stop light

Have Your Cake & Eat it Too With the Stop Light Diet

The Fit Rebel Diet-Free Healthy Eating / Fat Loss/ Nutrition 8 Comments

It’s tough to give up the idea of dieting.

For a lot of people, using a diet is their way of maintaining control over what they put in their mouths. If they didn’t use a special diet method than they would go crazy and eat nothing but Twinkies and drink soda pop.

Rest assured, you can include all foods in the diet and not only be healthy, but still be in complete control.

All you just need to do is understand how a standard traffic light works.

Green light foods.

Green light foods are foods that you want to eat in abundance. Fruits, Veggies, fish or whatever the dietary dogma is recommending these days. These are foods you have in abundance in your home and office and are ready to be consumed at a moments notice. So they are plentiful, quick, easy and ad lots of variety to the diet.

Yellow Light Foods

These foods are foods you want to eat in moderation and have little trouble doing so. For me, beer is a yellow light food. If I put a six pack in the fridge chances are it will last me over a month.

Yellow light foods you want to keep on hand but leave them a little less accessible. So store them in the cupboard, in the back of the fridge or in the basement. This way they are on hand, but they require a bit more work to consume.

Red Light foods

These are the foods that we are typically temped to banish from our diet forever. While we may be able to do this some of a time, it always seems like they rush back into our lives like a tidal wave with over consumption and a loss of control.

Twizzlers and my Mom’s home made chocolate chip cookies are pure red light foods for me. I will eat a pounder bag of Twizzlers within a day and at least 6 or so of my mom’s cookies at a time.

We don’t banish these foods from the diet, just the immediate enviroment. I don’t put them in the home or office so in order for me to eat them I have to jump through some pretty big hoops to get at them. This way I can still enjoy them, but their lack of availability in my daily life ensures they are a minor part of my diet.

This approach requires an honest assessment about your relationship with food. If you can’t stop yourself from polishing off a pint of ice cream don’t kid yourself into thinking that it’s a yellow light food. It also may take some time to experiment with. Chocolate ice cream might be a red light food, but you could have just 2 bites of vanilla and walk away thus making that a yellow light food.

Ultimately this sort of attitude with food will help you eat in a healthy way that suits you best without feeling the need to do battle with yourself every time you enter the kitchen.

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Comments 8

  1. Laurie James Mackeson

    Great alternative way to think about food.

    Green Light- (SALAD) Use a selection of the following foods- Apple, Pear, Capsicum, Lettuce, Onion, Eschilots, Cucumber, Carrot, Watermellon, Grapes with a choice of meat (100-200g Diced: Chicken, Steak, Ham, Turkey)

    Yellow Light- (HOME MADE PIZZA) take boring microwave pizza from shops and add extra ingredients (Sliced turney/ham, anchovies, extra cheese, pepperoni, extra bacon)

    Red Light – I know the less I have these foods, the better they taste when i do have them. I have a few foods which I ‘take turns’ eating – usually 1-2 small sampling each week- Cheese Twisties, M&M’s, Rocky Road/Cookies and Creme Ice Cream, Home made muffins/cakes, certain biscuits.

    I liked the article. Short. Sweet. Straight to the point.

  2. Laurie James Mackeson


    I type this post after 8hrs of vomiting and nausea. I am not telling you this for simpathy of to make you feel sick. I am telling you because I accident came up with a way of staying healthy while feeling sick. It’s no surprise that I based my ‘diet’ on a relative calorie balance (yes I know calorie counting is an estimation of a guess at best :-). So when I got through the throwing up phase BUT I still couldn’t keep solids down, I went with liquid calories instead.

    A heap of Red light items (Energy Drinks) The advantage I find of drinking these calories is (a) Red Light Foods are more fun because you don’t get to have them too much (lucky because you shouldn’t feel sick too much either) (b) A small amount can (and In my case now is) not even cause you to feel more sick and (c) If you happen to be sick (after drinking a small amount), it will not be (as) uncomfortable are throwing up solids.

    I must be sick because looking at it this way, I am looking forward to stocking up on my supplies and waiting/hoping to be sick again soon 🙂


    Laurie from Down Under

    1. Post

      Oh man! Sorry to hear your sick Laurie.

      I don’t know about stocking up on those things. Whenever I get sick my thoughts about consuming anything is a negative experience. Once I’m feeling better, the thought of consuming anything I ate while sick makes me never want to eat or drink that stuff again.

      Maybe that will be the case with your energy drinks and turn them from a red light food to a yellow light food.

  3. Laurie Mackeson

    ‘The Followers’ of Red Delta

    I have noticed that over time my beliefs and actions in relation to all matters energy in and energy out change somewhat. This response takes into account that I might believe something (somewhat) different at a later date 🙂

    From my own ‘consumption experiments’ I have noticed that (pretty much) each time I eliminate a particular food/drink (that I enjoy) from my eating, it feels like my ability to focus/concetrate on all other areas of life decreases (to some degree). In addition, because I am ‘banning’ myself from it, I am thinking about that food more and my ability to ‘have a small taste’ dramatically decreases and I end up eating (some) more than I would have/needed.

    Congrats to the people who can cut out foods they like and/or foods with certain nutritional qualities for the rest of their lives, I know I couldn’t do it.

    I ‘simply’ take care with regards to how much of a particular item I consume over a period of time (Rate of Consumption). While it might not achieve the same level of results because I am not pushing my mind/body to any real ‘extremes’, I find that I don’t have enough ‘Will-power’ for other aspects of my life.

    I would love to hear your thoughts (not just Matt’s).

    This article is STILL one of my favourites
    Laurie ‘RED, YELLOW, GREEN’ Mackeson

  4. Laurie Mackeson

    Matt- It’s ‘funny’ how eating a certain (amount of) green light (over a certain time period) can result in ‘boredome’ for that food. The result is simple, a Green Light Food you don’t eat because you are bored with it. I find I rotate foods in/out of my ‘diet’ based on (in part by) this.

    After trying Ben n’ Jerry’s ‘Chunky Monkey/Hubby’ icecream, I’m keen to learn some other of your Red Light foods (brands included) so I can have the US/Vermont experience ‘Down Unda’.

    Cheers – Laurie

    1. Post

      Not that many red light foods at the moment. Although Im kinda getting into the Reese easter eggs at the moment, although I had on in my fridge for about a week before I finally ate it.

      kettle corn in my new red light food. I could eat gallons of the stuff!

  5. Laurie Mackeson

    Matt – Kettle Corn? Not sure what they are. We have only recently started getting Reecy Cups in a couple of our shops for the past few months AND there are a few speciality shops that sell (amongst other countries) American treat foods. It seems the more I believe the ‘rate of consumption over time’ aspect to any food allows you to eat ANY food I like, the more of my Red foods get ‘trasnferred’ to my Yellow light list. Have you had similar ‘results’? Laurie

    1. Post

      Oh sure that’s definitely the case. The ultimate goal is to have such complete control and understanding over food that there are almost no foods that would be red foods. It’s all either yellow or green.

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