This is an article I found on Beachbody.com I read this and thought it was a great article, especially since it is the New Year and people want to start fresh! Whether you have reached a plateau or you just want to jump start a new workout or just need to get things under control and back on track. Read this article and enjoy these great tips!!
Transition diets are one of the easiest ways to become a healthier eater.
I've been doing them since the '80s and, in fact, one of the first
articles I ever wrote for Beachbody, in January 2001, was a 6-week
transition plan. They're not only great for first-time dieters but are
also great for any time you feel like cleaning out your system after a
period of slacking off. That's why I do a variation of this plan almost
every year. Here's my latest creation.
It's often said that no one diet works for every individual. While
this is true, you may have noticed that all Beachbody eating plans
target a similar goal: Eat more natural, whole foods and less junk.
That's because there are no secrets to healthy eating.
There are strategies that can lead to various performance benefits, but
99% of the goal of eating healthy is to minimize junk and get your diet
to consist of real food (you know, the stuff nature makes). With this in
mind, our Beachbody nutrition guides use various strategies, all
designed to lead you to the same place.
While those nutrition guides tend to be detailed, the 8-Week
Transition Diet is for those of you who want simple. Outside of a small
list of what you can't eat, you're free to chow down on anything. How
hard can that be? You should also find that by making your transition
gradually, the road to healthy eating is pretty easy.
No junk. Eliminate junk food from your diet. That's
it, just junk. Other than this, you can eat whatever and whenever you
like. The definition of junk is obvious stuff, like potato chips, candy,
ice cream, cake, etc. You may be stricter if you'd like, but for Week
1, don't be too hard on yourself. Just stay out of the 7-Eleven®. For
many of you, this step alone will reap huge benefits.
Cheat Days: 2. Since no one's perfect, you get two
days to cheat. That's right, two days where you can eat anything you
want! A trick on cheat days is to listen to your body. At first, it'll
probably tell you it wants whatever you've been denying it. However,
over time, it'll start to crave nutrients you're deficient in. Learn to
read your body's subtle signs. If you're craving ice cream, you may be
short on essential fatty acids. If you crave a hamburger, your diet may
lack protein. By listening to your body and learning what it really
needs in this way, you can make better food substitutions. It's a way of
getting in tune with yourself that will benefit you for your entire
Water. Not swimming in it, though that's good, too, but staying
hydrated with it. "They" say you should drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of
water per day, but I say you should drink more. Shoot for a gallon
(though don't worry if you fall short). Yeah, that probably seems crazy
but almost all of us walk around dehydrated for most of our lives, which
not only hurts the way we function but also makes us hungry when we're
actually thirsty. A glass of water when you feel hunger pangs both
staves them off and helps you fill up faster when you do eat. As for
other drinks, juices and sugary sodas also (obviously) fall into the
junk category. And alcohol should be kept to a minimum. We tend to
forget (purposely or not) that alcohol has calories. A lot of them: 7
calories per gram. Mixers can be even worse—not only can they add
calories, but these sugary calories influence the way alcohol reacts
with your body. When you do drink, try and follow these guidelines.
Each week's rules are cumulative, so the "no junk" rule from Week 1
will apply until the end, as will each subsequent week's rule. Remember
that this is a process. Treat it as though you're in school and the
subject is your own body.
Eat small, eat often. Eat every couple of hours
while you're awake and try not to eat anything for about three hours
before you go to sleep. Following these rules will keep your blood sugar
levels more static and your energy level will stay consistent. Try to
keep each snack or meal balanced. Something like a 30% protein, 40%
carbohydrate, and 30% fat ratio, though you don't need to worry too much
about it. Just realize that you need a bit from each macronutrient
group. Eat based on what you'll be doing for the next few hours (if
you're working out, eat a little more; sitting at a desk, eat a little
less). The three-hours-before-bed rule is important, especially for fats
and carbohydrates. By allowing time for all the carbs you eat to get
into your bloodstream, your body will sleep in fat-burning mode, rather
than in calorie-storing mode. This is important because undigested carbs
in your stomach at night are stored as adipose tissue (fat).
Cheat Days: 2
Weekly focus: Carbs are not the enemy. Your body
needs them, just like it needs proteins and fats. The trick is to choose
the right carbs. As a society, we eat too much refined sugar. Complex
carbs, like whole-grain breads, whole-grain rice, sweet potatoes, and
legumes are outstanding foods. Even fruits, which have simple
carbohydrates wrapped in fiber, are exceptionally healthy. While you
don't want a diet based on nothing but carbs, making the right carb
choices will maximize your body's potential. Try to avoid white rice and
flours. Read labels, and try to avoid ones that use the word
"enriched," because this means these products have been stripped of
their natural nutrients, overprocessed, and then fortified with a few
Eat some colorful, low-density food at every meal. These
are foods that take up a lot of space without a lot of calories.
Veggies are the most obvious example. You can eat a salad bowl
overflowing with lettuce and veggies and you most likely won't exceed
100 calories. By eating low-density foods like veggies and fruits,
you'll keep your portions under control naturally, because they have
very few calories for their size. Conversely, high-density foods, like
chocolate and butter, are loaded with calories in even the smallest
amounts. So beware of salad dressings and other things you add to salads
and veggies. Only add enough for flavor; don't fill up on them. When it
comes to live foods, the richer the colors, the fresher the products
tend to be. Try to eat a variety of colors in your diet. This
simple-yet-random-feeling act will help ensure that you're covering all
your nutrient bases.
