There are plenty of nutritionists that can tell you what you need to eat in order to lose weight, but there are very few if any that can tell you how to change the way you eat without burning yourself out and quitting. This is one of the biggest problems with the diet industry today, which is one of the main reasons why 95% of the people who lose weight, end up regaining the weight back.
Before I can explain to you how to best change your eating habits, you need to be aware that 95% of your day is run by your subconscious mind. In other words 95% of the time you run on habitual behaviors.
The reason you conscious mind only runs 5% of your day is that it has very limited processing power. Basically, your conscious mind can only do one thing at a time, and by having your subconscious mind run most of your day with its almost unlimited processing power, it frees up your conscious mind for more important tasks like enjoying life.
The reason this is very important to know is that it perfectly explains why with most diets people are unable to achieve sustainable weight loss. Let me explain.
As I just said, your conscious mind can only do one thing at a time. So, if you are following some diet, and the diet has instructed you to eat a certain number of calories per meal, or that your carbs should be under a certain number you have to consciously figure out the number of calories the meal has, or if you are counting carbs, the number of carbs your meal contains.
My question to you is this. If your conscious mind is busy with figuring out the number of calories or carbs the meal has, what is your conscious mind not doing? Is not focusing on simply enjoying the meal, which means you get less pleasure from your meals and over time this can lead to burnout.
The key to sustainable weight loss is to train your subconscious mind to make all the right choices when it comes to your diet, just like in healthy regions around the world. If you look at healthy regions around the world, people don’t have to think about their diet. Eating all the right stuff and in the right amounts, is a habitual behavior.
So, if you want to lose weight and keep it off, the question you should be asking is not just about what healthy eating behaviors I need to have in order to lose weight, but how can I make the new healthy eating behaviors habitual so I can engage in those behaviors with little on no conscious thought.
The answer is very simple. Work on developing one new healthy habit at a time. This is the best way to develop new habitual behaviors.
For example. Let say after you analyzed your diet, you came to the conclusion that the 4 things you needed to do in order to lose weight, were, the following. You needed to cut down on the amount of junk food you ate, you needed to learn to eat much slower and more mindfully, you needed to eat more fruits and vegetables and you needed to cut down on the amount of food you ate per meal. Instead of trying to change all 4 behaviors at once, as most diets do, pick just one of those behaviors and start working on it.
So, let’s say the eating habit you chose to work on first is cut down the amount of junk food that you eat. So your goal is to develop the habit of not eating any junk food Monday through Friday. Only on the weekends, you can have junk food.
I don’t expect that you can do this cold turkey. One way you can do it, is each week, Monday through Friday, try to have less junk food than the previous week. You do this and sooner or later you will have stopped having junk food during the week. I do expect that you will have to fight off some cravings but because this is the only eating habit you need to work on, it will be much easier to resist, and I am speaking from personal experience. This is how I was able to eliminate eating junk food during the week. Today you can offer me my favorite junk food and if is a weekday it does not even tempt me.
Once you become very comfortable with not eating junk food on the weekdays you can start working on the next eating habit. Again, until the new eating habit becomes habitual and very little conscious thought is required to engage in it, don’t work on anything else.
You see, by only introducing one new behavior in your life at a time, you will have a much easier time sticking with it long enough until it becomes habitual.
The more new behaviors you introduce at once, the longer it will take you to make those new behaviors habitual and the more uncomfortable you will feel as you are trying to develop them, thus the greater the chance of burning out before the new behaviors become habitual.
Yes, there is a downside to working on one new behavior at a time, which is the fact that it might take you a little longer before you start seeing weight loss. But my question to those of you who want fast results at any cost is this. What is the point of losing weight fast, if you are going to regain the weight back? Won’t you rather take a little extra time and lose weight the right way and never have to worry about your weight again? Besides, working on one habit at a time it only seems slower, but in reality is the fastest way to lose weight because you only need to do it once. I know people who have been trying to lose weight the fast way for years and they are still overweight.
Most diets have chosen to approach weight loss the fast way, by having people make all the necessary changes in their eating habits all at once and look at where that has gotten us. 95% of people who lose weight end up regaining the weight back.
