So you want to lose weight, but you don’t want to be miserable in the process. I feel you! And I’ve got good news for you. It can be done, but it’s not necessarily going to be a cakewalk (pun totally intended).
Here’s how you do it: you re-program your brain. You “re-wire” it so that it believes that it PREFERS the food you NEED to eat to lose weight.
This means that you need to teach your body to WANT the foods you need to eat to get the healthy body you really desire.
But sometimes, that’s easier said than done, am I right?
Well, why is that? Let’s take a look at some recent statistics that might give us an idea.
A recent study found that less than 10% of Americans are eating enough vegetables.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 14% of Americans are consuming the recommended 2 to 4 daily servings of fruit.
The CDC also notes that less than than 9% consume 3 to 5 servings of vegetables.
So how do you overcome those kinds of statistics?
Now, don’t fall over when I say this, because it’s the truth, and if you are willing to make it happen, you CAN, despite how impossible it seems.
Here it is: If you’re going to beat the odds, you may need to rewire your brain so you crave broccoli more than bacon. Each time you choose healthier foods, you’re strengthening your desire for them.
I’m not going to lie to you. There are so many healthy foods I really love – but it’s not because they’re healthy (though, to be honest, that doesn’t hurt my opinion). The reason I love healthy food at all is the same reason I love unhealthy food – because it tastes good.
In the course of losing 100 pounds and keeping it of for the last nearly 4 years (so far), I learned to sort of “trick” my body into actually preferring healthy good. So how’d I do that? Well, I’m glad you asked.
The Mind-Body Trick to Make Your Body Beg for Healthy Foods
Take a look at these suggestions for changing the way you think and eat and let me know what you think in the comments.
Weight Loss Hack: Change Your Mind
1. Remember your purpose. Focus on why you want to eat nutritious whole foods. Cutting down on empty calories can help you look and feel your best. You’ll have more energy, and you may even save on medical bills.
2. Plan ahead. Ask yourself if a few minutes of munching on corn chips is worth the consequences. Would your future self be better off if you snacked on baby carrots?
3. Study nutrition. The more you know about how your diet affects your health, the stronger your motivation will be. Schedule a session with a registered dietician or browse online to learn more about reading food labels and restaurant menus.
4. Form new habits. It’s easier to start a positive new habit than to break an old routine. If you’re used to eating a donut with your coffee, treat yourself to a few almonds instead of going hungry.
5. Focus on nonedible rewards. If emotional eating is a concern, you may need to seek gratification elsewhere. Reward yourself by watching a movie or spending time with friends.
6. Enlist support. Speaking of friends, social support is vital. Surround yourself with others who are trying to eat well so you can share encouragement and feedback.
Weight Loss Hack: Intentional Diet Tweaks to Reprogram Your Cravings
1. Add healthy fats. You may have noticed a recent shift in nutritional advice. Experts are now talking less about avoiding fats, and more about choosing healthy fats. Broccoli can be a lot more appealing when you drizzle on olive oil. Personally, I cannot say enough good things about coconut oil.
2. Hunt for bargains. Maybe the high price of some superfoods is dampening your enthusiasm. Shop for seasonal produce or grow your own. Stock up on inexpensive staples like beans and lentils. Visit the bulk bins where you can save on packaging costs, and sample small quantities until you discover your favorite grains and seeds.
3. Beautify your place settings. Presentation makes a big difference. Sit down to eat. Create an attractive centerpiece or light candles. Use colorful dishes and bowls.
4. Branch out. If kale and iceberg are starting to bore you, experiment with other salad greens like oakleaf or mizuna.
5. Try new recipes. Get busy and Google it – or sign up for cooking classes or visit the library for more ideas about what to make for dinner. A lot of grocery stores offer cooking classes.
6. Carry your own snacks. Bring hummus or yogurt to the office with you for your afternoon break. You’ll soon like your own fresh food better than the packaged goods in the vending machines.
