Category Archives: Weight Loss

Understanding Your Metabolism

Our metabolic rate determines the rate at which we ‘burn up’ our food, and by increasing this rate, we can lose weight more quickly, easily, and safely.Understanding Your Metabolism

When we diet, by decreasing our calorie intake too drastically, we cause our metabolism to slow down, making it progressively more difficult for us to lose weight. Most diets fail, yet we continue to try one after another, always hoping that each new regime will provide the ‘magic’ solution. If this sounds like your problem, there may be a simple answer. Let’s look at why most diets fail, and how strength training, combined with a healthy food intake can speed up your metabolism, making it easy for you to lose weight.

Understanding your Metabolism

By drastically cutting our food intake, our body’s natural instinct is to switch to a ‘starvation response.’ The fewer calories we consume, the more our bodies become efficient at using these calories – leading to slower weight loss. This was once a useful mechanism for our ancestors when food supplies were less predictable, but this ’vicious circle’ can make life almost impossible for the modern dieter.

When the body is persistently kept short of calories, it breaks down muscle tissue to use as fuel. Our body, using water from our tissue cells, quickly washes this away causing an instant reduction in weight through water loss. However, this weight loss will be short lived, and will quickly be regained when we take in water and the muscle we have lost will slow down our metabolism in the long term.

The reason for this is that each pound of muscle requires a certain number of calories each day just to maintain it. Therefore, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn even when you’re doing nothing, even sleeping! If you lose muscle, then your daily calorie requirement becomes less. For example, imagine a dieter loses 10 pounds of muscle (along with maybe 20 lbs. of fat) on a strict diet. Now suppose that each pound of muscle had been burning 50 calories a day. Together, those 10 pounds of muscle had been burning 500 calories a day. With this muscle tissue gone, the dieter must now consume 500 less calories a day in order to maintain that weight-loss!

However, of course people do not stick to their diets for ever and when they return to their old eating habits, the weight that they have lost, invariably comes piling back on. Unfortunately, whilst they lost both muscle and fat during the diet, all the weight they regained was fat. So, even though they may weigh the same as they did when they started, they now have a lot more fat and a lot less muscle than they did before the diet. Therefore, their metabolism is slower and their calorie requirements are less. Even if they return to their pre-diet eating habits, they still require 500 fewer calories a day due to the muscle loss. That’s one reason dieters are prone to regaining all of the lost weight, and conversely sometimes even gain weight afterwards.

A good solution is an active lifestyle that includes aerobic exercise, a good weight-training program, and a healthy diet containing fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereals and plenty of lean protein. It is a good idea to eat ‘little and often’ – keeping your metabolism in high gear by eating 4 to 6 small meals a day, rather than one or two larger ones. No food is forbidden, but sweets and high fat junk food are eaten less often, and in smaller quantities. A healthy diet is a realistic and permanent way of eating – not a diet that you suffer through for a week or two and then give up!

The goal is to consume as many calories as you can, while still losing body fat and maintaining or adding lean muscle at the same time. If your calories are already below normal, don’t restrict them further. Instead, maintain your current amount and instead try to become stronger and more active, so you can gradually increase your calories to a normal healthy level. If your calorie intake is already in a healthy range, decrease it only slightly, if necessary. A small reduction of about 250 calories a day, or 10-15 percent less than usual, is more likely to protect your lean muscle, and less likely to trigger a go-slow in your metabolism.

If you follow this type of routine, it’s possible to gain about one pound of muscle per week and lose about one pound of fat per week. The end result is that the number on the scale might not move much at all, it may even go up. Your clothes will feel looser, and you’ll feel great. Yet the numbers on the scale won’t move!! It’s at this point that a lot of people give up the weight training because they don’t understand what’s happening.

The truth is that when you’re strength training it’s possible to get smaller and heavier at the same time, as muscle is a much denser tissue than fat. The fat takes up more space on your body. At this point, it’s best to ignore the bathroom scales and rely on the way you look and the way your clothes fit.

The conventional way of dieting can lead to a weak, tired body, exhausted by the constant cycle of starvation and weight gain, unable to enjoy food. However, by following these easy steps above, you can easily reach your goal – the slim, strong, healthy body of a naturally lean person who can enjoy their food without guilt, for life!

PS: Click here to hear my story on how I recently lost 40 lbs.

Weight Loss Motivation Guidelines

Weight Loss Motivation Guidelines

Personal motivation is the foundation of all weight loss success. No matter how healthy a diet-plan, it won’t help anyone lose weight unless they are motivated to change their eating and Weight Loss Motivation Guidelinesexercise habits. A major obstacle to diet-compliance is boredom. Anne Collins explains how to overcome it by adopting new thinking habits that make weight loss a lot easier.

Introduction

If there is one thing that all dietitians and obesity experts agree on, it is that personal motivation is the foundation of all weight loss success. No matter how healthy the diet-plan, or what combination of calories and nutrition it contains, it won’t help anyone lose weight unless they follow it for long enough. Their willingness to do so depends entirely on how motivated they are to change their eating and exercise habits in order to achieve their weight loss goals.

