The word "hack" has been a bit overused and misunderstood in the last few years.
Once thought of as a quick and efficient way of doing something seemingly complex, it now often refers to some miracle or secret trick to cure all that troubles you.
Do you do this with your diet? Are you always trying to find quick fixes, shortcuts, and the little-known secret to losing fat and getting into phenomenal shape?
Stop trying to hack your diet. Stop with the constant tricks, secrets, and workarounds that just leave you scratching your head even more than before.
5 Diet Hacks to Avoid
First things first, it's dime to ditch these common hacks that make dieting unnecessarily complicated.
1. Counting and Weighing Everything
If your goal is to get in general shape – to look good naked, take your shirt off at the pool or at the beach, or if you just want to lose some weight to be healthier – stop micromanaging your eating. It’s not only nerve-racking, it’s also creating so much stress in your life that it may actually be keeping you from losing fat to begin with. Stop weighing every meal, counting every single calorie, and constantly evaluating your diet plan.
2. Searching for A Better Way
Yes, there does seem to be new research on food/diets/eating every day. But here’s the thing: That will never end. You already know what to do. Should you stop eating a lot of processed stuff? Should you eat more fruits and vegetables? Should you eat lean proteins and healthy fats? The basics have changed very little over time.
3. Diet Hopping
There is a new diet put out to mass market every day. Fads happen and we are the ones footing the bill. Remember the countless diet plans that were supposed to be the answers to all your eating woes? Where are they now? Aside from a few practical, sane approaches, most trends are just that – trends. They are here one minute and gone the next making room for the next one off the assembly line.
4. Making Unreaslistic Choices
Have you succumbed to the practices of cutting out an entire macronutrient? How about eating only in a certain window of time? Has it worked? Is it something that you can realistically live with? Any diet touting extreme measures is usually only effective for the short-term. Long-term, healthy eating habits take a more subtle approach without resorting to an “absolutely none of this” and “never eat that” mentality.
5. Adhering to a Super Strict Schedule
Do you find yourself skipping out on social events with your friends because you had to eat a certain way or time your meals just right? Are you always stressed about prepping all of your food, portioning them in their own little containers, and always thinking about your next meal? Life is passing you by, but you are too busy trying to practice the perfect execution for eating.
5 Sane Solutions
Now that you don't have to stress about the trendiest diet hacks, you can start implementing more reasonable approaches to reaching your goals.
1. Clean Up
This step is two-fold. First, stop reading so much about the latest and greatest crazes in the diet world. It will only confuse and tempt you resulting in frustration, anxiety and ultimately failure. Next, cut out the processed stuff, added sugars, desserts, and other space-age, highly engineered foods that contain ingredients that are difficult to pronounce.
2. Focus on Protein
Have at least 3 solid protein servings per day the size of your palm. If you’re trying to build muscle mass, go with either two palms of protein per meal or add another meal. Be sure they are lean varieties like fish, turkey, lean red meat, chicken, and low-fat dairy such as Greek yogurt, milk, and some cheeses.
3. Add The Right Kind of Carbs
Since you cut out all the high-sugar, high-starch carbs which provide little to no nutritional value, you should now focus on vegetables and some fruit. Potatoes, rice, oats, green leafy veggies, and some fruits such as apples, cherries, blueberries and grapefruit.
How much? Start with one fist full for 3 meals. If you are struggling to gain muscle and want to pack on mass, go for two fist-fulls or add a fourth meal.
4. Don't Sweat Fat
Healthy fats are a must. Since you stripped your diet of the bad stuff, feel free to add in some mixed nuts for a snack, avocado on a sandwich, and oil-based dressing on a salad. A small handful size should be plenty with each meal.
5. Relax and Adjust
Here's the big secret! Stay on that eating plan (the one we outlined above) for at least 4 weeks. Use the mirror and the way your clothes fit as a guide. After four weeks you can either keep as is (meaning, the diet is working) or you may need to adjust slightly.
If your goal is to drop body fat, cut out 1 carb-heavy meal or reduce the amount of carbs in your other meals. If you want to pack on muscle and need more calories, either add in 1 extra meal of protein and carbs or increase the protein and carb portions slightly for your other meals. The idea is to adjust slightly every 4 or so weeks if needed. Don't make giant leaps into calorie restrictions and over the top practices.
After some time, you will develop a better idea for what works for you. You will start to sense that you are in control and have a better understanding of how your own body processes food.