Here’s what I think: the reason most diets fail is because you focus on boring, bland foods you don’t enjoy. It feels like a punishment. Ergo, you always feel deprived. When you feel deprived, everything looks delicious. Temptation rises with deprivation. The more you feel deprived, the more you feel tempted. You can (and should) fall in love with food, enjoy every meal, indulge mindfully and reach your goals.
Now, this does not mean that you should avoid deprivation by eating all the junk you desire. Nope, not what I’m saying even if it’s what you want to be hearing.
I’m suggesting that taking the approach of asking, “What are the best foods for fat loss? What foods will help me burn fat fastest?” and then building a menu or meal plan around them might not be the right approach. Instead, identify foods you love. That’s step one. Whether they’re fat loss friendly or not, know what you love. Know what you look forward to eating. Know what satisfies you physically and psychologically. What are those foods that you’d rank as an 8+ on a scale of 1-10?
I used to overeat Hostess cupcakes and Rold Gold pretzels. Why?? On a scale of 1-10 I’d probably put them as a 3. Not worth it! Carefully evaluate what you’re overdoing and you might find that most of it isn’t even worth it! Only eat foods you really, really love and enjoy! Think about it. If you ONLY indulged in things that were an 8+, you’d probably be just fine!
Most of us aren’t overweight because we’re eating insanely amazing things all the time. We’re overweight because we overdo it on junk that isn’t really worth it.
That can stop if you focus on really eating foods you absolutely love!
Next, look at foods you love that also love you back. For example: I love ice cream but ice cream doesn’t love me back. It makes my stomach hurt a little because I don’t tolerate dairy very well. I love super high quality pizza but it kinda feels like a brick after I eat it. Plus, it usually sets me up for a legit energy crash. With those kinds of foods, I work to find an alternative that still gives me the flavor and texture I want without the negative aftermath. Or, focusing on how these foods make me feel encourages me to dial back my portion size so I can still feel great after. A few minutes of eating isn’t worth feeling like garbage after, to me.
Foods I personally love that also love me back include avocado, beef, brussels sprouts, coffee, bacon, chicken thighs, mozzarella….I could go on and on! Find what these foods are for YOU.
Then, get really clear on “fat loss friendly” foods you don’t love or enjoy. It doesn’t matter how good they are for you. If you don’t enjoy them, don’t eat them. There are plenty of foods to choose from. Not liking broccoli doesn’t mean you’re missing out on some critical nutrient. You’ve got options.
When you eat, eat. Avoid eating while you’re watching TV, browsing the internet, talking on the phone or driving. You want to make sure you’re savoring and enjoying every bite. Don’t fragment your attention. Eat mindfully and enjoy your food. Be fully present.
Now, what about things like a beautiful French baguette or your mother’s chocolate chip cookies? Eat them! Seriously! You do not have to be perfect to reach your goals. And I think you’ll find that when they aren’t “forbidden fruit” they won’t see larger than life. When you do enjoy your absolute favorite indulgences, make sure you’re fully present. Don’t grab a forkful and shove it down your throat before someone sees you. Sit down. Be present. Enjoy it. Make it a special event. Identify a frequency that represents an improvement to you – maybe once a week? Look forward to it. Plan it. Make it last. When you’re facing temptation, you’ll be able to remind yourself that you have a legit, worthwhile indulgence to look forward to!
The bottom line is this: deprivation isn’t the way to go. It’s human nature to want the things we feel like we can’t have. So trying to lose weight by emphasizing all you can’t have is just crazy! Your dieting history probably proves that!
Want to accelerate your weight loss? Try it. Fall in love with food.