January. The month where New Years’ decisions go to die. Those that are probably more frequent are regarding eating healthier, exercising, and losing weight. I know people who never exercise and eat junk food all the time but are healthy, skinny, and happy. They are not unicorns. They actually exist. I also know people who have been battling with their weight their whole lives and can gain it with just one extra cookie. How is that possible? Genetics. Some were born skinny. Some were born fat. It sucks. I know. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to be a slave of your own genetics and accept your fate. It doesn’t even mean that it has to be hard for you to stay healthy or that you have to struggle and go on rigorous diets. What it does mean is that you have to take responsibility for your psychological attitude. This text may not tell you what you are hoping to hear, but I sure will try to bring you information that you definitely need to hear.
Looks are not important. They never were. Your health, on the other hand, is. If you want to lose weight to fit into society’s standards of beauty, you are already doomed for failure.
Beauty is subjective, and beauty standards change through time. Your goal should be health and happiness, and not being something that you think others want you to be. Having said that, if you are one of those who are taking the Fat Acceptance Movement and twisting and turning until it reaches a dangerous state of glorifying obesity, please stop. Being obese and being anorexic are too extreme sides of the spectrum that you do not wish to be in. Being fat is fine as long as you are healthy, happy, and can function normally in your life. Being obese is not and never will be fine. But how do you know if you are happy and healthy regarding your weight?
- Can you wear the clothes you want to?
- Can you enjoy activities with your friends in nature like hiking or sports?
- Can you go dancing and attend social activities?
- Do you have enough energy to work on your feet for eight hours?
Maybe you can’t do any of those things, or maybe you can but would like to be better at them. Your own happiness is always the main goal. If you decide that you want to be happy and healthy and take an easy approach, your weight loss will be successful. There is absolutely no need for struggle, and whoever is telling you that you need to work hard and suffer is not the person you should be listening to. When things you do fill you with joy, you will be eager to do them again.
A positive mental attitude includes many things. One of them is accepting where you are and who you are. Where you are is here and now. Who you are is a magnificent human being capable of glorious things. All you have to do is give yourself a bit more credit and accept that you are the one who chooses whether something will be easy or hard.
Yes, you choose. It can be hard, very hard, or it can be playful, easy, and full of joy. Now, it does come with effort on your part, but that effort is not so much physical as it is mental and psychological. Know your biology. Read how the body processes food. Learn about the hunger hormone ghrelin and the nutrients you need. Explore psychology and how the mind deals with change.
3 POWERFUL TRICKS TO LOSE WEIGHT:
- Trick your brain into thinking nothing’s changed
- Never be hungry
- Enjoy the four happy hormones: endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin
Before we explain each of the three powerful tricks of losing weight, let’s get some hard truths out in the open first. Yes, you will need to exercise. There is no avoiding that. How you exercise, how often, and whose advice you follow plays a huge role. Yes, you will need to change how you eat. That doesn’t mean that you will starve yourselves or, equally important, eat the foods you don’t like the taste of. Health gurus who are trying to sell you magic potions, exercise plans for spot-reducing fat, or equipment for fast results are modern-day scam artists. No, you cannot get fast results. But don’t get depressed on me now. It’s not about the destination anyway. The journey itself is the key. On top of that, a year or two years is not actually that much time. Imagine if you started applying these three tricks two years ago. How would you look and feel today? I am being honest with you. If you preferred promises of fast results and losing weight in a month or, you know, people lying to you, then maybe this is the place where you should stop reading. Fast results either don’t come or they come with a high price, your health.
1. Trick your brain into thinking nothing’s changed
Human brain is awesome. I love my brain. Do you love yours? Do you even realize how amazing it is and what things it is capable of? One of my favorite things is metacognition. Metacognition, to put it simply, is thinking about thinking. It is a critical awareness of your own thoughts and being in charge of them. You don’t have to listen or believe everything you think. Did you know that? You are free to question your own opinions and thoughts. Are they serving you well, or are they leading you to trouble? A positive mindset is not something that you can achieve overnight. It takes practice and rewiring your brain. Your synapses will always have the final word, and they can be stubborn at times. You first had to concentrate and slowly tie your shoes. Then you repeated and repeated and repeated. Now you can tie your shoes with your eyes closed while talking to somebody and balancing on just one leg with no active thinking about the actual tieing of shoes. This is the way your brain functions with everything, even your opinions and attitudes towards things. If you repeated how you hate walking 1000 times and tried to go for a walk on that 1001 time, guess what? You will hate the walk. But I have wonderful news for you. You are not your brain. You HAVE a brain.
