We've all seen someone decide to go on a diet to lose weight.
They post on social media, full of motivation, claiming to be giving up all the "bad" things to eat and drink, like soda, ice cream,etc... Some decide to do a "sugar cleanse" and give up all things sugar.
Maybe you've even done this yourself.
Of course, there are those who successfully make such sacrifices, lose the weight, and keep it off.
However, most of the time, that's not how it happens.
After a length of time determined by the person's level of dedication, he or she will return to former ways of eating.
It's very difficult to resist temptation when you feel deprived of all the things you'd really like to be eating!
The reason this happens starts before the diet even begins.
The diet mentality.
If you think that the way to lose weight is to go on a diet and give up all junk food, you will be forever trapped in a vicious cycle.
Symptoms of the diet trap include:
Frequently justifying a huge, unhealthy meal, or even an all-out binge, by saying that you will start your diet tomorrow
Eating one "bad" thing and thinking "Well, I already messed up. So I won't worry about what I eat today and I will restart my diet tomorrow!" And proceeding to eat..and eat..
Feeling frustrated and wanting to give up after some time passes, because you've sacrificed SO MUCH and worked SO HARD and aren't seeing the results you wanted as quickly as you wanted
Constantly asking yourself "Is this even worth it?"
The day you break out of this cycle will be the day you change your life forever.
What if I told you that you could eat a cookie or some ice cream every day and still lose weight?
You've probably heard the saying "everything in moderation".
When you apply this mantra to your eating habits, and truly LIVE by it, you will be able to enjoy what some may consider "junk" foods, while still moving steadily toward your fitness goals.
When it comes to weight loss, it does not matter what you eat.
The ONLY thing that makes a difference in whether you lose weight is how much you eat.
It gets even more specific than that (think carbs, fats, and protein), but the most important factor is CALORIES. Calories in vs. calories out.
Let's say your body burns an average of 2100 calories a day.
You could eat about that many calories each day, and nothing would change.
However, you could eat 1600 calories a day and maintain a calorie deficit (you're eating fewer calories than you burn), and healthily lose weight over time.
Let's say you eat 3 main meals, and each is about 450 calories.
3 x 450 = 1350
Now, let's subtract that from our daily weight loss calories.
1600 - 1350 = 250
You've already had 3 meals. That remaining 250 calories can go toward ANYTHING you want, and you'll still be in a calorie deficit.
In other words, you could eat a few cookies, some ice cream, or even a slice of pizza.
As long as it's about 250 calories' worth, you'll still be right on track.
Nutrition gets so much more complicated as you go more in-depth, but if your main goal is simply to lose weight, then this is ALL you need to worry about.
Here's how to do it:
1) EAT. Enjoy one thing that will satisfy your cravings each day by fitting a serving into your day of eating.
2) DON'T BINGE. Stop thinking that you have to eat an insane amount of junk food in order to enjoy it. You will be surprised when your urge to binge on junk food seems to go away after you start implementing the concept of moderation into your life.
3) KNOW WHAT YOU ARE EATING. Check labels. It doesn't take longer than a few minutes to log food into an app such as MyFitnessPal, or even estimate it in your head. If you know where your caloric intake is, you'll know how much of something you can enjoy without going over your limit.
4) LOSE THE DIET MENTALITY. Diets are temporary. Lifestyle is forever. You won't feel a sense of urgency to get the extra pounds off if you're not dieting. Time will pass whether you're eating right or not. Change your lifestyle, enjoy your life, and one day you will wake up and be satisfied with your body.
5) MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD. You can make delicious treats, desserts, pizza, burgers, whatever you want, and make substitutions in the recipes to save a ton of calories. That makes it so much easier to fit them into your daily calorie needs. You'd be surprised at the difference in calories between a milkshake from a fast-food restaurant, and a homemade one with low-calorie substitutions. Play around with new recipes and find ones you love!
6) HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS. This is a lifestyle change, not a diet. You are re-wiring your brain to perceive food and eating differently. That takes time and effort, but it is worth it. Make a commitment to change your mindset, and never go on a "diet" again.
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