Frederic Patenaude on how to create a system and daily routine for succeeding with your diet and health goals.

Does this sound like you?
Although you know a lot of things you “should” be doing in order to get healthier and fitter, you’re not exactly doing all of them, or you go back and forth.

If you’re in that situation, this article is for you. You see, I’ve found over the years that the next biggest problem health seekers face, after misinformation, is difficulty in implementing the right information. Most people who agree theoretically with the concept of a raw food diet with regular exercise still have difficulties in implementing it in their lives. It’s not that they don’t want to, it’s simply that their lives seem to “get in the way” sometimes, and reverting back to old habits that are more strongly established is the easiest thing to do.

And the reason is not because you need “more information” or to read yet another “motivational book.”

What I’ve found in my almost 10 years of involvement in the natural health movement is that what people really lack is a system and enough support for implementing their system.

What I’ve found in my almost 10 years of involvement in the natural health movement is that what people really lack is a system and enough support for implementing their system.

Have a Morning Routine

We are creatures of habit, so if you implement healthy habits, you will succeed. One of the first habits that should be part of your system for succeeding on the raw food diet is the morning routine.

If you have a morning routine you’ll make sure that you find the time for the things that are most important to you.

Part of your morning routine should include at least 20 minutes of exercise, as it’s been found that exercising before 11 a.m. gives extra benefits for health (in terms of how it regulates natural hunger during the day).

Your morning routine should also include daily, positive affirmations. Although you may have your own opinion on whether that is too “new-age” for you, affirmations work.

If you don’t think positive affirmations work, try negative affirmations instead. Try saying aloud, every morning, in front of the mirror: “I choose to be lazy, incompetent, unworthy, unreliable and nasty with other people. I deserve the worst in life.”

“How good would you feel doing that?”

You see, you’re already doing your own affirmations…in your head! Those are the thoughts you repeat to yourself every morning. Now I’m just talking about taking control over those thoughts and starting the day with some positive energy instead.

To give you an idea of what your morning routine can look like, take a look at mine:


  1. Wake up to the sound of an inspirational song (I have an alarm clock that plays a CD of my choice… most of the time I have the theme song of the movie Rocky Playing!)
  2. Hydrate!
  3. Pull out my iPod, cell phone and other items and prepare to go to the gym, or other exercise activities planned.
  4. At gym or during my exercise I listen to audio books on my iPod.
  5. Shower and dress to the shoes (even if I’m staying home).
  6. Read my affirmations (in front of the mirror with my hand over my heart).
  7. Review my calendar and plan my day.
  8. Enjoy my breakfast!

Having a morning routine will help you implement positive habits and it’s one of the most important parts of a system that works.

Once you’ve created your own routine, you should print it and put it on your fridge, near your bed, or in another location you’re likely to look at when you wake up.

Plan your meals in advance

Another part of your system for success should include a menu planner. One of the biggest reasons for failure or lack of motivation is either running out of food or not knowing what to prepare.

It doesn’t mean that you should know ahead of time what you’re going to eat at every meal, but working with an outline can give you a better idea.

What I suggest is to have at least one day a week where you only eat fruits and vegetables and no fat at all (no avocados, no nuts, no oils), and one day a week where you make a special meal.

To give you a better idea, let me show you how it works in my life:

I don’t always follow this outline to a ‘T’, but having it helps me stay closer in line with my goals and intentions. I suggest that you do the same, and again, print out and post your daily menu and weekly plan on your fridge so you can see it and refer to it.

Another important part of your planning should include a day in the week where you go shopping for food, and a shopping list with ingredients and approximate quantity of food to purchase.

Create a fitness – planner for success

In order to succeed with your diet, you need to include daily fitness activities. And in order to succeed with your fitness, you need to have some kind of fitness ‘planner’ that you follow.

The planner is your guide. It shows you what types of exercise you’ll do on different days. It ensures that your fitness improves in all its different aspects.

In my own fitness program, I even use a point system. Whenever I complete a fitness activity, I get a point! If I include extra activities, I get extra points. I then follow up with my ‘success buddy’ and based on the number of points that I get, I arrange for treating myself with a reward!

To give you an idea, here’s the fitness planner that I currently use. That’s an edited version so you can see more clearly, because my own planner includes more details, such as the point and reward system.


Daily Menu: Basic

Breakfast: Fresh fruit or green smoothie

Lunch: High-calorie fruits such as bananas. Greens.

Snack: Green smoothie

Dinner: Entree of fruit with salad and dressing, raw soup, or special recipe, or simply a green smoothie or a fruit and greens meal.

Weekly Menu: Basic

Monday: No fat day: I only eat fruits and vegetables

Tuesday-Wednesday: I use avocados or nuts in my evening salad

Thursday & possibly Friday: No fat day: I only eat fruits and vegetables

Saturday: I make a special recipe or “exception”

Sunday: I get to choose!


Monday: Gym, weight training 1  (this is my first routine at the gym)

Tuesday: 45 minutes on bike or rebounder (if I’m on a rebounder I use a DVD) or 30-minute run

Wednesday: Gym, weight training 2 (this is my second routine at the gym)

Thursday: Yoga class

Friday: Gym, weight training 3 (This is my third routine at the gym)

Saturday: Rebounder 45 minutes, or run 30 minutes, or hike 1:30 hours (on Saturdays I tend to

prefer to go on a hike, often for 3 hours or more)

Sunday: Off

Your own planner can be very different.


All of the elements of your system for health success are important: the morning routine, the meal plans and the fitness planner.

But in my experience, all of these systems will eventually fall apart if you do not add the most important ingredient in the mix: accountability.

This means that you’re not doing this on your own. You need to be accountable to someone that will check on you to see how you’re doing with the system.

Think about the difference between:

  • Telling yourself that you’re going to wake up at 4 in the morning to exercise and see the sunset.
  • Telling your best friend that you’re going to wake up at 4 in the morning to exercise and see the sunset, and knowing that she or he is going to check on you whether you did or not.
  •  Saying on national television that you’re going to wake up at 4 in the morning to exercise and see the sunset, and knowing that the TV crew is going to meet you at your home at 6 to interview you on how it went.

In the first case, it’s highly possible that when your alarm clock rings at 4 in the morning you’ll have some kind of internal chatter giving you a lot of reasons not to do it… and chances are that you’ll stay in bed and not do what you told yourself you would do.

In the last case, chances are that you WILL, no matter what, make sure you wake up at 4, because otherwise it would ruin your reputation and the whole world would know that you’re not someone who keeps her word.

So the more accountability you have, the better your chances will be at succeeding.

Article by Frederic Patenaude and published in Get Fresh! Magazine