• A big salad with leafy vegetables, berries and marinated chicken breast


RULES: DIET

Eat delicious and nutritious foods

Stop dieting

When we talk about a “diet”, we mean “all the foods you eat”. Dieting (the activity) doesn’t work. Or rather, it works for a little while before you inevitably come crashing back to where you started from.

Our diet guidelines offer a new way of looking at the world that helps you stay healthy. You’ll regain a natural balance and boost your everyday energy levels. Not with an instant magic formula, but with some simple life rules and honest effort.

The Healthy Lives diet is based on whole, nutritious foods. When you eat nutritious foods in decent portions, you will be naturally satisfied and better able to resist unhealthy temptations. And don’t worry, we’re not saying you can never have your favorite junk food again. It’s all about finding a better balance.

A different mindset

If you’ve been on diets before, you are probably here looking for the list of things you shouldn’t eat. But if you want a healthy life, that’s not the best way to look at things. Instead of worrying about what foods to avoid, focus on the foods you should eat.

If you only cut the unhealthy parts out of your existing meals, you will inevitably miss them too much and backslide. Instead, change what you eat and replace your existing meals with meals that are just as delicious and more satisfying. If you really do your best to make your new meals delicious, changing your diet will not feel like a sacrifice.

Follow these principles:

  • I will make nutritious foods like vegetables and quality proteins the center of my meals. I will eat a varied diet.

  • I will make all my healthy meals as delicious as possible. My healthy meals should never feel like punishment or a compromise.

  • I will eat whole, unprocessed foods in satisfying but natural portions. I will not worry about calories and I will stay away from low fat and diet products.

  • I will only indulge in a treat if I have earned a cheat to spend on it (we’ll talk more about earning cheats in the exercise section).

  • If I do eat an unearned treat, I will not punish myself by starving myself. Instead, I will sentence myself to some extra time in the kitchen making my next healthy meal even more delicious.

A balanced diet

For optimal health, eat foods in their natural form and portion sizes. To help you, we divide foods into three categories. For more in-depth information on the categories and individual foods, refer to our food guide.

GREEN CATEGORY

Healthy Staples

The green category contains common healthy foods and drinks. These should form the basis of your meals.

Vegetables, mushrooms, fruit, fish, eggs, meat, poultry, herbs and spices, healthy fats, salt, condiments, (carbonated) water, black coffee, tea.

YELLOW CATEGORY

Healthy Balance

The yellow category contains foods that are healthy in moderation. Vary between these.

Potatoes, whole grains, white rice, quinoa, nuts, legumes, fermented soy, dark chocolate, dried fruits, fruit juice, alcohol (1 glass), cheese, yogurt, cream

RED CATEGORY

Unhealthy Cheats

The red category contains unhealthy processed foods you should only eat when you earned a cheat.

Refined grains, seed oils (used in most commercial fried foods), unfermented soy, artificial flavors and additives, sugary snacks and drinks, milk, alcohol.

Natural foods in natural portions

We have evolved to thrive on the foods that were available to us in nature. And we still thrive on them today, provided we eat them in natural portions.

If our ancestors found some nuts under a tree, they would snack on a few of them and gather the rest to share with the tribe later. They would not gorge on 16oz. bags of cashews, much less bake a cake with ground almond flour. Nuts and other yellow category foods are a healthy addition to your diet, but are best enjoyed in moderation.

Follow these principles:

  • Limit your portions of starchy plant foods like potatoes, rice, quinoa, whole grains and legumes (including soy). Don’t include these with every meal and eat them as a side dish to accompany your vegetables and protein.

  • Treat nuts, dark chocolate, dried fruits and fruit juice as snacks, and adjust your portions accordingly.

  • Vary between different animal products. Alternate your protein sources between eggs, fish, meat and cheese and eat filling but sensible portions. If you’re a vegetarian, eat plenty of eggs and cheese and supplement with the occasional portion of soy, quinoa and buckwheat.

  • Leave animal protein off the menu from time to time. After all, in nature not every hunt would be successful. Whenever you eat a vegetarian meal, base it on vegetables and mushrooms rather than on grains and legumes.

  • Drink a large glass of water when you feel you’ve eaten enough but still feel the urge to nibble. This will help curb your appetite and prevent overeating.

Getting results

These guidelines provide you with a framework for a balanced diet. If you stick to them, you will feel more energetic and burn fat more easily. But regaining a healthy balance will take time and effort.

If you currently eat ready meals, sweet snacks or takeaway foods most days, consider kicking off your new life with a stricter reset diet. Eliminate most sugars and starches (including chocolate, alcohol, rice, grains, dried fruits and fruit juice) from your diet for at least 3 weeks. After that, your body will be better adapted to burning fat for energy and you will have no trouble following the diet as outlined above.

Although that sounds simple enough, the first few weeks will be tough. Expect to suffer from headaches and a lack of energy as your body learns to cope without its cosy supply of sugar. To help you through those difficult first weeks, we have developed our Fresh Start program. If you are serious about turning your life around but feel a little daunted, start there.

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