7 Rules for Dietary Domination

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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.

1) Call It a “Healthy Lifestyle”

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.

2) Be Involved Mentally

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.

3) Keep your goals S.M.A.R.T.

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.

4) Schedule Your Meals

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.

5) Out of Sight, Out of Mind (or at least Out of Reach)

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.

6) Keep Your Food Diverse

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)…

7) Variety is the “Spice” of Life

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.

Click here to get the sweet discount on the Cookbook, just for the cool kids at Roman Fitness Systems :)

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

Comments for This Entry

  • Anne

    Thanks for posting these 7 "Ruels" It inspired me to focus on a healthy lifestyle instead of just a diet. I'm one of those people who can resist anything but temptation. So I know that if I leave chocolate and chips in the cupboard then I am going to eat it, and most likely for breakfast. So I try to not have that stuff in my kitchen. And I focus on eating food that taste really good, even if I have to cook it myself.

    November 18, 2010 at 5:13 pm

  • Louise

    All greaT advice, thanks!

    November 15, 2010 at 2:06 pm

  • Allen at High Potassium Foods

    Seven good tips about diet and how to make it a part of your life, which many diet posts never talk about. A healthy diet needs to become how you live, not just something done every once in a while.

    November 7, 2010 at 1:39 am

  • Lose Belly Fat

    Great post, I agree that dieting doesn't need to be just a can of tuna and some boiled chicken. It needs to be a lifestyle change. Like they say "if you continue to do what you have always done, then you'll continue to get what you have always got." I think that you need to look at what you eat daily and do your best to stay away from processed foods and most foods in a box. Someone said that when you go to the grocery, stay on the outside edge for all of your food items. It's true, the worst things we eat aren't the foods with fat, but the foods with all of the processed stuff you can't pronounce.

    October 12, 2010 at 10:13 am

  • Natalie Minh

    Very effective article. You gathered great points to explain how to create a healthy lifestyle and how to loose weight with that. As a fitness expert and lifestyle coach I completely agree with your point that loosing weight is not only about dieting, it is about changing your complete lifestyle and creating a strong will power to keep the bad habits away. Great work, keep it up. Cheers

    September 24, 2010 at 2:29 pm

  • Your Weight Loss Tips

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    September 23, 2010 at 8:56 am

  • zoe rott

    Really enjoyed this post because it makes fat loss simple. I agree as well that its all about getting as much nutrients from natural foods that were put here for humans to eat. the calorie deficit matters and stressing over exact amounts doesnt, as long as your burning more energy!

    September 19, 2010 at 2:16 am

  • Healthy Vending Machines

    The "variety is the spice of life" part really hit home for me. I eat the same 3-4 dinners every week and it gets old. I go through bags of Tyson chicken thighs like they're going out of style! After traveling a little bit in Thailand I realized the using herbs can really bring life into a lot of meals that are otherwise bland. Great quote about planning, too, by the way.

    September 14, 2010 at 10:11 am

  • ftiens

    Weight loss, in the context of medicine, health or physical fitness, is a reduction of the total body mass, due to a mean loss of fluid, body fat or adipose ... follow these links to read more

    September 11, 2010 at 3:58 am

  • Andrew

    Hey Great Post I Like this part the best. 3) Keep your goals S.M.A.R.T. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. I personally feel that this is where a lot of people go wrong, there goals are not attainable and certainly not time bound... What do you think?

    August 24, 2010 at 10:26 pm

  • Ido

    Great post dave. i want to address your first rule, which is the strongest one i believe: 1) Call it a “Healthy Lifestyle.” I think that people should only understand that diet is just a word, and lifestyle is the term and the basic ideal of eating right and living right. I really believe if people take this permanent concept in their mind, instead of the temporary diet idea, everything else will follow. The right diet for sure, but also the right job and right spouse, as when you pave goodness into a permanent state of being, it all falls in place! great post. thanks dude.

