Often people think they have to make drastic changes all at once to get results.
But SMALL CHANGES ARE KEY!
Especially when it comes to diet.
I’ve had a lot of people say to me recently that they don’t like being hungry – and losing weight requires you to be hungry like all the time.
I care to disagree.
Drastic calorie cuts will cause you to feel hungry. But losing weight and getting healthy isn’t just about calories in vs. calories out.
Honestly, you can feel hungry eating 1,000 too many calories if you aren’t eating the RIGHT types of calories.
And truly you shouldn’t feel miserable while eating well. Eating well CAN and SHOULD be enjoyable.
Here are 5 changes you need to make that don’t involve cutting calories:
1. Cut out processed crap, but don’t cut out the meals you love. Slowly rid your kitchen of processed and pre-made foods. That doesn’t mean you can’t still occasionally indulge in mac and cheese…It just means you will be better off having homemade mac and cheese then something pre-made with a ton of preservatives. Make adjustments to those recipes you enjoy! Love mexican pizza? Try it on a cauliflower crust. Create huge results by just home making those meals you love!
2. Focus on meats and veggies, but they can TASTE GOOD. Eating healthy doesn’t mean cutting out flavor. While you want to focus your diet on meat and veggies that doesn’t have to mean plain chicken breast and steamed broccoli. Use some full fat cheese. Make sauces and dressing. There are tons of healthy ways to make your meals flavorful. I love adding guacamole and salsa to salads as dressings. I use tamari and sesame oil to make stir fries. I pack meals with flavor without adding any crap! Just avoid any pre-made seasonings and sauces that add in preservatives, vegetable oil or other crap.
3. Satisfy cravings. Cravings come in lots of different forms. And if you don’t satisfy them, you are going to end up giving up on your diet and binging because you feel to restricted. Satisfying your cravings also doesn’t have to mean eating badly. Craving something sweet? Eat a piece of fruit or some dark chocolate. Here is one of my favorite sweet, salty and fatty healthy treats – Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bark. Craving something savory? What about some veggies in a homemade dip? Or some salted nuts (heck even coat them in some other seasonings). Or some kale chips. There are tons of ways to satisfy your cravings without eating badly. And sometimes maybe you do have a specific burrito craving and need the real thing. Then get it and get right back on track. Not feeling restricted is key to sticking with your diet in the long run! It isn’t being perfect one day, it is about the big picture.
4. Plan and choose recipes that you enjoy. Often I think we just slap together healthy things without worrying about how they taste. And, at first, that works because we are motivated. But after a while, we stop wanting to eat the boring, bland meals. We start to miss comfort foods. That is why it is important to make meals that you enjoy! Choose recipes that mimic or remind you of those foods you love. No they won’t be exactly the same, but they will taste good and keep you going even when your initial motivation wears off. Plus, it can be fun to find new creative ways to use healthy ingredients. I love the challenge of trying to use the same few ingredients in different ways!
5. Eat the things you love in moderation. Don’t be afraid to cheat. Often when we do cheat we make ourselves feel so guilty about it that we don’t even enjoy it (and sometimes we even make ourselves feel so bad that we start binging instead of getting back on track). Take time to enjoy those foods you love. Just exercise moderation and/or make healthier swaps whenever possible. But don’t completely restrict yourself!
Notice one thing with all five tips…All of these changes focus on continuing to enjoy your food. Dieting shouldn’t make you feel like you are suffering or missing out. You should be able to enjoy eating well!
For more tips to help you eat well, check out these Healthy Eating Guidelines.
Often when I start someone on the road to a healthy diet, I give them macronutrient guidelines. Like keep your protein, carbs and fat at so and so a level.
I usually also discuss with them carb cycling and that they want to try to make the mainstays of their diet protein and vegetables.
I then let them go on their way.
I don’t want to create too many rules or develop too many restrictive guidelines because that just leads to people giving up (aka cheating and then not recording what they eat).
So I give them these very basic guidelines (hit these macronutrient intake numbers and focus on eating whole natural foods) and send them on their way for the first few weeks.
