Day 151 Declutter your diet

I know this is getting a little off subject and I had my doubts whether I should go down this path but it was just a thought I had the other day and I decided to run it by you all.

My thinking was that this slow and steady approach would probably work with changing a persons eating habits. The problem with most diets is the slap you in the face cold turkey approach where you change too much too soon and all you feel is deprivation. Couple this with the theory that it only takes two weeks of removing yourself from a certain temptation before the cravings start to disappear I believe a person could slowly eliminate bad foods from their diet with less difficulty and with a higher success rate of sticking with the changes.

Here is what I propose:-

Remove one bad food from your diet today. ***Do not eat any of that particular food item for two weeks by this time the craving for this item should be starting to subside. At the end of the two week period remove another bad food item from your diet. Repeat from *** until you are satisfied that your diet has improved to a degree that you are happy with. By this time you should be eating a much healthier diet and your weight should be improving.

Below is a list of the kind it items I had in mind…

  • Soda / softdrink / pop
  • Candy / lollies
  • Chocolate
  • Chips / crisps
  • Ice-cream
  • Butter
  • Full cream milk
  • Cookies
  • Sugar laden cereal
  • White Bread
  • Beer
  • I am sure you know what your own weakness is so I wont elaborate any more.

Replace these bad foods with a healthy alternative such as fruit if you are truly feeling hungry.

I would also suggest that you could still indulge in these foods in moderation as a treat occasionally so you don’t feel deprived causing you to give up.

Instead of choosing a particular food  item in a  two week period you could choose one of the following…

  • Lower the portion sizes of your meals
  • Cut out one snack a day
  • Replace one beverage (tea, coffee, milk drink) with water
  • Replace a heavy breakfast with a wholemeal cereal with low fat milk
  • Start cutting back on the size of your coffee (from venti (20 oz/625ml )to grande (16 oz/500ml) to tall (12 oz/375ml)
  • If you are a fast food junkie try replacing one meal a day or every other day (depending on how much of a junkie you are) with a healthy alternative such a lean meat and steamed veggies or salad (no dressing).
  • Replace white bread and regular pasta with wholemeal alternatives. More info.

If anyone is game and gives this a try please keep me informed of your progress or lack there of if this idea was a complete dud.

Here is some inspiration for Tiny Buddha to get you thinking about making a change of anything in your life.


A book my husband sold on eBay for $5.00

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Now that I am home (not at classes) I have a goal to 1) drink more water every day. I’ve found that if I have my water bottle with me and drink 64 oz (1500 ml) I am less likely to snack during the afternoon. Several years ago, I was able to stop the soda habit–it took awhile. So my goal is 64 oz water daily.

    • Hi Willow
      It is good to have a goal and yours is one I should adopt. I drink far too much coffee and tea and next to no water at all. I am fairly regimented with the rest of my diet though but I could do with eating a lot less carbs. Good luck with your goal.

  2. It’s a good idea – though I disagree that butter and full fat milk are “bad” for you. It’s trans fats that we should worry about.. Hardened vegetable fats. I know a few health food nuts who all swear by this and eat real butter (and they are all healthy and slim 😉 )
    Anyway, it’s so true that fad diets don’t work and one should try to slowly change the eating habits to healthier. I also think it’s good to aim for healthier, not thinner…
    That may come as a bonus.

    • Hi Cat’s Meow,
      there is always a new train of thought being introduced as to what is good for us and what isn’t, it is hard to keep up. Eating in moderation is something that never goes out of fashion though. I still eat butter because I think it tastes better but I try not to over-do it.

  3. DId you ever read a book or something else about the “Kaizen”method…just a little step each day ..It really works, don’t pull yourself in one big swoop, but just push yourself a bit further each day..

    • Hi Hanneke,
      no I have never read any diet books. I just thought this approach would have a better chance of being successful than making a major change all at once. I have watched so many fo my friends seemingly succeed and then fail at that method and I thought this way could only be better than that. I am sure it isn’t an original approach but it always seems to be the least used because in this instant gratification world that western society lives in waiting patiently for results is out of the question even if it is more logical.

  4. Hi Colleen,

    As you know from our emails, I am doing Rathole a Day Project, decluttering one aspect of my life a day. While you are photographing what you give up as you go, I am photographing what I have decided can stay– favorite objects. Fortunately, I have two cameras, so they can photograph each other!

    You are right– food is part of decluttering. And while you are focusing on what to give up, I’m focusing on what stays– that is, identifying good food choices (more veggies!) so the others drop away. Weight Watchers has been useful–you can eat what you want but they don’t leave room for much junk. : I have lost 13 pounds eating well and have 5 pounds to go to get back to my goal weight.

    • Hi Deb,
      thanks for the helpful suggestions you have sent me over the last couple of weeks they are keeping me inspired. I hope the ratholes are all slowly turning into warm cosy nests. I love your idea about using the positisve spin by reminding yourself with happy snaps of the things you appreciate around you. If it is not worth photographing it’s not worth keeping “very clever”.
      Sounds like you are having great success with your new healthy eating lifestyle (I hate the word diet) as well. Good for you. Do you think that cleaning out your home has inspired you to shake up your lifestyle in general, I am curious.

  5. Hi Colleen–I have always been the all-or-nothing type, and I’m married to another one. Cold turkey has been our M.O., whether for dieting, quitting smoking, getting out of unpleasant social situations, employment situations, etc. On the positive side, we also embrace changes wholeheartedly once we’ve made up our minds to do them. But—

    there is ONE thing I’ve just started doing incrementally, and that’s putting money into a new savings account. My bank has what is called a “round-up” deal–every purchase made with a debit card is “rounded up” to the nearest whole dollar amount, and the difference is automatically transferred to the savings account. I’ve bumped it up with the change from the bottom of my purse, from husband’s pants pockets, the car, etc. And darn if it isn’t already showing results!

    • Hi Meg,
      if all or nothing works for you that is your way to go. I work with a lady who smoked like a chimeny until she found out she had a pre-cancerous leasion in her mouth. We all thought there was no way she would give up but she got hypnotised and stopped cold turkey and has never had another so it certainly does work.
      As for your saving plan, I have heard about these “round up” deals and they are a great idea especially if a person finds it hard to put anything aside. I found $5 in my son’s pants the other day, stangely enought he wouldn’t let me keep it.

  6. I appreciate the little steps you outlined. Last year I worked with an alternative healer to get better after adrenal exhaustion. But my foods and portions were so harshly restricted, and there were so many supplements to take three to five times a day, that I felt quite overwhlemed and failed constantly. Pretty much every day. I did eventually get better, but I much prefer your gentle approach.

    • Hi Lisa Francesca,
      Like I said in my post I have seen so many of my friends try and fail on those hard to live up to diets that there has to be a better way. Small steps are much easier to take than depriving yourself of every thing you enjoy all at once.