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The Book of Daniel - Daniel Plan

You know, from The Book of Daniel.

I wrote about The Daniel Plan, a new faith-based diet based off the biblical story in the Book of Daniel, for L.A. Weekly’s Squid Ink blog. A companion book was released just last week, so any new followers of the diet are up for a challenge: Christmas. Ironically, celebrating Jesus’ birth is going to be their first hurdle. Here are the five tips I mentioned, using the diet, to defeat Christmas:

5. Get your relatives in on the plan
The website touts that “sustained lifestyle change works best in groups or with a partner,” and while that may sound like a pyramid scheme, research backs this up.

4. Focus on fat to avoid sugar
The sound of the word “fat” may cause you to recoil, but grass-fed butter like Kerrygold is filled with a healthy amount of Omega-3’s and other micronutrients — and research has shown that olive oil can be tremendously good for you. Sugar, on the other hand, may cause food cravings, insulin spikes and can be damaging to your hormones.

3. Keep exercising
Many think they need a gym and hours of free time for exercise to be effective. Not true, research shows. All you need is seven minutes and a chair; there are apps to help you. Schedule your workout before eating, and you may have the added benefit of funneling extra calories to your muscles instead of your stomach.

2. Cook with spices
It’s easy to make foods taste good by pouring sugar, fat or salt all over them, but it’s more healthful, and possibly interesting, to use spices. Many spices have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties while remaining virtually calorieless.

1. Pray
“Please God, don’t let me get fat.” You know, when all else fails.

 

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tracks

The idea of doing several different diets at once on different days is certainly appealing for its convenience and flexibility.

If you’re not going to exercise, you can wake up, eat a light breakfast, and make it a calorie-restricted day. Then, if you end up working out, you could transition into eating a low carbohydrate diet for the rest of the day with unlimited fats and protein for energy. Perhaps at night your last meal is at nine after your workout. You might skip breakfast the next day, triggering your intermittent fasting protocol. If for some reason you can’t make it to lunch without eating, you can eat a light breakfast and try for another calorie restricted day.

Notice the problem above, though. Did you see how many ifs are being used? It’s nearly impossible to follow a diet if one is easily able to excuse him or herself from it on the fly, especially in the service of an equally healthy option. Though the intentions are good and the itinerary well-planned, the consistent shifting breaks down the ability to form a habit. As Foodist author Darya Rose writes, one cannot successfully diet from willpower alone. Habituation, rather than willpower is the secret weapon of successful dieting. Unfortunately, a shifting diet never allows the dieter to form any habituation.

What’s more is that by providing yourself with a thousand caveats (“I had bread at lunch, but that’s okay because I’ll just make this an IF day”) the excuses eventually pile onto one another. You may find it difficult to follow any of your protocols and will most likely give up at the end of the day, indulging in your favorite binge of choice as a way to lick your wounds.

If you’d like to try different protocols, my advice would be stick to one a week, or designate each protocol to a certain day of the week. Only then could you possibly give yourself a chance to follow your plans.

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