What I find most interesting is what many people have been coming back with…And not only what they come back with but also their surprise and frustration at WHY they aren’t losing weight.
It is very interesting to see that most people ignore the WHOLE NATURAL FOODS part and get super caught up in simply hitting the numbers.
Actually they use the numbers as an excuse to eat bad…”Well I’m still under calories for the day so I can have these Oreos.” Or “I’m under my carbs for the day so this burrito with this huge flour tortilla is fine.”
I know If It Fits Your Macros has become a very popular diet program, and while I think it is a great program with a ton of benefits, I do believe that QUALITY MATTERS when it comes to food.
I mean carbs from fruit and carbs from a flour tortilla might all add up under your macronutrients as CARBS, but their nutritional breakdown is far from the same.
Even ground beef has a very different nutritional breakdown if it is Grass-fed or grain-fed.
I mean just think about GMO vs. non-GMO corn! One is way better for you than the other!
And I firmly believe that the more chemicals, the more processed CRAP we put in our bodies, the less efficiently they run.
So while macros create great guidelines, and I firmly believe in keeping your daily basic intake of carbs to under 150 grams (and even under 100 grams if you are really trying to lose weight), I do believe that not all carbs are created equal. Not all fat, all protein is created equal.
As I’m saying this, I know many of you are also shaking your heads in agreement. You know there are bad fats. You know that sugars are bad for you.
Yet you are the ones that eat prepackaged burger patties or only eat pre-made meals from the grocery store and expect great results just because you are fitting your macros!
All those ingredients that you can’t pronounce on those labels are BAD FOR YOU! That prepackaged salad with that prepackaged balsamic and the ingredients to preserve it isn’t going to be the same as a homemade salad.
Yes it might be BETTER than going out and getting a burger and fries made in vegetable oil, but that doesn’t mean it’s GOOD.
Better doesn’t equal good. Yes, better is better, but just being better isn’t always enough.
It is like saying, “Well I did half my homework due for class today. That is better than last time when I only did a quarter of my homework for class.”
Yea doing half is BETTER but it still isn’t good! It still isn’t going to get you that great grade!
Anyway…That is my rant.
All of this, diet and exercise and reaching your fitness goals, all comes down to one thing – Whether or not we make excuses for ourselves.
I mean come on…We all KNOW basically what we have to do to lose weight and be healthy. We all KNOW we should eat whole natural foods.
Yet we all find ways to make excuses for why we can’t do that. Or why what we are doing should work even though we are skipping the most basic principle to healthy living.
We all make excuses for ourselves and it has got to stop if we want results.
Heck be it quality of food or quality of exercise, QUALITY MATTERS if we want to be healthy.
So stop making excuses. Stop making things more difficult on yourself.
If you want results, QUALITY MATTERS!
Let’s face it…Self control isn’t infinite and if you feel deprived on a regular basis, eventually you are going to binge. And then that binge usually leads to guilt, which in turn leads to another binge and then guilt….and then potentially another binge until you finally go back to restricting what you eat.
But you can’t eat healthily and eat exactly what you want all the time. You simply can’t eat burritos and frozen yogurt every night no matter how good it tastes.
But you also can’t DEPRIVE yourself of the food you love for too long because if you do, at some point you are going to give into deprivation and go and eat it anyway. You also most definitely can’t starve yourself because not eating enough is also going to lead to binging and won’t get you results any faster (For all you women that eat only like 500 calories a day, I wrote a post for you about how you may actually be HINDERING your progress because you are STARVING yourself!)
So if you can’t eat exactly what you want any time you want it, but you also can’t deprive yourself of the food you love, what the heck do you do if you want to be healthy?
You don’t restrict yourself…Or at least you do so as little as possible.
I’ve mentioned this before, but when making diet changes, you really have two options – go all in or make small changes.
Which one you do is really dependent on you.
For some people, it is best to go all in at the beginning because any temptation at the beginning away from the clean eating habits they want to instill will lead to a binge.
For others, “going all in” leads to feelings of deprivation, which in turn leads to binging.
So when starting to make healthier choices, you need to decide which one will work best for you.
