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!
So recently I’ve had a few of my female clients ask me about cleanse diets.
I personally would NEVER ever do one…or for that matter recommend that any of my clients do one.
I know they are the popular thing, but honestly, they are stupid.
Really? Drink juice for a week and your body will be cleansed?!?
Sounds like a week of feeling crappy and overloaded with sugar!
And when I tell most people that I think cleanses are stupid, they say to me, “Well then how do you rid your body of all the toxins that accumulate?”
UHM…I DON’T EAT CRAP FOOD MOST OF THE TIME!
You shouldn’t need to do a cleanse if you are eating a healthy diet 80% of the time. That healthy eating will, itself, make your body healthier and remove all of the “toxins.”
And really you think that one week on a “cleanse” is going to remove all the toxins from your body that you’ve been consuming for months and months and months eating a poor diet!?!
If you want to make your body healthy, you need to eat healthily most of the time…not for one week!
And the funniest thing is, when I say they should eat healthy 80% of the time if they really want a clean, healthy body, they tell me that only cleanses TRULY remove all of the gunk. That eating healthy doesn’t get it all out.
Some cleanse diet is going to remove some hidden gunk that eating only whole natural foods won’t remove!?!
UHM…NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!
Sometimes I want to ask people obsessed with cleanse diets what this supposed hidden gunk is? I mean really what is so supposedly stuck in us that only a cleanse diet can rid of us?
Also, I would just like to point out that most of these cleanse diets really AREN’T THAT HEALTHY OR GOOD FOR YOU!
You really thinking drinking juice for a week is that great for you? All you are consuming is a ton of carbs in the form of SUGAR!
That isn’t healthy!
But when I tell people that cleanse diets AREN’T healthy, I usually get a response like, “Well I saw a cleanse diet by Dr. Oz!”
Dr. Oz….Usually I would have a rant against him, but in this case…Well I actually kind of like him.
When they say that to me, I usually say, “Have you looked at the difference between your FAD cleanse and Dr. Oz’s?”
The Dr. Oz cleanse is basically like eating just a super clean all natural diet!
It isn’t juice with cayenne pepper! It is chicken and veggies. It is just SUPER CLEAN NATURAL FOODS!
If you want a TRUE cleanse, you don’t need to do some crazy diet that cuts out all but one food group! Just eat whole natural foods that aren’t processed at all!
Or you know what…maybe even add in some intermittent fasting…Now fasting a bit…that IS truly good for your body!
Oh but wait….you aren’t doing a cleanse to be healthy? No…you are doing the cleanse because your friend supposedly lost 10lbs in one week?!?
Oh well then of course do the cleanse! It must be the magic pill for weight loss!
Cleanse diets might help you lose a bit of weight, but the second you stop the cleanse, do you really think you are going to maintain the weight loss?
You haven’t changed your normal daily eating habits so how do you think you are going to keep that lost weight off?
YOU AREN’T GOING TO!
So why waste a week of your life on a completely miserable diet only to lose weight that you will probably gain back in less than two days when you return to your old eating habits?
There is no quick weight loss solution. If you want to lose weight, eat clean whole, natural foods. Eat a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and meat. (Shoot I would even say a well-balanced diet of vegetables and meat, which is completely the opposite of some of those fruit and sugar-laden cleanses!)
If you want to truly lose weight, you need to start a diet you can maintain for more than a week.
And if you are completely and utterly set on doing some sort of “cleanse” go super strict the first couple of weeks on your diet. Eat only vegetables and meat.
Then maybe after those two weeks of super clean eating, add back in a few healthy treats…like fruits or maybe a glass of wine or some dark chocolate or a little full-fat dairy here and there.
The point is that these fad cleanses aren’t healthy AND they don’t truly help you lose weight. If you want to be “clean” and lose weight, your only solution is to eat whole natural foods.
Even Dr. Oz says so!
When most people come into the gym, they come in because they want to feel better, but also because they want to lose weight.
I usually ask them how much they want to lose and why they want to lose that amount. Most of the time the weight people want to be is the lightest there were at some point in their life.
I then ask them about the type of workout program and diet program they were following.
Many times people will tell me that they were just trying to eat well. Most of the time men will tell me that they were active and lifting and just sort of fell off which is why they gained the weight. Most of the time women will tell me that they had been running while eating well and then fell off the wagon for some reason or another.
When I hear this, I usually believe that the men will be more likely to hit their target goal than the women.
