Don’t let this holiday season get the best of you. Take control of your diet right now!

Don’t let this holiday season get the best of you. Take control of your diet right now!

Hey you, yeah you!

It’s about time you do something proactive. Take charge of your health, your weight, your future… once and for all. The kids are back to school, the holidays are fast approaching, and it’s time to face the music. This is it folks, the calm before the storm.

First, the weather cools down, minimizing outdoor activities.

Then, the students flood the area and everyone either a) trudges back to work or b) goes into hiding. The first round of fitness routines quickly falls by the wayside, just like that (we’ll bring you back!).

Football season heats up and the fridge is stocked up with Octoberfest.

Before you know it, the candy isles begin to pop up everywhere to taunt you with those big, oversized bags.

By now, Grandma surely has her sights set on her famous homemade stuffing and apple pie.

Why not some wine by the fire on a cold winter day?

“It’s too cold to food shop, let’s order in tonight honey”.

Finally, we finish with a downright assault of cookies, cakes, holiday party after holiday party, and leftovers galore.

No wonder why so many people tend to struggle, year after year. I don’t want to see another year of inconsistency and frustration with lofty New Years’ Resolutions quickly following suit. I’m sick of that pattern. It shouldn’t have to be that way. Hell, I just outlined half of the issues that strike down each year. So let me ask you this: What do you do when the weather forecasts a major storm? Do you plan ahead, stock up, and dust off the old generator? Or do you keep your fridge full of perishables and your windows open with the dog tied out back?

Maybe you messed up this weekend…ate like crap, drank too much. Maybe you didn’t. You know what? It doesn’t matter. The focus here is on prevention and damage control. Tomorrow, you’re back to work and we’re not about to let another uninspiring week pass you by. You’re stuck in a rut and I hate to say it, but you’re the perfect candidate for winter weight gain. We won’t let you succumb to that, not this year. BUT, it has to start right here, right now, so let’s jump right in.

First step: Print this post.

Next, take a walk to your fridge, open it up and tell me what you see. We’ll keep it as simple as possible…

How many of these items can you find?

  • Salad Greens
  • Three different colored vegetables
  • Three different types of fruits
  • 3 on the go quick protein options (i.e. hard boiled eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.)
  • Pre-cooked or 5 minute throw-together meal options (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) for at least three consecutive days. I can help you with these.
  • Defrosted chicken and/or fish, portioned and ready to cook as needed.

Well, how’d you do? And what does all this mean?

The reality is that if a food is in your possession or located in your residence, either you or a loved one will eventually eat it. If the temptation is there, the decision is easy.

In other words, keep only the food or drinks that you SHOULD actually consume.

In other, other words, enough is enough! Believe it or not, you know enough to be able to begin to identify which foods should stay and which should go, right off the bat. Call upon your own knowledge and judgment and make that initial step. This is about owning up to your decisions. If a food and/or drink isn’t conducive to your goals, why would you keep it? Insert defensive, self-justifying excuse here:

  • I hate wasting food
  • It was on special
  • So and so likes these
  • It’s for special occasions (like this Tuesday, when I’ll have a bad day at work)
  • Etc.

Let’s get real here!

If it isn’t helping you reach your goals, you don’t need it. End of story. So here we go. Perfect day for a kitchen makeover!

  1. A kitchen makeover gets rid of the non-nutritious stuff and/or foods that trigger you to engage in poor eating behaviors. Then it replaces the junk with a plethora of health-promoting foods.
  2. A kitchen makeover helps you stay in control and on track. You don’t want to be deciding between a couple of bites of ice cream and a small salad while getting the kitchen ready, waiting for the rest of your dinner to cook. Food decisions in our kitchen need. to. be. foolproof.
  3. A kitchen makeover helps you plan and structure your healthy eating patterns. You’ll appreciate having a safe home base after returning from the “food war-zone,” also known as modern society.

Here’s how it works…

Start with what you know. Gather all the unhealthy foods from your fridge and pantry. Now, get a few big garbage bags. See, I told you this was simple!

If a certain food has redeeming qualities, then you can take it to a local food bank or soup kitchen. If it’s complete junk, trash it. Get it out of the house.

Rule #1 If you think it’s junk, it is.

Rule #2 “But isn’t this a waste of food?” Nope. It’s junk.

Think about this: Would you dig through a dumpster for dinner? No? Why not? Because the food in there isn’t very good for you. It might be expired, rancid, full of bacteria, or at the very least covered in crud. It’s garbage.

So why would you eat foods that have no nutritional value — and which actively take away from your health? How is that different from dumpster diving? Yeah, that’s right…I called you a dumpster diver. So let’s do something about it. Let’s revisit the fridge and cabinets for round 2 of the action plan.

How many of these do you possess?

  • Chips
  • Cheesy snacks
  • Chocolates or candy
  • Soda/sweetened drinks
  • Alcohol, especially flavored/sweetened mixed drinks
  • Instant foods like cupcake mixes and mashed potatoes
  • Margarine and other processed fats
  • Most frozen dinners
  • Most take-out or restaurant leftovers
  • Bowls of candy or other snacks sitting around
  • Flavored nuts

Take a look back at our initial assessment… The percentage here is much higher, isn’t it? You know what? Forget it! It doesn’t matter…just get rid of it!

Ok, so we’ve established some things and made some progress. Great. Now, what’s left? There must be some foods that maybe you just aren’t sure about? Maybe you have a “maybe” pile, per say?

Here are some tricky foods that can seem healthy, but usually aren’t. They’ve gone from something good (whole, unprocessed food) to something that a machine barfed out, something that’s full of sugar and chemicals, and/or something that’s had all its original nutrients stripped out. (No, it’s not “healthy” because it says “fruit” – Check the label.)

Here we go on round 3…weeding out the tricksters!

  • Sweetened yogurt (yoplait) and frozen yogurt (excess sugar!)
  • Breads and bagels, unless they’re made exclusively with whole grains and 100% organic!
  • Breakfast cereals (see above comment)
  • Other baked goods
  • Crackers, even the whole grain ones – too tempting!
  • Granola bars – too many excess carbs
  • Regular peanut butter – difficult to control
  • Fruit juice – don’t need it, no fiber!

A good rule here is to check the labels. Look for forms of sugar such as high fructose corn syrup as well as hydrogenated oil, fractioned oil, and other preservatives with long, difficult to pronounce names.

Ok phew, we’re done.

Wait a minute! – We forgot about the refrigerator door! Here you’ll find some straight chemical and sugar BOMBS.

Maybe it’s time to take a second look? Here are the biggest culprits…

  • Condiments such as BBQ sauce and other sweetened sauces
  • Sweetened relishes, mustards, and ketchup
  • Salad dressings
  • Bread crumbs, croutons, and other dried bread products
  • Processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and deli meats
  • Spreads or cream cheeses

These are the types of things that tend to stay in the fridge a while. So why not spend the extra dollar or two on a quality product?

So there you have it! If you’re still in doubt at all, you can ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Does this food come in a bag, box, or plastic package?
  2. Does it have more than a couple of ingredients on the label?
  3. Can you pronounce all of those ingredients?
  4. How far away is this food from what it used to be? (And do you even know what it used to be?)
  5. Is this food perishable? Just about anything good for you goes bad quickly.

Obviously, there are exceptions to all of the above. But if there’s uncertainty, would you really want to test your willpower with them around? Obviously, it doesn’t work…especially with the holiday season just around the corner. There’s no room for error! At this point, to set yourself up for success, the best thing you can do is start fresh. Eliminate the temptation early and get yourself in the right mindset. Remove the obstacles before you even reach them.

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