Then you also need to figure out what triggers your feelings of deprivation. What makes you feel like you are restricted and can’t indulge?
Is it not having dessert at night? Is it that you miss that salty snack in the afternoon? Is it when you get stressed and just want to eat?
Once you figure out your triggers, you can PLAN for them.
You can have healthy alternatives on hand when you know you may need them.
Like for me…I grew up eating dessert every night so when I’m stressed or tired or just not in the right frame of mind, I start craving dessert.
But instead of completely depriving myself, I’ve found healthy alternatives that satisfy me. Like a piece of dark chocolate or some delicious fresh fruit. And honestly for me this works because I physically feel way better and SATISFIED.
It’s not that a pint of ice cream doesn’t still sometimes sound good, but for me most of the time it just isn’t worth it. I would rather my chocolate bar.
Basically what you need to do is nip the craving in the bud. If you let that craving fester, you are doing to feel deprived and eventually not care what you eat and binge.
If you just deal with the craving, you are going to be way better off.
And right now your probably thinking…”Ok well sometimes a healthy alternative isn’t good enough.”
This is where I say…”Well it’s not about perfect…It’s about eating well 80% of the time and indulging 20%. Dealing with the craving could be indulging occasionally when you really really want something or it could be planning in a cheat.”
There are definitely times when you just really really want that cookie, that bag of chips, that snack that everyone else at the office is indulging in.
And sometimes it is ok to give in.
But if you indulge in that thing that you truly want, don’t allow it to be an excuse to binge.
Indulging and enjoying things you love isn’t bad!
You shouldn’t freak out if you eat a calorie that isn’t on your “diet program!” (Shoot you shouldn’t freak out if you go on vacation and indulge for a week because you’ve got to enjoy life!)
It isn’t a big deal!
If you stress about not being perfect with your diet, that stress is what will TRULY lead to binging. Because that stress is what makes you feel restricted and turns one little indulgence into a year-long binge.
If you really want to eat well, you’ve got to realize healthy living is a LIFE-LONG PROCESS. It isn’t about perfection day in and day out. It is about trying to simply eat whole natural foods as often as you can while STILL enjoying life!
So don’t stress yourself out about dieting. Don’t make yourself feel deprived and completely restricted.
If you LOVE Thanksgiving food or Christmas food or have one restaurant you go to occasionally on a Friday night, indulge on that day! Don’t deprive yourself of things that you love! That one day, one meal isn’t going to destroy all your hard work! What will destroy your healthy lifestyle is stressing about the indulgence and NOT enjoying to the fullest! Feel satisfied when you indulge, not guilty, because satisfaction leads to adherence in the long run, which is what truly matters!
So now the question is…Are you caught in the binge eating cycle? What do you do so that you ENJOY eating well and don’t feel deprived?
So yesterday I got a text from a friend asking me if a certain pre-made smoothie was healthy.
And my response was…”Well…not really.”
She then replied with, “Ugh. Nothing that tastes good is healthy.”
And when I told her to make her own delicious smoothie, she said, “Okay fine. I’m lazy.”
I hear all the time that “nothing healthy tastes that good,” but is that really true? (And actually few ever really admit that they are just being lazy!)
Yes, there are bad foods that I love because of the way they taste and I do indulge in them on cheat days but they don’t really taste BETTER than all the delicious whole foods I eat on a daily basis. And they also make me feel WAY WORSE than all of the whole foods do!
I actually believe that most people would agree with me that meals cooked with whole natural foods can be extremely delicious and that TASTE isn’t really the reason why they don’t eat healthily.
It is laziness.
And yes…maybe that laziness is brought on by the fact that we are emotionally drained or stressed or dealing with lots of other things in life, but it is still laziness.
And our LAZINESS is what makes eating healthily seem super difficult.
Laziness makes us pick fad diets and stray away from cooking.
Everyday we make choices about how we are going to spend our time. And many people decide that cooking whole natural foods isn’t worth the effort.
So they start some diet where they don’t have to cook. They try a short cut. Pre-made foods. Juice diets. Special K cereal (Sorry Special K but you bother me).
And then they wonder why they aren’t losing weight or feeling healthier.