6. Make it convenient. The foods we crave are often the ones that require minimal effort like cookies and frozen dinners. You can make healthy substitutes just as handy. Keep a bowl of fruit on your dining room table. Buy whole-wheat pizza crusts you can top with cut vegetables and cheese for a hot meal in minutes.
Imagine looking forward to a bowl of beets with the same enthusiasm you usually reserve for double-fudge brownies. Some simple mental training, along with adjusting a few lifestyle habits, will have you craving food that’s good for you. You feel me?
Body envy. I am not going to lie to you. It used to be a HUUUUUUUGE issue for me. Pun entirely intended. In fact, my research tells me I’m not alone. Luckily, I’ve found the cure and I’m happy to share it with you.
Perfect Pictures Predicate Pouty People
It happens every single time when those infomercials featuring perfectly proportioned models pop onto the television screen promising an enviable body weight if you’ll just fork over enough cash to make you skinny forever.
Even though you know there’s no magic pill that guarantees overnight success, sometimes it’s tempting to dole out the money.
It’s enticing because losing weight is a struggle, and a vicious uphill battle that’s not always so easily fought.
The appeal to find a quick fix hits you every now and then – especially when you’ve worked hard to lose a little bit of weight and then you fall off the diet wagon and gain it all back (and then some).
We have all had the daunting thought, “There has to be an easier way to lose weight!”
Have you purchased every weight loss book ever published, forced down the diet bars, consumed the shakes, and attended the weight loss meetings so many times you could have paid for the entire building by the time you quit?
Have you done all of this and yet you still haven’t seen the long-term results that you crave more than food itself?
Are you sick and tired of trying, but you still know you need to lose weight so that you can have a healthier life? Or maybe you only need to lose a few pounds to fit into that new outfit or look good for an upcoming class reunion.
You know you want to lose weight, but you don’t want a gimmick and you certainly don’t want to keep going down a road that leads nowhere.
You just want to find a plan that really works for you without all of the empty promises. There’s something you might not know about the battle of the bulge – something that can help you gain the victory once and for all without having to resort to any costly plans or fancy gimmicks.
Best of all, the way you can lose weight can be found in your own refrigerator, in your pantry or at your grocery store. By the way, this little known method of losing weight won’t break your wallet. I guarantee it.
Understanding the Basics of Weight Loss
To understand how weight loss works, you have to first understand how calories work. A calorie is energy given in the foods you eat. Your body uses this energy as fuel. Think of it as wood for a fireplace. If you put in too much wood, the fire gets too hot and there’s too much heat produced.
In the same manner, too much consumption of calories, especially those foods with empty calories, equals an overabundance of fuel. The same way you would store wood in stacked piles for your fireplace, the body stacks an overabundance of calories as fat.
It then takes that fat and adds it to the places you don’t want it put. Then you see results like a tummy that laps over the top of your jeans – often called a muffin top – or you discover the results are flabby thighs or a double chin.
To make the battle of weight loss even more discouraging, that fat, and its cellulite, can give you a lumpy, bumpy look.
Cellulite are pockets of that stored fat beneath the surface of your skin. In other words, it’s the chocolate cake or donuts or the second helping of carbohydrates if those calories aren’t burned.
Now, all of that’s the bad news. But the good news is, you don’t have to accept being overweight as your fate (no matter how many times you’ve fallen off the diet wagon in the past).
Because this weight loss technique is easy and inexpensive, so you can stick with it forever. Not only can you stay on the plan, but you’ll find you actually enjoy it!
Your Body’s Secret Workout
When you watch a movie, what you see is the finished product. All of the actors and actresses stand where they’re supposed to. They say their lines like a pro and they look good doing it.
What you don’t see happening is the chapped hands and runny noses from filming outside in below zero weather or the nights filming lasted until two in the morning. You didn’t see what went on behind the show.
Many people sit down to eat a meal or a snack and never give a second’s thought to what goes on behind the scenes once the food is finished.
Everyone knows how you gain weight and most of us are pros at the gaining. We gain by eating too much of the wrong kinds of food.