Motivation Advice Hard To Find

The Internet offers a bewildering array of diets and weight loss eating plans, but advice on motivation when dieting is in extremely short supply. Given the strong link between diet-compliance and motivation, this lack of motivational help is surprising to say the least. It may stem from the fact that many diets are created by people who lack hands-on experience of helping people to manage their weight. Perhaps they see weight loss as a biological rather than a human process. If so, I think it’s a mistake.

Motivating Yourself To Lose Weight

I tell all my clients that starting a weight loss diet is like starting a journey. And like any journey it requires preparation. We need to look ahead and plan how to overcome problems that occur along the way. By doing this we take control of the process and greatly increase our chances of success.

Unfortunately, many dieters don’t plan ahead. Instead, they take things as they come, and rely upon two things: their initial enthusiasm, and (when this wears off) their willpower. But enthusiasm and willpower aren’t enough to overcome the temptations and difficulties which we face when we try to change our eating habits and lifestyle.

Stop for a moment and imagine taking your family on a camping trip. Do you rely on your enthusiasm and willpower for food and shelter? Of course not. In all probability you spend hours beforehand carefully packing and preparing for every eventuality, and the whole trip is carefully planned out in advance.

Yet when you start a diet-journey, many of you set off without any kind of planning or preparation. It’s as if you are convinced that everything will go smoothly. But let’s face it, what diet ever runs smoothly? Answer: none! So what happens when we encounter a big problem? Answer: we wobble, and often quit.

We Need To Plan New Thinking Habits

Planning a diet-journey doesn’t involve packing equipment, it involves packing “new thoughts”. We need to rehearse and adopt new ways of thinking in order to overcome problems during our journey. This isn’t psycho-babble – this is plain common sense. After all, successful dieting is largely a matter of motivation and attitude. It’s about what goes on between our ears!

The Most Common Dieting Problem

The most common problem we face when dieting is boredom. This typically occurs when our initial enthusiasm for losing weight wears off, and we become tired of watching what we eat. We become dispirited, and slightly depressed at the idea of having to maintain our “sensible eating habits” while everyone else seems to be having a good time.

Losing Direction Leads To Boredom

We get bored when we lose our sense of direction. So to overcome it, we need to reestablish exactly where we are going. Remember, dieting is not an aimless process, it’s a journey from A to B. Here’s how we think when we lose direction:

“I’m really bored with dieting, it’s such a pain. I don’t have any freedom any more. I can’t eat this, I can’t eat that… I’m fed up. I can’t share food with the girls at work, I can’t eat at my favorite restaurants, I have to keep saying No to food when I visit friends, I have to watch my family eating in front of me, I don’t have time to exercise properly, I’m never going to lose weight and I’m feeling really miserable. Heck! Life is too short for this…”

This kind of thinking is totally demotivating. It focuses exclusively on the negative aspects of dieting and signals complete aimlessness. No weight loss goal is achievable when we think like this.

A Better Way of Thinking

Now let me show you some better alternatives. Please compare them with the above example.

Example 1

“Hmm, my diet isn’t going so good. But I’m not going to make excuses. I’ve wasted enough time making excuses to myself. From now on, no matter what happens, I’m going to be honest with myself. So what do I want? I want to lose weight and get myself into shape. Why? Because I really want that beach holiday (or other very selfish goal) which I promised myself. I want it so bad I can touch it! Okay, so I need to learn how to eat properly – big deal! I can easily do this if I put my mind to it. Heck! Eating good food isn’t difficult. What’s difficult is seeing myself being overweight for the rest of my life. I want something better. Something a lot better than a fistful of nachos or a dollop of fatty dessert.”

Example 2

“Hmm, my diet isn’t going so good. So let me remind myself why I’m dieting. All my life I’ve been eating to please other people. My mom said “eat this”, so I ate it. My school friends said “have some of this”, so I had lots. My work colleagues now say “have a slice of this”, so I have two! And my kids say “you must try this”, so I try it. And every time I make an effort to lose weight, everyone says “forget about your diet, eat some of this” so I do. Well that’s enough! No more eating to please other people. Today I’m going to start eating to please me. And what pleases me is the idea of wearing a size (?) dress to my daughter’s wedding (or other very selfish goal). I realise I need to eat properly, but this is a ridiculously tiny price to pay for achieving my goal. Heck! Eating good food isn’t difficult. What’s difficult is carrying my excess weight around all day. I want something better. Something a lot better than a 4-cheese pizza or a box of cookies.”

Example 3

“Hmm, my diet isn’t going as smoothly as I thought it would. Never mind, I’m sure this is quite normal. I can’t expect to change my regular eating habits without a few hiccups along the way. Besides, I’m looking for more than the few minutes of pleasure I get from filling my stomach with junk. I want a lifetime of pleasure – real pleasure from looking good and being taken seriously and who knows, maybe finding a great partner. I know other people see me as a fat person – goodness, at times I do too! – but this is exactly WHY I want to change. I’m tired of being fat. Real tired. And if this means learning how to eat good food, then let’s do it! And when it gets tough I’m going to login to Anne Collins forum and get help. All I know is, I want to make it happen!”