Why aren’t they getting results?!?
So they end up giving up on the diet…”It is just too hard eating well and I’m not getting results,” they say.
If you are TRULY eating well, you WILL get results.
Yes, you WILL have to be patient. Yes, you will have to spend time cooking. But YES, you will get results.
Sorry…there are no IFs, ANDs or BUTs about it…If you eat well, you WILL get results.
If you are lazy and take short cuts, yea you won’t get results and “eating well” WILL seem impossible because who can stick to a juice diet!?!
I mean when you really break it all down, is cooking whole natural foods really that much more difficult or truly time-consuming?
Is it really more difficult or time-consuming than bouncing around from fad diet to fad diet never getting results?
In the end, you waste way more time doing all the failed fad diets than you do spending a little time each week prepping and cooking meals.
Shoot with the Crock-pot you can basically throw everything in at once and just go about your day and come home and have a week of meals cooked for you!
I mean on a Sunday morning while you are eating breakfast, you can easily throw a whole chicken into the oven and cook it for the next few hours while you go about your chores or spend all that time you supposedly don’t have watching TV.
Is that really more difficult than going out and buying prepackaged foods that you throw in the microwave and that leave you always feeling hungry and never get you results?
Is eating crap really less difficult and truly more tasty if you aren’t happy with how you feel?
What matters more?
When it comes right down to it and you dig through all the crap excuses, is eating well really that difficult or are you really just being lazy?
So this weekend was my final big cheat until Thanksgiving and boy did I do it up right.
I celebrated with a Halloween party last night and a big brunch with Ryan’s sisters this morning.
We are a society where food, family and friends seem to almost be inseparable.
We sit down to dinner as a family for some “family time.” We meet up with friends for a meal to “catch up.” We celebrate with parties centered around food.
At the heart of most of our socializing is FOOD.
Does that make sticking to your diet, especially around the holidays, easy?
But that doesn’t mean that you can just give up!
Sure use a few get-togethers and specific holiday gatherings as cheat days, but choose them wisely. Choose ones that are meaningful and satisfying.
Don’t just eat bad food to eat bad food. Don’t just be lazy and take the easy way out.
DON’T JUST GIVE IN TO EVERY TEMPTATION!
I know it is difficult to turn down bad food. I know there are tons of articles with special tips about plate size and drinking water to supposedly help you avoid overeating.
But let’s face it…Once you eat a few bad things at a party and have a drink or two, your inhibitions will be lowered and you probably won’t end up eating only a “bit or two” of the bad food.
So instead pick and choose events to eat badly at.
Even if that planning is just knowing that you are going to have a few big cheats over the next few months, but are going to eat super clean in between them.
Think about which events you will really feel deprived if you don’t indulge at and plan to cheat at those. Come up with a plan of action at the others to help you stick to your diet if you don’t want to cheat at them. (This will prevent you from losing all willpower after a drink or two at the party.)
If it is at a restaurant, check out the menu ahead of time. If it is at a friend’s house, there is no harm in asking what the menu will be like.
I always find that when I’m aware of the food choices beforehand, I can create an action plan to keep me on track while enjoying the party and not feeling like the odd man out.
Family, friends and food – You don’t have to miss out OR give up on your diet!
But for some reason I just can’t get myself to do it consistently.”
We know that we should be exercising and we know what foods we should be eating, but for some reason it is sometimes hard to make ourselves do it!
Why is there sometimes a gap between what we know we should be doing and what we actually make ourselves do? And how do we close that gap?
I think we can have issues making ourselves stick to a healthy diet or workout program for numerous reasons.
Self-control, stress, schedule, support and resources all influence how easily we transition to a new lifestyle and maintain it.
Honestly, you can name a thousand reasons as to why we don’t eat the way we know we should or workout as much as we should. You can even claim you don’t truly know what is healthy because of all misinformation out there about health and fitness.
