Carb free breakfast was a necessity for me – it is when your five years old son goes to his friend and proudly says, “my mummy is getting bigger than my daddy”. How embarrassing could that be? I knew I was gaining weight and told myself I will start to eat right and exercise. Week after week went by and my eating habits did not change. One day my son looked at me and said, “you are big”, at first I thought he meant I am an adult, but he was actually talking about me being fat…
Strength is the weakness
It was then that I decided it was time to get my weight in order. One of my biggest strength was actually my main weakness. I gained and lost weight many times and did it properly with lots of research. I read books, articles and talked to fitness experts and it was amazing how most of them individually missed the mark. Since I knew how to lose weight and lost anywhere from 5 lb to 20 lb in the past, in the back of my head I was okay with gaining weight. I knew exactly how to get back to being fit. This time however, things were a bit different, I had two kids, less time to plan things, didn’t have a membership to the gym and I gained 40 extra pounds (20 pounds more than my biggest weight gain in the past).
The first important thing in losing weight is to set a goal. If you do not have weight loss goal, chances of losing are next to none.
Reason for losing weight
When things you want to do in life are associated with a cause, there is more drive to get them done.
Thought Bite: A real genuine cause is one of the biggest motivators for achieving fat loss greatness, even when the odds are against you.
For example, I have a friend who started smoking at the age of 15 and did so for 14 years. He tried to quite many times in the past but didn’t live up to it. One day, he came home and saw his 3 years old daughter with a cigarette in her hand. He didn’t want that for his daughter and decided it was time to stop smoking. This was six years ago. Why did he stop smoking this time compared to the times before? What was the difference? The answer is a “Cause”. He didn’t want his daughter to smoke and that was his “cause”. He stopped smoking because this time around it was not just for himself but for his daughter also.
Find a Cause to Lose Weight
You want to lose weight and get rid of that extra, unwanted fat, find yourself a cause:
A friend of mine lost 25 pounds because her brother’s wedding was coming up and she wanted to look good in her dress.
Another friend was going on vacation with her family and wanted to look good in a swimsuit.
Sometimes the cause is stronger when it is set because of someone else. You may want your partner to get back in shape or lose the unwanted weight. Instead of nagging to eat healthy, what if you decided to get fitter yourself first.
Thought Bite: Anything you touch also touches you back
You losing weight will automatically make those around you think of losing as well. Your healthy lifestyle will also rub off on other people around you.
Like I said, “find a cause” to lose and you will have higher motivation to follow to the next stage.
Cause to lose weight can be positive or negative
Sometimes the cause can be negative as well. I have a friend who lost more than 20 pounds because she was stressed. She thought her husband was cheating on her with another women.
Thought bite: There is an answer for everything in life, except doubt.
Her husband assured her, that was not the case but she did not believe him. She spoke to me about it and I thought what if it is her insecurity about her body which is nagging her. I suggested she should take care of herself better, eat right, exercise and look good when he returns home from work. It did two things:
Since she was spending more time doing things and less time thinking, she got in shape and also found a way to deal with doubt. Her husband also noticed her changes and life went back to normal for them.
Hence, you should find a cause which is important enough for you to want to lose weight. There is a simple way to find out if the cause is real internally driven or not.
Thought bite: It can’t be based on “Your Need to Lose Weight, you should Want to Loose it”.
Psychology of setting weight loss goal
Most people, when they want to lose weight, either don’t set any goals at all or they set them wrong. In both of these cases the result will be the same, you will not win.
Thought bite: Mind is the most powerful/wonderful thing we have but the default setting of it is set to lazy.
It will fight us to the end of the world, to make sure it does as little as possible. Understanding how to work the brain to your advantage is the key to setting goals.
Although default settings are fixed to “lazy”, the term is relative. You can decrease the bar of being lazy and your mind will not fight you for it, but it must be done right. Most people set their fat loss goals in the right logical way, they select the amount of weight they want to lose and they also associate a timeline to it.
It goes something like this “I want to lose 20 pounds in a month”. It sounds fine but the mind brings the entire mighty force to fight them back. It says, there is no way you can lose 20 pounds, imagine what you would have to give up? It shows you pictures of your favorite deserts, cakes and tells you, what will you do if you give up your burgers, pizzas and drinks. It speaks to you at your level, if you know how many calories you need to burn to lose weight, it says you can’t cut that many calories. It brings in the time factor. You don’t have the time to exercise for an hour a day.
You are spending most of your time, trying to reason with and fight yourself towards losing your additional fat, instead of focusing on the task on hand.