Example 4

“Hmm, my diet isn’t going as smoothly as I thought it would. This morning I watched my colleagues eat a whole birthday cake – it looked delicious – and I sat there feeling miserable and deprived. Then I went for lunch with a friend and chose a tuna salad while she ate half a pizza followed by two slices of cheesecake. It was torture! But then I started thinking to myself “what’s more important – a few slices of cheesecake, or a really lean shape?” And I decided that looking good was what I really wanted. I know that it’s not going to happen overnight, but if I can persevere and learn good eating habits along the way, I know I’m gonna make it…”

Example 5

“Hmm, my diet isn’t going as smoothly as I thought it would. But at least it’s not a race. So who cares if I have a few wobbly moments, as long as I get where I want to go. At 26 I’m in the prime of my life, and I want to make the most of it. I’m tired of my slim friends getting all the best guys. I want to turn a few heads myself. I want the attention and I want to be taken seriously, and if I have to spend 12 months dieting – heck! I’m gonna do it. Last week I saw a friend of mine in hospital who lost a leg in a car crash. The doctors say it’s going to take her 12 months to relearn how to walk. Now that is tough. By comparison, my journey is easy. And as long as I keep reminding myself of this, I’ll be fine.”

Points To Remember

1. A diet is a journey from A to B.

2. Feeling bored is a sign we are losing our direction.

3. When we lose direction we need to regain it, fast!

4. The way to regain direction is to remind yourself why you are dieting.

5. You are dieting because you want something better than a plate of fattening food.

Getting Help To Lose Weight

Changing our eating habits is much easier when we get support from other people. So make sure your online weight management plan includes membership of a forum. Because only people can offer you the sort of encouragement you need to achieve your personal weight loss goals.

PS: To learn how I lost 40 lbs. myself, click here to hear my story.

18 Ways To Lose Weight Without Going On A Diet

To lose one pound of body weight in a week, a person must consume about 500 fewer calories than he or she burns each day. Here are 18 ways to lose weight without going on a diet.

18 Ways To Lose Weight Without Going On A Diet

  1. lose weight without going on a dietInstead of drinking orange juice at breakfast, eat a whole orange. You’ll save about 45 calories.
  2. Make your breakfast omelette with four egg whites plus 1/4 cup egg substitute. Replace regular bacon with Canadian bacon to save even more calories.
  3. Switch from whole milk to nonfat or lowfat milk. Use sugar substitute instead of sugar in your morning coffee or latte.
  4. At lunch, use mustard instead of mayonnaise on your sandwich to save 100 calories (per tablespoon) . Eliminate the cheese and save 100 more calories.
  5. Instead of a Big Mac and large fries, go for a plain hamburger and a small french fry and save a whopping 590 calories!
  6. Don’t eat potato chips at snack time. Have an apple instead for less calories plus the added benefit of more fiber.
  7. Substitute diet cola or iced tea for your usual soda. You’ll save 150-200 calories per drink.
  8. Eat every two to three hours with smaller portions. Don’t skip breakfast! Eating small, frequent meals keeps blood glucose levels stable and minimizes the impulse to overeat.
  9. Eat more healthy snacks like dried fruits and nuts, fresh fruits, cut up veggies or yogurt.
  10.  Substitute whole grain foods for white bread, rice and cereals. You will not only cut fat and calories, but whole grains have been proven to reduce the risk of colon cancer by increasing the fiber that your body needs.
  11. Saute meat, chicken and vegetables in broth instead of butter. And speaking of butter: replace it with nonfat sour cream on baked potatoes.
  12. Instead of Caesar salad, substitute a dinner sald with nonfat salad dressing.
  13. Do you love pasta? Have spaghetti with marinara sauce instead of fettuccini with Alfredo sauce. You’ll save at least 500 calories!
  14. When you’re going out with friends, watch your alcohol intake. Instead of using Coke or Seven-Up with your drinks, choose tonic water or seltzer.
  15. Restaurants are notorious for their huge serving sizes. Eat only half of your dinner and save the rest for lunch tomorrow. Or simply share the meal with a friend.
  16. Get moving. Walk to the store instead of driving. Walking is the best exercise you can do to lose weight.
  17. Get more walking time by replacing coffee breaks with exercise breaks. Also use half of your lunch break to take a brisk walk with a co-worker.
  18. Swim, swim, swim. By swimming for just an hour you can burn 500 calories. You’ll also end up with a firmer, more toned body.

You don’t have to go on a strict diet to lose weight. Change to more sensible eating habits and start moving your body by walking, swimming or bicycle riding. You’ll be rewarded by good health and a fit body.

And to hear how I have been able to lose weight, check out my story at: http://bit.ly/1rLhW2c

Winning The Losing Weight Game

Are you more or less constantly thinking about your weight, or whether you’re eating or not eating?

Winning the losing weight game

Winning The Losing Weight GameDo you find that at times when you start eating that you just can’t stop yourself? And then when your clothes don’t fit do you decide to resolve that by eating more?

Often as a consequence of this common behaviour is that you will feel bad about yourself and imagine that everyone is thinking how big you are, thus increasing your anxiety about your eating and image, so that you eat more to comfort yourself.

You might not believe it yet there are steps you can take to get you out this self-destructive cycle and turn around the negative feelings that you experience.

When we are in these ‘mind-traps’ we are habitually repeating thought patterns and acting on them without questioning where they come from and what they do for us.

A simple question such as: ‘What will that do for me?’ can often be the beginning of understanding ourselves better and our behaviour. Approaching the problem in this way can be the first step towards doing things differently.

