Now we get to the tricky part. What should you actually be eating? It may surprise you to find that I am not going to provide you with menus and sample meals. That's not my area of expertise, nor do I think it's what you need.
The focus here is not on the foods you should be eating, but on finding the motivation, commitment and ability to plan to eat the foods that are best for you. It's not about the diet, it's about the decision.
What Works and What Doesn't? We both know that you are perfectly aware of what you should and should not be eating. So enough of the charts and tables and portion-measuring devices that clutter your life. These things are usually distractions that just add stress and pressure. While they may give a temporary sense of control, they are not what is needed to create the permanent change you are seeking in your life.
Look into yourself. I honestly believe that you have the knowledge, the good sense and the instinct to know what is best for your body, your health and your happiness in the life you are creating for yourself. That said, I'm here to give you a firm push in the right direction.
Let's start with looking at what you know about the food you eat, identifying healthier choices and creating a quick and dirty meal plan for the next week. Your meal plan doesn't have to be an entire diet plan, just imagine what a healthy, fit you would eat!
Get rid of all the food that's not part of your new eating plan. I want you to get rid of everything else in your kitchen that isn't either on the menu plan you just completed or listed in the table of healthier choices. Yep—you heard me. All other food has to go. What? Why? No Way! Stop the yelling for a moment and listen to me. I want you to have a true fresh start.
Now you need to break old habits, and even though you have decluttered your kitchen and pantry and refrigerator, I'll bet those old habits are still ensconced in big and little ways in your home. Look again at the food that's still in your refrigerator and pantry. Be honest—does everything in those spaces speak to the life we are working to create for you? You need to start again. Old habits die hard. It's time to purge them for good. You're at a key turning point here. Dive in at the deep end. Commit or not—your call.
Ready? Let's do it.
A practical exception
If you have a family or roommates and are embarking on this plan alone, removing their food from the house is not recommended. Try assigning space in your refrigerator or shelves in your pantry so that you stay away from others' food. Don't sneak their food. Who are you hiding from? Who are you cheating? Remember: You're doing this for yourself.
Go through the refrigerator and the pantry. Make two piles, "The New Me" and "Yesterday."
The New Me—What Stays:
Foods that appear on your meal plan or your healthier choices chart.
Foods belonging to someone else in the house that you know you won't touch.
Tea and coffee.
Keep the foods in your kitchen that you want to stay in your diet and on your menu. These are the foods you should be eating more often (assuming you have any of those in your kitchen!), foods that you love, that are good for you, and, most important, foods that help you create the body and the life you want.
If you're not sure whether to keep something, do what I advise my clients to do when they are decluttering their houses and can't decide if something should stay or go. Ask yourself: "Does this help me achieve the life I want for myself?"
Yesterday Foods—What Goes:
Frozen prepackaged meals masquerading as friends—you're not doing that anymore.
Fantasy foods—healthy or not, these are foods you had big dreams of preparing once upon a time but never have
Dry rice and pasta—they seem practical and useful, but if these items are not on your menu, they have to go.
Emergency foods—store enough emergency supplies for your family in a place separate from your pantry. Your pantry should only have foods that you are actively using.
You'll notice that I'm not being specific about what foods you can keep and what has to go. When it comes to healthier living one size doesn't fit all. We are individuals, and you need to make a commitment to decisions that work for you. Stop and reflect on what you know does not belong in your pantry and refrigerator—if it is part of the way you used to think of yourself, if it doesn't move you closer to the best you can be, why would you keep it anywhere close?
Now, here's the hard part. Get rid of the "Yesterday" pile immediately!
I didn't say anything about wasting it. Just get rid of it. Donate it to a charity. Give it to a friend. Have a free-food party. I don't care what you do, just get it out of the house immediately. Yes, I know it's money down the drain. But what does it cost you to keep these foods? If you don't start now, when will you start? What will tomorrow's excuse be? How much is your health and happiness worth? Because that's what being fat is costing you.