Because I believe that in our current culture women become cardio queens and calorie restriction junkies to lose weight because thin is all they care about while most men don’t just want to lose the weight to be skinny. Guys actually generally have the opposite pressure on them – they should be strong and muscular.
Whether or not having either standard is right, is a discussion for another time. The point is that both standards exist and that both genders generally go about reaching their fitness goals in different ways.
Which leads me to usually state to women, “You know that you can’t just focus on that number on the scale right? With the addition of weights into your program, you may not lose all the weight that you want, BUT you may actually look slimmer and fit into that ______ that you want to wear even better!”
I then usually turn their focus to circumference measurements and body fat measurements. AND I usually only do these once a month…at most every two weeks.
BUT I definitely try to avoid the scale obsession.
While it would be great if we could all just focus on how we FEEL and how we PERFORM, wanting to look good is the reason why most people head to the gym.
So while you can check the scale, you can’t let it be the be all and end all. You’ve got to use some other measures.
And if you are going for aesthetic changes, circumference measurements and body fat tests can be great.
If you are dong circumference measurements, you need to make sure to measure the same spot each and every time. Here is a link that tells you WHERE to take measurements so that your measurements are consistent so you can actually track progress.
For body fat testing, there are a few ways to do it. Whichever way you do it, you will want to use this scale to find out what your body fat means. Please don’t set your goal for essential. Even the bodybuilders who reach that point DON’T maintain it for very long. At the essential level is where you get into health ISSUES.
And depending on the tool you use, there is some room for error, especially with tools like these handheld “electronic” measures or the scales that supposedly measure body fat. These tools are very dependent on hydration status so can be easily effected by how hydrated you are that day and whether or not you just worked out. If you use these tools, try to keep when you measure as consistent as possible.
Calipers are great too, but make sure you measure the same spot and really read up on how to use them. It is best to actually have a trainer who is experienced use them on you or at least teach you to use them.
The best body fat test is the dunk test or the bod pod. Both are more expensive, BUT if you really have an aesthetic change as your goal, why not use the most accurate measurement? Do one when you begin and then one every 90 days! It will definitely keep you from becoming obsessed each week with the measurement! (And you could still use circumference measurements just to see where you are at.)
Anyway, try to experiment with these other two measures of “weight loss.” I mean shoot, you can even use pictures as a measuring tool. You can see changes when you compare pictures even if you become used to seeing yourself every day in the mirror. And if you see changes that you like, who cares what the scale says?
Along the way to looking the way you want, if you can throw in some performance measurements, you may just find that after a while you become less and less worried about exactly how your weight loss progress is going and more and more focused on working hard and sticking to your program.
And guess what?!? When you start focusing on performance, you may actually more easily look the way you want to look! You won’t be obsessed with each fluctuation of that scale!
So try to take the emphasis off the weight you see on the scale. I know it’s not easy, but it really causes more pain than anything else!
So I’ve never been very good at drinking water.
For one, I got used to never having a chance to drink during workouts so I usually have to force myself to drink around my workouts.
Two, I just don’t love water. I would much rather drink something with flavor.
I’ve tried numerous different ways of forcing myself to drink more water.
A few years ago, I would put Crystal light into my water to get myself to drink more liquid. Yes this did get me to consume more water, but the water was loaded now with a whole bunch of crap.
I realized that this wasn’t all that good for me. I was still consuming a ton of the chemicals I was trying to avoid in soda.
So I started trying to just drink water. Forcing myself to just drink water.
This lasted oh about….one week.
So then I moved to carbonated water. For some reason….I LOVE CARBONATION.
No artificial sweeteners. Just carbonated water. Heck even carbonated mineral water.
Although nothing replaces pure water at least I wasn’t loading up my body with a ton of crap.
Things were getting better.
Of course I still know that the most important thing is to stay hydrated and consume enough water, which is why ever day I force myself to make the effort to DRINK MORE WATER!
I mean shoot it is essential if you want to lose weight, maintain a healthy weight AND keep from feeling unnecessarily fatigued!
And I don’t mean that water will help you lose weight just because it makes you feel full (I know this is every magazines’ favorite weight loss tip for that reason).
If you are dehydrated sometimes your body can actually “feel” hungry. It can trick you into thinking you are hungry when, in reality, you just need water.
So you eat unnecessary calories!
Plus, water and proper hydration helps keep your metabolism working at peak performance so that you can efficiently use the calories you consume!
