Miriam Hatoum
Good-Better-Best Method for Your Eating Lifestyle

Good-Better-Best Method for Your Eating Lifestyle

blog decision fatigue good-better-best stop dieting Dec 14, 2021

The Good-Better-Best Method for Your Eating Lifestyle

How can Good-Better-Best get you out of diet prison?

  • Are you tired of living in diet prison?
  • Are you tired of weighing and measuring your food?
  • Are you tired of downloading digital food trackers (hey folks, in a week I have been known to cycle through My Fitness Pal, Carb Manager, Lose It and Weight Watchers)?
  • Have you lost your pencil (yeah, that's me too...thinking that maybe doing pencil and paper like the "olden days" would be better for me)?
  • Are you just plain tired?

Use the Good-Better-Best method to help you with difficult situations.

Even if you are still choosing to track, you will find yourself in situations - especially during holiday season - when you are faced with food decisions that you couldn't predict when you planned your food for the day, or you may be faced with overwhelming urges when you see all the food, even if you have planned, and are usually good about not going overboard.

The best path to success

The best path to success to have an overall plan 

  • Look at your choices and pick something that is not outrageously out of your carbohydrate (or calorie or Points) parameters (GOOD).
  • Can you tweak it by leaving off the bread or saying no to the croutons and the side of potatoes (BETTER)?
  • Can you go further and order (or choose) something that you absolutely know will fit your parameters such as steak or chicken (no breading), salad (no croutons), a green vegetable and fruit for dessert (BEST)?

Stay away from absolute absolutes

There should be no absolutes on your journey. Even if you are following a plan like keto, and there are absolutes such as no sugar or no wheat products, you can allow yourself some leeway with other choices so you do not feel you are in prison.

Let's say you are at a party and green beans sautéed with butter and almonds is being served. If you are strictly counting macros and you know that with the salad, the green beans might be too many carbohydrates for you, then:

  • GOOD might be to have a small serving if you must;
  • BETTER might be to take them and pick off the almonds while also having a smaller serving of the salad or other vegetables;
  • BEST might be to have the salad or the green beans but not both.

So see - even with strict parameters, you can still make a food choice using GOOD-BETTER-BEST and not get totally derailed because you are eating something that might not have been planned.

Examples of Good-Better-Best Choices

You are an intelligent human being and for sure you know that:

  • At a party, an appetizer of crudités, cheese, olives, and a few crackers is a lower-carb choice than chips and pretzels.
  • At a lunch restaurant, a Cobb salad topped with deli meats, eggs, (and if you are following keto) bacon and blue cheese crumbles is a better choice than a burger with the bun with sides of onion rings and French fries.
  • Sometimes the differences in choices may not be so obvious. But you will eventually come to trust your knowledge and be able to engage in the practice of GOOD-BETTER-BEST, which is just what it implies.

Land of Good Enough 

Please don't let good derail you because it is not best. Good is a valid option on your journey. 

For now, leave the land of perfection and enter the Land of Good Enough using the Good-Better-Best method.

When we set ourselves up to work only in the Land of Perfection where only the best is acceptable, we jeopardize our chances of keeping the path to our goals open and clear. We focus on (usually unimportant) minutia instead of the big picture.

When you were learning to drive, did your instructor tell you to keep your eyes ahead and not on the end of the hood of the car? Same thing here! If you don't keep your eyes on the road in front of you, you will tend to crash into a wall because you are really not looking where you need to go.

Decision Fatigue

"From the moment we wake up each day, we’re faced with a continuous stream of choices. Many are minor (which route to take to work), others are major (whether to accept a new job) and they all add up. When there are too many options, we tend to feel overwhelmed, anxious, stressed or otherwise out of sorts. This is decision fatigue, a state of mental overload that can impede our ability to make additional decisions." (This is from a very interesting article in the Washington Post by Stacy Colino.)

