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  • The NO-Diet Diet

    If you started the New Year off with going on a diet - STOP! Well, maybe saying “stop” is a bit harsh so keep reading….

    Not to be a Debbie Downer but if you have started a “diet”, chances are high that you will go back to your old eating habits sooner than you initially thought. That is, unless you are dieting in the right way. Most people that diet restrict themselves of their favorite foods, key nutrients and calories when they go on said diet. In my opinion, the word diet should go right along with all the other bad 4 letter words.

    If you have done one diet after another without any success or maybe you DID have success but you eventually found yourself back to square one, there's a reason why. You either chose an unrealistic way to eat or the diet you did was not unrealistic for YOU. These days there is every diet imaginable and they ALL will somehow convince you that this diet is THE diet that will work. There are always good intentions behind people going on a diet but the reality is - diets don’t work.

    People want instant results with most things in life these days. When it comes to wanting to lose weight by changing the way we eat, you have to first acknowledge that the weight you have gained did not happen overnight. Therefore, losing the weight will not happen that quickly either. I realize that would be wonderful in a perfect world, but we all know, we don’t live in a perfect world. Losing weight is hard but learning why the weight came on in the first place is harder. Then keeping the weight off will come a lot easier.

    My goal for you is to delete the word “diet” as a form of deprivation or a quick fix. I want you help you adapt a healthy eating “diet” which allows you to enjoy the foods you eat, achieve your weight loss goal, become healthier and do it for a lifetime. I want you to not have to feel you have to “go on a diet” ever again. The way you eat needs to work for YOU. We all have different bodies and goals and just like your workouts, the way you eat needs to be a lifestyle. The way your significant other or your co-worker eats may work for them and their goals, but it may not work for you.

    Here’s the deal. We all have habits. Good habits and bad habits. We go throughout our day doing one habit after another. Some habits we have had for years...or maybe our whole life. The majority of diets are changing habits you have had a very long time. This may work for a week...a month...but you will eventually go back to your old habits. Why? Because you never learned why you had certain habits in the first place. Heck, some people have become so stuck on the conveyor belt of daily living, that they don’t even know certain habits that they have.

    3 STEPS TO SUCCESSFULLY LOSING WEIGHT WITH THE NO-DIET DIET

    (1) SLOWLY GOING “WITHOUT”

    Let's say you eat ice cream after dinner everyday. You have been doing it for years. It's your thing. You have been doing it for so long that it has become habit. You don’t even think about doing it, you just do it. Every night. A “diet” would have you stop eating your ice cream but that’s an unrealistic approach for a couple reasons. 1). You have been doing it every night for too long. 2). You got a chance to learn why it is that you eat ice cream every night after dinner.

    Instead of stopping your ice cream cold turkey (because stopping anything you love WILL have you going back to it….and more of it), You would tell yourself you are not going to eat your ice cream just ONE night. You can then eat your ice cream the other 6 days. The key is telling yourself the actual day (Wednesday for example) because saying "one day" will have you pushing it off to the next day and the next. So, Wednesday rolls around and you don't eat ice cream. You realize you didn't die. You did not have a panic attack. The other days you eat your ice cream. Wednesday rolls around again and you successfully go without. Now it is time to label a second day without ice cream. You continue to do the same scenario and increase the days "without" as slowly as you need. The reason this method is so effective is your brain and body are communicating. If you do not give yourself a chance to feel/realize you can go without something - you will never know you can do it. You have to "feel" that you are okay without eating something that is high calorie/fat, going back for seconds, putting as much on a plate, etc. This is why diets don't work - you don't get a chance to learn "why" you do "what" you do "when" you do.

    (2) BECOME MINDFUL

    Many people overeat, make unhealthy food choices, etc. because they are not wanting to deal with “something.” This something could be things like: boredom, stress, sadness, etc. We also eat mindlessly for happy reasons. When we celebrate, watch t.v. with friends/family, etc. YOU have to figure out “why” you do “what” you do “when” you do. Say what?! The “why”, “what” and “when” are your food habits. Here’s how.

    Write down EVERY single thing you eat and drink throughout the day along with the time. By doing this, it forces you to stop, feel and think about what you are about to eat. This sounds simple but it is actually more challenging that you may think. It is easy for our brain to forget the “bad” choices we make. It’s almost like a defense mechanism we have for ourselves. We eat a lot more calories than we think. Writing everything down will help you visually see foods you eat, how often you eat and how much. It can help you realize how many calories you are consuming from beverages/snacking, patterns of overeating (eating enough throughout the day and then overeating at night) and identify triggers to avoid (overeating when drinking alcohol).

    If you want to understand your emotions related to your food choices, you might also want to include questions such as, "How hungry am I?" or "What were my emotions before, during and after eating?"

    If you TRULY want to adapt a healthier way of eating, achieve your weight loss goals and keep this healthier way of eating for a lifetime - you MUST become aware of these why’s, what’s and when’s.

    (3) KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

    If you don’t know how many calories you specifically need to consume in order to lose weight/maintain/gain weight and you don’t know how many calories you actually consume each day, then it is just a guessing game that may leave you frustrated and discouraged by the lack of results. Writing down everything you eat will help you in determining how many calories you consume. There are numerous websites and apps that will help you know how many calories are in the foods/drinks you consume.

    In order to figure out how many calories you need to consume in order to achieve your goals, you need to configure a easy equation that is below. There are websites and apps that will do this for you but I have found that they give you a much lower caloric intake because it is factoring in how many pounds you want to lose a week. This can be unrealistic depending on how many calories you are accustomed to consuming. Plus you don’t want to focus on how many pounds you are losing a week but how you are feeling, how your clothes are fitting, etc.

    The key in doing the below equation is factoring in first that you are sedentary. This will give you the low end of how many calories you consume. Then factor in how active you truly are and cut that number by a couple hundred. This will give you a realistic range to work with. NOW, pay attention to how you feel throughout the day. If you are able to consume lower than what is your low end range and you are not sluggish, hungry all the time, etc., then that is fine. If you are eating on the higher end of your range and are sluggish, still hungry, etc. then add a couple hundred more calories to your day. It is ALL about how you feel. Pay attention to your energy, how you are sleeping, etc. I am ALWAYS available to answer questions!

    You first need to know your BMR. This is how many calories you burn at rest. Your body burns calories to just keep you alive. If you laid in bed all day and did not move a finger - your body would need calories in order to keep your heart pumping, blood flowing, organs functioning, etc. Then you need to factor in your activity demands. Even if you live a sedentary lifestyle, you burn more calories than your BMR simply by walking from A to B. The more you “move” the more calories you burn.

    Follow these two steps to find your daily caloric needs:

    Step one: BMR FORMULA

    Women:

    655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) - ( 4.7 x age in years ) = BMR

    Men:

    66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age in year ) = BMR

    You now need to add to your BMR because you do more than lay in bed all day long (I hope). First factor in that you are sedentary then the activity level of what you actually do. If your goal is to lose weight - drop that “actual” number by a couple hundred. Remember: in order to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume.

    Step two - ACTIVITY DEMAND

    Sedentary (little or no exercise) : BMR x 1.2

    Lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : BMR x 1.375

    Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : BMR x 1.55

    Very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : BMR x 1.725

    **BMR + ACTIVITY DEMAND (sedentary - normal activity) = DAILY CALORIC INTAKE RANGE

    NOTE: leaner bodies need more calories than less leaner ones. Therefore, this equation will be very accurate in all but the very muscular (will under-estimate calorie needs) and the very fat (will over-estimate calorie needs).

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