But what if I told you something about your own body that could help you lose weight?
Your body has to work to digest each bite of food you put into your mouth. What does that have to do with anything?
It’s simple: Because your body is expending energy to digest the food, it’s actually sort of performing a silent workout.
Sounds great, right? Your body is working out without you having to lift a finger.
Picture this: your body is burning energy to digest the food while you watch television, while you talk on the phone, drive to work and even while you sleep. It sounds like a fantastic win-win situation doesn’t it?
If it’s so fantastic, then why are some people still overweight? Because you’re not eating the right kinds of foods. You’re still stuck measuring portions and counting carbs and assigning foods as good or bad.
Truth? There is no such thing. Food is simply fuel. All of it is. But how (and at what rate) the fuel is burned depends on the foods you eat because it correlates to how it makes your body work. Still follow me?
Negative Calorie Foods – Your Body’s Secret Weapon
What if you discovered you could lose weight simply with the foods you choose to eat? Foods that help you work off calories simply by eating them. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
But it’s not.
There are foods that make your digestive system use more energy to consume them than the calories contained in the foods themselves.
When you use more energy to digest a food than the caloric value of a food, then those foods are called negative calorie foods. By eating these negative calorie foods, you will burn calories and you will lose weight effortlessly.
Let’s say you have a slice of chocolate cheesecake from the store bakery and you consume roughly 350 calories (or more depending on the type of ingredients used). Once you’ve eaten that slice of cheesecake, your body goes to work breaking it down and beginning the digestion process.
Let’s say your body burns 150 calories digesting that cake (and that’s probably figuring the amount burned on the high end). You’re still left with a gain of 200 calories.
These calories will turn into unwanted fat and weight gain if not used as energy by the body. Now remember, the amount of calories you burn by eating negative calorie food will depend on the type of food it is.
Instead of the chocolate cheesecake, let’s say for example that you chose an apple instead. A medium sized apple has approximately 80 calories. You eat the apple and then the digestion process begins.
Because an apple is a negative calorie food, your body works harder to digest it than you gain in calories by eating it.
The difference in negative calorie foods is comparable to the difference between walking and running.
When you go for a low key walk, you don’t expend the same amount of energy you would if you were running.
Let’s Do the Math
Math was never my favorite subject in school, but this kind of math is the kind I love. So let’s go back to the foods.
If you eat that apple, you’ve ingested around 80 calories. Your body begins the digestion workout and without you having to do anything, burns calories.
Let’s say as an example, that your body burns around 100 to 110 calories. We’ll split that and say the body burned 105 calories. To eat that 80 calorie apple, you would have burned an extra 25 calories.
If you had the slice of chocolate cheesecake, but felt the urge to eat the apple afterward, you would then be 25 calories to the good on the cheesecake.
Boiled down, it means that 350 calorie cheesecake minus the 25 extra calories you burned by eating the apple leaves you with 175 calories charged against your caloric intake for the cheesecake rather than the entire calorie count for the cheesecake.
However, unlike math, there is no simple formula that can subtract months or years of eating the wrong way. But with a little addition of the right kind of foods – negative calorie ones, you can erase those pounds and keep them off.
There are a few things to keep in mind with any type of diet. The more involved a diet is, the less success most people achieve in the long run.
Studies have shown that the more elaborate a weight loss plan is, the less likely the person is to stick with it to the end because we like things basic and to the point.
That’s why negative calorie foods are an ideal weight loss plan for people who want to lose weight, want to get healthy and want a simple method but need a little something extra working in their favor.
Your own digestive system can give you that boost you need to keep going until you’ve reached your goal weight. By using your body’s own digestive system, you can actually change the equation.
Stealing From the Store
If you’re a junk food junkie, you probably have more than your share of fat stored – fat you would love to see disappear.
Remember the apple math?
If you have fat stored from junk food and you start eating negative calorie foods, what’s going to happen is those negative calorie foods are going to begin stealing from you.