I would admit that the whole process of changing one eating habit at a time does require a certain mindset, which includes having the patience to wait for the results. The good news is that everyone can develop that mindset. When people come to me for help to lose weight and get in shape, the first thing I do is teach them about the mindset they need to have in order to approach weight loss the right way.
I am currently working on an online course the would teach people how to develop the right mindset for sustainable weight loss and how to best make changes in your daily behaviors, so those changes will last. It’s a short course that I think everyone should take before they start their next weight loss or diet program. It will make a huge difference in their ability to keep the weight off after they lose it.
If you would like to be notified when the online course is available, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Mindset program” in the subject line.
For years I have been watching fitness professionals trying to figure out what is the best way to eat and what is the best way to exercise for healthy weight loss. The fact is, even if you figure out what is the best way to eat and the best way to exercise for healthy weight loss, it will not necessarily help achieve sustainable weight loss.
The reason is very simple. The solution to sustainable weight loss has two parts. Part one is having the right know-how as far as what foods we need to be eating, what foods we need to be avoiding, how we should be eating those foods and what exercises we should be doing in order to lose weight and get in shape.
The second part of the solution is knowing how to apply all that know-how into your life, without burning yourself out.
This is the part that most diets and weight loss programs are missing. They assume that once people see results they would be motivated to keep going. The fact is, the best results in the world would not keep anyone motivated if the results were achieved through a method that is overwhelming. The way most weight loss and diet programs approach weight loss is overwhelming for the vast majority of people, this is why 95% of people who do lose weight, end up regaining the weight back
The key to sustainable weight loss is knowing how to apply all the things you need to do, into your life, without burning yourself out.
In my next blog, I would talk more about how to best apply new changes in your life with the lowest chance of burning out.
In this blog, I would love to hear about what are some of the things people struggle with when they start a new weight loss or diet program. Please leave your answers in the comments section.
Another Thanksgiving is upon us with all the food temptations. It seems to me that Thanksgiving has become a holiday about food
and not about giving thanks. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with enjoying the food; what is wrong is that the food has become the main focus. So, enjoy the food, but don’t forget to also enjoy the people you share the food with!
Here are few tips to help you get through Thanksgiving meal:
- Keep in mind, the more food you eat, does not mean the more fun you have.
- If at the Thanksgiving meal you are serving yourself, (buffet or family style) put on your plate half of the food that you think you can eat. You can always get more.
- Remember to eat slowly and mindfully. Always put your fork down between bites and chew your food well. By eating slowly and mindfully you will get more satisfaction from eating and you will end up eating less.
- Go to the Thanksgiving meal hungry, but make sure you eat slowly when the meal comes.
- If you are serving yourself, the first time you go up to get food, get salad only, and then after you eat the salad go back for the main course.
- Don’t forget to leave room for dessert.
- Keep in mind the consequences of overeating and how uncomfortable you will feel after. Why do that to yourself? You can have a great time at Thanksgiving without having to stuff yourself.
- Whatever you do, DON’T GO LOW FAT. If you go low fat you will simply just eat more. So just enjoy your food and try to stop eating when you have satisfied your hunger.
The only thing that was meant to be stuffed on Thanksgiving is the turkey!
Have a great Thanksgiving
Stavros Mastrogiannis is a 25 year veteran of the weight loss field and specializes in permanent weight loss. He is the founder of Live Your Way Thin LLC in Danbury and the creator of The Live Your Way Thin System.
You cannot watch TV, listen to the radio or go on the internet, without seeing some ad trying to convince you to eat something, for various reasons, like it tastes great, it’s good for your health or it will help you lose belly fat.
How many times have you seen an ad telling you not to eat? Or, to make sure you are hungry before you eat? Almost never, right? Did you know, there is nothing better you can do for your health and weight than going for a prolonged period without eating (fasting) and letting your body go hungry before eating? There is no food on the planet that can help you lose weight and improve your health more than fasting regularly and eating only when truly hungry most of the time. Yet, you hardly ever hear about it. Have you ever wondered why?
