My 3 diet hacks that outlasted every diet fad

Ritu Riyat
3 min readJun 22, 2019

There is a ton of information out there on how to lean out, look great, lose weight , etc. etc… Yet, the number one reason clients come to me is because they want to drop 10 pounds. (*side note: this is slowly falling to the number two spot as stress rises to the top of the list).

Nevertheless, it’s a question/problem most everyone struggles with at some point in their life, myself included. Losing weight is no easy task, but getting there can be simple.

“Huh? Ritu, you just said it’s not easy?! I’m confused”

Yup, you heard me right. As with most behavior change — it’s simple but not easy. What that means is the steps we take to move towards our goal does’t have to be complicated. We don’t have to shell out $$$ order meal delivery services, joining the hottest new fitness trend, and weighing every morsel of food that we put into our mouth.

I’m sure all that works, but in my opinion it’s not sustainable. Personally if I’m dropping 10 pounds, I’d like to leave them dropped.

Sustainability requires small simple changes that are integrated into your daily habits and over time lead to a new and improved lifestyle.

I’ve never been one for fad diets, but I have tried a lot of different diet/lifestyles in the name of experimentation: zone, paleo, primal, intermittent fasting, juicing, smoothie-ing, fasting, ayurvedic, vegetarian, vegan (that was rough), pescatarian … high fat, low fat, no fat … you get the point.

The most important thing experimenting with food has taught me is that there is no “perfect” diet. Some days I prefer to eat vegetarian, other days I crave some meat protein… what’s been most important in my dietary evolution is “deep listening’ . Listening to my body and it’s needs above any self proclaimed health guru (myself included) telling me what to do. Any time I coach clients I always add the disclaimer “don’t just take my word for it, try it out for yourself and report back” because only you know what works for you.

That being said, over the years there are 3 diet/lifestyle habits that have lasted the test of time and are pretty much engrained in my brain. Does that mean I follow this 100% of the time, no. There is no habit that anyone follows 100% of the time, but if you do it 80% of the time, that’s good in my books.

When I experimented with the paleo and zone, what I call zoleo, lifestyle back in 2008 I realized these 3 daily diet hacks influenced 70% of the way I looked and felt. Over the years I have become a bit more lenient on the foods I will eat but these 3 daily diet hacks have stuck with me and will continue to.

I coach every one of my clients to try these as well, some ask if they can commit to just one, the answer is of course you can. Can you guess which one is non negotiable?

1. Drink 16oz of Water upon waking

2. Avoid Gluten

3. Balance every meal with protein and non processed carbs

There you have it, my short list of daily diet hacks that have kept me fueled and fit for over 10 years.

Did you guess the non negotiable? It’s #1 Drink Water upon waking!!!

I can’t emphasize this enough. Friends, we need water. We need water first thing in the morning after spending 8 hours sleeping so we can hydrate and flush out all the toxins the body releases over night while it’s doing it’s clean up, we need water because we are chronically dehydrated, bottom line WE NEED TO DRINK WATER.

We’re constantly told to drink water throughout the day but rarely to drink water first thing in the morning — yes, before coffee!

Try out all 3 of these daily diet hacks for two weeks and report back on how you feel. If you can’t stick to all three, then please just drink water first thing in the morning, I promise you’ll start feeling 10 times better.

Until next time… Stay mindful my friend.

Ritu Riyat



Ritu Riyat

Ritu is a public health professional specializing in stress and burnout in the workplace through the lens of behavioral science, spirituality, & socialization.