These foods are going to take the fat your body put in store and they’re going to begin using it. Why? Because it took more energy to consume that negative food than the negative food had to give.
That energy deficit had to be made up somehow and your body knows just where to get it.
When you eat negative calorie foods, your body works hard enough to pull the nutrients and energy from the foods to the point that the food calories don’t count.
If there’s not enough energy in the foods your body digests to perform the job, like a car putting in more gas, your body will pull up to the pump – in this case the fat stores – and get whatever it needs to finish the task.
I know what you’re thinking!
“This is one thief I wouldn’t mind having around!”
But Are These Negative Calorie Foods Good For You?
Are you thinking there must be a catch? That negative calorie foods are some type of exotic food with names you can’t pronounce? With all the benefits we’ve talked about that come from eating negative calorie foods, they can’t possibly be good for you, right?
In fact, negative calorie foods are exactly the kinds of foods doctors not only recommend that you eat, but also encourage patients to do so for weight loss and disease prevention.
What are these mystery foods? They’re certain fruits and vegetables. Since experts agree that more fruits and vegetables are a good thing for everyone, negative calorie foods are a great weight loss plan.
A Brief List of Negative-Calorie Foods
This isn’t a complete list, but for an easy reference, I’ll mention some of those foods for you.
There’s nothing odd about that list of vegetables or fruits. They’re just ordinary foods with the power to create negative calories upon consumption.
Now don’t get confused thinking that the phrase ‘negative calorie foods’ means that the foods don’t have any calories, because that isn’t the case at all.
The food you eat does contain calories – your body just has to work so hard to digest them that you wind up with a caloric deficit once it’s all said and done.
Is it safe to eat negative calorie foods?
Yes, it’s safe. You can’t overdose on negative calorie foods. Unlike heavily advertised pills and gimmicks, there are no ill effects to eating negative calorie foods because they’re healthy for your body – working to keep it naturally lean and strong enough to produce the energy you need throughout the day.
Did you know breastfeeding isn’t for everyone? Well, believe it or not breastfeeding is not as easy as it looks! And this new mom could really use some help from some of you more experienced ones out there.
My Crazy Breastfeeding Attempts, Tongue Tie and ‘Helpful’ Nurses
While I was pregnant, I was so excited to breastfeed and have that bonding experience with my son.
Well as it turns out, in the hospital my son was having trouble latching on to my breast.
No one even mentioned that there was such a thing as a tongue tie.
And it kind of pisses me off, because if they had, I could have had them clip it in order to have that bonding experience with my son.
Instead the nurses told me to start supplementing, because he was losing to much weight. And being kinda new to this whole mother thing – I did what they said.
Ever since I have been trying to get my supply up. By pumping pumping pumping.
In fact I even purchased three different pumps in order to find the best one for my breast.
I was also eating lactation cookies, staying away from caffeine. The whole nine yards. None of it was working. I was devastated that I was only able to feed my baby formula.
That’s when I decided to…
Stop concerning my self so much about it, and to try to believe that it might just come naturally, And instead of pumping, to actually put him to the breast to feed. And just see where that got me.
So as of now, I’m working hard to get my supply up and still having that skin to skin mouth to breast time, regardless if he is getting any milk or not. So far, so good.
I could really use some advice – can anyone help me out? Have you had to try to re-lactate before? How’d you do it? What tips can you offer? Thanks in advance.
“It’s tedious and time-consuming. It tethers you to your phone or computer and can trigger anxiety and obsessive behavior in people who get overly hung up on numbers. Yet research repeatedly demonstrates that people who keep food journals are more successful at weight loss and weight loss maintenance than those who don’t.” ~Tamara Grand, FitNitChick.com
Listen. If you’ve been reading my stuff for long, you know that I pretty much tell it like it is. With that being said, you’ll know where I’m going with this.
There are some things we have to do if we want to meet certain goals in our lives. And sometimes, those things aren’t fun, at first, but once you get moving, you realize they’re totally worth your time.
