Are you fed up yet?
With all of the competing, confusing information out there, losing fat can seem almost impossible. Maybe you’ve tried every diet and fitness program in existence; or maybe you’re at square one, with no idea where to start – either way, I can help.
In order to find a simple solution to weight loss, we need to go back to the basics. Fat loss doesn’t have to be about complicated formulas or eating foods you hate. In fact, if you can master a few nutritional principles, losing fat and rediscovering the six-pack abs that faded a few Budweisers back is certainly doable.
Today, you’ll discover seven Lean Living rules that will allow you to lose fat for the long-term.
1. Forget dieting
Kind of a weird way to start off a list of rules about losing weight, right? But let’s be honest: diets suck. Massively restricted eating, carrying around Tupperware containers (of food you don’t even like), and skipping out on social events? No thanks.
More than just being inconvenient – or downright miserable – diets don’t work. By encouraging a short-term mindset, diets may allow you to lose some fat quickly, but most people end up gaining all of the weight lost back (and more) when their “diet” is over.
It’s time to put death to diets and find a better, more sustainable approach for losing fat. How can that be done? By applying the rest of the rules you’re about to discover.
2. Limit Your Intake of processed foods.
The over-processing of food removes vitamins, minerals, and a whole bunch more of the good stuff that your body needs to operate at a high level. And if that isn’t bad enough, heavily processed foods are often chock-full of artificial ingredients that are difficult for your body to process.
Every aspect of your well-being, from your waistline to your energy levels, will benefit from skipping the processed foods and opting for whole foods most of the time.
Not sure which foods fall into the highly processed category? Use this as a ‘cheat sheet’:
Come in a box or bag?
Have an ingredient list that reads like your high school chemistry textbook?
Then it’s probably heavily processed and is better to avoid.
3. Use a smaller plate.
Some people who struggle to lose weight have what I call “potluck” syndrome. They have good intentions, but they fall into the trap of thinking, “If I can fit it on one plate, I’m good to go.”
Aiming to reduce calorie consumption by avoiding “seconds” can be an effective plan, but it doesn’t do a whole lot of good if you overcompensate the first time around.
A simple fix: use a smaller plate. Instead of using a typical dinner plate, try opting for a salad plate instead. Salad plates are typically a bit smaller than a dinner plate, and with less space to put food, you will consume less calories overall.
Pro tip: Now that you’re using a smaller plate, don’t fall victim to “potluck” syndrome by taking your food vertical (i.e. don’t stack your food so that you can fit more on your smaller plate).
4. Create an environment conducive to Lean Living
Most people spend all of their time focusing on what they are eating and not enough on how they are eating. Confused? Here’s what I mean:
Are you eating in your car on the way home from work? In front of your TV or at your desk at work?
Eating while doing other things – like watching TV, driving your car, or working on a computer – can easily distract you from how much food you shove down your pie hole. Ever “blacked out” while watching your favorite TV show only to realize you just smashed an entire bag of Doritos?
We’ve all been there.
But instead of blaming this lapse on a lack of willpower, it may be more effective to change your environment.
When you eat, just eat. Don’t stare at a screen or drive or do anything else distracting. By focusing on one thing at a time – in this case eating, you will be more aware of how much food you are eating and better able to identify when you are full.
Oh, and about the Doritos – get all of that garbage out of your house. No matter how strong you think your willpower is, most people will make the choice of least resistance. If this means ripping open a bag of chips that you have in your cabinet instead of making a well-balance meal; you’re going to take the easier route.
5. Skip the fast food.
Grabbing a #3 at Joe’s Burger Shack when you’re in a crunch may be saving you time, but it’s killing your ability to lose fat and live a life of health, strength, and confidence.
When eating fast food, it can be easy to knock down a few thousand calories in a few minutes. What’s worse, the restaurant industry knows a thing or two about science, so they know the perfect combination of protein, fats, and carbs that will keep your body craving more and more of their scrupulous – yet artery clogging – cuisine.
A better option for your fast-paced lifestyle: Thanks to places like Whole Foods, it is possible to get the convenience of fast food while staying on track with your fat loss goals. Instead of stopping at a fast food restaurant, swing by a health food store and hit up the fresh salad bar.
6. Eat slower.
When is the last time you actually took the time to enjoy the intricate tastes and textures of your food? By eating slowly, you are better able to not only enjoy your food, but you’ll also improve your “hunger awareness.”
Slowing down allows you to override the irrational, emotional side of your brain and think about what, and how much, you are eating.
As a general rule, if you’re meals aren’t taking at least 15 minutes to consume, you need to slow down. If this turns out to be a significant challenge for you, set a timer on your phone and aim to pace your eating.
As an added benefit, slow eating may improve your relationship with the people you spend your time with because you’ll actually have time to talk about something that matters when sitting across from them for an extended period of time.
7. Avoid “moralizing” your food consumption.
Chicken and broccoli are “good” while ice-cream and pizza are “bad.” Sounds like a good idea, right?
Actually, no. It would seem that by identifying which foods are good, and which are bad, you will be more likely to choose good foods and get closer to your fat loss goals.
But that’s not usually how it works. Labeling foods “good” and “bad” is actually making it MORE likely that you will make choices that lead you further away from your fat loss goals.
In psychology, there’s something called “moral licensing”, which describes our natural tendency feel justified about doing something bad after we feel like we’ve done something good.
So if you “moralize” food choices, when you eat something “good”, like chicken and rice, your brain responds by giving you permission to eat something “bad”, like the entire bag of Doritos.
So – yeah – you made a good choice and moved closer to your fat loss goals by choosing “good” foods for lunch, but then you undid that (and then some) when you rewarded yourself for that good choice with something bad later on.
This same principle applies to anything that you moralize: so if you consider yourself a “good” person when you exercise, and a “bad” person when you don’t, then you’re actually more likely to skip the gym tomorrow if you work out today.
Instead of labeling foods as “good” or “bad”, consider your goals. Before eating a specific food, ask yourself if it will take you closer, or farther, from your goals. This allows you to make good decisions without the negative effects of moralizing your food choices.
About The Author: Eric Weinbrenner is a fitness writer, coach, and founder of Muscle That Matters. He’s on a mission to stamp out the obsessive, confusing fitness info that dominates the industry and help busy guys build muscle, lose fat, and become more athletic while crafting a remarkable life. Visit musclethatmatters.com to sign up for the Free 5-Day Course and discover how to build the body you want while having, and enjoying a life outside of fitness.
Like this Article? Subscribe to Our Feed!
Author: Eric Weinbrenner
Eric Weinbrenner is the founder of Musclethatmatters.com. He's on a mission to stamp out the obsessive, confusing fitness info and help men build an awesome body while crafting a more remarkable life