Andy Rodriguez - @thatfitinvestor
The average person gains 11 pounds for every diet they try. Even worse, when they lose weight they also lose muscle and fat. When they regain weight it’s all fat. And since muscle burns seven times as many calories as fat, their metabolism is slower than when they started the diet — cruelly requiring even fewer calories to maintain their weight.
Do you know someone overweight who says they don’t eat that much? They may not be lying. They’ve damaged their metabolism by yo-yo dieting. There are two keys to losing weight and keeping it off: reduce your appetite by fixing out-of-whack hormones and brain chemistry that drive hunger and overeating — not by white-knuckling it and starving yourself — and increase your metabolism so you burn more calories all day long.
Unfortunately, most diets have the opposite effect – increased hunger and slowed metabolism. Here's five reasons that majority of diets fail:
1. Reliance on willpower, not science
There is science behind hunger. Unfortunately, most diets trigger hunger by making you eat less. You can only starve yourself for so long — our brain compensates and protects us from starvation, self-induced or not, by dramatically increasing our hunger cravings and dropping metabolism to conserve energy. Eating low fat, high carb, and/or sugary foods actually increases hunger and slows metabolism.
2. Focus on calories
The mantra of “calories in/calories out”, or energy balance as the key to weight loss, is quickly being thrown into the scientific trash can. Some calories make you fat, others make you thin. What we now know is that any foods that spike insulin — sugar, flour, excess grains/fruit/beans — trigger a shift in your metabolism.
Insulin drives all the fuel in your blood from the food you just ate into your hungry fat cells. Your body thinks you’re starving even though you just downed a giant bagel or a milkshake. Remember the two things that happen when your body thinks it’s starving: increased hunger and slowed metabolism.
You CAN get your daily sweet fix from sugary foods, but keep refined sugars under 20% of your total daily calories.
3. Not tracking
Many of my clients think they eat less than they actually do. If it goes into your mouth, you need to track it. Every single bite, no matter how small. Pennies a day add up, and so do calories.
4. Not having a set plan
Five P’s: proper preparation prevents poor performance. How will you arrive at your destination if you don’t have directions?
5. Not following me on Instagram
Just sayin’. @holyfitgym
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From Michael Mastrucci (@themacrodiabetic)
Two hormones have a major influence on energy balance: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin mediates long-term energy regulation and is responsible for decreasing hunger. Ghrelin is the yin to leptin’s yang, a fast-acting hormone that increases hunger.
When you’re cutting, putting your body in an intentional caloric deficit, the body’s subconscious response is to increase ghrelin which leads to cravings and hunger pangs. This is true even in short cutting periods. And if you give in to these cravings, your cutting will have been for nothing! Here are eight ways to counteract the body’s hunger response:
Black coffee’s caffeine content can blunt hunger. However, it’s not a panacea and I wouldn’t recommend downing a pot later in the day.
There’s nothing like watching your favorite show or a movie during dinner to help you chill out after a long day, and mild hunger can fade when our minds are distracted with entertainment. Take care to fully enjoy your food — chew thoroughly, swallow, set your fork down, take a sip of water. It’s not a race.
Some people have no trouble pushing their meals until later in the day, and fasting can be effective for fat loss — but it is definitely not REQUIRED. Before jumping on the fasting bandwagon pay close attention to how it affects your energy levels. There’s no reason to force your body to take on additional stress when already in a deficit.
If you’re finding your food a little bland, adding spices and other flavors can make it more palatable without adding excessive amounts of sodium or sugar — ICON Flavor Seasonings are a great example. Too much salt and sugar can numb taste receptors over time, leave you feeling hungry, and make lightly-seasoned foods less satisfying.
Drinking water is far better than eating more calories when maintaining a deficit. Most importantly, you need water to help regulate a vast number of physiological processes and stay healthy. Drinking water before and after a meal (and in between bites) helps to promote fullness and keeps your digestive system working properly.
Whole foods are your best bet for overall health. 200 calories of potato chips are mostly empty of valuable nutrition —instead, opt for veggies or micronutrient-dense foods to get far more bang for your caloric buck. Additionally, nutrient-dense foods often provide your body with better energy levels and can be much easier on digestion.
Going to bed hungry is a big pet peeve of mine, so I like to save the majority of my daily calories for the last meal of the day. This doesn’t agree with everyone, and that’s ok. After you’ve eaten dinner, it’s important to remember that you’re not going to starve. If you get those post-dinner cravings, drink water, stay occupied, and see how you feel in 20 minutes.
Sleep affects hormone regulation, and lack of it will put leptin and ghrelin out of balance. To prevent cravings and dips in your energy, your body needs to get full, complete rest. This is doubly important when you’re intentionally depriving yourself of calories.
8. Utensil Size
Psychological tricks can help us feel fuller without actually changing our food. Smaller silverware and dishes visually trick our minds into thinking our portions are larger and therefore more satisfying.
You’re putting in the work of counting calories and watching what you eat...and you’re still not losing weight! Sound familiar? Fat loss and mindset coach Lynette Marie has three great reasons this might be happening.
REASON 1: You’re not tracking accurately enough.
Counting your calories? Keeping track of every gram of fat that goes into your mouth? You might be sabotaging your efforts by only counting 70% accurately. Every time you “just have a bite” without tracking it you’re taking in more than you might think — it’s simple math!
A nibble of chocolate here, a few chips there, and we’re talking possibly 200–300 untracked calories a week.
Now, obsessively tracking every piece of food you eat can be a huge chore. If the idea of jotting down EVERYTHING you eat is too oppressive, a better strategy might be to aim for smaller portion sizes and healthier choices.
REASON 2: Your calorie goal is set too high.
The macro or calorie counter you found online is not a gold standard. There is no perfect, magic calorie number that is right for your body. Somebody saying “this is a calorie deficit for you” does not make it automatically true.
So, if you’ve stuck to your guns regarding calories and you’re still not seeing progress, your calorie goals could simply be too high. Try dropping your goals by 50–75 calories a day and see what effect that has.
REASON 3: Your calorie goal is set too low — and triggering overeating.
Many people simply aren’t taking in enough calories to stave off serious hunger, which leads to emotional overeating or binging. If your calorie goals leave you craving food to the point where it seems unbearable, there’s a chance your goals are simply too low.
Try upping your intake 50–75 calories a day to see if that helps keep those hunger pangs at bay. It may actually prevent you from taking in an extra 150 from a binge session!
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