But if you truly want something, only you can make it happen. No matter how many excuses you can come up with, only you can CHOOSE to commit to a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some tips to help you transition to a new healthy lifestyle and STAY COMMITTED:
- First determine which works better – slowly eliminating bad foods or going cold turkey. Don’t go cold turkey if you know that it will make you feel so deprived that you feel the need to cheat in only a couple of days. For some, it works better to do a looser version of a diet and slowly become more strict. For instance start eating whole natural foods, but keep in rice and potatoes while you eliminate grains if you eat lots of carbs currently. Then maybe slowly lessen the amount of each that you eat. OR if you are a sweets person, don’t cut out all treats. Maybe just allow yourself only “healthy” treats like dark chocolate or berries or the Man Bicep whipped cream! If however, you are the type of person that just needs to go cold turkey, don’t tease yourself with little treats…GO COLD TURKEY!
- Write up a plan. It’s easy to cheat on some vague idea, but when you have a solid plan written down, it is a lot harder to cheat on it. Outline what foods you want to eat or what workouts you want to do on certain days. Also plan out how long your program or diet will run. If you set an end date, you can REWARD yourself when you succeed. Treat yourself to something when you accomplish your goal (preferably not food related!). I found it motivating to know that I would get a treat like a massage or shopping spree if I stuck to my plan! And yes, we are striving for a lifestyle change, but if you make up a plan for three months and stick to it, you will find that after that you’ve made it enough of a habit to go it on your own!
- Display your plan and let others know what you are doing. If only you know about your plan, you are much more likely to cheat…especially if you hide it away in a drawer. Display your plan on your door or in your kitchen on the fridge. If you can see it every day, you are a lot less likely to cheat. And if you tell others about your plan, they will help keep you in line. Both their support and just the fact that others know will make you want to succeed so that you don’t let them down!
- Don’t DEPRIVE yourself! When you feel deprived, you are most likely to cheat. So don’t starve yourself! Eat till you are satisfied…not stuffed just content. Also, allow yourself days to indulge a bit more. For one, it will help you stay committed. For two, calorie cycling can help you lose that last little bit of fat since your metabolism won’t slow from constant calorie restriction! For me having one day each week where I eat as much as I want of “healthy cheats” allows me to recharge. Also planning in full cheat days helps me remain committed because I know that even if I feel deprived, it won’t be for long! Remember, the 80/20 rule. Eat well 80% of the time and indulge 20%!
Workout partners and trainers are also definitely good motivation…Anything else help you stay committed?
I’m willing to accept that other people may have different beliefs than I do, especially when it comes to diet and fitness. There is just so much information out there leading you to believe so many different things.
The thing I can’t accept is people who are close-minded.
Choosing the “right” diet is all one big gamble. No one truly KNOWS what is right. We can all just make educated guesses based on the research that is out there and self-experimentation.
And what we believe to be “right” should change over time as we LEARN more. As we EXPERIMENT more.
If you ever believe that you know exactly what is the best/healthiest diet and are unwilling to make adjustments, that is the day that you’ve officially become WRONG.
You are an IDIOT if you think you have all the answers and don’t need to continue LEARNING about diet and exercise…or well anything in life for that matter.
I keep capitalizing LEARNING here because it is key!!! Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate from school – it just becomes an independent study.
So don’t think that just because something is what you “used to do” or “have always done” means it is correct.
I mean over the last few years eggs have gone from being good to eat to bad for your cholesterol back to being good for you to eat with no effect on cholesterol.
It seriously is one big crap shoot. You can find evidence for just about everything in the field of nutrition. (And exercise is only a bit better.)
So since it is all one big gamble and all we can do is continue learning and experimenting, what do we do?
Well this girl has become good at admitting she has more to learn and has no shame admitting when she’s wrong.
I did the low-fat thing. I grew up believing it was RIGHT. I believed it was right for 20 some years of life.
And then after I stopped listening to the media. After I stopped listening to “society” – I did my own research and found out I’d been wrong all those years.
Why was I eating processed crap to try to eat mainly “low-fat?” How did I believe that some processed butter thing like Smart Balance HeartRight Light Buttery Spread was better for me than regular butter, which is barely processed? I mean look at all that crap in Smart Balance butter spread! Heck it even admits it’s not butter in the title! It’s butter spread!