And when you aren’t properly hydrated, you can also feel fatigued. This fatigue can prevent you from getting in a great workout, which may prevent you from progressing toward your fitness and weight loss goals.
So water is super important. I know that and I battle every day to make myself drink it even though I must admit that I would rather drink something with a little more flavor!
But it is worth the battle! I feel so much better when I’m properly hydrated!
So are you drinking enough water!?!
So last night when I was talking about workouts with a friend I realized how deeply it is ingrained in us that not only are certain exercises the key to weight loss success but so is a certain duration of activity.
She assumed I ran a lot and worked out for long periods of time because I’m “thin” and “in shape.”
Most women assume the same thing. They believe that running and long workouts are the key to weight loss success.
But they are wrong.
For one, I rarely ever run and when I do it usually is sprints or really light jogging if I’m going any distance over a mile.
And two, I don’t think any of my workouts have been anywhere near an hour for months now. Shoot, at least a few times a week my workouts aren’t even longer than 15 minutes!
Running and cardio in general is a key piece of the weight loss puzzle, but it isn’t the only piece. Strength training, and diet, are also very important.
If you don’t do strength training, you won’t add muscle.
Why do you want to add muscle when your goal is weight loss?
Because by adding muscle you burn more fat. When you have more muscle, you burn more calories allowing you to lose weight more easily and keep the weight off!
If you only do chronic cardio, when you take time off and eat normally, you will find the weight goes right back on. Also, you will find that your body will get used to the chronic cardio that you are doing and that you will constantly need to be upping the amount of time you spend running to get the same calorie burn!
BUT if you’ve added muscle, you will find that you won’t gain the weight back near as easily because you’ve raised your metabolic rate by adding muscle which needs more calories to be maintained!
Also, strength training will help prevent injuries that may develop from repetitive motions, such as running, that would hinder your progress or keep you from working out!
So while cardio is important, STRENGTH TRAINING, is actually more key to maintaining a healthy “in shape” weight!
Now to workout length….
Workout intensity is what really matters when you are trying to figure out how long your workout should be.
When I go for a hike or a walk, my workout will be longer. BUT if I workout super intensely, there is no need for my workout to pretty much ever go over 45 minutes.
So it isn’t that long workouts can’t be good, but if you are working out super intensely for an hour, you are probably going to either burn out or start feeling the effects of overtraining, which will actually hinder your progress toward your goal (be your goal weight loss or added strength or merely feeling fitter!).
So I guess to sum up what I’m saying is there is no one form of exercise or a certain length of time you have to spend working out to reach your fitness goals!
Variety is key!
(HMMMMM….Variety is key….That sounds familiar….I was going to link to another post here but there are too many preaching this on this site to pick just one! :-))
When most people go on a “diet,” they usually want to lose weight or look good at a specific time in their life. Most of the time there is an end date in which they must accomplish this goal. And after this end date, usually people plan on returning to their previous eating habits.
A lifestyle has no end date. Yes, you may have short-term goals – events that you want to look good for. Yes, you may start a lifestyle because you want to lose weight.
But unlike a diet, you aren’t going to go back to your old eating habits once you’ve reached your goal.
Yes, you are going to cheat. Heck cheating will probably even be a part of your lifestyle. BUT you will cheat on your terms and always return back to your healthy lifestyle.
Making a “diet” into a “lifestyle” means that you don’t just give up your healthy eating habits at the first sign of adversity.
It means sometimes not cheating while everyone else is indulging.
A prime example of this is Ryan’s dad who started a version of the Man Bicep diet a little over two months ago.
Ryan’s dad started the diet so he would be healthy and active when his first grandchild is born in August (Congrats Jamie!!!). He has lost over 20lbs and has increased his energy level.
While he would still like to lose more, Ryan’s dad has basically accomplished what he set out to do – he feels better than he has felt in YEARS.
And because this is more than a DIET, because this is a LIFESTYLE, Ryan’s dad has stayed committed even though he could be tempted to eat badly every day!
His co-workers invite him to eat out almost every day. And when he goes out, he could cheat. It would be easier. But he doesn’t. He sticks to his healthy eating habits.
He could cheat every time he has to make food for parties for his children and their friends. He could have cheated the entire time Ryan and I were out in California.
But he didn’t.
He doesn’t cheat at every opportunity because his healthy eating is about MORE than losing weight – it is about being HEALTHIER and FEELING BETTER.
And I’m so proud of Ryan’s dad. Not because he didn’t cheat, but because he truly has created a new, healthy lifestyle for himself.
