Does it have to be all or nothing?

One of the most daunting aspects of any diet is that it takes your entire culinary world and throws it into chaos. Everything you are doing gets thrown topsy-turvey, and you have to not only change what you eat, but how you make it, how often you eat it, and possibly even when you eat it.

I know. I get it. It’s a lot to take in. It’s scary, and it is a large part of what turns people off from making lifestyle changes that could help them reach their goals and get healthy.

One of the reasons I love Whole30 is because the rules are simple enough that it doesn’t take a lot of planning to make it successful. At it’s most basic levels, if you eat meat and non-grain or non-legume veggies, you’re good. On Paleo, the rules are very similar, but allow for some more natural sweeteners. Keto eschews the sugars and fruits, but allows dairy. In the end, all of these are actually quite simple once you learn the rules, and it’s not too difficult to follow along.

Changing your eating habits is challenging. You have to cut sugar from your life completely, and regardless of which route you go in the Low-carb/high-fat world, the first week to three weeks will be difficult as your body breaks its addiction to sugar. Some refer to this as the Keto Flu, Whole30 Flu, or Paleo Flu depending on which diet you’re adopting. It’s painful, and you quite literally feel like you have a flu. The good news is that once you’re through it, you feel better than you did before with more mental clarity, more energy, and reduced or eliminated hunger and cravings. I wouldn’t have believed it myself if I hadn’t experienced it first-hand. Kicking sugar was a life-changing event for me.

Avoiding foods I’d enjoyed my entire life took a lot of discipline, but after a while, focusing on the foods I could continue to eat that I’d enjoyed my entire life while not thinking about those foods I could no longer eat helped me get through the cravings and allowed me to discover even more new foods that I now rank among my favorites. Pizza is great, but I found alternatives that are either just as delicious or more so. It comes down to focusing on the positives and avoiding the negatives.

Fitness is good, but not necessary to lose weight. This is one of the biggest points I try to make to people who have physical limitations or are otherwise predisposed to not being able to partake in physical activity (some people just hate it; I get it). You don’t have to become a gym rat or a runner to lose weight, and honestly, this was my biggest hurdle for many years. I just didn’t want to become a “Workout Person” to lose weight. Little did I know I’d become a runner and a National Guard soldier years later.

Yes, it’s all or nothing: either you adopt a new, healthy lifestyle, or you doom yourself to repeating the same mistakes you’ve been making with your diet and nutrition. You can’t continue to eat the way you do now and expect different results. You have to make the change, and you have to commit to it fully. Once you make your health a priority, the rest falls into place nicely.

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