Guest post by Dave Ruel
While I certainly like to think I have dieting down, it’s always nice to have another expert opinion. When I met Dave Ruel at Vince Del Monte’s wedding, we chatted a lot about the taste of the food. Like most weddings, the food at Vince’s was exceptionally tasty, even if it wasn’t exactly my style. And it was this that led to a conversation where Dave and I seemed to surprise each other.
For his part, Dave was completely shocked that for an Italian from New York, I actually don’t really care for Italian food (speaking generally, I find it hard to find a restaurant that can compare to my mothers cooking, so why bother going to one?).
Part of my aversion is based on a general dislike starchy foods (desserts notwithstanding), but part is based on the fact that I just have a pretty bland palate.
Going back to my bodybuilding roots, when I’m in “fat loss mode” I tend to keep it very, very basic—probably overly so. Tuna out of a can, boiled chicken, cottage cheese…those aren’t just “staples,” so much as the only options.
Dave, on the other hand, has a completely different approach. I was completely surprised by what he told me. Also a competitive bodybuilder, I assumed Dave dieted down in much the same way I do. Not so. Being a cook, Dave’s love of chefery carried over to his nutritional habits, and he feels that being able to have more control and variety in his diet has contributed to his success.
In retrospect, I probably agree.
Further to that, I think that having been kind of habitually boring in terms of nutrition crippled me in terms of my culinary development. That is, never having to really need to cook allowed me the luxury of never learning to cook well.
Now, given that, and also given that as how you know I’m in the process of aggressively trying to become a better cook, I’d say I can learn a lot from Dave—and so I thought you could, too.
To that end, I’ve asked the distinguished Mr. Ruel to do a guest blog post on some of the basic tenets he uses to govern his nutrition. That in mind, check out some of what he’s got for you!
7 “Ruels” for Nutritional Domination
(Ha! Get it? Ruel, not “rule,” Because that’s his last name. It’s a play on words, so it’s funny, you see. You can laugh now.)
By Dave Ruel, Jacked-up Canadian Pretty-boy, Nutrition Expert, and Culinary Wizard
If you thought losing weight and dieting is a difficult process then you’re in luck; I’ve just made it simple for you with these seven golden rules. If you’re not losing the weight and seeing your desired results, let me introduce my 7 Rules for Diet Success.
For most people, the minute they go on a “diet” the entire into a restrictive mindset, which creates a situation where mind will try to find a way to rebel and throw off the proverbial shackles. Stop using the word “diet” to describe your new lifestyle. If you want to lose weight, improve your health and get in shape, you need to make a permanent change to your lifestyle and never pull your bad habits back out of the closet. 95% of people usually put the weight back on after the so called “diet” so make sure you make a sustainable change to your life. Dieting is seasonal and temporary. Make yours a permanent lifestyle.
The next commandment is to get your mind in shape. You need to face the challenge in the right frame of mind, focusing yourself on your goals and the stepping stones along the way. Doing so will make your plans more organized and help you to avoid the stress associated with weight loss.
Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. If you are just after some general weight loss in any vague way, without any particular timescale, then you’re heading towards a very non specific result. You need to set yourself a goal that is specific and can be measured, which is simply your desired weight, fitting a certain clothing size or waist size. Whatever your goal, if it can be measured, then your progress becomes more regulated and you can work out how to reach your target. Keeping a journal will help you in this respect too and allow you to keep track of your march towards the finish line.
There’s an old adage which states, “if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” I certainly didn’t make this up, as everyone knows French Canadians prefer axioms to adages (and tend to avoid maxims altogether), but nonetheless, this holds true. Organize yourself and plan your meals in advance. In this way you will never find a fridge devoid of healthy foods and you will never have to risk that trip to the take out. Do not cheat your cheat meal. Planning your meals in advance will also allow you to structure your meals and regulate your intake of calories. It is also more than likely that your diet will be well-balanced if you can allocate your quota of each food group in advance.
You can’t eat crap if you don’t have crap to eat—so keep it out of your cupboards/fridge. Don’t let it into the house and plan your meals to avoid the take out order. Very, very few people wind up derailing their fat loss effort by eating too much grilled chicken or having an extra serving of veggies; it’s the empty calorie foods are the real killers and must be avoided if at all possible. These add next to nothing in terms of nutritional benefit and fill your blood with sugar – not ideal if you are trying to lose fat.
Of course, this can be a greater challenge if you have family members are who are not also trying to lose fat and want to snack on those crunchable, munchable, waist-line expanding foods. The key here is to GET THESE PEOPLE INVOLVED (this could be a whole rule unto itself). Ask them to limit purchases of these foods, and to do you a favor and hide them from you…until your cheat day, that is.
A less common way to lose weight is to vary your nutritional sources. Eating the same foods time after time will cause your body to adapt its anabolic and metabolic needs to suit your nutrition. By varying your food sources you will avoid this and keep your body burning fat on a more long-term basis. This is another good reason to plan your meals in advance. You already know this principle with regard to training; it’s best to “keep the body guessing.” Well, the same principle apples to your diet; the more confusing you make things by not following a specific daily diet of identical foods and nutrients (as well as energy intake), the harder your body has to work to sort of figure out what’s going on. And as you know, the harder your body has to work (wither training OR nutrition), the faster you’re going to lose fat.
And lastly, the final and perhaps most important rule…
(Drum roll please)…
In keeping with previous rule, try never to eat plain, dull, bland or boring foods. Whether this means learning how to prepare new healthy meals, or just educating yourself on the proper use of actual spices (that pun makes more sense now, eh?) Spice it up and this will be repaid with higher motivation. Diet foods aren’t renowned for collecting Michelin stars and this hardly surprises those blessed with taste buds. Keep your meals interesting and you will want to eat your healthy meals again and again.
These 7 rules are always to be kept in mind if you want to successfully make the switch from the temporary Misery Mindset to a more fun, fulfilling and healthy lifestyle.
However, most people who have been successful, developed their own tricks to stay on track. What are your own tricks? How do you make it happen?
Let us know, leave a comment below :)
Well guys, there you have it! Let me know what you think, and leave us your own diet tips in the comments section!
ALSO – Dave has been kind enough to hook us up with more than just a guest blog post! Starting today (and ONLY until Friday), Dave is giving us a sick discount on his awesome nutritional resource, the Anabolic Cookbook. The book contains recipes (obviously), but also a ton of information about what to eat, when to eat it, and WHY.
If you’re trying to lose fat–or gain some muscle–you know your nutrition is half the battle (and knowing is the other half of the battle, or so says GI Joe), so having over 200 brand new fat-burning recipes at your disposal is totally the way to go. Know about it.