There is a better way to set goals
In my own example, I wanted to lose the extra 40 pounds of undesirable fat. Instead of saying I want to lose it all in a certain time frame, I set a much smaller goal.
“My goal is to lose one pound”. You may be wondering, why is she setting her goal to lose one pound when 40 is to be lost? The answer is simple, my brain would not fight me for it. The lazy brain kicks in and it actually provides me suggestions as to what can be done to lose the pound in a lazy way.
Once I pick the number to lose, I attached a timeline to it.
“I want to lose one pound in a week.”
You may be wondering, losing 1 pound a week, to lose 40, it will take me 40 weeks. Why do I want to take ten months to become fitter? The answer once again is simple.
Thought bite: You want your brain to help and work with you, rather than rebel and work against you.
Because the brain is lazy, it says, this goal is doable.
Now you may think we are done with the goal, but that is where most people go wrong.
Thought bite: Open ended goals are the ones that will not be achieved anytime soon.
You must attach a start and an end date with your goal.
When I am attaching a start and end time frame to it, I also change “ I will” to “Want to”.
“I will lose one pound in a week starting on December 27, 2013 and ending at Jan 03, 2014”.
Personally once decided, I normally don’t wait until tomorrow. I start right away, even if today is going to be less of a full day. If I started at midday, 7 days later my goal also ends around the same time.
I weigh myself when I start, it is best to pick a time right after you wake up. Make sure at the end of the goal timeline, you step on the scale at or around the same time as you start and wearing same attire.
Public challenge Vs Private challenge
Every person is different, some like to do things in isolation while others do it openly. I like to make my goals public and take it as a challenge, letting others around me know what I am going to achieve.
It has two distinct advantages:
- You are held accountable by others
- When others see you doing it and achieving results, they get motivated to jump on the bandwagon also
I wrote my goal down and sent it to ten people from my family and friends list. I also emailed the goal to a website, where they can see my daily diary.
It shows my daily progress along with any frustrations, moments of weaknesses and what I did to overcome them.
You have to decide if you want your weight loss goal to be private or public but from what I have seen, public goals have more riding on them.
Now that we dealt with the brain, setting goals and accountability – let’s jump into the next stage.
Before you can tackle fat loss, you have to work backwards to see how you put it on in the first place.
Problem areas (depends on person to person)
We all have problem areas; some of us gain on our thighs, while other on the stomach or love handles. I have friends with a flat stomach but bulging love handles or hips. The gender doesn’t matter, male or female, everyone has a “problem area” where you store fat. Although we want a perfect body, Women want to get rid of fat on their thighs and stomach, while men want the sexy six pack.
The first fat storage places for most female are lower bodies, which is why there are multiple names associated with it (muffin top, thunder thighs, saddlebags – just to mention a few).
Personally I notice the first place the fat is stored on my body, is also the last place it comes off from. This is also true with few other friends who I helped lose weight over the years. I am sure you already know it but if you don’t, find out your problem area(s) and keep track of it.
Why knowing the first place to gain weight is important
As we start to gain fat, we do so on our problem areas first. The face and the rest of the body looks the same. Only the problem area is slowly but surely bulging up. By the time fat starts to spread, you have gone way over your desirable weight.
Thought bite: What you don’t know won’t hurt you doesn’t hold true in weight loss.
Our brain is conditioned to automatically and quickly alter our view, to present our personal physical situations in the best possible light. When we look in the mirror, our brain controls our thoughts and shows us what we want to see, instead of what it is.
For example I saw a cartoon image of someone looking at herself in the mirror. It showed two images:
- The actual size of the person
- What she sees in the mirror
The actual size is big, what she sees in the mirror is much fitter than the reality.
This is why you need to not only know your problem area(s) but also you need to know when it is storing more fat. I deal with this situation by having my favorite “fit” pants and shirt. It is something I wear when my weight is ideal. I then use a camera to take photos on a regular basis (usually every week).
I look at these pictures as someone else’s eyes. It shows me the reality rather than the padded truth of what brain makes me believe.
My picture of what my problem area looks like right now is not pretty at all. I can’t believe I let myself get to this stage but I also know:
Thought bite: If you are not keeping track of your weight, it is very easy to get out of control.
The last place to gain weight
From my research and personal experience the “Face” is the last place to store the fat. This means, by the time your face starts to show fat, you are gone way past your ideal weight. Your problem areas stored all the fat they could and then started to send the fat deposits to other surrounding body parts before slowly but surely getting to work on your face.