What does that mean for us when we are faced with having to make decisions when we eat out, go to parties, or just open the fridge at home with no meal plan? What does it especially mean if you are on an eating plan that has you counting calories, Points or macros?

Mostly it means that we become overwhelmed by the situation which could include

  • Too many food choices
  • Being tired from always having to make the "right" food choices
  • A permissive attitude of "I'll start again tomorrow"
  • A defeatist attitude of "I just can't deal with this" 
  •  Just general confusion of "How the heck am I supposed to know the portion sizes that fit into my plan?" 

Instead of dealing with all of this, your decision-making muscles just collapse under the weight and you eat nothing or you eat it all. How about if you tell yourself you have to make only ONE decision going into the situation?

What is the decision?

You just have to make one decision. That is to decide which piece of the Good-Better-Best puzzle will you play.


You don't need a food scale or a tracker or a measuring cup to make the one decision that

  • You will have whatever you want, but you will have, for instance, one plate of food (if it is a buffet);
  • Not order an appetizer or dessert, but have what you would love for the main course;
  • Order an appetizer and a dessert but no main course; or
  • Have a main course and one dessert (and eat only half), but if you do that promise yourself that you will not have bread from the bread basket and will order an extra green vegetable instead of the starch being offered.  


You might

  • Order as plain a main course as possible (grilled steak, not chicken parmesan, for instance)  without the bread and starch but also have a small dessert or an appetizer;
  • Make a rule to not eat standing up (if it is a party it will help you say no to so many things);
  • Order whatever you want (appetizers, main course and dessert), eat only half the appetizer and main course and eat only a few spoons of the dessert; or
  • Do make an effort to stick to the food plan you are following. For instance, if it is keto, right there you know what you can and cannot order, but you can be a little more lenient with quantities - but always stop when you are satisfied. That's why we have take-home containers!


  • Drink hot tea, iced water or hot coffee while everyone is having appetizers. Don't order dessert.
  • Don't look at the menu, but decide in advance what you will order. Almost all places will accommodate the customer even if a presentation is not on the menu. What I mean by this is that, without looking at the menu, you can ask for grilled steak, chicken or fish (no breading), two side vegetables (no starch) and a green salad with dressing on the side. If you know in advance where you are going, you can always look up the menu on line.
  • If you are eating at someone's house of course you cannot put in your order, but you are intelligent and not at your first rodeo. You know what to eat that best suits your food plan. Furthermore, if you promise yourself that you won't eat unless you are hungry and will stop when satisfied (translation: probably no seconds!), then you don't have to worry unless you have food allergies and sensitivities that truly prevent you from eating certain foods. 
  • Sometimes when eating according to the "best" puzzle piece we sometimes forget that it is not food's mission in life to entertain us (although it is certainly helpful if you like it!). Enjoy the occasion and the people you are with. Don't set yourself up with a "woe is me" deprivation mindset. If you are eating at a nice place, even a simple order will come to you in an attractive way. Believe me, when you leave the party or restaurant not stuffed and not having to start over in the morning, that will feel more delicious than the appetizer or dessert would have tasted.


Some people never ever follow a food plan and never count or weigh and measure anything! Hard to believe, isn't it? But what they do is eat according to the GOOD-BETTER-BEST method I am telling you about here and they honor their hunger scale. Simple as that. 

The reason I like to guide people towards low carb and keto is that sugar begets sugar cravings, and once most of us start in with that, there is no controlling the situation. Because all carbohydrates turn into glucose in our bodies, if you don't cut out those foods (or cut back), you will always be fighting your need to eat.

Learn more about this with my book and course:

Book Breaking Free From Diet Prison: Common Sense Keto and Low Carb 

Course Breaking Free From Diet Prison: The Roadmap to Low Carb and Keto Success

 And, if you haven't been getting my FREE bonus guides all along, here are two that will help you with the Good-Better-Best method.


The Hunger Scale

Inflammation and Grains

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