Rule# 2-Pay Attention
An article a few days ago told you The Only 4 Things You need to do to Lose Weight
So let’s talk about Rule# 2-Pay Attention.
Stop being a mindless eater. I know it’s extreme, but you might have to actually read a nutrition label or two. Even if you don’t keep a food log or track your calories or track your macro’s you’ll still become aware of nutrition. And that's a huge step forward.
I’m not a big advocate of counting calories and macro’s for the rest of your life. You’ll get tired of it and quit or you’ll drive yourself crazy. Some people do great with counting but most don’t.
Who should count?
· Skinny people wanting gains. They usually eat far less than they think they do.
· Bodybuilders or physique competitors
· Anyone with a specific aesthetic goal
However, I do recommend you count calories and macros for a few weeks to learn something.
Here are a Few Facts
· If you want to lose fat you must put yourself in a calorie deficit.
· According to several studies, the average person under estimates their calorie intake by an average of 429 calories per day. That’s over 3000 calories per week. That’s almost enough to gain a pound of fat per week!
· Even dietitians under-reported their own calorie intake by an average of 223 calories per day even though their job involves dealing with these things on a daily basis.
· According to a test where they ask people what a calorie is they didn’t find a single person who could give a clear definition of a calorie.
Are we in agreement that you need to learn a few things? Good. Here we go….
1. Some foods are “Calorie Dense”
Weight and size often have nothing to do with calories. Which weighs more an apple or a donut? The apple of course weighs about 4 times as much as a donut. But the donut has 2x the calories. This example is pretty obvious but not all examples are so obvious. Pay attention…
2. Why are all the foods you like “bad for you”?
That conception is not entirely true but it seems that way sometimes.
The answer has to do with what’s called the “Bliss Point” and makes food “Hyper-palatable.”
When you eat hyper- palatable foods they set off a series of mechanisms in our brain referred to as the “Reward Response System”. It’s the same system that kicks in when you take drugs or have sex. It makes you want to consume more and overrides the system that tells you you’re full.
The “bliss point” is the right combination of sugar, fat and salt. That’s why you “can’t eat just one” potato chip even if you’re full. None of these 3 things are terrible alone. (You need some fat and salt to live). But combine them in the right proportions and you’re going to eat too much. Food manufacturers are well aware of this.
3. The Health Halo Effect
Consumers believe that foods advertised as “healthy” are lower in calories so they overcompensate by eating more of these foods.
In studies, people who were told a meal was “healthy” ate 131% more calories even if the “healthy” option had more calories than the unhealthy option. People can be diligent about what they eat and still ignore how much they eat.
Even when consumers seek out healthier meals they tend to overcompensate by adding unhealthy extras or even adding a dessert.
Beware of foods labeled as “organic” , “low fat”, “natural”, “diet” or “healthy”.
4. Hidden Calories
Restaurants with less than 20 stores are not required to provide nutrition data. (Some states have passed stricter laws concerning certain data such as trans-fats). Even if they do have to provide nutrition data the data does not have include such things as oils used in preparation, sauces, marinades, cheeses added to your burger, mayonnaise, cream in your coffee…
Salads are healthy. But add cheese, croutons, bacon bits, oil or dressing and you “healthy salad” can easily reach 400 calories.
I could go on with this for a while but I think you get the message- Pay Attention.
Don’t spend your life tracking every little detail of your nutrition but pay attention and learn to compensate. Keep a log for awhile using a service (free) like myfitnesspal.com until you get in the habit of paying attention. Learn to ignore, or at least verify, the flashy message on the front of the packaging and look at the nutrition data.