August 26, 2020Categories: Diet Changes
For many people 2020 has been a year of improving their health. A big part of that is cleaning up your diet.
So Many Diet Plans to Choose From:
If you haven't done that before or never given it much thought it can be confusing.
Do you switch to one of the trendy diets? Keto? Paleo? Carnivore? Vegetarian? Vegan? High fat? Low fat? High carb? Low carb?
A Common Trait of Many Trendy Diets:
One of the main points of some trendy diets is that you elimate a lot of junk food. There are some that aren't much better than a junk food diet, but many do remove the junk.
Removing the junk is actually something you can do before picking a specific diet. When you get used to getting rid of the junk, it actually makes choosing a more structured diet easier to follow, and easier to see if it's right for you.
If your reason for thinking about a diet change is to feel better, you'll get good results getting rid of the junk. For many people, it can be the biggest step and make the biggest impact. Or at least a big enough improvement that you'll know the change is worth it and you're on the right track.
How to Get Rid of the Junk Food:
So, what exactly is involved in getting rid of the junk?
First off, realize that some of what you eat that you think is healthy, isn't. Junk food isn't always easy to identify. It doesn't all look like potato chips and candy bars.
The more honest you are about what you eat will determine how quickly you can clean up your diet. It's up to you how open and honest you'll be with yourself. As much as others may think you need to change it all overnight, it's not required. It truly is your choice. You also can only change what you're aware of.
If you make the goal to get more info, and make informed decisions on what you eat, then you'll make progress. The speed of it is 100% up to you.
2 Step Simple Plan:
Basically, there are 2 major steps to cleaning up your diet:
- Be honest about what you eat, and get rid of the junk that you know is junk
- Learn what else is junk that you didn't know
You can make it more complicated, but that will slow down your progress at the start. As you make progress and see some successes in how you feel, then you can complicate it a bit if you want.
Getting Started with Your Plan:
Take the time to write out a general list of what you eat. Make 2 columns, one named "Junk," the other named "Other." The reason I say to use the word "Other" is that maybe you have food on there that's junk, but you don't know that yet. Later on you may find out something is junk, so you can just move it over. If you had a column named "Healthy" it's a lot harder to change it. You might think you have to admit you were wrong. If you make it "Other" there's no need to blame yourself for being wrong.
Take a look at the Junk list. Is there some things you'd be willing to give up now? Great! Then give them up. Be sure not to replace them with something else that's junk. Try and either not replace them, or replace them only with something you really think is good for you.
For example, let's say throughout the day you drink water, black tea no sugar, and several cans of soda pop. Can you give up the soda pop? If you think you can, then do it. Since you already drink water and black tea, just drink more of those, if you think they're a better choice.
Or, if you must replace the soda pop with something, choose something better, or a combination. Such as a bit more water, a bit more black tea, a cup of black coffee no sugar, a cup of fresh juice no sugar, and a sparkling water no sugar.
Taking the Plan to the Next Stages:
Now take a look at your list and see if there are some things that will be a bit harder to give up completely, even though you know that you should. Could you reduce the amount? Could you see if you can find an alternative version that's less junky? Maybe you can make a homemade version that's a really big improvement.
Take the time to plan out some options and adjustments for those things. This will take some practice and planning, but within a month you'll notice how much of a change you can make if you keep up the effort.
As you work your way through the list, and make some real changes, you can review your "Other" list and see what things should be moved over to the "Junk" side.
You may also find some new things you like that you can add to the "Other" list. An example might be that you buy premade hamburger patties loaded with food additives and artificial flavorings. You can move that over to "Junk" but then you can add homemade hamburger over to the "Other" column. You still get to have hamburgers, but now you make them yourself.
Be Prepared for Withdrawals:
You may make some changes that are a lot bigger impact that might seem like a bad idea when you first start them. For example, if you cut out all grain and sugar you will likely experience withdrawals. You may have heard of this called the Keto flu, or herxheimer effect, or detoxing. Whatever you call it, it's your body temporarily getting mad that you cut out it's "drug."
I had this kind of effect REALLY BAD when I gave up bread, grain and sugar all at once. It lasted a couple weeks, but when it was over I felt better than I had my entire life!! I had a similar improvement when I gave up all food additives a couple years later.
You'll have a few things that are really bad for you, that when you find them, and get rid of them, the improvement can be amazing. What they are is different for everyone and takes time to figure out what they are.
A key point to note though, is that junk isn't good for anyone. Even if you feel good now, it won't last if you have too much junk for too many years. That's why getting rid of the junk is one of the best places to start. There really is some sort of decent replacement for almost everything. Some of it will be a better version, and some of it will be a new replacement that you introduce yourself too.
Making changes takes some effort and planning, especially if you want it to last. But the results are so worth it!
If you're looking for some alternative versions of some of your junk food, check out our Recipes section. There's a combination of healthy food, and homemade versions of some treats that make great transition foods as you get started on your diet cleanup.
Plan, eat and enjoy!