My Way of Life

by Bill Mansell on February 10, 2008 | Articles

This information has been distilled from the most up-to-date and trustworthy sources in diet, nutrition, and weight loss. It’s my personal, long-term way of life, not a diet. The program promotes a balanced approach in three key areas: attitude & behavior modification, proper nutrition, and physical activity.

First some basic principles:

  1. When you eat is just as important as what you eat. Eat breakfast immediately when you wake up to jump-start your metabolism. Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks through-out the day. Do not eat anything for 3 hours before going to bed.
  2. Drink pure water with every meal. Drink up to 6 glasses (8 oz.) of water per day. Do not drink soda, diet soda, flavored water, sports drinks, or fruit juice. Just drink water!!
  3. Focus on what you can and should eat, rather than what you shouldn’t. There are thousands of delicious foods. Enjoy the diverse assortment of flavor, color, and smell of healthy foods. Learn to love these foods and adopt a positive attitude about your wealth of delicious choices.
  4. Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes (beans), eggs, and lean meats.
  5. It is normally best to eat foods in their whole, natural state. Use natural ingredients to prepare your own meals. Processed foods are your biggest enemy. In general, if it has a label, it is probably not good. avoid foods that have the following ingredients on the label: sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils (trans fats), white (enriched) flour, or artificial sweeteners.
  6. Avoid processed foods that say “Low fat” and “fat free” on the label. They are generally nothing more than unhealthy ways for the food industry to make money. How much fat a food has is less important than what type of fat it contains. Eating more of the right kinds of fats can contribute to a reduced risk of heart disease. On the other hand, a low-fat or fat-free diet can contribute to weight gain plus increased cholesterol and heart disease levels. Focus instead on the KINDS of fat a food contains. Increase intake of mono-unsaturated fats (extra virgin olive oil, avocados, fish oils, etc.) and eliminate foods that contain the bad fats: saturated, trans-fats, etc. (butter, shortening, cakes, cookies, crackers, margarine, etc.)
  7. Remove anything from your home that you shouldn’t be eating. It is too much of a temptation to cheat. Remember, this is not a diet; it is a way of life so you need to be able to do it over the long term.
  8. Plan meals ahead and have emergency snacks on hand. It is important to not over eat. On the other hand, do not let yourself become hungry. Learn to recognize when you feel full (not stuffed) and stop eating then.
  9. Get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 5 times a week. Add weight training to build muscle and burn more fat (5 times a week). Take every opportunity to move your body while doing everyday activities. Take the stairs, walk, clean, work in the yard, etc.
  10. Report to a mentor or loved one each week.  Do not weight yourself for 6 weeks after starting your new way of life. After that, report your your weight and waist measurements (be sure to weigh yourself under the same circumstances each time for a more accurate reading). For the first 2 weeks, write down everything that you eat.

I.  Attitudes & Behaviors

  1. Believe that you can do it. Visualize yourself feeling better, abounding in energy and living at your proper weight. Determine to not give up, no matter what.
  2. Don’t obsess about the scale. You will build muscle before you lose weight, which could even raise your weight a little.
  3. Remember, there is a 2-4 week lag time before your behaviors are reflected in your weight, size, etc. What you do today may not show up for a while, but it will eventually catch up to you (for better or for worse).
  4. Focus on what you can and should eat, rather than what you shouldn’t. There are thousands of delicious foods. Enjoy the diverse assortment of flavor, color, and smell of healthy foods. Learn to love these foods and adopt a positive attitude about your wealth of delicious choices.

II. Food (Please select these items from the food list below)

  • Breakfast:      1-2 protein      1 fruit      1 carb
  • Morning Snack:      1 protein     1 fruit      1 or more vegetables
  • Lunch:      1 protein      1 carb      1 or more vegetables      Multi-Vitamin
  • Afternoon Snack:      1 protein     1 fruit      1 or more vegetables
  • Dinner:      1 protein      1 carb      1 or more vegetables      (Brush your teeth after dinner. This not only gives you a sweet taste,  it helps you to avoid eating anything else before bed.)

