Keep That Wagon Rolling: My Less-Than-Expert Diet Tricks


USPosterFoodIsAWeapon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The humble, perhaps slightly insane, tips that allow me to stay on the diet that keeps me feeling the best:

Rank absolutes:  Absolutely not.  Should not.  It’s okay but not great.  Yes, I will!  As in, I absolutely won’t eat that.  I shouldn’t eat that.  It’s okay that I eat that, but not ideal.  And, yes, I will eat that, pass it my way–give it here–yeah–the whole plate–it’s on my diet…

Define when to break the “absolutes” and “should-nots.”  It could be never.  Or maybe it’s Christmas Day.  Or maybe it’s holidays and birthdays.  Or the first Thursday of any month after a full moon.  Maybe it’s 30 days after you start the Whole30 or 1 year after GAPS.  Just name breaks ahead of time and be resolute to make it to those times.  And don’t sneak in other times as “just this once.”

Decline people’s offers of food.  And don’t feel guilty about it.

Don’t eat at parties.  And don’t feel guilty about it.  Usually, it’s just easiest for me to say I ate right before I came and eat nothing at all.  Choosing ahead of time to just not eat at the party is simpler for me.  As I always used to eat at parties, I never really noticed that some people don’t.  There are other people who don’t.

Find a friend or two who eats similarly to you and doesn’t think you’re crazy.  Gluten-free, dairy-free eaters have learned to navigate the waters.  They’ve learned how to say, “No, thank you.”  They’ve learned to socialize and skip the food.  They know their “absolutely nots” and stick to them.  They’re reassuring to stand next to at a party with a glass of water, although they may wonder why you keep saying, “I looove you.”  (Actually I have a couple of friends, and we meet for coffee and talk honestly about how we are doing with our eating.)

Get out of the kitchen.  If you feel the “crazy, grazy” feeling, get out.  GET OUT, I SAY!  Just get out!  Clean kitchen or not.  And run fast and far.  Don’t look back until in the morning.

Focus on bodily symptoms that plague you when you eat certain foods and make it a goal to keep these symptoms GONE.  Weight shifts too slowly.  Try to find something like a stuffy nose, post-nasal drip, sinus congestion, headache, migraine, dry/itchy eyes, bloating, constipation, etc.

Read the book or internet site of your chosen regime again.  “Yes, Robb Wolfe.” (Paleo)  “No, you’re right Dr. Wahls.”  (Terry Wahl’s MS diet)  “Oh, Melissa and Dallas, I meant to do it that way.”  (Whole30)  “I should know better than that Dr. Atkins.”  (Surely you know him.)  “Dr. Cambpell-McBride, I so missed that point the first time around.”  (GAPS)  And so on.  Just get motivated by reading the experts and the science again.

Know how YOU best handle treat (cheat) foods.  Are you a “just-a-teensy-smooch-here” kind of person–just a little treat with every meal?  Or are you a “you’d-best-be-prepared-to-bring-me-two-more-baskets-of-corn-chips-if-I-even-get-my-hands-on-one” kind of person?  I’m the latter.  A little treat here for me turns into treats all day, all night, tomorrow, the next day, and the next day, too.

That’s okay; I’ve learned to accept that tidbit of knowledge about myself.  I just know that, and so I don’t treat myself very often, and when I do, if the floodgate opens, I don’t beat myself up too badly.  It’s a little sad that I can’t be that “Don’t deprive yourself or you’ll ruin your diet” kind of person.  Let’s just choose to say that when I do something, I give it gusto.  Gusto…gustar…to eat.

Every person is different, and only YOU know which process suits you best.  Be honest and move forward.

Finish it, let it go, and start with vim and vigor in the morning.  Sometimes you fail.  You don’t leave the kitchen.  You take the first bite that you know will avalanche, and it does.  You don’t put the cookie down, the butter away, or the peanut butter back on the shelf.  You don’t leave the kitchen as mentally directed.  You don’t get the faucet shut off that night.  I unfortunately cannot leave a job unfinished either, and so I usually find it reassuring, for some reason, to just finish that food off there and then.  Because if I don’t, I’ll finish it off in the morning.  Why ruin two days?  And then I stand there, screaming insanely at my diet, “Look.  I am in charge here.  And I did it because I CAN.”

Failure can only occur if you’re not willing to try again.  I always try again in the morning and point out the bodily damage–but let the psychology of it go.

Loosen up on my family’s eating while I focus on myself.  This keeps me out of the kitchen until I get back on track.  I can’ t be all things to all people, and when I’m trying to get my eating on track, it takes all of my focus.  “Yeah!  Hot dogs again, mom?  We love hot dogs!”

Screw the breakfast rule and wait until I’m actually hungry.  “Experts” say to always eat breakfast.  Sometimes, I’m just not really hungry!  So I skip it.  Then make sure I have good, wholesome food around so I eat as I should when I am actually hungry around 11 am or so.  I’ve never read much on intermittent fasting, but I like to call this my version of it…

Admit when something about your nutritional program isn’t sitting well.  Maybe you have to add in a potato to feel good or keep the program together.  Maybe you can’t eat the sauerkraut or seaweed.  Whatever it is, always step back and ask yourself if “the rules” may need to be changed to suit your case.  Just as medicine is an “art”–I think nutrition is, too.  But make sure you’re being honest and have researched your change, and that you’re not just doing it out of a discomfort that will pass.

Remember when you felt the best.  And that’s your goal way of eating every day.  When you FELT your best.  Not your skinniest.  Not your most miles jogged.  Not your most strict.  Just when you felt good physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.