It works like this: a bad experience gives you the urge to go to the biscuit tin and eat as many biscuits as you can. But this time, instead of binging on biscuits, as yourself: ‘What will that do for me?’

If the answer is something like ‘It gives me a treat,’ ask yourself: ‘And if I have this treat, what does that do for me?; Again, wait for your answer, it may be something like, ‘If I have this treat then I will feel appreciated.’ If this is your response carry on and ask yourself: ‘If I get to feel appreciated, what does that do for me?’ Listen for an answer and keep asking yourself the same question, until you can go no further with your responses. What you’re looking for is the higher motivation behind the behaviour ‘eating too many biscuits’. By doing this on a regular basis you will get in touch with what you really want and take your first step to controlling the food cravings.

I worked with a client who was unhappy with her weight and eating. Her name was Mary, a wife and working mother of two young boys. We did this exercise and she realised that she wanted to feel comforted.

When we looked at other aspects of her life it became clear that she never put herself first in terms of what she wanted and one way or another she now felt unappreciated and lacking.

Mary also realised that rarely gave her self permission to have ‘me time’ to do things like soak in a luxurious bath, or go out with friends, or watch what she wanted on TV, These all may seem like small trivial things, but added together they became the source of her feelings of being invisible, not appreciated and generally unloved.

Mary worked on creating ways that she could reward, comfort and appreciate herself that didn’t have to mean eating. Very soon she became very clear about her goals and how to achieve them. People around her noticed a change and responded by being more receptive and positive towards her. As a result, she easily shed weight, looked and was much happier, and forgot all about eating for comfort.

I know what has worked for me to winning the losing weight game. Check out my story: http://bit.ly/1rLhW2c

7 Things You Can Do Today To Get Rid Of A Beer Gut

There is much hype and misinformation surrounding the subject of how to get rid of a beer gut. If you can get past the infomercials selling their ab machines, diet supplements and magic pills you’ll have a much better chance of actually seeing some proper results and holding on to the money in your pocket.

Like anything in life that involves hard work and desirable results there are no shortcuts. To get rid of a beer gut is no exception. A task such as this requires some fundamental changes in how you live your life and exchanging bad habits for good ones.

Here are 7 small life changes you can make to your every day routine to help to get rid of a beer gut:

get rid of a beer gut1. Park the car a few blocks from work forcing you to walk the rest of the journey every day to incorporate some exercise into your daily routine. If you take the bus or train try and get off a stop or 2 early (take a change of shoes for this).

2. Try and avoid taking lifts and escalators if there are stairs you can take instead.

3. Swap coffee for green tea.

4. Split your meals up into 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout the day, this will increase your metabolism and therefore burn more fat. Think this might help you get rid of a beer gut?

5. Drink lots of water, particularly when you get up and before you go to bed.

6. Eat larger meals earlier in the day when you need the energy and smaller ones in the evening when extra energy will only end up being stored as fat. Remember this expression;- “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and sup like a pauper” but try and split this into 5 or 6 meals instead of the usual 3.

7. Be conscious of how you sit at your desk or how you hold yourself during your day to day routine. To get rid of a beer gut, one of the best ways to develop a flat tummy is to exercise your transverse abdominus. You do this by holding in your stomach (without holding your breath). Aim to see how long you can hold it in for and better your time every day.

Drawing your belly button into your spine is sometimes referred to as ‘activating your core’. If you work at a computer set a calendar reminder to ‘activate your core’ several times a day. If you don’t work at a computer set your watch or phone alarm to remind you to do this. Tensing your stomach muscles and drawing your naval into your spine is something you can do sitting or standing and in almost any situation.

These 7 tips can make a world of difference to helping you get rid of a beer gut if you add them to your daily routine. Proper diet and exercise play an important part as well, however it is possible to ‘multitask’ and lose your beer gut when you’re at work and even at play.

If you combine these routine changes with a solid exercise and diet system you’ll start seeing results a lot quicker than you thought possible. Of course you’ll want to make sure you’re using the right diet and exercise system.

For more every day diet and exercise tips be sure to check out my site for in depth info on how to most effectively get rid of a beer gut and develop rock hard 6-pack abs.

Looking for a better weight management program? One that actually works? Check out my story: http://bit.ly/1rLhW2c

Five Common Diet Tips That Really Work – And Why

diet tips that really workLosing weight is a national preoccupation. I challenge anyone to turn on the television or radio, surf online or open a magazine without finding an advertisement for a weight loss product or an endorsement for a new diet or eating plan. Everyone wants to be healthy and look their best, and for possibly the first time in the last half century, those two things happen to coincide. The current ideal of beauty is far closer to what’s attainable by a ‘real’ person than it has been in decades. Thanks to the recent popularity of actresses and singers who aren’t rail thin, coat hangers are out and healthy muscles and curves are in.

If you’ve been working toward that comfortable ideal body weight, and wanting to know more about diet tips that really work, chances are that you’ve read the same diet and weight loss tips time and time again. In some cases, it’s because someone said it and it got repeated endlessly. In others, though, it’s because the tip really works.

Here are five of the most common diet tips that really work – and why.