Your brain hates change. It will always fight it. Trick it into thinking how everything is the same.
The way to trick your brain into thinking there is no change is to make the change so small that it is hardly noticeable. This way, you will get hardly any resistance in a way of negative thoughts or wanting to give up. There will be no pain in your body that will make your brain go, “Oh, this sucks. Let’s get some food and lie down.” The key is to slowly introduce more and more physical activity. If you have zero physical activity and go “all in”, you will either injure yourself or have sore muscles the next day, and your brain will want to quit. It is not comfortable, and that which is not comfortable we do not want to do.
There is zero need for muscle inflammation. Start easy and go for a short walk. Enjoy that walk by sharing it with a friend or listening to your favorite music. Repeat the walk. Repeat it again. And again. In time, start walking a bit faster and a bit further. Little by little, create a habit of walking and see how your mind begins looking forward to it. Start exercising at home. Nothing too much, 10 or 15 minutes will do. Slowly bring the time up by exercising for 18 minutes for a week, two, or however much you need to get to a phase where it is normal and easy. Little by little, you will get to exercising for an hour and doing harder and harder movements, but they MUST come gradually. Now join a gym or start swimming. Your body will get used to exercising, and your mind will even push you to do it, but you have to go slow. Your brain can’t see it as hard, or it will make you quit. You need to enjoy every step of the way.
It’s a game of patience. Maybe you will walk for just five minutes on your first day or maybe for twenty. Maybe it will take you a week or maybe a month or six months to slowly get to walking for an hour with no problems. Listen to your body carefully and introduce progressive overload. This is where you gradually increase the weight, frequency, or number of repetitions in your training. If you are walking, you would walk a bit faster and further once you become completely comfortable with your current speed and length. If you are doing a certain exercise, you would perform it faster or have more repetitions, depending on what the exercise is. If you are lifting weights, you would use heavier ones. Progressive overload is the secret behind that old calories in/calories out thing when it comes to exercise. In time, you will get more and more excited about it and look forward to moments when you realize that a certain exercise has become too easy for you. Along your journey, be sure to accept the way in which your body changes, love it, and be happy with being who you are.
You can’t spot-reduce fat !!!
The science is out. (It’s been out for years, but never mind.) You CANNOT spot-reduce fat. Spot reduction of fat is a myth used by those who are well aware that people want fast results and magical solutions. The belief that working the muscles in problem areas is the best way to burn the fat in that specific spot is WRONG. No, all those “10 days for a flat stomach” videos will not help you. Fat loss doesn’t work that way. Each body is unique, and you will lose weight where you lose weight. Different bodies will lose it from different places at different times. This means that by walking, you may lose weight on your arms or off your stomach. By doing crunches, you may lose weight on your legs. Crazy, right? Yup, but true. Your body will lose weight where it wants to lose weight, not where you want it to. You can work on specific muscles and make them bigger and stronger, but you can’t work on specific areas when it comes to fat.
Let's take me as an example. My body loves losing weight in the upper part while stubbornly holding on to fat in the lower part. This means that I can see results in my waist extremely fast, which is good, but it can take years until my legs stop looking like tree trunks. My face may get skinny before my thighs do.
2. Never be hungry
There are so many diet plans out there that I’ve stopped counting. Some are good, some not so good, and some just plain horrible. Wherever you go, there is someone who will say, “Eat this and not that.” The truth is, you can eat whatever you want. As long as your caloric intake is lower than the caloric outtake, you will lose weight. It is even possible to lose weight by only eating pizza, in theory. But that is not healthy, and you would get sick of pizza pretty fast anyway. My point is, it is not what you eat, but the volume of it. That is the holy truth. Your brain will think you are not hungry when your stomach is full. There is nothing simpler than that fact. You won’t be hungry and won’t eat junk if you have no need for food because your brain is convinced that you don’t need it.