Make sure you really are getting nutrients.  Maybe you’re having cravings because you’re eating too many nuts and neglecting vegetables and fruits.  Maybe you’re really not getting enough calories.  Examine what you’re eating on the basis of nutrients.  A nutritionist can help immensely here!

Urge surf.  From another site:   “While reflecting on an urge, such as smoking a cigarette or eating junk food…we should first make note of all the physical and mental sensations that create that craving experience – these craving experiences will often vary depending on the person and the object of desire.  For example, you may identify a twisting sensation in your stomach whenever you crave another piece of cake. Learn how to tune into that feeling – step back and observe it – but don’t act on the impulse. Just watch your desires almost as if you are passively watching a movie.”  Very interesting and helpful, I think.

You are great, special, unique, wonderful, and have lots to give to this world.  Eat to make your system (your body) the best it can be at giving what only you have to give.


21 thoughts on “Keep That Wagon Rolling: My Less-Than-Expert Diet Tricks

  1. Linda

    Wonderful advice, The Homeschooling Doctor, thank you! I have faced dieting challenges myself over the years, and it is not always easy to stick with an eating plan. Your post has provided me with some really helpful tools for avoiding diet snafus in the future. I feel the same way that you do about breakfast. I like to wait until I am actually hungry to eat, and it usually takes me a while to work up an appetite in the mornings. I typically eat something healthy at around 11:00 each day and that works for me! 🙂

  2. IrishMum

    Some great advice and thoughts. There are lots of ways to do it, and it is great to see some of yours!! I was the complete opposite on the family one. The stricter I got with myself, and the more I understood what ‘bad’ food was doing to me, the stricter I got with the family’s food. It worked for me, helped with my motivation. We need to give ourselves permission to do what we need to do to get through 🙂

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I am finding I do best removing eggs, nuts, nightshades, dairy, and coconut. So when I’m testing all that out on myself, they still eat pretty “clean”, but they get this place called Qdoba more, US Wellness meats hot dogs and salami more, more nuts, more hummus, more almond flour pancakes…

  3. mummyflyingsolo

    Great post! I’m like you with treats – it’s all or nothing! My naturopath told me the other day that for each sugar part (can’t remember the measurement) your body processes it uses 3 parts of your magnesium supply. This is important to me as I find the magnesium to help with my anxiety so want to keep my reserves up. This is my thing that I think of when I want to splurge now. It’s so helpful to have a thing 🙂

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hello! I’m glad you commented! Yes, so true! Sugar–it’s not just “empty calories”–it’s actually “nutrient-sucking out calories”! Great point! Good “thing” to focus on! Regarding my magnesium experience: I take magnesium for my GI tract. When I ate how I did before, it did not work. So clearly, my diet change helped my magnesium either get to the level it needed to, removed something that blocked its effect on my GI (dairy??), or both, because magnesium helps my GI tract a lot now! I’m convinced that it’s not just what you add in (supplements/herbals/prescriptions), but it’s got a lot to do with what you may need to take out, too! Cheers to your health and mine!

  4. Pingback: On Bread, Goats and Shiny Things | Fascinations of a Vanilla Housewife

  5. Jacqueline

    Great post, I really need to get out of the kitchen most days and stop grazing! I also want to try reading some of the books you listed, maybe they will help me stay/get motivated.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thank you, and thank you for your comment! I know for me, that being in the kitchen is probably is the biggest barrier–but what can you do sometimes? You are a mom? Each of those books have different slants–some are for weight loss, some for GI health healing, some for MS–but they all take the diet down to “real” food. Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by.

  6. Valerie

    Great points! You know, the thing about parties is no one ACTUALLY cares if you eat or not. I try to eat prior to going somewhere, even if it will include a meal, because then at least I will have less (unhealthy stuff) there. Kinda the same way with grocery shopping – never shop hungry! 😉
    Hmm, remembering when I felt the best… I felt the best when I was a vegetarian and not breastfeeding! Isn’t that terrible?! It has been very phsically taxing this time, I don’t know why.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      It isn’t terrible. But I do find it an interesting problem which creates lots of questions in my mind. None that I can answer, though! LOL! I start thinking things like micronutrients, does adrenal fatigue really exist, vitamin D stuff, what is the increased metabolic toll of nursing on the mom, will return to prior baseline restore prior baseline, etc? Thanks for coming by today and dropping a line.

  7. farfetchedfriends

    Linked to you from Valerie’s blog party.
    YES!!!! “Decline people’s offers of food and don’t feel guilty about it.” Well said!
    My bday is tomorrow and a friend took me to lunch yesterday. She ordered the ice cream cookie bake thingy for dessert and when I only took a few bites, told me she was disappointed in me. What? For being full? Are you kidding me?
    No guilt here!
    (Well, maybe for a second, but I did not go in for another bite of that dessert!)

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thank you for linking by! Valerie is a great hostess! And she doesn’t even expect us to eat. (LOL). I still have twinge of brief guilt saying “no”until I remember I am doing it for my health and me and my body, which deserves more than I give it! Happy belated birthday! How nice to share it with a friend and her conversation! Take care and have a great September!

      1. farfetchedfriends

        Thanks for the bday wishes! The bday is actually tomorrow, but people have been feeding me since Weds. {waddles}

        Yep! Health is more important. As I tell myself, “Don’t waste your waist!”

  8. All Seasons Cyclist

    Great tip for eating at parties: When the host invites you to go the head of the line, simply say that you would prefer to go last — after everyone else has gone through. Then pick up an empty plate (except one small scoop of anything messy so your plate will look dirty) and walk around a bit — people will think that you are both courteous and a fast eater!


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