So now take another look at your eating. Are you eating well with an end date in mind or will you forever stay committed to your healthy lifestyle because it has improved your quality of life?
If your eating hasn’t improved your quality of life, is it really worth continuing or should you start experimenting with other diets?
Is your eating program merely a diet or is it a lifestyle?
P.S. If you’ve emailed me and I haven’t responded, I’M SORRY! I will get to emails this weekend!
I’ll never tell you it is easy to stick to a healthy lifestyle. I’ll never tell you it is easy to lose weight or hit a new lifting PR.
Because guess what? IT ISN’T!
It’s all hard work.
It’s hard committing the time and energy to eating well and working out intensely. It’s hard to stay committed to a process that can sometimes be slow and frustrating full of ups and downs.
But who wants to work hard!?! I know if I didn’t have to I wouldn’t!
I would love if there was a diet pill or supplement out there that would make me healthy, fit and strong instantly! I would love to eat pizza and ice cream every single day!
But there isn’t an easy way out.
It’s hard work period that will get you where you want to be.
And it’s a constant struggle. There are days, weeks or even months when it is easier to commit and stay committed. But then there are those days, weeks or even months when you feel like you just don’t have one bit of self-control.
I know how hard it can be. It isn’t always easy for me either! I have those days, weeks and even months where I just don’t want to care about my health, how I look or how my training is going.
There are just those times where I would rather binge on ice cream and sit on my couch and do nothing. There are those days when I get stressed and just don’t care. There are those days when I would rather celebrate and indulge than pick out a healthy option or go to the gym.
Heck there are those days where I eat everything and anything in sight. I’m even famous (among my friends) for the day where I gained 12lbs after a binge!
I understand how difficult it can be! But I also know how worth it all the hard work truly is!
I wish I had a solution for the ups and downs, but I don’t. There will always be ups and downs.
BUT if you set clear goals and map out a plan, you are going to have way more ups than downs AND you are going to see all of your hard work TRULY pay off as quickly as it possibly can!
I know I’ve harped on “planning” recently, but it is just so essential! And a big part of planning is goal setting.
Just think…what will make you work harder, a vague desire to be “healthy” or a goal of losing 25lbs by August with an average of 2lbs lost per week?
I would think the second goal would be more motivating because it is specific, broken down into long and short-term goals, and has an end date.
As cheesy as it sounds, there is something to setting S.M.A.R.T. goals – Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
- Specific – A specific goal answers these six question: Who is involved? What do I want to accomplish. Where do I want to accomplish it (identify a location)? In what time frame will I complete it (establish a time frame)? What are some requirements and constraints? Why do I want to accomplish this goal (specific reasons, purposes and benefits)? Setting specific goals helps you outline exactly what it will take to reach your goals in the desired time frame.
- Measurable – Establish criteria to measure your progress and set target dates. Measuring your progress helps you stay on track. For one, seeing results will help encourage you to continue. And two, short-term goals with measurable results help keep you motivated to succeed every single day.
- Attainable – Almost any goal is attainable if you develop the attitudes, abilities, skills and financial capacity to reach them. You just need to plan out your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out your plan.
- Realistic – If you are WILLING and ABLE to accomplish a goal, it is realistic. Also, a goal can be both high and realistic. Actually, high goals may be even easier to reach than low goals since low goals supply less motivation.
- Timely – You must set out a timeframe in which you will accomplish your goals. An “end date” creates a sense of urgency and motivation. Also, you need to let yourself know that there will be a time when you can have your favorite food again or skip a workout just because you are tired. You need to know that at some point you will get some sort of “break” from your plan.
By setting goals that follow this criteria, not only are you more likely to accomplish them, but you will also build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals will help you realize that your plan is doable!
So yea…It’s all hard work.
BUT by setting great goals and creating a plan to achieve them, you will find that not only does the hard work seem less daunting, but that you also achieve greater success.
I never really discuss my views on models and negative body image because I think my opinion is VERY different from the majority of people’s.
I’ve never been one to “feel bad” because of an image of a woman with a “perfect” body on a magazine cover or on the TV. I personally like seeing attractive people. I personally don’t want those actors/actresses and models to look like me.
I WANT them to be some of the most beautiful people in the world. If they weren’t some of the most beautiful people and looked just like the average Jane, why would we pay them so much?!!
But that’s just me. I know a lot of women don’t feel that way.
I know many women see these actresses and models as something to aspire to. Since they view these women’s bodies as a “goal” they believe that if they can’t attain the “perfect” body, they’ve failed.
