Improve Your Diet Through Addition, Not Subtraction 
Written by Connor Nellans

We have all been there. Telling ourselves that we will eat ‘No more cookies’, ‘No more late night snacks’, ‘No more sugary drinks from Starbucks’. If you are anything like me, this usually lasts for about a week at best before I am back to indulging in whatever vice I have tried to outlaw for myself. 

Elimination Diets

These zero-tolerance restrictions almost never work. They always seem to end up backfiring and leaving us where we left off or even losing progress. Over the years I have come to realize this with not only myself but also clients who have tried this approach. At best we revert to our old ways. At worst we swing even further in the other direction and overeat these same things we are trying to avoid. 

Addition Diets

But fear not! I have a great strategy that I have used for myself and others that it is a great way to combat these negative patterns. The strategy is to use addition in your diet, not subtraction! Put simply, instead of saying ‘No this, no that’, let’s try to say ‘I eat a salad everyday’. Or ‘I eat 35g of protein at every meal’.

By adding these guidelines or frameworks to you diet, you start to build healthy habits that will set you up for long term success. Imagine if you had three or four of these guidelines that you followed with your diet and stuck to them everyday. 

Let’s look at some examples:

Replace ‘No sweets’ with ‘I eat 2 pieces of fruit each day’.

Replace ‘No desserts’ with ‘I eat a salad everyday’.

Replace ‘No processed carbs’ with ‘I eat 35g of protein at every meal’. 

Creating Positive Diet Guidelines

What you are doing is replacing these negative actions with positive ones. If you give yourself these positive guidelines to meet each day, you are setting yourself up for success because your diet goes along with a positive mentality. 

When you try to eliminate things from your diet and tell yourself no over and over, not only does your will power wain and you eventually give in, but you also begin to foster a negative mentality around your diet. This can lead to long term issues in your relationship with food by leading you down a path of associating food with negative emotions. 

Find two or three positive additions you can add to your diet and try to accomplish them each day for the next 30 days! You will be amazed by how this can positively improve your diet through eating adequate amounts of protein and veggies, while also curbing those cravings for junk food and sweets.


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