in your rotation with some healthy substitutions. Small substitutions really add up to big changes in body composition. This is why losing weight or body fat should never be related to “being on a diet” or “deprivation.” It is about finding ways to build healthy habits over the long term.
I challenge you to find one food that you like to eat and find a healthy substitution for it. Only eat that substitution for one full month. Now, how do you feel about that food?
Source: Brandon Brigman, No Excuses CrossFit