III. Exercise

  • Spend 30 minutes, 5 times a week, doing aerobic exercise: Walking, climbing stairs, hiking, jogging, dancing, etc (try to keep your heart rate above 120)
  • Weight Training – also 5 times a week (you can do aerobic exercises before or after) Follow a guided program.

Food List


  • Asparagus
  • Bell Peppers (green or red)
  • Broccoli Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Collard Greens Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Green Beans (fresh or frozen)
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce (all kinds)
  • Mixed Vegetables (frozen)
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions Radishes
  • Rutabagas Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Turnips
  • Yellow Squash
  • Zucchini Squash


  • Milk (Skim) or Soy Milk (1 cup)
  • Cottage Cheese – low fat (1 cup)
  • Mozzarella Cheese (2-3 slices)
  • Yogurt, plain low-fat (1 cup)
  • Egg (1) Turkey (4 oz) Chicken (4 oz)
  • Tuna – water packed (4 oz)
  • Salmon (4 oz)
  • Beef Lean (4 oz)
  • Legumes [beans] (½ cup)
  • Tofu (½ cup)
  • Cream Cheese – low fat (2 Tbsp)
  • Parmesan Cheese (2 Tbsp)
  • Almonds – Raw (½ cup) Walnuts – Raw (½ cup)


  • Apple (1)
  • Apricots (4 large)
  • Avocado (1)
  • Banana (1)
  • Berries – any kind (1 cup)
  • Cantaloupe (½)
  • Cherries (15)
  • Grapefruit (1 small)
  • Grapes – red or green (20)
  • Honeydew Melon (¼)
  • Kiwi (1 large)
  • Lemon (1)
  • Mango (1 small)
  • Nectarine (1 large)
  • Orange (1 large)
  • Peach (1 large)
  • Pear (1)
  • Pineapple (½ cup)
  • Plums (2)
  • Prunes (½ cup)
  • Raisins (½ cup)
  • Strawberries (1½ cups)
  • Tangerines (2)
  • Watermelon (1½ cups)


  • Whole Wheat Bread or toast (2 slices)
  • Whole Wheat Bagel (½)
  • Rice Cakes (4)
  • 40% Bran or Shredded Wheat Cereal (1 cup)
  • Oatmeal or Cream of Wheat cooked (1 cup)
  • Sweet Potato – baked (medium sized)
  • Corn (1 cup)
  • Legumes [beans] (½ cup)
  • Peas (1 cup)
  • Whole Grain Pasta (1 cup)
  • Brown Rice – cooked (1 cup)
  • Whole Wheat Tortilla (1)
  • Acorn Squash (winter) (1 cup)
  • Popcorn (air popped)
  • 2 cups Wheat Pancakes (3-4)
  • Multi-grain muffins (1)

Condiments / Spices (These are to be used to add flavor and variety to your meals.)

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Cilantro
  • Ginger
  • Curry Spice
  • Garlic/Herb spice
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Salsa Soy Sauce
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (no more than 2-3 Tbsp/day)
  • Chicken Bullion (no more than 2 tsp/day)
  • Honey or Real Maple Syrup (no more than 3 Tbsp/day)
  • Lime
  • Pam
  • Baking powder
  • Yeast
  • Wheat gluten
  • Spices

NOTE: This information contains general guidelines to promote a healthy way of life and is not a substitute for medical advice from your physician. You should consult your doctor before starting any modified eating plan or exercise program.

Bill Mansell is president of MindPerk, Inc., one of the web's largest resources for self improvement and business training. A dynamic speaker and success coach, Bill is the author of a weekly blog titled, One Minute Motivators. Bill helps companies and organizations inspire and motivate their team members to consistently achieve more. His contagious enthusiasm has helped people from all walks of life to reach and exceed their goals.

has 149 articles on MindPerk.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Eric February 11, 2009

Thanks for being so specific in your recommendations. This is great information!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: