Ditch the Diet Mentality

Sun Basket CEO Adam Zbar’s new book, Shine An Entrepreneur’s Journey for Building a Highly Successful Business and a Healthy Life,  he tells the story of how he transformed his habits and saved his life.   

Zbar was running a Silicon Valley tech venture, and to counter his stress-induced late-night pizza binges, he’d skip breakfast in order to limit his calorie intake. The result? A hangry, foggy state of mind that led to more stress and inevitably, more poor food choices. Though he was only 39 years old at the time, Zbar’s doctor told him if he didn’t make some changes to the way he was living, that he might not make it to 50. That moment came as a wakeup call. Zbar knew it was time to replace processed foods with nourishing, whole foods instead. 

The best decision Zbar made was to resist the temptation to go on a diet. He wasn’t looking for a temporary fix. He wanted a new set of habits he could sustain for a lifetime. Zbar set out to make small, simple changes that delivered slow, steady, lifelong results. 

1. Do You

Instead of searching for the latest diet, Zbar simply did what felt right. “Not having a life coach to help me learn how to exercise and eat right, I just did what seemed and felt right to do. Like few times before in my life, I let my inner voice guide me.” 

2. Eat What Makes You Feel Good 

The first thing Zbar did was rethink his diet. A longtime breakfast skipper, he started eating oatmeal every morning. Instead of a fast-food burger, fries, and soda, Zbar found an Indian restaurant where he could get dal and chicken tikka for lunch. For dinner, he rediscovered broccoli, a vegetable he once hated, with a piece of fresh fish. Soon Zbar noticed that he was more productive, had more energy, and felt much happier. He slept better and was more energized to exercise

3. Slow Down 

Zbar had a bad habit of shoveling food into his mouth without thinking. But once he changed what he was eating, he realized that he needed to change how he ate, too. To help him slow down, Zbar, who is left-handed, switched to eating with his right hand. He also came up with a strategy that he would chew each bite 20 times. While he felt ridiculous at first, Zbar writes that he “…found that it was an amazing way to slow down and actually enjoy food.” He also discovered that when he ate more slowly he got better at recognizing when he was full and was less likely to overeat. 

Of course, making healthy choices is easier said than done. The key is to start small. Slow down when you eat and focus on how your food makes you feel. Listen to what your body is telling you and make adjustments as needed. In this way, you’re using food as a form of self-care that serves you far better than counting their calorie or macro-nutrient content.

The best part of making these small changes is that they have a huge positive impact on how you feel. And when you feel great, you’re likely to make more and more healthy choices. 

Zbar found his kind of healthy, not by going on a diet or focusing too harshly on calories in versus calories out, but by making lasting changes that enhanced his entire life.