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    ICON Meals Blog — Healthy Living

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    Dieting And Not Losing Weight? Here’s Why.

    Dieting And Not Losing Weight? Here’s Why.

    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.

    ICON Meals Willpower 

     

     

    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.

     

    ICON Meals - Focus On 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.

     

    ICON Meals - Not Tracking 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?

     

    ICON Meals - No Plan

     

     

    5. Not following me on Instagram

     

    Just sayin’. @holyfitgym

     

    ICON Meals - Andy Rodriguez

     


    All images property of https://www.freepik.com/

    Get Fit For Fall Checklist

    Get Fit For Fall Checklist

    Fall is a notoriously difficult time for dieters — the cool weather and upcoming holiday season make it easier than ever to dabble in desserts and other high-calorie temptations.

     

    With that in mind, here is a checklist to help you stay on track every single day. With discipline (and by bookmarking this page) you can make it through this season better than ever.

     

    Before you get to work, let's get your mind right. If you're not mentally strong you'll never be able to achieve your potential. Everything GREAT that you've achieved so far began with a single thought. A realization. The following framework will bring you clarity, allowing you to do the work and build the life that you were destined to create!

     

    Download Checklist

     

    Success Framework

    Your Why

    Before you consider what you're capable of achieving, take a moment and consider why you should. Write a list of the people, belongings, and experiences in your life that mean the most. Here's one of mine: I love my family and will provide for them at any cost. In order to do so, I must take care of my mind, body, and spirit at the highest level.

     

    If you were to achieve your highest calling, how would that impact the areas that you care most about? What kind of difference would you be able to make? 

     

    If your visions are based purely on short-term desires disconnected from what you care about, you will fall short. Our immediate, selfish desires change on a week-to-week basis. The vision has to be connected to something much larger than ourselves.

    Your Vision

    Visions are separate from goals. Being happy and healthy, enjoying life on the beach with six-pack abs, is a vision. The end result of your goals. The beach might not be your vision, but you know what you want your end result to be. Take a moment and put yourself there.

    Your Goals

    Now that you have a vision, what are your goals?

    Goals are measurable amounts of work, over a certain period of time, that are in line with your vision. "I want a six-pack" is not a goal. Let’s say your vision is to be healthy, live long, and set a good example for everyone around you — your goals should include following a diet plan and being active every day. Here's an example of several goals:

     

    1. I will follow the Superset city workout plan (4 week program)
    2. I will drink 1 gallon of water per day for the next 30 days
    3. I will consume 150+ grams of protein per day, and remove all processed food and sugar from my diet, for 30 days

     

    Notice how each goal is an action based on my vision. Each day you do the action, you achieve your goal. Each day you achieve your goal, you're closer to the vision.

     

    Embracing this mindset is a huge relief — success is no longer a mystery. You don't have to think about it! Determine the vision, set up the goals, and do the work. Success is just around the corner.

     

    Your Work

     

    With a vision and goals in place, you're ready to do the work. Nothing will happen if you don't commit to the work, and this is where routines come into play. Figure out how to fit your goals into your day with the least amount of friction possible. This is the main reason I get up and work out first thing every morning. My family is asleep, my phone is silent, and there's no distractions. 

     

    With each passing day your confidence will build, and the work will become more enjoyable as the light of your vision becomes brighter.

    8 Ways To Feel Full While Cutting Calories

    8 Ways To Feel Full While Cutting Calories

    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:

     

     

    ICON Meals - Caffeine

    1. Caffeine

    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.

     

    ICON Meals - Distractions

    2. Distractions

    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.

     

    ICON Meals - Fasting

     

    3. Fasting

    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.

     

    ICON Meals Flavors

     

    4. Flavor

    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.

     

    ICON Meals - Hydration

     

    5. Hydration

    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.

     

    ICON Meals Grilled Chicken Lean Box

     

    5. Nutrients

    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.

     

    ICON Meals Mentality

     

    6. Mentality

    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.

     

    ICON Meals Sleep

     

    7. Sleep

    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.

     

    ICON Meals Fork

     

    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.

