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The other day, a friend and I were going out to eat.  (Actually, that’s a lie.  It was 3 years ago, but I just got down to blogging about it now).  I asked her where she wanted to go and she said, “Well since I’m on this stupid diet for jerks… we need to go somewhere that serves salads.”

I could not stop laughing.  That afternoon, I made her draw her interpretation of what a “Stupid diet for jerks” looks like so I could throw it in the blog.

The point of this blog: Don’t be on a “Stupid diet for jerks.” or a “stupid anything for jerks” for that matter. If it wasn’t obvious, my friend was calling it a “stupid diet for jerks” because she was frustrated with having to follow a certain “diet”.  She was annoyed with having to restrict herself.

One of my biggest goals in life is to help people reduce stress. To reduce stress, I believe there are three healthy components we can incorporate into our lives that make it easy to stay on top of being healthy.   This is what led me to create the EAT MORE VEG, SWEAT & BREATHE program.

1. EAT MORE VEG: Represents a proper healthy eating lifestyle.
2. SWEAT: Represents the importance of exercising every day.
3. BREATHE: Represents the need to follow a daily practice of calming the mind.

If you set a goal for each one of these components (which I talk about at my health speaking events), but you hang a negative connotation to it… such as;
“Being fit is for annoying jerks”.
“Being calm and at peace is for jerks.”
“I’m on a stupid diet for jerks.”

…you already set yourself up for failure.  The more restrictions you put on yourself… the more you become a jerk! And that’s the truth.  I should add here, that sometimes in life, restrictions are necessary.  Perhaps you’re training for something, getting over an addiction, have allergies or sensitivities to certain foods, working to get through that last year of university or battling a disease.  In these cases, it is very admirable and necessary to restrict yourself from certain things.   In general, I’m talking about the “in general” or the “most of us”.

I’m all about health just as much as the next nutritionist, personal trainer or stress reducing professional, but my approach is to be realistic.  Most of us can only handle one change at a time.  Otherwise it becomes too overwhelming, which tends to lead to failure.  In my case, I encourage clients to make one change within each component…(so 3)… just to be a JERK – ha!  I mean BALANCED.  Here are some samples to get you started.

A sample “EAT MORE VEG” goal:  Make an effort to eat more vegetables throughout your day.  i.e. start by eating a salad every day for one of your meals.  Make sure it has a lot of leafy greens and other VEG, some good protein the size of your palm, some nuts or seeds and maybe a couple raisins with a little balsamic vinaigrette.  My favorite way to move into EATING MORE VEG, is to always say to myself “What veg am I having with this meal?”  It forces me to think about it.

Disclaimer: the EAT MORE VEG is just to represent a healthy eating lifestyle and I use the VEG thing because it’s what most people lack the most of. It is important to ensure we eat all the macro and micro nutrients (carbs, protein, fats & WATER; vitamins & minerals)  Please seek advice from a nutritionist, a naturopath doctor or dietitian before changing anything in your diet.    

A sample “SWEAT” goal:  Perhaps you try a class or sport you’ve always been excited about trying (dance, kickboxing, yoga, ultimate Frisbee, croquet…).  Or maybe you like to jog.  Start with a 5K run or walk.  It’s a great idea to sign up for something and focus on that.  If this is too much.  Start by doing something in your home.  20 jumping jacks, 10 push ups, 10 burpees and 20 squats. Repeat twice and work your way up until you can do the circuit 4 times through.

Disclaimer: I’m not your coach or personal trainer.  Please seek professional advice from a trainer and doctor before you start a fitness regime.

A sample “BREATHE” goal:  Take 5 minutes a day to just breathe deep.  The 4-4-4 breath is a lovely way to start.  If you are feeling stressed (chest is tight, shoulders are tight, anxiety, worried), then take a few minutes to take deep breaths and you will notice your shoulders start to relax and your mind will feel slightly clearer.

Disclaimer:  There isn’t one.  Please don’t forget to breathe, you will die.

Once you accomplish a small goal in one of the components, write down a new goal and work towards it.   Keep it simple, realistic and make sure you have a POSITIVE ATTITUDE.

In conclusion, if you plan on trying a new diet or health trend, don’t make it match a jerk’s life (with a ton of restrictions).  Make it match yours and don’t be a jerk about it.

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom. 😉
Michelle GB

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