Are you an abstainer or a moderator?
If you’re an abstainer, then making small gradual changes is probably not good enough for you. You prefer to go all out, declare what’s ok and what’s off-limits, and stick to that no matter what. On the other hand, if you’re a moderator, you have no problem with small steps and even having “bad” foods in moderation without the risk of binging. You’re more likely to succeed if you avoid strict diets and find your way through small steps.
Make gradual improvements
The step-by-step approach should work best for moderators, it doesn’t make anything off-limits and it doesn’t tell you how much you have to change. You’re allowed indulgences as long as you make improvements to the way you normally eat.
Lunch level 1
• Lunch means going for a fast-food take-away.
• You eat your burger, fries, and soda on the way back to work.
• You can’t imagine a lunch without a sweet dessert at the end of it.
Lunch level 2
• You choose a better restaurant than the closest greasy burger place.
• You order something with real meat in it and have a small salad along with fries.
• You don’t eat on the go. You sit down at your desk to read the news while you eat.
• You make a choice to have either soda or dessert, not both.
Lunch level 3
• You prepped the burger patties at home and bought some good cheese, lettuce, and buns.
• You bring everything to work and put the burger together there with a side of baked potatoes.
• You leave your desk for lunch to slow down and socialize with your co-workers while you eat.
• You only have soda a couple of times a week, the rest is only water.
Lunch level 4
• You regularly cook and enjoy any home-made meat, not just burger. You always have some fresh veggies and boiled potatoes or brown rice alongside it.
• You take a break to relax and eat your meal outside to get some fresh air too.
• You only drink water or tea with your lunch, no soda, no desserts.
This is just one example. You can end up with a nutritious lunch without meat, you can go for legumes instead, or replace potatoes with an avocado and stay low-carb. Just keep in mind, not everybody needs to get to level 4. It’s certainly better to move up at least one level than none at all. Next time we will take a look at dinner!