Tip #1:

Drink a full eight ounce glass of water 20 minutes before each
meal. It’s only partly because you trick your body into thinking that it’s full. The real trick is in giving your body all the water that it needs. The usual recommendation is at least an 8 oz glasses of water a day. That’s WATER – not soft drinks, not coffee. Just pure water. Your body needs water to maintain all its systems and to flush wastes away. When you don’t take in enough water, it starts trying to conserve it by retaining water in muscle and fat tissues. Water your body as faithfully as you would a plant, and you’ll find that it starts ridding itself of excess water regularly as well. Is it just water weight? Well, yes. But that water weight is weight you don’t have to carry around with you as long as you’re taking in enough water for your body’s needs. This is the top one of diet tips that really work.

Tip #2:

Eat your fruits and veggies raw. Aside from the fact that raw fruits and vegetables pack more nutrition per calorie, in many cases you’re actually getting LESS calories when you eat your produce raw. Does this sound like one of the diet tips that really work? Especially if you generally opt for canned fruits or vegetables, there are added preservatives and flavorings that can increase calories substantially. But there’s another reason as well: your body works harder to digest raw fruits and vegetables, and that means that it uses more calories in getting all the nutrients out of it. Your body NEEDS the extra roughage present in fruit and vegetables that haven’t been cooked and processed to keep it working right.

Tip #3:

Eat a balanced diet. It’s obviously more healthy, but will it help you lose weight? The answer is yes, and here’s why. When your body lacks ANY nutrient in its daily intake, it tries to make up the difference by substituting other nutrients. The result can be false messages that you’re hungry, when what your body really craves is enough of ONE particular nutrient. Eating a balanced diet provides all the nutrients your body needs in the proper proportions so that it isn’t telling you it’s starving.

Tip #4:

The hardest one for some of the list of diet tips that really work. Half an hour of moderate exercise five times a week. Your body uses the food it eats to produce energy for your daily activities. The more energy you use, the more of your food your body will use to fuel it. When you eat fewer calories than your body needs, it will turn to stored reserves to keep it going. Adding one half hour of moderate exercise to your daily routine five times a week increases your body’s consumption of energy. But there’s more. Your body is using up calories even when you’re not exercising just to maintain circulation and health in its tissues. It uses up more calories maintaining muscles than fat. As you exercise, your body is converting fat to muscle — resulting in a higher metabolic rate as it increases its activity to keep your muscles in tone.

Tip #5:

Snack between meals. Our bodies were never designed for the 3-times-a-day eating schedule we’ve adopted. They work round the clock, and need energy all the time. Rather than eating all your calories in three sittings, spread them out over 5 or 6. The trick is to eat smaller meals – not add more food. You’ll keep your digestive system busy, and your body at full energy all day long.

Learn about the diet tips that really work for me: http://bit.ly/1rLhW2c

The Psychology Of Diet Preparation

We decide to lose weight because of any number of reasons: we don’t like the way we look, ourthe psychology of diet preparation clothes don’t fit, our health is in danger, our significant other is wandering, our job is at risk, or our kids are embarrassed. We tend to think of weight loss as something that involves only our body; surely no one ever decided to lose weight because of a fat brain or a bloated mind.

Yet “we decide” is a mental function. When and why we make such a decision depends on our mind, not our body. This is part of the psychology of diet preparation. We may make the decision when we are five pounds heavier than we would like, or after passing the two hundred pound mark and entering true medical obesity. The actual size of the body does not trigger the decision to lose weight, such a choice in made in the brain.

The psychology of diet preparation

Since the start (and the continuation) of a diet program is a mental process, it would seem to be worthwhile to explore what factors might trigger such a decision.

1. Self-Image.

Each of us has a dual image: the face we turn to the world and our internal idea of how we appear. Although we dress and groom ourselves in an effort to be seen as attractive by others, we are far less influenced by others than by our satisfaction, or dissatisfaction, with ourselves. Does this impact psychology of diet preparation?

Explore this concept by observing yourself and others over the course of the next week. You will notice that you often receive compliments on clothes you wear that, to you, don’t feel “quite right.” Wear a favorite outfit that fits perfectly, that you think looks outstanding, and that makes you feel especially dashing – and no one notices! The same phenomenon occurs with a hairstyle. One morning, rushed for time, you can’t get your hair to do anything so you angrily pull it back with clips and hope that no one important sees you looking so awful. Voila! Three people comment that they like what you’ve done with your hair.

There is the same disconnect when it comes to our weight. If we look good in our mind’s eye, we don’t feel fat, even if friends and coworkers are whispering about our steady weight gain. However, if we see ourselves as overweight, no amount of reassurance from those around us is going to make us feel less fat. Carried to the extreme, this mental picture of our body size can lead to the eating disorder anorexia nervosa in which painfully thin individuals continue to dangerously restrict their caloric intake because they consistently see themselves as too heavy.

We decide to go on a diet, therefore, in response to our internal self-image. Thinking more about the psychology of diet preparation, some of the benefits we envision that go along with being slim and fit do take others into account: I will be more attractive to the opposite sex; I’ll be noticed at work when it’s time for a promotion; my family and friends will be jealous and will have to re-evaluate me as a stronger person than they had thought. But the real payoff for getting in shape is what it does for us personally. It is the desire to feel great about ourselves that carries us through the pain and monotony of diet and exercise. It is the future vision of ourselves in our mind that spurs us toward our goal. Losing that vision, or concluding that we won’t feel that much better about ourselves, are the reasons we give up and fall back into the relative comfort of settling for just “okay.”

