There’s no such thing as “eating whatever you want.” Or is there?

"Eat whatever you want and still lose weight!" This is the catch phrase and slogan of so many diet fads out there and it made me think, could someone really "eat whatever they want" and still achieve their weight loss goals? My first reaction was, absolutely not. That’s a completely ridiculous notion; it’s extremely misleading and completely unhelpful to people who want to lose weight but don’t know how do it properly. I thought, "How could someone lose weight or get in shape on a diet of eating whatever they want when the "whatever they want" is most likely to include, french fries, ice cream, pie, and fried chicken?" They couldn’t. It would be damn near impossible. 

But then I thought about it some more and changed my mind. I decided that yes, someone could lose weight and get in shape while eating “whatever they want,” so long as they learned to turn their wants and cravings towards healthy foods.

When you start cutting addictive junk food out of your diet and start adding fruits, vegetables, and protein into it, your body and mind go through a transformation. The ingredients in most junk food like chips, soda, and cookies tell our bodies to crave more of it. So yeah, someone who eats those kinds of foods habitually will naturally want to continue to eat them. They’re addictive. But once the junk is slowly cut out of your diet and replaced with nutritive alternatives, your body will no longer crave the salty, sugary, unhealthy snacks you used to long for and you’ll find yourself thinking “I could really go for some vegetables for dinner tonight,” or “I can’t wait to make delicious fruit smoothie for breakfast,” instead of “Ugh, I’m dying for a big greasy cheeseburger right now!”

This means that if you stop chowing down on junk food (some might be able to go cold turkey, others may have to do it slowly and gradually) and start filling up on the good stuff, then yes, eventually you will be able to get in shape and maintain your weight by “eating whatever you want,” because you’ll no longer want the stuff that will add to your weight and body mass index over time.

Will the junk food cravings ever go away completely? No, I really don’t think so. Everyone wants some french fries or ice cream sometimes, and that’s OK. Like I’ve said before, it’s OK to indulge. Completely restricting yourself from the foods you love (and who doesn’t love ice cream or french fries?!) can lead down a dangerous road. But if you’re trying to get started on a path to healthier eating, try kicking it off with this tip from Jillian Michaels. She said:

Pick one unhealthy habit and cut it out for a week. It could be diet soda, fast food… anything you think isn’t good for you and start strengthening your will power in small increments to help the goal be more manageable and attainable in the long run.”

I think that’s an excellent place to start. Ready, go!