Eat High-Volume Low-Calorie Foods
So since we know that not having the urge to eat comes from being full and not hungry, and we know that it is all about CICO (calories in, calories out), how do we go about our days not being hungry while staying in the deficit when it comes to CICO? High-volume low-calorie foods. So you all know or have at least heard of, I hope, how all foods have calories. Those calories are the amount of energy in an item of food or drink. When we eat and/or drink more calories than we use, our bodies store the excess of them as body fat. More calories does not mean more nutrition value, nor does it mean less hunger. I have seen chocolate bars in stores that have more calories than my entire breakfast.
There are foods out there which you can eat in kilograms, yup, kilograms, that will keep you full and healthy that have little calories in them. Zucchinis are just an example of such foods. There are vegetables, fruits, and meat that have fewer calories than other vegetables, fruits, and meat. For example, zucchini has around 16 calories per 100g. McDonald’s large fries has 444 calories, and it weighs around 170g, which is roughly around 261 calories per 100g. 16 versus 261. The difference is huge. Start reading the labels on the food that you buy at the market. You will be surprised at what you find.
You cannot only eat zucchinis. I know. And you shouldn’t. There is plenty of food out there that you can eat and some tips and tricks when preparing it to keep those calories down. But the most important thing here is YOU HAVE TO LIKE THE FOOD YOU EAT. It needs to taste good to you. It’s actually pretty simple. If you don’t like the food you eat, you will sooner or later stop eating it and opt for junk food that tastes better, has more calories, and makes your weight go up. That’s why restriction diets never work. You should choose to eat in a way that you could follow your whole life. There are plenty of yummy recipes that have healthy food in them.
Be careful who you listen to and use your logic. If someone is promising you fast results, it is a good chance that it won’t work. There are even incredibly stupid diets (won’t name them so I don’t bring upon myself the wrath of internet) that will tell you how you need to stop eating fruits and vegetables. Seriously? When have you ever in the history of humankind heard that someone got fat from eating carrots and apples? You shouldn’t cut any of the food groups from your diet because you need them all. You even need fat. You actually really need fat because your brain won’t function without it, and you won’t absorb any vitamins. No fat equals no vitamins because most vitamins are fat-soluble. This means that vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K are absorbed in your intestine when they’re paired with a fat source. You need your protein, and you need your fat. The quantity of it, of course, is a whole different story.
Eat balanced meals that include healthy fats, protein, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. And don’t forget to make it taste good!
As with exercise, introduce change to your life gradually. Starving yourself is never the answer. Keep in mind that the heavier you are, the higher your recommended daily caloric intake is. If you, for example, are currently eating around 3000 calories a day, going all in and dropping to 1200 is a veeeeeeeery bad idea. You will find how most experts will advise you to cut about 500 calories per day to achieve a healthy weight loss. If you ask me, it should be even lower, at least in the beginning. Remember that first rule of tricking your brain into thinking nothing has changed? Well, it applies here too. Start by cutting 250 calories a day for a week or two, then cut 250 more for two more weeks. This way, you will get to that 500 calories deficit in a month. Just be sure to regularly adapt your caloric intake because as your weight decreases so do your needs for calories.
Want to hear the best part? The caloric deficit doesn’t need to come solely from food. By exercising, you are burning calories, so you don’t need to cut all 250 calories from food. Cut half of that from food and burn the other half by exercising. People often make a rookie mistake by exercising and then eating more under the excuse that now they need more food. Nope. Wrong. We more often than not overestimate how many calories we burn during exercise and then eat much more than we should. Yes, there are various calculators online that you can use to calculate how much you burn off, but take them with a grain of salt. Each body is different. We are not robots. You could have the exact same height, weight, do the same exercises, and eat exactly the same food as another person and your weight loss will be different.