Cheat Days: 1
Weekly focus: Protein at every meal. This becomes
even more important as you eat more low-density food, because protein
tends to be high-density. Many veggies have a lot of protein, but the
quantity you must consume starts to become prohibitive. Try to get some
protein—meat, dairy, legumes, nuts, or seeds each time you eat,
especially when you're working out hard, because you need to repair
broken-down muscle tissue. Since your body can only utilize a certain
amount of protein at once, do your best to eat small amounts often
(starting to see a theme?) Reading labels is a simple way to learn how
to estimate your protein intake. You'll notice natural foods don't have
labels but once your diet is comprised mostly of these you'll no longer
need them. More on this later.
Cook at home. One of the best ways to control your
eating is to prepare all your meals yourself. Eliminate all fast food
(which hopefully happened in Week 1) and most other restaurant food. You
may still eat food from certain restaurants where you can be sure of
the ingredients (most will be savvy enough to make a point of how
healthy their food is). As you may have seen in the news, restaurants
tend to use alarming quantities of salt, among other things. This single
step will often bring your body closer to homeostasis (its desired
state of balance). This can be hard for many of us because we now have
to plan our meals and prepare ahead of time, but try to treat it like
vocational school—you don't learn a new "job" without a little
Cheat Days: 1
Weekly focus: Fat is essential. Remember that fat is a vital part of your diet, not just something that makes you fat. What is not
vital is junk fat in processed foods. Healthy fats come from fish,
nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, etc.—natural sources. You need to be
careful about that amount of fat you eat because it's very dense. At 9
calories per gram, it contains more than double the calories of carbs
Reduce starchy carbohydrates. Starches include rice,
bread, potatoes, corn, beans, and other legumes. While many of these
are in no way bad foods, most of us eat too much of them. The goal here
is to cut way down on them, if not totally out, and then add them back
in when your body feels like it needs energy. This will teach you the
relationship you have with carbs. They are vital for energy but eating
too many of them leaves us lethargic (and eventually fat). Once you
figure this out, your entire relationship with food will change.
Cheat Days: 1
Weekly focus: Sugar is only beneficial after a hard
workout or during a long one. Your body doesn't need processed sugar.
But if you really enjoy it and can't avoid letting some sneak into your
daily diet, the one-hour period after you exercise is the best time to
indulge. During this window, your blood sugar is low, because you've
used it up to finish your workout (assuming you pushed yourself), and
eating sugar during this time will help you recover faster because it
speeds into your system and initiates the recovery process. Adding a
little protein, but not too much, will enhance your recovery even further.
If man makes it, don't eat it. This is likely to be the hardest week of your diet. You want to eat only whole
foods and eliminate all processed foods, even good ones, for the week.
This includes breads, most salad dressings, all cereal, luncheon meats,
cheese, dried fruits, anything with preservatives, and alcoholic
beverages. What you can eat are whole foods such as fruit, raw or
steamed vegetables, meat (sans any type of sauce), natural whole-grain
rice, poached eggs, etc. Since your eating habits have been slowly
changing, this shouldn't be that big a shock to your system, but it will
still likely be hard. Try and get creative. There are now many raw and
whole food "cook" books that can help keep you entertained.
Cheat Days: 1
The "cheat day" mentality is a good one. Decadent desserts, a night
at the buffet, drinking with friends, etc., can be good for you as long
as they are rewards and not habits. Studies proving this have been
steadily appearing for about as long as we've been studying things. All
work and no play does, indeed, make Jack a dull boy.
Weekly focus: Nuts and seeds make great snacks. A
handful of raw almonds or cashews is a quick and easy snack that goes a
long way. Don't be put off by the high fat count of nuts, because this
means it takes fewer of them to satiate you. Nuts and seeds are loaded
with important phytonutrients, as well as good fats, proteins, and
Be yourself. No rules—just try and eat as healthily
as you can and do it by feel. Trusting yourself might seem like a lot of
responsibility, but by now you'll be up to it. Learning to eat by feeling
what your body needs is an important step in your transformation.
Consider the way you've been eating over the last six weeks, but don't
worry about what you should and shouldn't do. Just fuel yourself. The
point is to take a mental break. Relax and allow yourself to eat in a
way that feels normal. You may be surprised to find yourself craving
something healthy instead of a candy bar or soda. You'll be better at
listening to your body because it'll tell you what it needs to eat, as opposed to what you're used to eating. Your body should feel somewhat transformed.
"Reward for a Life Well Lived" Days: 1
Weekly focus: If you're so hungry at night that you
can't sleep, try a protein shake. A recent study confirmed what's been a
focus of this diet for two decades; that protein before bed can raise
amino acid activity for a full night of rest.
Eat a perfect diet.
Let's get after it. No one is better able to tell you what you should
eat than you. Our bodies are all different, and the key to your own
perfect diet is learning about how your body reacts to different foods
under different circumstances. Your journey over the last seven weeks
should have brought you to a new understanding of how food affects your
body, both for good and for bad. The time has come to test it. See how
well you can eat for a week. In fact, see how well you can eat for the
rest of your life. Live and enjoy.
Reward Days: 1, of course!
Weekly Focus: Don't bonk. Bonking is a state when
your body runs out of blood sugar and glycogen for energy. If you feel
like your workouts are going backward instead of forward, this is a
likely culprit. Use your energy level as your gauge. As soon as it
starts to drop, start adding carbs back into your diet until you feel
energized all day long. When you feel energized during your workouts and
the rest of the day, you'll know you've found the right balance between
carbs and other nutrients. Also, remember that as your body puts on
more muscle, you will need to eat more. Muscle weighs much more than
fat, so as you gain muscle and lose fat, your body shrinks without
losing weight. You will also require more calories in order to maintain
your muscle. So, when you're working out hard, don't be afraid to eat
more carbs than you do otherwise.