What To Do When The Strict Diet Is Over!
(Listen to the full podcast episode here)
I am sure at some point in your life you have done a fairly strict diet. Whether it was something commercial like Paleo or Whole30 or something customized to you, strict dieting is pretty common in our society.
However it is so common that people jump on and off of them without ever really learning anything therefore they never change their lifestyle and end up on the yo-yo diet roller coaster of an endless cycle of losing the same 20lbs.
So complicated and depressing.
Why do you do this to yourself?
I am not going to go into the BS behind fad diets today and get on a soap box about them but just know they suck and there are other alternatives out there for you.
What I am going to talk about today though is what the heck you do when the strict diet is over. So whether you are doing a 30 day plan or a 90 day program there is typically an end point to what you are doing. These types of programs are very popular in our society.
But what I see people struggle with is what to do after this program is over. Even myself for example, I just finished 75Hard and am now beginning a phase where I am only following my macros but not being super strict with it. Yes I am still eating very clean but I am giving myself the ability to try new things and experiment in the kitchen while still having a few of my staples on hand.
You have to plan for this though and you have to make sure there are a couple of things in place first.
You have to have learned the point of the program you were on and you have to have instilled the right habits to continue the lifestyle you spent the last few weeks or months building. Overall I think most programs are good and they all have the same intention, to get you to build a healthier lifestyle. But if you haven’t grasped the concepts on how to do this yet then moving into a maintenance phase or coming off that strict diet is going to be hard. Keep going with it if you don’t feel like the habits are in place as long as it is a safe program.
Have a list of what foods you liked and didn’t like from the plan you were on. Keep it in your phone or on your computer or just on the fridge, it doesn’t matter. The point is to know what foods and/or recipes you liked so you keep those on hand as staples in your diet. For example I love shrimp and spaghetti squash so I like to keep that meal on hand so on days that are crazy or times I cannot come up with a new meal I can go to a tried and true meal that I know will keep my on track.
From that list start to build out alternatives. So maybe you know you need 40 grams of carbs for dinner but you don’t want all sweet potatoes. You can do what I did and mix sweet potato, carrots and butternut squash into fries and have that with BBQ chicken on top. It’s super easy to make fries and you can check out my recipe here. But this changes things up a bit and doesn’t have you eating the same things all the time.
Give yourself a little bit of grace and know that the scale will fluctuate as you come off of eating like you were. The goal is to not get it to go up too much. A few pounds are not bad as long as you are maintaining the look and feel you want.
Do not over indulge in the treats now that you diet is over. This is the quickest way to the bottom of that roller coaster again. Find ways to work these in only in moderation.
Again I cannot stress enough how important the first item on this list is. It is the game changer, it is the thing that will keep you off the rollercoaster and it is the thing that will make you successful in your life. You have to instill the new habits, you have to have cemented a new lifestyle and not go back to your old ways. When you do this you will figure out that the rest will just fall in line.
If you need help with recipe ideas for your maintenance phase be sure to sign up for my recipe of the week email where I send you weekly recipes and a grocery list as well. These are all great recipes with mostly fresh ingredients that will help you stay on track for the new lifestyle you just built. Head over to the weekly recipe page on my website.
So when the strict diet is over, don’t panic! Just remain calm, go back to the good habits and keep a few essential meals on hand.
Full podcast episode