    August 23, 2010 at 6:41 am

  • Pete - The Healthy Minute

    Hey Guys, Thanks for the reminder that food doesn't have to be boring to be healthy! I find myself getting stuck in the rut of eating the same things over and over, especially when I'm trying to cut fat. I even do this when I am following specific meal plans that have built-in variety...I keep eating the same day over and over! It's great to know there is another resource available to help us "spice it up." Take care, ~ Pete

    August 16, 2010 at 3:13 pm

  • Conrad

    Hey Roman and Dave, I already own Anabolic Cookbook. Great stuff! I want to get Diamond Delts however, is there any way I can get that separately without buying the entire thing again? Thanks in advance

    August 11, 2010 at 6:00 pm

  • Ylwa

    Nice post, both of you guys. Dave, I love your cookbook, it has made my life easier in so many ways. For me planning and access is definetely key. Having lived in Norway instead of Sweden for four weeks of work, not having access to my regular grocery store or the budget to live my ordinary lifestyle (Norway is CRAZY expensive) has proved those rules to be true yet again. I hate planning meals and shopping lists every week, it's set up to be a complete lack of inspiration whenever I sit down so I took care of this once and for all this summer and now has 12 weeks of mealplans consisting exclusively of Anabolic Cooking and Prograde Recipies set up with accompanied shoppinglists. If this isn’t gonna help me stay on track nutritionwise, I don’t know what is. The only place where I’m still struggling a bit is when it comes to sides. Being that I’m in a fat loss phase right now I’m avoiding all starchier carbs like rice, pasta and potatoes (swet as well). If there are any tips on nice green sides that would be icing on the cake. Plain asparagus, broccoli and salad gets a bit old and boring as well. Dave, how about making your next product more about good, tasty and fun sides (greens, starchier and salads) to accompany your kick-ass recipes from AC?

    August 11, 2010 at 4:54 am

  • Zach

    am i the only one confused by this? it says "click here for the discount" but there's nowhere to click. also, i kinda disagree with point #1. the way you eat when you're trying to lose weight is going to be significantly different than the way you eat the rest of the year. of course eating healthy year round will help, but when cutting, your diet is more than simply eating healthy. drastic decreases in calories, carb cycling, leptin refeeds, sodium manipulation, and lots of the the other tricks used to get really lean aren't something you are going to be incorporating into your "lifestyle". so i think the word "diet" is 100% appropriate during cutting phases

    August 11, 2010 at 12:20 am

  • Ryan Orrico

    Sweet post dude. Good timing. I think you forgot the link to Dave's cookbook. You should put a big fatty banner. Though it's live in the email.

    August 10, 2010 at 2:54 pm

  • carl

    You can have ANY style of cuisine that you care for-healthy and within your "diet". That's what the SPICE AISLE at the grocery store is for! It don't have to be bland with a spice shaker in your hand! (Obviously keep the spices as additive free as possible-READ the label, go organic) Cooking for yourself may take a bit more time, but the results can be awesome! Roman Ruels! :)

    August 10, 2010 at 1:06 pm

  • Skyler Meine

    I am a believer that even when trying to cut you can eat great food and a lot variety. There are plenty of sources out there for meals with high nutritional value that will meet your goals for trimming up.

    August 10, 2010 at 11:19 am

  • Alex "Dude Wheres My Muscle" Siddy

    Nice Ruels (oh and great play on words as well Roman :) ) I have to admit when it comes down to cutting phases having a superfit girlfriend makes all the difference. In the past each time I went on a diet (healthy lifestyle) my mind use to go completely blank. I was like you Roman eating tuna out of a can and some beans, that was about how far my creativity could take me. But props to my girlfriend, she turned my crappy dieting around and made a chef out of me, a healthy one at that. So getting a health fanatic girlfriend is my number one "Reul" for living a healthy lifestyle.

    August 10, 2010 at 2:28 am

  • Mike Arone

    Great post men. I always find it necessary to prepare my meals in advance because of the nature of my "day" job. I am all around Manhattan and need to be within quick reach of food-so I prepare and pack it. If you ever see me in NYC with a black leather shoulder bag-don't expect any important papers or documents inside. Nope-just some lean protein, sweet potatoes and a hefty amount of veggies. It's tough at times, but like you said it's my lifestyle and it keeps me on track with my goals. My other trick is to have a variety of meats-not just chicken. Salmon, bison meat, turkey meat and pork loin. It gives me something to look forward to each day other than the same old, same old. Lastly, I always change up my side dishes. Weather it's brown rice, sweet potatoes, asparagus, avocado, broccoli...etc. I make different combinations to keep my culinary wit sharp. Again, great nutrition post guys! MA

    August 9, 2010 at 7:06 pm

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