For me, my face is also the first place I lose fat on and my problem areas are the last. When I start my journey to lose weight, I take pictures of my face. Every week I update the pictures and look at them side by side. Try this experiment – if you are losing weight in the right way, you will be able to align the pictures you took from week to week, without having any dates on them.
Just as a game, I take two sets of pictures. One set is time stamped, while the other one has no time or date on it. Just a few weeks into my fat battle, I can easily put the pictures in order based on the fat I was losing on my face rather than knowing when the photos were taken.
You can permanently win the fat loss battle, if you know how it grows in the first place. I was blessed with a natural six pack and could eat anything and nothing would show on my body. As the time went by, to the outside world, I still looked in good shape, but I knew after my second child that my carefree days of not worrying were gone. That is when I first noticed a small tiny tyre around my mid section. Since then, I have won and lost battles to fat but understanding how fat grows helps me get back to normal.
Here are some facts about fat growth you must know
- Once you pass the age of 20, your resting metabolic rate slows down and goes down by about 3% every ten years.
- An average women needs to consume 2,000 calories a day but how many calories you can eat before you start to gain weight depends on your metabolism and lifestyle.
- muscle needs more energy than fat cells
- In your quest for fitter you, be careful – body fat percentage of 14% or less might cause issues like hormone disruption and infertility
- One pound of fat = 3,500 calories
- To lose one pound in a week 3500 calories is what you need to burn. For example you eat 2000 calories per day and you burn the same amount. In order for you to lose one pound you would have to reduce calorie intake by 500 per day or increase activity level to burn 500 more per day.
- There is a whole area of Fat cells called the Alpha and Beta receptors. I am not going to bore you with the terms by going in details, keeping it simple Alpha-receptor (inhibits the breakdown of fat) and on the flipside Beta-receptor (stimulates the breakdown of fat).
- Your problem areas have more of alpha-receptors. There are other terms like lipoprotein lipase, hormone-sensitive lipase, details of which you don’t nee to know.
If you forgot everything else, simply remember this:
You just need to burn more calories than you consume and you will lose fat. When you lose, you will do so from your entire body, there is no such a thing as spot reduction.
As I got older, my metabolism naturally got slower. To give it a boast, I increased my muscle mass with regular exercise.
Thought bite: Math is simple, you must eat fewer calories than you burn and you should lose weight. If you eat more than you consume, you will gain fat.
What a lot of eating does to your body and brain?
When you start to eat more, your stomach needs to expand to store that extra food for processing. An expanding stomach can store more food and since your body digests as much as it can, the calories which are not burnt, are stored as fat for a rainy day in the future.
Thought bite: An expanded stomach needs to consume more food to feel full.
Most people who gain weight eat to the full stomach, each time expanding it just a tiny bit. Before you know it, you got yourself a beer belly.
Not eating to full stomach has many different advantages, one of which is that it does not help in stomach expansion. Keep that in mind that when you eat the leftovers of your children, even after having a full dinner. If there are leftovers, put them aside to consume them later.
Taste buds demands
A king once gathered all the wise men in his kingdom and asked them, “What is the best and worst part of human?” All of them gave answers along the same lines, saying it is the brain. Then came this poor guy in ripped cloths and the king asked him the same question.
King: What is the best part of a human body?
Poor man: The tongue.
King: What is the worst part of a human body?
Poor man: The tongue.
The King got so happy that he made the poor man in charge of his treasure.
Thought bite: Your best and worst enemy is your tongue.
Not only for the words that come out of your mouth, but for the food that goes in. Your mouth is loaded with about 10,000 taste buds; mainly on your tongue, each TB has up to 150 receptors. Your taste buds tell the brain the taste of what you eat, they tell the brain if the food you are eating is sweet, sour, bitter or salty. Each part of your tongue has different set of taste buds. For example the candy, chocolate, ice-cream, basically the sweet tasting buds are in the front, so are the salty ones. The sides are covered by the sour taste buds and the bitter ones are at the back.
The human body gets used to anything, it may take some time but it adapts to conditions. I know someone who can eat sleeping pills and still not be able to sleep. Her body got used to it and does not respond to it anymore.
In a similar manner,
Thought bite: The More fat or sweet food you eat, the less sensitive your taste tends to be.
This inability of taste buds to perceive the flavor of fat and the sweetness in desserts sends a delayed response. In other words, in order for a taste bud to send your brain the signals of eating a yummy cake, you must consume more of it. When you are eating more, you are also consuming a higher amount of calories, resulting in weight gain. I’m sure you will agree, there have been times when the food was so good, your mouth and stomach were at odds. Mouth said keep eating, while the stomach finally said “no more please”. Later you will learn how to sync your mouth, stomach and brain.