And they try a ton of ridiculous diets and exercise programs in their attempts to achieve the “perfect” body.
I’m not making fun, but if you are one of these women, now is the time to stop!
Let me let you in on a little secret…THERE IS NO PERFECT BODY!
For one, even models aren’t perfect. Just check out the latest article about the use of Photoshop! (Or how the models looked without Photoshop!)
Everyone has flaws and you just can’t change some of them. Just learn to accept them and live a lifestyle that makes you healthy and happy!
For two, do you really want to pay people who look like you to be models? I don’t. I want them to look better than me…or I would rather be the model and make the money myself!
We pay hairstyles, trainers, masseuses…even doctors to do things we either can’t do ourselves or that they do BETTER.
Why would we pay models that aren’t the best looking?
Am I crazy? Does anyone else agree or should I have continued to keep my opinions to myself? Am I missing something?
These are 10 phrases I hear all the time that I wish would never be uttered again in my presence. They aren’t in any order…I hate them all equally
- I use the adductor and abductor machine. I need to work on my inner thighs. That is the stupidest machine out there. Why waste your time on that machine working one muscle group when you can do slider side lunges or sumo squats and work numerous muscle groups at once while still targeting your add/abductors? Seriously, if you don’t want to waste your time in the gym and you actually want to burn some calories, you should do a compound movement. Plus why can’t people understand you CAN’T SPOT REDUCE!
- I had a bagel this morning, but it was whole wheat! When people tell me this, I have to resist the urge to slap them. (I promise I’m not a violent person!). I’m always surprised when clients say this to me since they know my stance on nutrition. I THINK WHOLE GRAINS ARE JUST AS BAD! Did you know that shredded wheat is higher on the glycemic index than table sugar? So don’t walk up to me and tell me your breakfast wasn’t bad because you only had a bagel…
- I didn’t have time to workout. HA! If you want to workout, you find the time…30 minutes is more than enough to get in a great workout!
- This weight is too heavy. If your form isn’t breaking down and you can do the exercise, the weight isn’t too much. Muscle burn is a good thing people! I always remind my clients, “Your mind will give up before your body has to!” We have to train our mind to push beyond that initial fatigue because, trust me, your body is stronger than you think!
- I can’t do this. CAN’T…Maybe the worst word on the planet. Ok maybe I hate this one the most. I love when people are doing the exercise and STOP to tell me they can’t do it. I’ve honestly wanted to shout at people, “You were just doing it easily! What do you mean you CAN’T do it!?!”
- I’ve tried everything and nothing works. Really? You’ve tried everything? Sounds to me like you were too lazy to fully commit to anything enough to actually find out if it works!
- Training is too expensive. Probably only trainers will sympathize with me here. Yes training can add up but it is for your HEALTH. You spend money on movies, dinners out and new clothes. You even spend money on medicine. Why wouldn’t you spend money on something that keeps you healthy so you can do all the things you enjoy!?!
- I don’t want to get too bulky. Yes, I hear this more often than I would like to. I’ve even been told by a woman that my workouts were in fact making her too bulky. Of course she wasn’t yet strong enough to lift over 5lbs, but the push ups were doing it to her…I almost rolled up my sleeve and flexed my bicep and asked, “So this is too bulky for you then?”
- I’m hungry all the time and only ate like 1,000 calories so I should be losing weight. I’m not hungry…like ever. Ok maybe at the end of a fast or after a really hard workout. But I never feel like I’m starving myself. If you feel hungry all the time and are barely eating any calories, do you really think that diet is natural? Is that really something you can maintain? No? Maybe you should try a diet full of whole, natural foods and lots of protein and fat. Then you don’t have to count calories because you are only eating healthy foods that make you feel full!
- My body composition hasn’t changed and I only cheated a little. Really? If you aren’t seeing any progress, it is your own fault. You are to blame. “I only cheated a little” isn’t an excuse. If you don’t follow the diet, than you can’t blame the diet for not working. Anytime you “cheat” on a diet program, YOU are changing the way the diet works. My clients who follow my diet, lose the weight that they want/need to. Most even lose about 10-15lbs in the first month. This is no ultimate loser weight loss, but it is a healthy amount to lose in that time period – it SUSTAINABLE. So don’t try to blame the diet by saying you only cheated a little!
Anyway, that is my tired rant for the day. Any phrases that you hear all too often about diet and exercise that you would like to add to this list?
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)!