Almost all fat loss strategies deal with topics like what to eat and how much to exercise to lose weight. The fact is, many people already intuitively know what they should be eating and that they should exercise regularly. It’s not such a difficult concept to understand.
Then why don’t we do it?
This is where the inner game of fat loss comes in. It’s a topic that doesn’t get talked about enough. We can know every detail about how to lose fat and still fail to implement it. It’s because there’s a difference between knowledge and implementation.
Taking action comes down to factors like mindset, psychology, thoughts and willpower. This article will help you master the inner game of fat loss.
Shifting From Quick Fix To Permanent Change
When it comes to weight loss advertisers are selling us “quick fix” strategies to get your dream body. “The new xyz diet will get you a Hollywood body in no time.”
The idea is always the same. You follow a certain diet for a while, lose weight in the process and get your dream body. So what happens in reality is that people stick to the diet for a while, they lose weight but then they go back to their previous lifestyle because the diets are not sustainable and too restrictive. Once they have gone back to their previous lifestyle they gain all of the weight back and become fat again (usually even fatter).
What is really required to become lean and also stay lean is a permanent lifestyle change rather than a temporary change. And in order to change your lifestyle permanently you need to find the right kind of diet and exercise strategy for yourself.
The key is to find a lifestyle that you enjoy living.
A lifestyle that will allow you to indulge in your favorite foods once in a while or to go for a drink with your friends. A lifestyle that takes into account your individual preferences. Only if that lifestyle still allows you to enjoy your life will you actually be able to stick to it for the long-term.
It means that while you need to lower your overall calorie intake you still need to eat your most favorite treats once in a while. Everyone has those foods that they can’t seem to give up. You need to give up the ones that are not essential to you but you should keep the ones that really make your life more enjoyable.
For example you cut out all sugary drinks, but allow yourself to have a glass of wine in the evening if that’s what you enjoy drinking.
You Can Change Your Food Preferences
One of the main reasons why people get fat and stay fat is that they consume tasty high calorie foods such as fast food, candy, sugary drinks, Frappuccino’s and so on.
Why do so many people like these foods? Because the food industry has trained us to like fatty, salty and sweet foods. But there is a solution to this.
Psychology Professor Elizabeth Capaldi runs a lab dedicated to food preferences. “Your food preferences are pretty much learned. There are genetic preferences for sweet and salty tastes and genetic dislikes for bitter and sour. But beyond that, we eat according to habit,” she says.
“Familiarity takes time,” she says. “But I think it’s empowering to know you can change yourself. You’re not a prisoner to what you eat.”
“It’s really important for people to understand that you can learn to like anything,” Capaldi says. “You can change your eating habits, and you can change what you like.” (Keane, 2010)
Capaldi’s point is one of the best kept dieting secrets that no supplement company would want you to know. It’s one of the most important insights people have once they get really serious about changing their body. Just because you are used to drinking three cans of coke every day along with your fast food meals doesn’t mean that you can’t change that.
The transition will some take time and effort but once you have managed to transition to healthy foods, you won’t miss anything. Quite the opposite, many people who have stopped drinking sugary sodas report that if they try soda again, they find its taste much too sweet.
So the lesson here is that we are creatures of habit and you can teach yourself to like healthier foods. One of the best shortcuts to a lean body is to start getting used to healthy foods. You don’t have to change everything overnight. Start with one habit at a time. Over time, this will make you transition to a healthy diet that is in line with the body you want to achieve.
The Subjectivity of Food Intake
Let me tell you a story about two of my friends, Joe and Sally. They both had opposite motives, Joe was overweight (35% body fat) and wanted to lose weight and Sally was underweight (only 14% body fat) and needed to gain weight.
Joe and I had a chat one day. He went on for about half an hour about how he wasn’t eating all that much and could still not lose any weight. He said he had been in a “weight loss plateau” for a while and couldn’t seem to get past it.
With Sally it was the opposite, she told me that she was eating a lot but no matter how much she ate, she couldn’t gain any weight. He had seen a couple of doctors about this and they all said that her body was fine. It was not her metabolism.
I gave both of them one single piece of advice: start keeping a daily food log (best tool is www.MyFitnessPal.com).
