How many diets have you tried in the last couple years? How many had ANY type of long term success? If you’re like 99 percent of people, then that’s a big fat goose egg in the “wins” column.
Diet – 0, Little Debbies – 12,392
With the ludicrous number of diet resources out there today, how can that possibly be the case? A quick Google search will yield mountains of free information on losing weight but you’re still packing on a couple new pounds each year without fail. The problem isn’t with just with what you’re eating, it’s HOW you’re eating it.
That’s right, there are some fundamental problems with how we eat that stop us from making any real, sustainable progress.
The Chubby Guy’s Guide to Fat Loss
Let’s replay the last big binge you went on. If it was anything like mine, there was no savoring and enjoying the food I was eating. I was shoveling food into my face as fast as humanly possible simply because I could. I couldn’t even begin to tell you everything I ate because I didn’t really have any conscious control over what I was doing. There was hunger, so I kept shoveling.
The problem is that it takes a little time for the body to tell your brain that it’s full. You can literally eat way faster than your body can process how much you’ve taken in.
This is the situation where you go from ravenous to a nauseated lump on the couch in two minutes flat. Your brain finally caught up with your body and it’s screaming STOP as loud as it can! To combat this, all you have to do is slow down. Take one small bite at a time and chew your food well. Put your fork down between bites. This will help your brain keep up with your body and help you stop at the appropriate time.
Stop at 80% full
Building on step 1, stopping at 80 percent full will also allow the brain and body to sync up just in case you did eat a little faster than intended. If you’re still legitimately hungry 10-15 minutes after stopping at what you feel is 80 percent, go ahead and have a little more.
Learn the difference between actual hunger and boredom munchies
How often have you caught yourself rummaging through cabinets or the fridge for something to eat just to have something to do? This is classic boredom munchies. You don’t have any real physical signs of hunger; you’re just stuffing your face to have something to do.
When you start to feel the need to eat something, stop and take a second to evaluate it. If you’re actually hungry, go ahead and eat. If it’s just boredom, go do something else.
Keep yourself distracted so you’re not sitting there doing nothing and relying on willpower alone to keep you out of the kitchen.
Do I really need to tell you how important it is to stay hydrated? Didn’t think so. Just keep some water handy at all times. We’ll often interpret signals of thirst as hunger.
Use a smaller plate
A massive amount of successful dieting is psychology. If you’re putting small portions on a big plate, you’re going to end up with a bunch of empty space on it. This will nearly always lead to feelings of being deprived simply because the portion of food is small relative to the size of the plate.
When you can, just use a smaller plate or bowl. This will make that smaller portion seem bigger and therefore more satisfying.
Shoot for 90% adherence
This is the big one here. No plan will ever yield long-term results if you can’t execute it.
Start with these small changes and shoot for that 90 percent.
If you can do that then you can move on to looking at meal frequency, food choices, etc. Ultimately, though, it will always come back to these principles.
Get a coach
Having a solid coach you trust can make all the difference in the world. We typically can’t remain objective when it comes to our own issues. We’re simply in it too deep so you “can’t see the forest for the tress.”
Finding someone who can give that outside perspective is amazingly helpful in reaching your long-term goals.
I’ve had to learn all these lessons the hard way, so hopefully you’ll take something from this article that will set you up for some big wins down the road. The steps I laid out above are all recent revelations that came from my participation in the Lean Eating program from Precision Nutrition. We’re 8 weeks in and have just now started working on what foods to actually eat, which goes to show how important these steps are.
You won’t always have control over what is available to eat, but you will always have control over how you eat it.