Weight Loss Tips That You Can Actually Stick To

“Weight loss doesn't begin in the gym with a dumbbell; it starts in your head with a decision.”

- Toni Sorenson

Belle, a forty-five-year-old marketing manager at a fashion company, had always had a love-hate relationship with food.

Food represented either a reward or punishment, depending on what she ate. If she had a healthy salad, Belle thought she was the healthiest person in the world. 

When Belle caved in and had pizza or her favorite pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, she judged herself harshly.

“I had gone through just about every diet, eating plan and exercise program out there, but my weight would still yo-yo, and I’d hate myself for it,” Belle said.

This unhealthy pressure that Belle put on herself sabotaged the limited success she had with losing weight.

She added, “Because I tied my self-worth into how much I weighed, I was punishing myself for not looking like something out of a women’s fitness magazine.”

But when Belle realized that keeping or losing weight wasn’t attached to some, moral, cosmic scale, she learned to let go of her need for control.

And funnily enough, she started seeing REAL results when she stopped fighting with herself.

“It hit me that the more I locked myself in this battle with my body, the more it fought back,” Belle shared.

So after almost two decades of beating herself up, Belle finally tried a different, gentler approach.

Belle said, “Pretty soon, I naturally ditched my cravings and stuck to eating the good stuff. It was like flipping a switch somewhere inside my body...and the weight started flying off.”

 

It’s Not Your Fault

Yes, I know this is a bold claim to make in the face of so many people making poor food choices.

Of course, you’re responsible for what you choose to eat and what lifestyle you lead. But also consider the fact that much of the world is in the midst of a sweeping epidemic.

According to a study from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, the rate of obesity has swelled to almost DOUBLE since the 1980s.

Meanwhile, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicts that by 2020, a whopping three-fourths of the U.S. population will be obese.

So what could be behind this disturbing trend?

Well, here are two things to think about:

First, the human species has more access to food today compared to any other time in history.

This wouldn't be a problem if the majority of this food were healthy. Instead, our supermarkets and restaurants are FLOODED with hyperpalatable, overly stimulating “Frankenstein Foods.”

They’re designed to bypass the body’s ability to make you stop eating. So you might find yourself tearing through a bag of chips or cookies before you even realize what’s going on.

Secondly, the other peril of modern living is the constant media bombardment that's almost impossible to escape. A continuous stream of advertisements is sending you mixed messages 24/7.

While one ad is urging you to dig into a nice, juicy cheeseburger, another one is berating you for not looking like its featured model with washboard abs.

Is it any surprise why people like Belle are stuck in this vicious cycle of self-loathing and unhealthy eating?

If you’re in the same boat – this is probably why losing weight is such a power struggle.

That’s why it’s time to short-circuit this cycle and get on a path that involves LESS pressure and more self-acceptance.

Here are 5 Super Easy Ways to Shed Those Pounds – And Keep Them Off:

 

#1: Don’t restrict yourself on what to eat

I'm not giving you a license to eat as many donuts as you can in one sitting. That would be unhealthy no matter how you look at it.

What I am saying is that the moment you start putting limits in your mind, it automatically creates this guilt complex every time you cross that imaginary line.

And once that’s in place, you’ll binge even HARDER.

Making something prohibited only makes you want to have it more. That whole reverse psychology bit is part of human nature.

And when most people have had a taste of their forbidden fruit, they figure, “What the heck, I might as well eat the WHOLE bag since I’ve crossed the line already.”

When you say it out loud like that, it sounds silly, doesn’t it?

But this is precisely what goes on in a person's head when they deal in extremes. If they're not sticking 100% to the plan, then they're an absolute failure.

So if you do end up something that’s not necessarily healthy for you, go ahead and enjoy it with all your heart - and tummy.

That brings us to the next tip…

 

#2: Savor Your Food and Hold the Judgment

Ok, so you just learned that a hardcore approach doesn’t work. Cracking the whip on yourself fuels your self-loathing – this, in turn, pushes you to make even MORE poor food choices.

But there’s a deeper reason why emotionally-charged eating habits will sabotage your weight-loss efforts.

You see, how you feel while you’re eating something actually influences your digestion and metabolism.

What Belle didn’t realize at the time was when she ate something “forbidden” – like a slice of her favorite pizza – this sent a signal to her digestive system.

How she perceived the food (and by extension, herself as a person) caused her to digest and metabolize the food poorly.

And even if pizza wasn’t the best choice for dinner, loading it with guilt made things worse. It raised her stress hormone levels which can lead to weight gain and storing more fat.

It boils down to this: people underestimate the power of their minds.

On some level, if you believe something to be true, it will happen.

Just think about the numerous studies done on the placebo effect. Researchers from Cornell University administered a pill that helped with appetite management to a group of subjects.

The funny thing was when one group took the drug without knowing what it did, they didn’t stop eating less or lose weight.

But after the subjects in the study were told what the drug was for, they effortlessly lost weight and managed their appetite much better than the other group.

In the same way, you can get more out of your food – no matter how healthy they are, or otherwise – if you don’t judge yourself for it.

By merely focusing on the sheer pleasure of eating it, your brain will send signals to your gut. You'll then get more nutritional value out of it, and burn fat more efficiently.