    Weight Loss Meal Plan Success Strategy

    Weight Loss Meal Plan Success Strategy

    Here’s a story that may sound familiar - a person starts a new diet with a weight loss meal plan and they’re really excited about how it’s finally going to change their health around. Maybe there’s some early success! Eventually though, six months or maybe even two years down the road, the diet fails. It happens to so many people that it’s almost an expectation.

     

    A scientifically sound weight loss meal plan is a fantastic foundation for losing weight. Obviously what you eat matters, A LOT. But that’s not enough — without a long-term strategy for success in place most diets are doomed to fail. We want you to take the weight off and keep it off, so here are three ways to make your weight loss meal plan successful for the long haul.

     

     

    1. Set Realistic Goals

     

    Goals should be concrete daily objectives like “drink a gallon of water a day for 30 days” or “work out arms for 30 minutes today.” Writing down and working toward short-term activity based goals is a common strategy for successful professionals in all walks of life — athletes, musicians, entrepreneurs — but those goals have to be realistic to have any chance of working. 

     

    The best strategy is to reverse engineer your long-term visions to create short-term goals. Let’s say you want to lose 5 pounds in a month. Twenty minutes of cardiovascular exercise in addition to cutting out processed sugars everyday is a rational, attainable goal. 

     

     

    2. Healthy Caloric Deficit

     

    Putting yourself in caloric deficit (burning more calories than you ingest) is absolutely essential for weight loss, but it is incredibly easy to do so in ways that negatively affect your health and sabotage your long-term goals.

     

    Cutting too many calories too fast will send your body into survival mode, crippling your metabolism as it desperately stores away all energy from everything you consume — your lizard brain thinks you are starving. Your body won’t want to burn fat.

     

    Instead, figure out how many calories you need to maintain your current weight and cut that number by 20%. This shouldn’t be enough of a change to trigger your body’s survival mode. Not sure how many calories you’re taking in every day? Keep on reading.

     

     

    3. Accurately Count Calories

     

    We know, we know. Counting calories can be a demanding chore, but it really is necessary for long-term weight loss success. Good news though — a good weight loss meal plan (like our Lean Box) does the work for you! The calories of every meal are already counted for you — simply put the numbers into your favorite nutrition app, or write them down old-school in a nutrition journal. 

     

    And don’t forget — document EVERYTHING. A little snack here and there might not seem like much, but those calories add up too. 

     

     

    In It To Win It

     

    If you’re thinking about investing in yourself and getting healthy with a weight loss meal plan, congratulations — you deserve to live your best life! Help guarantee your self-investment is successful in the long run by adding these tips to your weight loss strategy. 

     

    ICON Meals Signature Menu

    5 Habits Fit People Have

    5 Habits Fit People Have

    By ICON Meals Athlete, Mike O’Hearn

    When it comes to long term fitness, there is no such thing as a quick fix. Sure, there are ways you can achieve your fitness goals in the short term — but if you want to make a lifelong change it’s all about adapting to the lifestyle. Developing healthy habits that become an everyday part of who you are.

     

    Here are five habits of successfully fit people:

    1. Having Perspective

    You’re not going to be able to meet your fitness goals every day. Have an off day? Accept it, figure out how to not make the same mistake tomorrow, and move on.

     

    2. Eliminating Excuses

    Fit people make hitting the gym a priority, and if something gets in their way they don’t give in to excuses: they find MORE reasons to work out. Short workouts are better than no workout.

     

    Instead of giving into excuses, fit people find MORE reasons why they need to hit the gym and find the time to do it. A short workout is still better than no workout.

    Sleeping And Eating Well

     

    There’s virtually a library of studies showing the benefits of proper nutrition and sleep. Whole, unprocessed foods keep you fuller longer, providing energy and strength all day. Good sleep keeps your body’s systems running smoothly. Both are necessary for long-term fitness.

     

    4. Tracking Progress

    This habit is so valuable for two reasons: it rewards you by showing you tangible progress, and motivates you in the same stroke by showing you all your hard work — countless gym hours, smart food choices, and appropriate sleep — is really doing something. 

     

    5. Consulting A Professional

    There’s no faster way to improve than being around people more experienced than you. Find somebody more advanced in the gym and learn everything you can from them. Maybe one day YOU will be the fitness pro.

     

    @mikeohearn on Instagram

    - The Titan Mike O’Hearn, 4x Mr. Universe