AND this supposed “heart healthy” butter spread has vegetable oils up the wazzu in it! And what research has been popping up everywhere?!? Research that shows vegetable oils may be causing some of our heart related problems and diseases!
When I started realizing that I was wrong, was it hard for me to admit it to myself and change?
Yes, at first I fought it. It isn’t easy admitting you are wrong. That is why most people instantly jump on you when you start talking about eating saturated fat or low carb or anything contrary to the low-fat mantra.
BUT, I gave the diet a shot anyway. Heck, I even thought at one point “I’ll do a self experiment and prove that this Primal/Paleo/Whole, natural food diet with high protein and low carbs ISN’T right.”
Of course, I was wrong again.
BUT because I gave it a shot, I found something that is, what I believe to be, RIGHT. I look better than I ever did on low-fat and, most importantly, I FEEL BETTER.
Because of my self experimentation, I do believe that eating whole natural foods is the right way. To me it also just logically makes sense. Of course, I’m still constantly doing research to make adjustments to my diet. You must always continue learning!
Of course, now that I’ve found a diet that I believe in, not because someone told me it works, but because I’ve EXPERIENCED it’s results, I’m a big supporter and encourage others to experiment. (AKA share my opinion with anyone and everyone that I can!)
Plus, I love a good debate. I’m just a tab bit argumentative and I will take on anyone, which I think amuses/annoys Ryan sometimes since he avoids the whole nutrition debate with most people.
He tells me “It’s not worth it.” And yea…sometimes it isn’t, but when someone just straight out shoots you down, it gets my blood boiling!
And I imagine that sometimes I look like a little Terrier yapping at a big dog when I debate people.
But what the hey…sometimes it isn’t worth it because the person is too close-minded to even truly entertain a good debate. BUT at the least I hope I encouraged them at some point to do a bit more research into what they believe to be right!
If you are going to be a staunch supporter of something in the nutrition field, you’ve got to do your research. You’ve also got to realize that you are gambling…with your life.
So to sum up my point:
- It’s really all one big gamble.
- Don’t be ashamed to admit you are wrong! In fact be proud that you are willing to learn and change and GROW!
- Never stop learning.
- Self-experimentation is really key since there are studies proving just about anything and everything when it comes to nutrition.
P.S. A phrase I hate hearing from trainers or nutritionists is “I wouldn’t recommend that” when they’ve never tried it! How can you recommend or not recommend something that you’ve never tried!?! This phrase was uttered in response to a discussion we had about Intermittent Fasting, which by the way..DOES FREAKING WORK! Sheesh..just look at all the freaking testimonials on Lean Gains‘ site!
I’m a health and fitness addict, but I’ve surrounded myself with people who support my lifestyle.
It is very hard to commit to a healthy lifestyle when you go it alone – when everyone around you in someway tempts you to “cheat.”
I sympathize with clients who are trying to lose weight but their husbands refuse to diet or exercise with them. Their husbands won’t force them to eat badly, but watching someone else eat something you WANT while you stick to your diet, isn’t easy. Going to the gym while your significant other sits on the couch or sleeps in isn’t easy.
And the worst part about all of this is…You can’t just brainwash your significant other into committing to a new and healthy lifestyle….Can you?
Ok you can’t brainwash them, but here are some ways to try to convince (or trick) them into supporting you.
First off, it usually isn’t hard to convince men to eat steak and bacon, which is more than acceptable on the Man Bicep diet. Actually it is usually harder to convince women to eat fatty cuts of meat.
Our society definitely associates manliness with meat – especially red meat. So serve your man some meat and I guarantee he will be more than happy to be eating healthy with you. He will be so happy in fact that he may not even realize that he is eating well! It seems you would have way more trouble convincing your spouse to eat vegan than you would to eat red meat…at least it seems that way based on the fact that vegans feel the need to put out videos about “manliness.”
Don’t make exercise all about going to the gym. Find active hobbies that you both enjoy! This will make working out less of a chore for you and a way that you two can still spend time together! You can simple go for a walk or a hike together. Or you can try something like kayaking or rock climbing. It can honestly be anything. Being active together is a great time to bond and get your spouse to realize how much FUN being active can be!