 

#3: You Don’t Have to Go “All In”

This takes us back to the all-or-nothing approach, which is doomed to fail from day one.

Aside from feeling guilty about lapses in judgment, you also want to resist the urge to jump in with both feet.

Any kind of change can be done gradually, especially when it comes to modifying a habit.

And it doesn’t make you a wimp for not going in with guns blazing. Instead, keep the long game in mind.

We’re getting into self-help/motivational territory here…but if you can do ONE THING that moves you closer to your goals…

…then you’re doing BETTER than you think.

So you can start losing weight by eating ONE nutritious meal every day. Then you can work your way from there and step it up once you’ve gained enough traction.

Erica Giovinazzo, a Registered Dietitian with a Master's in Clinical Nutrition, believes in the power of supercharging just one meal with protein, fat, and carbs.

She advises her clients not to do everything right out of the gate, and use a single meal as a foundation for better habits later on.

 

#4: Focus Less on Calories, and More on Food Quality

I’m not saying that calories aren’t part of the weight-loss equation because they totally are.

But the problem is that it’s not as black and white as most people think. Consuming fewer calories and working out more DOES NOT equal burning fat.

In fact, that can backfire horribly. You could be very well eating a low-calorie diet while skipping essential nutrients that HELP you lose weight.

Think of it this way: eating only marshmallows for a week will cut a huge chunk of calories from your diet.

But you’ll also spike your blood sugar levels and wreck your digestive system in the process.

Studies show that nutrient deficiency – such as protein in particular – pushes your body into starvation mode.

This leads to muscle loss, which makes it harder for you to burn calories and fat in the long run.

Recent research talks about this, such as "Muscle Atrophy: When The Body Cannibalizes Itself" by the Rockefeller University and “Influence of protein intake and training status on nitrogen balance and lean body mass” from the Journal of Applied Physiology.

So, you need to find food that gives you the most nutritional bang for your caloric buck. Does that make sense?

 

#5: Eat the Right Food

Finally, this brings us to the main event. What goes in your mouth has an impact on how much fat you store (AND burn), so listen up.

Like we just discussed, getting the vital nutrients are your main priority. When you have the right fuel, your body can function as it should.

So this should be the biggest stars on your plate:

  • Carbohydrates: these come from different sources, such as rice, grains or various root crop vegetables. They’re broken down into sugars, like glucose. This gives you fuel to function throughout the day. In it itself, carbs aren’t necessarily harmful, but when coupled with a generally poor diet, it can aggravate your blood sugar and insulin levels. But keep in mind that some people can still lose weight with moderate carb intake.
  • Proteins: As I said, this macronutrient is crucial because it helps build the body, such as muscle, connective tissue, hair, and skin. Without it, you'll have a harder time losing weight.
  • Fats: Unfortunately, studies during the 60s and 70s demonized ALL types of dietary fat. But today, we know that only certain types are actually harmful, such as trans fats. Healthy fats help you absorb vitamins better and carry other nutrients between your cells. Fats also help build brain matter and act as an excellent fuel source.
  • Micronutrients: the more famous ones are vitamins A and C (which boost immunity and eye health), along with magnesium and zinc (which promotes bone health and balances hormones respectively). Together, they repair cells, fight cancer and support other biological processes.

Thus, whole, unprocessed foods are your best bet for naturally losing weight while not depriving yourself.

Since they’re not synthesized in a factory, their nutritional value is still intact. That means they have the built-in feature of making you feel full (as opposed to processed snacks which are addictive).

That’s why you’ll want to focus on sources of energy like beef, chicken, lamb, pork, salmon, and eggs. These provide you with that all-important protein to keep your body active.

Meanwhile, you also want to get a good serving of cancer-fighting, antioxidant-rich vegetables. Add leafy greens into your meals, such as kale, mustard greens, collard greens, cabbage, broccoli, Swiss chard, and spinach.

Healthy fats can be found in avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, as well as nuts like almonds, cashews, and walnuts.

The world of spices and herbs offer a bunch of benefits as well. Turmeric, for instance, lowers inflammation and the risk of cancer while preventing conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

Keep the Pounds Off For Good – and Prevent Sickness

So losing weight isn’t about tracking every single calorie that goes into your plate - or working off the guilt of eating certain foods by hitting the gym.

As you learned, starving yourself in the hopes of losing weight comes at a HEAVY cost.

And you could consume the same number of calories in a healthy diet and STILL take inches off your waist.

By giving your body what it needs – instead of being obsessed with what you’re NOT supposed to eat – your metabolism will learn to burn fat.

But the BIGGEST obstacle goes back to the processed foods that make up the typical Western diet.

I realize we talked about not judging yourself for eating certain types of food - but at the same time, it’s also important to know what modern food is doing to you.

They’re designed to keep you hooked without offering any real nutrition. Not only that, they promote inflammation and insulin resistance, which could lead to diabetes and many other complications.

So once you understand its effects - and the benefits of whole, unprocessed food – you’ll have be LESS motivated to eat the processed stuff.

Then it won’t be a guilt thing, but rather you telling yourself, “Hmm, this pizza doesn’t taste as good as I remember. I should probably be eating something else!”

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