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The biggest obstacle to eating a good diet, for some people, is the time it takes to research and purchase the foods for a new recipe. For others, it’s the time it takes to make any food at all, not just untested recipes.
And yet for others, it’s what they should even eat.
I found that I spent a lot of time worrying about what I was going to eat for dinner at the end of a long day, and then spending perhaps an hour making and consuming it.
At the end of it, my kitchen looked and felt too cluttered with dirty dishes–yet another thing to take care of.
But one shouldn’t have to worry about her diet.
It should be easy to go to the store, pick up what she needs, and make her food.
But it’s not that simple for a lot of people.
Here are some tips and methods I use to stop worrying about my diet during any given week.
I spend anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half on Sundays doing meal prep. This includes making 2 days worth of bacon, 5 “breakfasts”, and between 4 and 8 other staple meals that turn into my lunches for the week.
Sometimes the husband makes low carb pizza for me, so that adds to my lunch count.
I don’t eat “dinner,” which leads me to the next method.
Dr. Jason Fung wrote a great article on Medium about intermittent fasting.
In essence, it means you only eat during a “feeding window,” which for me is anywhere from 7:30 AM to 12 PM or 1 PM during the week. That means for 4.5 to 5.5 hours I “feed” and then “fast” for 18.5 to 19.5 hours.
The fasting window is what helps the body lose weight, and the intermittent fasting method has been hugely successful for many people regardless of their diet.
But, when paired with keto/low carb, it’s almost as if magic happens.
Intermittent fasting is also a good tool to use if you know you’re going out to dinner later or eating with friends. All you have to do is time your window to include dinner and you’re good to go!
I’ll admit I haven’t gotten that part down yet, but it’s a goal for me to strive towards.
Eating What Your Body Wants
So this isn’t an endorsement of giving in to your cravings–it’s actually the opposite. When you crave something like chocolate, what your body is actually craving is [this thing found in chocoloate].
Pinterest is full of handy charts to figure out what your body is actually craving when you feel like grabbing a handful of potato chips.
Taking this further, there are services out there that take a sample of your gut biome to determine what diet you actually should be eating.
For a lot of people, eating the wrong things (despite thinking them to be healthy) is a path to starving your gut biome from what it really needs to be performing at its best.
Sometimes you can figure this out by testing your diet on your own, but for others, they need to get this test done.
I’m on the do-it-yourself path and found that my body really likes low carb.
Whatever Your Diet Is, Automate/Routinize It
I don’t even know if “routinize” is a word but since my word processor isn’t making an angry red line under it I’m gonna say it is.
But I think it fits because the trick to being consistent with anything, including your food, is to make it a routine.
My routine is to buy my groceries on Saturday or Sunday, food prep on Sunday, and intermittently make more bacon throughout the week.
Keeping the preparation time low gives me more time to work on other things–so it’s kind of like automation!
Meal Replacement Shakes
For the people who want to really streamline their meals, the way to go is the meal replacement shake.
Keep in mind that not all meal replacement shakes are created equal. There are many programs that market an entire diet and all their recipes around their own product, like Ideal Protein.
It also depends on the type of diet you’re following.
If you’re doing a low-carb diet like keto, you’re really not going to want to be having a meal replacement shake that’s high in carbohydrate.
For me, since I do low-carb/keto, my meal replacement shakes are made by Keto Chow. They’re honestly the best tasting shakes I’ve ever had in my life and that’s including all the sugary stuff like milkshakes from McDonald’s after getting a filling at the dentist.
(I know, it’s dumb–I don’t understand either.)
In any case, Keto Chow comes in 18 different flavors and you can even get sample packets to try them out before buying a big bag of it.
My favorite is Chocolate Peanut Butter, but I’m very excited to try out the new flavors like Toffee and Chocolate Mint.
Keto Chow is nutritionally complete, which means you could have just straight Keto Chow (as prepared following the instructions) for all your meals of the day and you’d get all the nutrients and minerals you need. The creator of Keto Chow, Chris Bair, has done multiple stints of just KC to test out its effectiveness.
I talk more about Keto Chow and other weight loss tools on my Resource List.
As for me, I only have one shake in the morning, and that’s good enough. But I could totally do three a day of chocolate peanut butter and be happy.
Shopping Around the Perimeter
Another way to reduce the amount of time you spend worrying about your diet is by shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store.
In case you haven’t noticed, most grocery stores have the produce, dairy, and meats on the edges of the store, while the aisles are packed full of processed treats to lure you in and keep you in the store longer.
The husband and I mostly shop on the outside of the store, venturing into the aisles only for things like Diet Snapple, sauces, and low-carb baking supplies such as almond and coconut flours.
This also works at wholesale stores like Costco, for the most part. In our local Costco, the meats and dairy are at the back edge of the store along with the produce, and the low-carb baking foods are in aisles close to the front.
Hopefully, these tips have helped you understand some ways to reduce the amount of time you spend worrying about your diet.
They have for me!
In the end, you’ve got to decide what works best for you and your personal diet and lifestyle. I know these tips won’t work for everyone, but I hope I’ve shown that they’re valid ways to cut through the chaos that surrounds dietary decisions.
What About You?
Have you tried any of these methods? What do you do that helps cut down on your diet decisions? Let’s talk about it in the comments.