Get results. As hard as it may be to go it alone, the end results are worth it. If you can go it alone long enough to start seeing results, trust me…he will see results too. And there is no better encouragement for him to support your lifestyle than seeing you look great, have more energy and feel healthier. He may realize he needs to change his lifestyle just to keep up with you!
Ok and let’s face it…the best way to convince them that they should support you boils down to….SEX.
- Eating crap like simple sugars and grains lowers your testosterone levels. That means you are less interested in sex than say when you are eating tons of meat and bacon, which actually raises your testosterone levels!
- Working out makes you look better and FEEL BETTER about how you look. If you like the way you look, don’t you think you will want to show off? Plus, who wouldn’t be turned on by their significant other looking sexy and lean!?!
- Eating well and working out usually combines to make us not only look better, feel healthier but also be more confident. I don’t know about you, but when I feel like I look good, I’m much more apt to show a little skin. I want to strut my stuff!
So don’t let your significant other sabotage your diet and exercise plan!
Your self-control is like a tank of gas.
You start with a full tank, but each and every time you use your self-control, the tank goes down.
And you know when you hit empty – it’s the day when no matter how hard you try, you just can’t stop yourself from stuffing your face with everything in the cabinet.
So how do you keep yourself from getting so low on self-control that you lose all control?
You give yourself days to recharge where you don’t have to use your self-control!
We take days off from working out to rest our bodies. We take days off from work to recharge for the next week.
So why wouldn’t you need to take a day off from eating a perfectly clean diet?
This recharge each week isn’t an all out cheat, which can be good to do every once in a while if you enjoy non-healthy foods like I do.
But instead this recharge day, unlike the other 6 days of the week when you try to not eat past being satiated, you can eat till you are absolutely and completely stuffed full of all the Primal foods you enjoy!
For me this day is Saturday, each and every week. Yep even during my very strict two months, I had a day to recharge.
Each and every Saturday, I would indulge in all of the Primal foods I loved until I was so stuffed full I didn’t want to eat anything else. Depending on the week, I could have anything from potatoes fried in duck fat to full-fat cheese, dark chocolate, nuts and fruit.
All still whole, natural foods, but I didn’t worry about the quantity in which I ate them. If I wanted a huge hunk of cheese, I ate it. If I was craving something sweet? I would eat dark chocolate macadamia nut bark, or fruit or my primal “sorbet” (frozen berries, heavy cream and dark chocolate pieces all mashed together).
Not only did this day help me refill my self-control tank so that I could make it through another week of meat and veggies, but I also truly believe that this high calorie day really helped me get as lean as I did in two months.
All of the diets that I’ve found to be successful and fairly easy to maintain, are diets that have give you one “cheat day” each and every week. I mean just take a look at Lean Gains or Tim Ferriss of the 4 Hour Body.
And these diets incorporate cheat days because cheat days promote fat loss because they:
- Increased thyroid hormone output. When in a caloric deficit, underfed individuals produce less T3 and T4—both important thyroid hormones that play roles in the regulation of metabolic rate. A cheat day or strategic overfeed is used in part to increase these hormones.
- Increased 24-Hour Energy Expenditure. A caloric surplus from a cheat day causes the body to upregulate basal metabolic rate (BMR). Some studies have shown an increase of 9% above baseline, and it’s hypothesized that more is possible.
- Increased serum Leptin levels. The big one that most harp on. Leptin levels drop while in a caloric deficit (lasting as little as 72 hours), and a periodic bump in leptin coming from a cheat day has several benefits including increased thyroid output, increased energy expenditure and BMR, and overall increased thermogenesis.
Of course, there’s the psychological benefit of being able to take a day off from your diet; eat whatever you like and be comfortable in the knowledge that you’ll still get lean. It’s hard to quantify how much that actually helps, but the majority of folks who opt to use cheating protocols cite this as one of the most significant benefits. (RFS)
So if you “cheat” once a week not only can you recharge your self-control, but you also make your diet more conducive to fat loss (and more enjoyable)!