The good news is that you can do it, and even if you’re lazy and don’t like to feel uncomfortable (like MOI), you can STILL do it.
The Harsh Truth About Food Tracking: It’s a Pain in the Ass.
So yeah. Tracking your food is TRULY a huge pain in the ass. I’m not gonna lie.
But if you can do it for a month, you can do it for six months.
And often times, if you do it for six months, you don’t have to keep doing it all the time. That’s because you can train your brain to actually WANT to eat healthier foods and in healthier ways. I swear.
Here are some super simple food tracking hacks that will help you make it happen, too.
Food Track-Hack #1: No Cheating (At First)
I had to be very strict about tracking during the beginning in order to lose the weight.
I had to track LITERALLY every single day for at least six months before I felt like I was ready to try going track free.
I tracked every single thing I put in my mouth–even if it was just a handful of peanuts or a bite of a cookie. It mattered, and it changed my life.
Food Track-Hack #2: Okay, Cheat a Little (Within Reason)
Some people do well with a “cheat day” each week, others need two. My suggestion is to do one or less “days” of “freedom” at first.
Instead, I suggest a “cheat meal” option or a “cheat dessert” option once a week.
For me, the Weight Watchers bonus points (aka cheat within reason option) made it easier to understand what an appropriate amount of cheating looked like, and tracking taught me how to eat right and still live in the “real world.”
But even when you cheat, you should still track every single thing you eat. It will help to know exactly what kind of damage you’re doing–in more ways than one.
Food Track-Hack #3: Why Tracking Is Seriously Worth the Trouble
Look, I know what you’re thinking. Tracking food? Boring, waste of time, annoying, restrictive, waste of energy–doesn’t work anyway. Right?
Wrong. So wrong. And trust me, I know what I’m talking about – I learned it the hard way.
For me, tracking everything I ate and drank was a pain at first and felt really restrictive, but that short period of restriction ultimately led to freedom.
It will be for you too, I promise–so just do it! It is WORTH it. Now I get to wear stuff like this. Way more fun. 🙂
Food Track-Hack Tip #4: Find Your Inner Gamer (Dig Deep If You Gotta)
So listen, I’m not a gamer. Honestly. But tracking sort of became a game to me, eventually. I actually (don’t tell anyone) sort of had fun with it.
I wanted to see how much I could eat while still staying within my points allowance, so I’d figure out different menu options and play with the numbers until I had the most satisfying options possible. Give it a shot!
And Freedom From Food Tracking Looks Like This
These days, I don’t track on a daily basis. But through tracking, I learned what portion sizes are healthier, which small adjustments to which dishes can reduce your fat and calories but still retain the flavor and more.
But the biggest and most important thing that six months of tracking my food helped me to learn was how to listen to my own body’s cues.
Now, I just eat what I want and nothing more or less. I pay attention to my body and feed it what it wants–and nothing else.
How the Food Tracking-Game Changed My World
Within the confines of my little game, I naturally leaned toward healthier foods. Fruits and veggies were mostly free–so I could eat a HUGE and awesome salad with a few ounces of chicken and a couple tablespoons of dressing for seven or eight points, max.
This kind of game-playing led to a change in my taste preferences. Eating greasy, cheesy, creamy, fried or otherwise bad-for-me foods suddenly became less attractive.
Now, I wanted fresh, cleaner-tasting stuff.
These days, I am able to literally eat anything I want, simply by eating healthy MOST of the time and by allowing myself to indulge on occasion.
And since I’m still working on getting those last few pounds off, I am still keeping an eye on my scale. If I notice that I plateau for too long or even gain a pound or two, I’ll go back to tracking for a few weeks so I can regain balance.
I promise, tracking your food doesn’t have to (totally) suck. You might be surprised to find out how much (or how little) you’re really eating and how small changes in your choices can lead to big changes in your health.
Do you track your food? Have you in the past, or will you start food tracking now? Have tracking tips that worked for you? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below, or join the discussion on our Facebook page.