If you want to lose weight healthily and stay slim, nutritionist Matthias Riedl recommends a “species-appropriate diet”. He lists the six most important rules – and explains how you can easily integrate them into your everyday life.

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There is a big problem that all of my patients suffer from equally: Even if they know everything about the concept of species-appropriate nutrition, they end up back in the kitchen – doing everything as usual. Putting the information into practice is a huge hurdle. The good news is that anyone can overcome it!

And I do this with another concept that I have developed with the help of all my experience from decades of practical nutritional therapy in line with current studies: the 20:80 principle. This means that 80 percent of your current diet can remain the same, only the remaining 20 percent has to change – depending on what type of eater you are.

If you use this program to integrate species-appropriate nutrition into your daily routine, you will never have to worry again about whether you can really lose weight sustainably and stay slim. You will!

“The ultimate slimming code” by Matthias Riedl, published by GU-Verlag

Only four steps are enough:

Step 1: Use a diary to search for errors thoroughly. Each of us eats differently – and our poor eating patterns and culinary preferences are also different. In order to correct these errors, we first have to identify them. A nutrition log can help with this: over a period of four weeks, write down exactly what you eat and drink – and in which situations you do this. Important: Be really honest and consistent. Only a comprehensive nutrition diary will allow you to gain the insightful insight into your eating habits that you need to be able to make the crucial adjustments in the long term.

Matthias Riedl is a nutritional doctor, diabetologist and medical director of medicum Hamburg, Germany’s largest specialist nutritional medicine practice. As a board member of the Association of German Nutritional Medicine (BDEM), he is committed to raising awareness about nutrition. He particularly wants to support people who are no longer helped by conventional medicine. Here you can read an excerpt from his book “The Ultimate Slimming Code”.

Step 2: Identify and weigh the most important nutritional errors Have you carefully kept your food diary for four weeks? Great! Now try to identify the worst errors that are causing you to gain weight: habits and preferences that strongly contradict the rules of species-appropriate nutrition. Most of my patients recognize around six to eight problematic patterns, particularly common are these:

Once you have a list of your personal bad habits, choose two to tackle first. These should be the patterns that you think will be easiest to change. Many of my patients then resolve to eat more vegetables and cut down on refined carbohydrates.

Step 3: Develop healthy mini-habits The principle behind every successful change in diet – I can’t repeat it often enough – is: “Go slow!”

So start slowly, bit by bit. However, since most of us have problems accepting this rule, allow me to briefly digress into the question of why this is so. Anyone who tries to turn their diet around by 180 degrees is overtaxing their brain. Habits are so stable because automated actions cost our brain less energy – and make it work more efficiently.

If we didn’t make ourselves a salami sandwich every morning as if by remote control, but instead kept going through all the breakfast options in our heads, we would not only have a time problem, but our brain would also have an energy crisis. That’s why our brain goes on strike when we try to change too much at once – and will do everything it can to return us to the path of old habits. Behavioral addictions are sometimes involved too.

However, such a conflict between mind and body does not arise if we approach the change in diet slowly. Patience is therefore really the prerequisite for lasting weight loss success. For each of the two mistakes you want to eliminate first, think of two healthy mini-habits that will help you with this goal.

The same applies again: choose behaviors that you can most likely implement without tormenting yourself. And leave those preferences that are particularly important to you and are therefore part of your identity untouched for the time being. For example, if you love pasta and now decide to cut all white flour pasta from your diet, you will give up this plan at the next opportunity – and cancel the change in diet.

My practical experience shows that most patients find it easy to modify their breakfast. So if, for example, you are planning to reduce your daily carbohydrate intake and eat more vegetables, this can be achieved with an adapted morning meal – for example with a power quark, which is what I usually eat: I mix 150 grams of low-fat quark with two tablespoons of oat flakes and 100 grams of berries – and finally add a tablespoon of linseed oil. If you then eat a piece of raw vegetable with it, such as a large carrot or four radishes and a tomato, then you have literally had two new healthy habits for breakfast! Don’t like the quark? Then try scrambled eggs and a small piece of wholemeal bread with cream cheese and fresh sprouts instead of the salami sandwich.

I guarantee that if you spend an hour or two thinking about healthy mini-habits based on the concept of species-appropriate nutrition, you will come up with many that will give you just as much pleasure as the old ones, but are much better for your figure and health.

Once you have automated the first new habits to the point where you no longer have to think about them – this is usually the case after about a month – think of two more. As soon as you have internalized these too, tackle the next two – until you have corrected the mistakes you identified in step 2! Once that is the case, tackle the next unfavorable eating patterns – and again derive healthy mini-habits… You see: A change in diet is a long-term project, but one in which you are completely in control – and you don’t have to give up your culinary favorites. You decide what you change and how you do it!

Step 4: Focus on filling foods for your new habits When you start changing your diet, you should always keep one thing in mind – whatever you do: Only those who feel full with it can stick to an adapted diet. Therefore, always design your new habits around the healthiest filling foods. Among the macronutrients, this is protein, among the micronutrients, it is fiber. In addition, all types of vegetables are among the absolute slimming foods – as are valuable fats. You should put your new habits together from these puzzle pieces.

Research shows that if you combine all of the above, you will feel full quickly, stay full longer – and therefore lose weight more easily. Without counting a single calorie.