The answer has a lot to do with the fact that no one makes money if you are not eating! Think about it. Most of the information we receive today is, directly or indirectly, from someone trying to sell us something. For example, everywhere you look there are advertisements. On TV, in Magazines, the radio, on billboards or on the web, everywhere. It is estimated that the average person comes across thousands of ads every day. A big percentage of those ads are from food companies trying to persuade you to eat their food by telling you how good it tastes or how good it is for your health. The milk industry promotes how good milk is for you, the meat industry promotes how good meat is for you, the vegetable industry promotes how good fruits and vegetables are good for you, etc. Food companies are promoting all the benefits of the foods they are selling so they can persuade you to buy more of their food. Food companies alone spend billions per year on advertising.
My question? Who makes money when you don’t eat? No one! Since no one is making money from you when you don’t eat, who would be interested in promoting the benefits of fasting or not eating? Very few people.
I am not saying food companies don’t care about their customers’ health or that there is anything wrong with advertising. They have a product to sell and if something does not benefit their product, they are not going to promote that solution. At the end of the day, it is not their job to promote a solution that they don’t benefit from. They are in the food business, not the weight loss business.
People interested in promoting this healthier idea are people like me who are truly committed to giving information in books or have websites that connect directly with the consumer and do not rely on paid sponsors to make income. Our loyalty lies with our clients and our ideals because our clients pay our salary and we know if we want our clients to keep coming back, we need to give them the best information possible.
Unfortunately, our advertising budget can’t compete with the billions of dollars the food industry spends on advertising. This can be a reason why you hardly hear about the benefits of letting your body go hungry before eating.
Most nutritionists don’t teach the important role, hunger and fasting play in health. When I was in college, I remember all the nutritional courses I took, and not a one talked about the important role of letting your body go hungry before eating. All the courses talk about calories and the type of foods we should be eating or avoiding. As a matter of fact, they taught us that going for too long without eating is really bad for weight loss. There was no discussion of the extensive historical evidence pointing to the long-term benefits of fasting.
Why most colleges and university don’t emphasize the benefits of fasting and letting the body go hungry before eating, I can only speculate. The only conclusion I can think of is that there is something holding them back. My guess? Could be the interests of the food industry. They donate millions of dollars to universities and colleges every year for research and sponsorships, scholarships and grants.
Think about it. It is not in the best interest of the food industry for people to eat only when hungry because they will end up eating less food. The food industry, through the millions of dollars they spend on lobbying, has a tremendous influence on the government’s nutritional recommendations. The food industry would only, wisely, spend their research time and money on projects that will directly benefit them. Do you think the universities and colleges teach things that could disprove a big donor’s product or mission? Of course not.
A great book to read about the food industry and the great influence it has on the way we eat today is the book by Marion Nestle “Food Politics”. You will be surprised when you learn the amount of influence the food industry has on our government and our educational institutions.
Bottom line? The food industry has great influence over the government and the educational institutions and any information that would hinder the sales of food gets ignored or generally suppressed. Most educational institutions don’t emphasize the benefits of fasting and eating less often. Most nutritionists who get their information from those institutions may not be very aware of the benefits.
I am a firm believer in the value of education. Sometimes structured education, like colleges and universities can put blinders on people. I think that is what has happened with most nutritionists and why so few of them teach the importance of fasting and letting your body go hungry before eating.
I don’t want my blog to be misunderstood. My intentions are not to offend anyone but to answer a question I get asked a lot as to why such an important healthy habit has been completely ignored by most mainstream nutritionists.
Founder of the Live Your Way Thin System.
Yes, you read correctly, weight gain is a blessing and here is why. Just because someone is thin, that does not make them healthy. I know plenty of thin people who had heart attacks and strokes. The problem is that many thin people, or people who do not have a weight problem, wrongly believe, that because they are thin that means they are also healthy, so they don’t watch their diet and don’t exercise. All of a sudden, they have a stroke or a heart attack and then is when they realize that they are not as healthy as they thought. If they survive, then is when they start exercising and watching their diet.
You can look at weight gain as a clear signal from your body that you are engaging in behaviors that are bad for your health. This is why you should consider weight gain as a blessing because your body is giving you a heads up that you are doing something wrong and that you should change course. A thin person, unfortunately, does not get that message from their body until is too late. Personally, I would prefer if my body gave me a heads up that I am doing something wrong, so I have a chance to change before it’s too late.
Stavros Mastrogiannis: A world leader in sustainable weight loss and the creator of the Live Your Way Thin System. “A simple and practical approach to sustainable weight loss and great health”