So I have to admit something…I still worry about dieting sometimes. Even when I shouldn’t be. So, exactly how to stop worrying about dieting?
As you know, I constantly talk about the need for real/unprocessed/nutritional/natural food. I went on a trip recently and I basically threw most of that out of the window. Hear me out.
Recently, I was in the Bahamas. I ate many of the various local foods when I was down there and it was a smorgasbord of deliciously “bad foods.” One of my favorites menu items was conch. They do everything with it. It’s like in Forrest Gump when Bubba was talking about shrimp. My particular favorite was “cracked conch” where they basically breaded and fried it up. So damn good! They would throw in stuff like rice or French fries with it and was all very delicious. I love conch and it’s something that I recommend everyone try at least once. (However, don’t get too addicted because it’s being severely over-harvested.)
Anyways, I mention this because before my trip I was worrying about what I would eat and what I would do on vacation. Since it’s so bad for me, maybe I shouldn’t be eating all the local cuisine. Maybe I should get extra exercise and go out for a few runs since it’s so nice and warm. Maybe I should go swim a few laps (so to speak) in the ocean. Maybe I should try to stick to low-carb foods or try to count calories… Etc, etc, etc.
For a while I was stressing out about all these options to stay fit. Eventually, I got to the point where I just realized: “Hey! I don’t do this very often. I need to enjoy my time and relax. Falling off the band wagon for a week or two really won’t cause that much of a difference. I might as well enjoy what I’m doing rather than fretting about all these little details.”
As I’ve mentioned before, my secret weapon is intermittent fasting. Because I can go most of the day without needing to eat anything, it helps to keep the addictive nature of the crappy foods at bay. However, since not everyone can do this, I have a few tips to follow while on vacation:
The secret to staying fit, even on vacation?
How to stop worrying about dieting? At the very least, I try to do the following:
- Eat mostly protein
- Eat mostly leafy/green vegetables
- Drink lots and lots of water (Especially in hot places)
- Try to limit carbs to some degree (overly processed ones especially)
- try to get some form of exercise as much as I can. Pretty easy, right?
- Fast if you’re able to. It gives your body a chance go off fat stores for energy.
- Most of all: STOP WORRYING! A bit of junk food won’t kill you.
So yeah, I ate lots of fried foods. I drank a lot. I ate stuff that comes in a can and in boxes. I ate sweet deserts. I even ate Pringles, only because I sort of missed the taste. Doesn’t taste like I remembered it… Either way I didn’t let it bother me.
How to stop worrying about dieting?
I didn’t let it ruin my vacation. I thought “OK, I can go crazy for a little while and then once I get back to the states, I’ll do my best get back on track.” You may call it a “reverse New Year’s resolution.” Instead of promising to be healthy for a few weeks and then going back to bad habits, I did the complete opposite. I let myself go, I had a lot of fun and I didn’t care what I ate.
I didn’t worry about carbs, calories, getting “proper exercise” or anything health related. I just let myself relax and have fun for a while. I think that is one of the most important aspects of being in the right mindset.
After all, if you go crazy about dieting and exercising and never give yourself a break: you’re going to suffer from burnout.
The simple fact is life is too short to be constantly worrying. You have to allow yourself a little wiggle room. Most people who have successfully ended up losing weight did so using small steps. Many have failed over and over, but the successful ones have gotten back on track and refuse to let a setback stop them.
As far as I’m concerned, there’s no one out there who can be “perfect.“ There is no “perfect diet” nor “perfect exercise routine.” Everyone has a breaking point where they just can’t keep up. So, how to stop worrying about dieting?
Willpower is a finite resource!
As Mark put it best: “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” Sure, you can have the “best” results from eating absolutely “perfect,” but at the same time you will suffer from your constant use of willpower to keep yourself on track. Since most people’s willpower is lacking, they need to slowly develop it to actually stay on track. To keep their willpower going permanently is impossible. Everyone needs a release at some point.
Take myself for instance. When I was first getting serious about trying to lose weight, I would easily lose my willpower at the drop of a hat. For example, a pizza party at work would be impossible to resist. Despite my best efforts, my old self would have smelled the pizza and the willpower would be easily overpowered. Next thing I knew, I would gone crazy and eat like 5-7 slices. This would of course be followed by shame and the promise to never repeat it. (Which is foolish).
These days, however, it’s much easier for me. Thanks to using delayed gratification and various techniques to help ignore the shytty foods, I was able to work out my willpower like a muscle. Now, the weekly box of doughnuts they leave out gets a mere glance from me and nothing else. It’s not something I can do every single day for years, but it helps to have one every once in a while. Just to release the psychological pressure.
How I stopped worrying and learned to love the Bahamas!
Once I got back from my vacation and I was all relaxed, my willpower supply was filled and ready to be used again. I had no problem switching back to healthier habits, going into keto (to kill my appetite), and getting back at the gym. In other words, I just went back to normal. Just today, I walked right past those doughnuts without another thought. You need to exercise your willpower and it will get better over time. Just don’t drive yourself crazy.
My favorite moment of the vacation was when I was out snorkeling on a world class beach called Lighthouse beach on Eleuthera. The water was ultra crystal clear and the reefs were huge. As I was swimming around looking for cool stuff, I happened to look down to see a gigantic yellow spiny lobster staring me in the face. This thing was enormous! Even with its tail tucked, it was about the size of my arm from elbow to fingertip!
Check out this website for pictures of what I’m talking about. They’re huge. I pondered grabbing it for a photo-op, but it jetted backwards with a flip of the tail. It was a sight to behold. Another fun thing I got to see was a little yellow lemon shark. I was just standing about knee-level water, enjoying the waves, and suddenly there was this 2-3 foot shark. I freaked out a bit, but supposedly they’re harmless. At that point I ran to get my girlfriend out of the water… just in case… I’d hate to be snorkeling and suddenly come face to face with a shark!
In the end, the only thing that I noticed was different when I came back from vacation was that I got hungrier more often and more easily. For me, that’s easily taken care of. I’ve got a podcast around the corner where I’ll talk about just that: “Why we get so hungry and how to deal with it!”
Pic credits: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c8/GrandBahama_ConchPeasRice.JPG https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0f/Lemon_shark.png
Oh, and meet my friend, “Jerry.” He’s a baby Conch!