2. Body versus Mind dominance.

We all wage a lifelong internal battle between our body and our mind. Each is dominant at different stages of development. As infants, we are little more than a collection of sensations. We explore the exciting new world around us through touching everything within reach, tasting everything we can put into our mouths, watching the movements of everything around us, and listening to all the sounds we hear until we eventually learn to imitate them.

As we move into our early school years, we start to concentrate on our minds. We voraciously devour immense amounts of information. We learn to read and our world expands its boundaries by a thousand percent. We learn to use the Internet and a limitless universe is at our fingertips. This could be the start of our approach to the psychology of diet preparation.

Then we move into puberty and, overnight, our appearance becomes the dominating factor in our everyday lives. We navigate the pitfalls and pleasures of adolescence where popularity and being cool are so much more vital than mere learning or mental development. We spend an inordinate amount of time on our bodies. We try new clothes, new hairstyles, and new makeup. We have body parts pierced and undergo the pain of a tattoo because it will make us stand out. We primp, and groom, and force ourselves into the styles our peers have judged as “in.”

As we mature, we seek to balance our mental and physical selves. While our bodies reign supreme in the attract-a-mate environment, we need to exercise our minds to advance our careers and to develop deep relationships that move far beyond mere physical attraction.

It is when we settle down, and start to build the good life we want, that our efforts and energies turn towards things outside ourselves: children, significant others, friends, family, and work pursuits. We have so much happening around us and so much to do that we lose touch with both our bodies and our minds. We slip into our own comfort zone where so many of our needs are fulfilled by food. It eases our anxiety, relieves our frequent frustrations, and makes periodic bouts of the blues bearable. It oils our social interactions. It becomes a vital cog in how we demonstrate affection for those we love. We continue to see ourselves as we have always been and ignore the love handles and pockets of fat that attach themselves to parts of our body we resolutely ignore. Our bodies, and our internal image of our bodies, become more and more discordant, impacting our psychology of diet preparation.

3. Our sense of self-efficacy.

Self-efficacy is a term used in psychology to describe an individual’s belief that any action they take will have an effect on the outcome. It is not self-confidence, nor a belief that one is competent to do something, although it may involve both. It reflects our inner expectation that what we do will effect the results we want.

If I lack this belief, then I fear that whatever I do will not bring about my desired goal. Bordering on helplessness, it leads to self-defeating thoughts, and psychology of diet preparation:

“No matter how carefully I diet, I don’t lose weight . . .” “I could work out every day but I’ll never get rid of these thunder thighs . . .” “I try to eat healthier foods but my hips just keep on spreading . . .” “No matter what techniques I try, nothing is going to keep the wrinkles away . . .”

If I have a strong sense of self-efficacy, my belief system and thought patterns will sound like:

“All I have to do is get motivated and I can whip my body into shape in a few weeks . . .” “I just need to pick a date to start my diet and I’ll be on my way . . .” “I may have neglected myself for a while but some hard work will bring me back . . .”

Whether or not we start a diet, decide to get in shape, or start taking better care of ourselves is, ultimately, a personal decision which may, or may not, be made as we have planned. The difference lies in the expectation of success and it is always easier to set out on a journey we anticipate will be successful than it is to drag ourselves toward a goal where failure is the most likely outcome.

How can we combine these concepts to work for us in our desire to become slim, fit, and attractive?

We begin by examining our self-image and how we appear to others. Merely asking others “Do you think I’m getting too heavy?” doesn’t work unless you have a brutally honest friend or you ask someone who dislikes you. Most of us are culturally trained to spare others’ feelings so responses to such a question are more likely to be polite than true.

Concentrating on specifics can produce better feedback. Tell everyone that you’re completing a survey for a class you’re taking. Hand out a brief one page questionnaire requiring that each friend or coworker list three adjectives to describe different aspects of your physical appearance. Complete one of the sheets yourself. Make sure that the answers are anonymous by requesting that no names be used and having someone else collect the completed sheets.

Once you have the responses back, compare them to your own answers and see where the descriptions diverge. You may find yourself becoming a little defensive: “My hips aren’t that big . . . my clothes do too make me look slim.” This isn’t an exercise to make you feel bad about yourself nor for you to gloat over the unexpected complimentary remarks you received. It is an organized effort to help you identify where your self-image and your image-in-the-world move apart. Those areas of divergence are a place to start in the effort to make the two images overlap. Is this how you think of the psychology of diet preparation?

Once the areas where work is needed have been identified, it is time to call on the immeasurable strength of our wonderful mind to start imposing the structure and organization we are going to need to effect the desired changes. Our mind can only get us where we want to go if it is supported by a belief in our ability to bring about a successful conclusion. Now is the time to dismiss any expectations of failure. There may have been many unsuccessful dieting and fitness attempts in the past. Leave them in the past. We are not somehow doomed to continue unproductive behaviors forever. We possess that jewel of evolution, the human mind, which is capable of just about anything. If we set our mind to any task, it will accomplish it, if our doubts and misgivings don’t get in its way.