A few weeks later I met both of them on separate occasions. Joe reported that he realized he used to eat on average 3,100 calories per day. “No wonder I wasn’t losing any weight,” he said.
There had been several foods in his diet that he had mentally never accounted for. “One of the worst habits was that I drank two beers every night along with half a bag of “low fat”-chips. That was basically the entire calorie deficit I had built up over the day. Before tracking every detail I just seem to have blanked out these foods.” Joe then proceeded to make some adjustments and started losing weight immediately.
Sally came back to me saying she realized that she wasn’t actually eating that much. Her average daily calories were only 1,500. She noticed that she was often skipping meals. She often just had one or two meals a day and maybe a snack here and there. On her day off she often spend the day in bed until the late afternoon without eating anything. Because she was only eating one or two meals, these meals seemed very big to her and so she thought she was eating a lot. By tracking her food intake, Sally then got into the habit of eating more regularly. This helped her to slowly gain weight.
Both stories illustrate an important point when it comes to food intake. The fact that food intake is very subjective. Fat people tend to underestimate the amount of calories they consume and skinny people tend to overestimate it.
In order to achieve weight loss on a consistent basis, it is important that you track your food intake daily. Only by tracking every meal and snack will you be able to calibrate your “calorie lense” properly.
Suck It Up Or Stay Fat
When it comes to weight loss, one of the greatest quotes I have ever read is “Suck it up or stay fat” from Lyle McDonald. In one of his articles he writes about how to deal with hunger on a diet. While there are many strategies to minimize hunger, the truth is that when you are losing weight at some point you will face at least a little bit of hunger.
Lyle’s quote, “Suck it up or stay fat” refers to the fact that hunger is simply a reaction of the body when you go into a calorie deficit. By eating lots of protein, veggies and overall healthy foods you will be able to reduce it, but you will probably still experience some hunger. He goes on to say that you basically have two options, eat more and stay fat, or suck it up and lose weight.
This quote is so great because it removes the “magic pill” everyone is looking for from the equation. Instead of looking for that new pill or new device that will make weight loss effortless, it’s much better to man up and become comfortable with the slight discomfort that hunger can cause.
You can easily get used to slight feelings of hunger. One of the greatest ways to get used to this is to start using intermittent fasting. This involves fasting for extended periods of time where you don’t eating anything. It will train your body to get used to periods where you don’t eat anything at all (normally up to a maximum of 24 hours). The goal here is not to starve yourself but rather to increase your control over your food intake.
So man up and get used to slight feelings of hunger. Again the goal is not to create a huge calorie deficit but rather to consistently create a small calorie deficit by doing so.
Protecting Willpower While Dieting
Willpower refers to the concept of being able to control oneself and determine one’s actions. Recent studies have shown that our willpower is like a muscle. If we use it too much, it gets exhausted. An exhausted willpower muscle (also referred to as ego-depletion) will make it more likely that we make decisions that are not congruent with our goals.
Here’s an interesting study that was done to better understand the concept of willpower. Subjects arrived hungry at the lab where the study was conducted. They were told that a taste test was conducted. In the lab room cookies and radishes were served. Group A was allowed to only eat radishes, but not the cookies. Group B was allowed to eat both cookies and radishes. Most people would agree that cookies are a lot more tempting than the radishes. Therefore group A had to use their willpower to resist eating the cookies.
In phase two of the study both group A and group B were subject to another test that required willpower. The subjects were told they were tested on who could solve a puzzle the fastest. However there was one caveat, they didn’t know that the puzzles were unsolvable. The researchers only wanted to test the persistence of the subjects.
On average group B tried for 19 minutes while group A gave up after only 8 minutes. The researchers concluded that group A had already depleted their willpower muscle once they started the second part of the experiment, therefore they couldn’t persist as long as group B.
This study illustrates how easily our willpower muscle can be depleted under everyday circumstances. You need to be aware that any decision or thought during the day might use up this limited resource.
Therefore the key to being able to make the right diet decisions is to be economical with our willpower and to protect it wherever you can. Because once your willpower runs out, your self-control will run out as well and that’s when you give in to unhealthy snacks and fattening foods. This report will teach you several strategies to protect your willpower and use it in the most economical way.