Time itch and eating habits
Have you ever noticed your frenzy on junk food is tied to a time of the day or night? You ate something and really enjoyed it and repeated it enough for it to became a habit. Everyday at night, after I put my children to bed, i eat mint chocolate ice cream. It became a habit. Every time I go to the mall, I have a red velvet cupcake, it also became a habit. For good and/or for bad, we develop eating habits and just like anything else, the bad habits are hard to break.
How does the body know it is time to eat ice cream or any other dessert? Why does a quarter pounder taste so good and you need at least two? As previously stated, your expanded stomach calls for more, the lost sensation on your taste buds need more to be satisfied and your brain gets signals, which are way behind. By the time it says you are satisfied and full, you have over eaten.
To change the eating habits and to fight cravings, you must first understand, what is calling for it, the stomach, the taste buds or peer pressure.
Peer pressure and gatherings
It is no secret, most gatherings are feasts and not lot of us can resist the food or the peer pressure. We ultimately do care about what others think of us and sometimes will eat and drink because everyone else is doing it. Other times we overeat because the food was just too good to stop. This is one of the main reasons why the holiday season is loaded with calories. To convince yourself and to deal with the guilt, you set resolutions. A statement, which allows you to eat whatever you want because soon you are going to burn it all anyways.
A house full of goodies
When you are losing control, your fridge and cupboards get packed with junk food, based on demands from your taste buds, eating habits and your companions. When you have goodies all over the place, the smell and the memory keeps calling you towards them.
By product of happy, sad and excited feelings
As you lose control of yourself, you gain fat along the way. I have seen people eat food:
When they are happy, “let’s go celebrate”.
When they are sad, “I am too fat why not enjoy the food”.
Entertainment “let’s go to the movies, eat popcorn and gulp down slushies”.
They say, you live this life once, eat what you want!
As you are gaining weight, there is an internal battle being fought. The brain, just to make itself look good, says you got to get back in shape (remember, the brain is lazy), you got to eat healthy and exercise, but at the same time, it tells you to start from tomorrow. When the brain and logic all go out of the door, you gain the fat you never thought was possible.
Now that you know some of the stuff behind weight gain, let’s dig into who is working against you.
The first step in fighting a winning battle
They say muscles are built in gym but abs are built in the kitchen. I will add one more dimension to this,
Thought Bite: “Fat loss battle is won in the supermarket”.
I am sure you didn’t pay attention to this before but you will agree with it.
Super markets make lots of money from you eating healthy and even more money from you eating junk. Food photography is a billion dollar art.
Thought Bite: How many times you bought something because of how tasty the picture on the box looked?
Have you ever wondered why most large grocery stores do not have an eating area? Even the chicken being roasted and breads being baked, are for takeaway. You buy it at the store but eat it at home. This is by design, when you are hungry, you actually buy more compared to when your stomach is full.
The marketing departments of these large grocery retailers work full-time to make sure you pick up a dessert habit and stick to it. They also think of all kinds of ways for you to buy more. The shopping carts keep getting bigger, deeper, easier to push and even have baby seats.
If you want to fight back, you must do so by beating them at their own game. First, schedule your grocery shopping right after breakfast, dinner or lunch. The main goal is to shop when you are full.
Second step, when you can help it, only use the hand basket. When you are carrying the food, each item going in the basket makes it harder to carry. It is also lot smaller than the grocery cart, which means it fits only what you need. I normally do my shopping where only one day I use the shopping cart and rest of the days, I use the hand basket. I live very close to the grocery store and have the time to make multiple trips per week. You should adjust your habit according to your situation.
Thought Bite: A Hand basket makes it harder to buy the unwanted items and it burns calories while you are shopping.
The third step is to try not to buy junk food – you can’t eat something you don’t have. That’s where the battle starts, in the grocery store. Replace your high calorie deserts with fruits or …
More to come>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
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Future articles will tell you more about:
The reverse fat process
When eating a burger is better than salad
How to eat any desert you want and not gain any additional fat
Shocking the body in simple ways
How to easily shrink the stomach without exercising
How to use Carbs to fight sweet tooth and cravings
Simple plans to fight the moment of weaknesses
Not only what to eat but how to eat Breakfast, lunch or dinner
In between the three meals what you will do
Excellent strategies to fight back the taste buds
Tricks and tips for time battle with body to avoid calorie load
How you can eat more but still lose weight
How to get your brain to happily help you to exercise
How you can lose weight without stepping in the gym
How to lose weight while you sleep
How to lose fat without exercising
Foods that help you fight the stored fat
And much much more….