We build up our positive expectations by exploring our memories to pile up a long list of prior successes. There may be major benchmarks such as bringing about a promotion we wanted, orchestrating a fantastic event, or working ourselves into an intensely satisfying relationship. However, the small personal triumphs count the most but are usually quickly forgotten or discounted as unimportant.

Studying hard and obtaining a good grade in a difficult class clearly demonstrates your ability to bring about the results you want. Go for quantity: the day you smiled at someone across a smoky room and ended up with a brief but lovely affair; the report you brought in on time which no one expected; the night you mastered a spin on ice skates. Keep going: making the drill team, shooting a stolen basket, making your own prom dress, dying your hair a wonderful color in your own bathroom, catching a fly ball, figuring out new software on your computer, burning your first CD. The list can be endless and will be, as you keep remembering snippets of the past that you had long buried under more important things, rather than thinking about the psychology of diet preparation.

Keep this list close by and read it regularly. It is your personal self-efficacy pep squad.

You now know the areas you are going to work on and are developing a belief in the effectiveness of your own efforts. Now you need to identify the internal rewards that successful weight loss will bring. Feeling good about yourself, enjoying stepping on a scale, and easily zipping up your clothes are easy starters. Unselfconsciously walking to the pool in a brief suit is a reinforcement to dream about. Making a sales presentation with the confidence that you are looking your absolute best is an image to relish as you fall asleep. Seeing someone you love watch you admiringly, or seeing your competitive coworker jealous, underscores your resolve and keeps you going through the discomfort of dieting and the demands of boring exercise routines.

You know where you’re going, you know what it’s going to take, and you know you’re going to be successful. This can be your approach to the psychology of diet preparation. Your mind is fully prepared, simply awaiting your day of decision. You’ll make that decision whenever you choose because you are now in control.

For hearing more about my story on losing weight and my psychology of diet preparation: http://bit.ly/1rLhW2c

Why Do We Cheat On Our Diets?

Why do we cheat on our diets? If only we could solve this question, the world (for many) would be a better place! Well, the reality is that there are real answers to this question that will apply to many people. It will take a good dose of reality and a brave heart to stop denying what really happens. Read on to discover some answers that may change your life forever and give you the impetus to lose weight and keep it off!

Why do we cheat on our diets?

Justification?

why do we cheat on our dietsBeing overweight can be used as an excuse for being unhappy, especially when you do not do anything to help yourself. This is one of the main reasons why do we cheat on our diets. Subconsciously, over-eating is a comfort for many people and this then allows them to hide behind their weight problem and helps them to justify rejection and avoid being hurt. They can then shift the blame of rejection on their weight-problem, without addressing other aspects of their fears. Sometimes it seems easier to hide behind your “weight problem”, than address other matters where you may have a greater fear of failure.

Eating Without Thinking?

Why do we cheat on our diets? If you are concentrating on another activity while you are eating you are more likely to overeat because you are not fully aware of how full you are feeling. This factor can be difficult to change because it is not a conscious action. Try to only eat when you don’t have a lot of other distractions. Sit down, eat slowly and enjoy the food you are eating, and remember that it is not always necessary to go back for seconds. It takes 20 minutes for food to reach your stomach and for your brain to register that you are full.

Cravings?

The famous “Pavlov’s dogs” were conditioned to eat at the sound of a bell, and we human are much the same when it comes to habitual cravings. If you wonder why you always feel like a chocolate when you sit down to watch a movie, or you have to have a box of popcorn….think again. You are not necessarily craving these foods because you are hungry, but rather consider force of habit. Does this sound like why do we cheat on our diets? During the time when you have a craving, try to ask yourself whether you are really hungry or not. If you are hungry, reach for a low fat snack rather than a chocolate bar or bag of crisps.

Indulging?

Eating or thinking about food can be a distraction from your troubles and you may therefore be unnecessarily over-eating. Emotions and hormones can trigger certain cravings, for example, if you are feeling low, chocolate and carbohydrates assist the production of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin helps you feel happier. This is why we might crave sweet or starchy foods during times of sadness or stress.

If you identify with any of the above factors, you could be on your way towards discovering what is triggering you to overeat. And knowing more about why do we cheat on our diets.

Right program

It is also important to have the right program for losing weight if you are serious. No one says it will be easy. But this program has worked for me: http://bit.ly/1DbURHr

Your Tummy Fat Could Be Killing You!

tummy fatTummy fat. Some of us have it, others don’t. Is there anything special about a big belly compared to a large bottom? Well, surprisingly, not all body fat is created equal! According to a study carried out by researchers from MacMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario it seems that gauging your heart attack risk depends on where your fat is, rather that how much fat you have.

These types of findings are not unique to MacMasters. Dr David Heber, Ph.D., from UCLA’s Centre for Human Nutrition reports that distribution of body fat is a more important predictor of heart attack risk than the traditional measurement of Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a measurement based on the ratio between your height and weight. This is a good measure of tummy fat.

Tummy fat

It appears that a more accurate predictor of the impact body fat has on your health, is your overall body shape. You may be more like an apple or a pear, or evenly shaped top and bottom. You may have large thighs, fat hips and a huge bum and have a lower heart attack risk than someone with skinny legs and a big belly.

A more accurate and telling predictor of heart attack risk, is the waist-to-hip ratio. Think tummy fat.