3. Enjoy the four happy hormones: endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin
Hormones are chemical messengers released by glands into the bloodstream. They impact organs and tissues to control everything in the body, from how it functions to how we feel. The four happy hormones that we will talk about are not only hormones but neurotransmitters because they carry messages between nerve cells. These hormones help regulate our mood and promote positive feelings such as happiness and pleasure.
- Dopamine is a little fellow often called the “feel good” hormone because it plays an important part in your brain’s reward system. It is associated with pleasure, memory, learning, functioning of your motor system function, etc.
- Serotonin helps regulate mood, sleep, digestion, appetite, learning, and memory.
- Oxytocin is the “love hormone” that promotes trust, empathy, and bonding. It increases with physical affection such as cuddling or sex.
- Endorphins are natural pain relievers. Your body will produce them in response to stress or any kind of discomfort. Their levels tend to also increase when you engage in reward-producing activities such as eating, working out, or having sex. Now, isn’t that lovely?
The main point is to feel good. When we are happy and satisfied, we are more likely to stick to our decisions and have less of a need to change our behavior. Additionally, exercise releases all of those four hormones into our blood. With regular sun exposure, good sleep, laughter, healthy food, and exercise you will not only be healthier but happier too. Rigorous diet plans and sore muscles will keep you feeling cranky and tired, dissatisfied, and in a need of a reward in a form of food that is more often than not junk food. If your diet is making you hungry, have cravings, and be miserable, it is not a good path for you to stay on. There are plenty of foods that are healthy and have good taste, just as there are various exercises to choose from. Don’t do something that you don’t like. Have you tried watermelon? Delicious, healthy, full of water and vitamins. Yes, it has natural sugars in it. So what? Eat the watermelon and plenty of it. It’s much better for you than fries.
The main reason people stop eating healthy and exercising is because it makes them feel bad. It’s all about psychology. We don’t like to feel tired, and we don’t like to eat food that doesn’t taste good to us. It’s basic human nature that we crave pleasure and activities that bring us joy. News flash, there are exercises that you will love, and there are foods that you will enjoy. Pick those that work for you. Some people like walking and running, but that doesn’t mean you will. Some people practically live at the gym, but if that isn’t for you, fine. Try badminton, riding a bike, playing any sport with friends, or swimming. Swimming is something that I highly recommend, for it is not only pleasurable, but it burns A LOT of calories.
Do your research and be careful who you listen to
The golden age of internet has its advantages and disadvantages. The good thing is there is plenty of information. The bad thing is there is plenty of information. You need to use your own critical thinking when deciding who you will listen to. A general rule of thumb is, listen to those who will not sugar-cote it for you and promise fast results. Dieting in general is bad. You should opt for an eating plan that you can follow and enjoy for the rest of your life with few or zero needs for cheat days on that plan because why would you cheat if you love what you eat? Stay away from those who will tell you to remove any of the food groups from your plate. You need them all, but moderation is the key. The only thing you don’t need in your life are processed and added sugars. Natural sugars that are found in fruit and vegetables are awesome, added sugars are not. Avoiding processed foods, in general, is a good idea. Try preparing your food and cooking instead of ordering it or buying it already prepared.
Once you’ve done your research and decided which advice you are going to follow, start moving. Results will come, but they will come with time. Stay on your path and be patient. If you love what you do, those results will come sooner than you think. It just might surprise you. The point is to look forward to your exercise, look forward to cooking and eating delicious and healthy food. It should bring you joy, not misery.
I told you a lot, but I’ve basically told you nothing. I know. I am in no way credible enough to guide you on your path and provide detailed instructions. The good news is that I know those who are. Below are the links to YouTube channels or websites of people who I recommend you check out. Hear them out. I am sure you won’t regret it 😉
- Coach Greg
- Shredded Sports Science
- Simon Miller
- Buff Dudes
- Wellness Network
- Holistic Health Talks
Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again my dear pagan soul. Rejoice in life, and life will rejoice in you. May God and Goddess bless you in everything you do and spirit guides follow you wherever you go.
In love and light,