What is your waist-to-hip ratio?

Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. For example, if your hips measurement is 40 inches and your waist is 34 inches your hip-to-waist ratio is 0.85. If you are a man, that’s great, if you are a woman, that’s OK (but you are right on the limit of healthy).

– A man’s ratio should not be over 0.90

– A woman’s ratio should not be over 0.85

Don’t fight nature

If you were born an apple you will stay an apple and if you were born a pear you will continue to be appear. Accepting your natural body shape is the first step in losing weight. In a study led by Glasgow, Scotland, psychologist Dorothy Hefferman, Ph.D., researchers concluded that women whose actual body shape differs from their desired one may find losing weight frustrating and have more trouble sticking to a weight-loss program as a result.

If this sounds like you, accept your overall shape as nature intended, but pay attention to reducing fat around your middle and tummy areas – your tummy fat. Circumference is much more important to your health than how you look in relation to your bust and bottom.

Make sense? To find out how I have been able to lose tummy fat check out my story at: http://bit.ly/1rLhW2c

Change What You Crave By Changing How You Think: The 5 Step Mental Method

Are cravings controlling your eating habits? Well, they don’t have to anymore. Cravings are overrated. Learn how to use your mind to change what you crave. You will lose weight.

change what you craveIf I were to ask you which foods temp you, most likely they wouldn’t be ones that are very healthy. I bet they would be ice cream, potato chips, pizza, or something along those lines. In fact, in your mind right now as you’re reading, you are probably thinking about a food that isn’t healthy. Well, aren’t you? Stop for a moment and think about it……………….. The point I’m going to make in this article is that you can change what you crave by changing how you think.

Every new client that comes to my office for weight-loss has a “craving problem.” But I don’t see it as a problem at all. I see it as a solution. Cravings are over-rated. You can change what you crave. They are hodge-podge and we don’t have to be controlled by them. We don’t have to feel temped by ice cream, cookies or 20-ounce prime ribs. Instead, we can be tempted by watermelon, pineapple, oranges or apples; foods like that. Think that sounds crazy? Well it isn’t and you’ll see why.

When I first sit down and talk with a client about their eating habits, I gather everything I need to know about exactly what they eat and how they eat. The culprit to their weight problem always boils down to snacking, picking, eating foods that are unhealthy or just plain over-eating. Then I’ll ask them what fruits and vegetables they like. I’m yet to come across someone who hates fruit or hates every vegetable under the sun. Finally I’ll ask them how often they eat fruits or vegetables and it’s always a lot less often than the unhealthy stuff.

To change what you crave, after I’ve gathered my arsenal of information, we do our thing. I’ll have my clients lay back in my recliner and close their eyes. I’ll direct their mind to a peaceful place, and within minutes they’ll be relaxed like never before. Then I start talking about their favorite fruits and vegetables. I’ll ask them to imagine taking a bite of their favorite juicy, ripe fruit and to feel the juices tickling their taste buds. I’ll say to their mind, “from now on anytime you have a craving for food, you will think of a juicy, ripe piece of fruit. And bingo!!! Next thing you know these are exactly the kinds of foods they start desiring. Why? Because anytime you close your eyes and bring yourself to a calm, relaxed place, your subconscious mind emerges, and it is this part of the mind that controls what you crave. Change your thoughts and you’ll change what you crave. Simple.

Let’s look at this from another perspective. Let’s say pineapple is your favorite fruit. Now, if you were sitting with me right now and I gave you a juicy chunk of it, you would enjoy it thoroughly. And you’d want more, right? Of course. Now, let’s say I reached into my refrigerator, whipped-out a piece of chocolate cake and said, “choose one.” Most likely you would opt for the pineapple because you just had a teaser-piece, which would make your mind want more. The fact of the matter is this: you enjoy your favorite fruits just as much as you enjoy your favorite junk foods, you just believe otherwise.

Again, cravings are over-rated. You can change what you crave. The mere mention of that devilish word always seems to conjures-up images of high calorie, high fat foods only because these are the foods you are most exposed to in our media driven world. Your subconscious gets accustomed to this and just doesn’t know any better. Change your minds images and you’ll change your cravings. Here’s a quick 5 minute mental exercise you can begin doing now to help you start changing the way you crave food.

Change what you crave

Step 1: Find a comfortable, quiet place where there are no distractions. Begin breathing deeply until you are quite relaxed. Next, count backwards from 10-1, slowly. With each count, imagine that your mind is drifting deeper and deeper.

Step 2: After you have finished counting, imagine that you are relaxing by yourself in your favorite place. A secluded beach or a log in the woods will do the trick. Imagine yourself feeling so very relaxed and peaceful.

Step 3: Next, imagine a basket full of your favorite fresh picked fruit sitting right next to you. See it clearly in your mind, the color, the feel, everything about that fruit. Imagine taking a bite of that juicy fruit and enjoying it like never before.

Step 4: Repeat the following suggestion to yourself 10 times: “From now on, anytime I think of eating, I immediately feel a craving for fruit.”

Step 5: Count from 1 to 5, slowly, and when you reach 5 open your eyes.

This is how you can change what you crave.

What do you think? Will this work for you? Let me know in the comments below.

And to find out how I lost 40 lbs, check out my story at: http://bit.ly/1rLhW2c