Easy Diet: No-Brainer Weight Management

Easy Diet: No-Brainer Weight Management

I know the words “easy” and “diet” don’t go together very often but all things considered, and compared to rest of the calorie-counting, ingredient reading, gram-weighing, only-eat-half-the-cookie diets out there then yes, I would consider this an easy diet. If you’ve found you’re way here then either you’re like me, who’s put on a few extra lbs over the last year or two of being a freelancer, or you’ve been struggling with weight control forever. Whatever you’re reasoning, I’d like to help so, let’s give it a go.

Easy Diet

Is Willpower really finite?

I remember growing up watching people around me struggle with their weight. They’d try everything from Jenny Craig to Nutrisystem to Weight Watchers (better keep those points down!). Yeah, those never ended well, at least not in the long term. Some people would lose a ton of weight. Then 6 months later poof they’re right back to where they started.

First off, I’d like to take a look at the word ‘willpower.’ You know, that thing you use to not throw your alarm against the wall everyone morning. Well, as I’m sure you’ve heard, “willpower is like a muscle, it becomes tired the more you use it.” That sounds great, doesn’t it? Now, you can reason with yourself that you used up all your willpower and that piece of pie you swallowed whole wasn’t your fault.

New willpower research

But, wait a second, as those studies were done in the late 90’s we all know things have changed since then. The Harvard Business Review published an article titled: Have We Been Thinking About Willpower the Wrong Way for 30 Years?

In it they say:

New research proposes another explanation for why we run out of steam. In a study conducted by the Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck and her colleagues, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dweck concluded that signs of ego depletion were observed only in test subjects who believed willpower was a limited resource. Those participants who did not see willpower as finite did not show signs of ego depletion.

Is willpower all in our head and it’s just a convenient way to make ourselves feel better? Maybe. For the sake of this article, let’s say that it’s all in our head. It will make everyone’s life easier.

Why “Diets” set us up for failure

Diet, just the word makes my skin crawl, and all I can see is Russel Simmons jumping around and my family counting points.

The idea of a diet: stop eating certain types of foods, lose weight, be happy.

The reality of a diet: stop eating certain kinds of food, lose weight, be happy, go to a social event, gain weight, be sad, give up, go back to normal, and repeat.

If you’ve ever been there, you know what it’s like. It’s depressing, demoralizing and basically the 21st-century’s favorite form of self-torture. Diets are set up to be short-term activities to reach a specific goal. Whether that’s lose 5 lbs, 20 lbs, or fit into your skinny jeans. If you have the personal drive and dedication to achieve that goal, where do you go from there? For most people, back to where they started from.

I’d like to do a little experiment and take the word diet (gross) out of our vocabulary. It doesn’t help, it feels like some external force you have to fight every day, the negative connotations ruin all chance of success, and the word itself gives off the impression of being temporary. So, how about we just drop it. Instead, we’re going to talk about lifestyle and how one simple change to yours can make all the difference in the world.

Breakfast, how important is it really?

I’d like to jump in our time machine and headback to the 1940’s and to a man named Edward Bernays. He was, besides being the nephew of Sigmund Freud, a public relations expert working for the Beech-Nut Company. This company’s primary product was bacon and meats. This extract, taken from the Guardian, perfectly explains what happened next:

Bernays got a doctor to agree that a protein-rich, heavy breakfast of bacon and eggs was healthier than a light breakfast and then sent that statement to around 5,000 doctors for their signatures. He then got newspapers to publish the results of his petition as if it was a scientific study, explains Carroll [Abigail Carroll, author of Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal.] That brought bacon and eggs back into fashion and added more weight to the idea that breakfast was not only very important but medically recommended.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a good piece of crispy bacon like any other red-blooded American but the idea that having a large breakfast was medically recommended naturally lent itself very well to the breakfast food industry. We haven’t been able to break away from it in the last 70 years.

 

 

It’s all about the breakfast meat industry

What I’m trying to get at here is that breakfast isn’t the all-powerful weight-loss, magic trick that it’s played out to be. Many regularly cited studies, here, and here, were funded by Kellogs and Quaker, respectively. Of course, they’ll find a correlation between not eating breakfast and obesity.

If you don’t know the power of lobbyists, or even what they are, then you’re in a for a treat. They’re the ones who are supposed to defend and promote specific products, whether that product is guns, pharmaceuticals, oil or breakfast food. They create doubt in all the appropriately conducted scientific studies and make sure their product stays on the market (Google: coal lobbyists)

If you love a good satire with some pretty decent political point, take a look at ‘Thank you for Smoking.’ It’s a take on how one tobacco lobbyist goes against every moral fiber of his being to defend smoking. I’m not saying breakfast is like tobacco; I’m just saying that maybe “studies” done in the 1940’s and the wisdom they gave us should be re-evaluated. I love the poster “He doesn’t hide the truth… he just filters it”. Pretty spot on.

The Big “Easy Diet” Reveal

I appreciate you all sticking it out through my rants to make it this far. I’ve been following this easy diet routine for a few years now, and I’m 6’3″, 185lbs and not hungry or jaded towards any food group (maybe enriched wheat flour). Anyways, there’s a fancy title for what I’ve been doing, and it’s called “Intermittent Fasting” (IF). If you’ve never heard of it before it sounds more impressive than it is. There are different types of IF, but the one I follow and have found the easiest for myself and most lifestyles is a 16/8 split: don’t eat for 16 hours then eat for 8 hours.

16 hours no eating: 8 hours eating: repeat

Easy Diet

16 hours may seem like a long time, but if you think about it, it’s really not that much. For example, if you finish eating at 7 p.m. and you have breakfast around 7 a.m. you’ve just fasted for 12 hours. That’s why the first meal of the day is called ‘break’-fast.

Break-fast: get it?

Intermittent fasting is the idea that you delay breaking your fast for another 4 hours or so until about 11 am. AT 11, grab a snack and go about your routine, eating lunch and dinner at the regular times. You’re sleeping for half of those 16 hours. You have recently eaten for a couple of other hours, and so you just need to get through breakfast without that bowl of cornflakes.

You’ll obviously be hungry when noon or 11 am rolls around, (at least for the first few weeks). I would highly recommend something light like either a handful of almonds, a piece of fruit, a protein shake, and then waiting for 30 minutes. It will ease your body into the eating window.

Do NOT jump right into a Taco Tuesday, I speak from personal experience. During your 16-hour no eating window, you can have non-calorie drinks: water, tea, black coffee, etc. They’ll help ease that midmorning craving for a pastry.

Easy Diet

Why this easy diet works:

  1. Easy diet: no thinking involved. No calorie counting, no feeling sorry, no nothing. Just skipping one meal.
  2. No decision making: do I have cereal, with low-fat, fat-free or whole milk? Is a bagel ok? What type of yogurt is good? How many grams of sugar per serving is ok?
  3. Easily cut out calories: let’s be honest. Most people aren’t reaching for a box of whole-grain oats, with greek yogurt and some blueberries in the morning (if you are, then there are other factors at play in your weight management battle). It’s better to eat nothing at all than pure sugar from a box.
  4. Math:
    1. average calories per serving of cereal: 150.
    2. Average calories of cereal most people eat in the morning: 400+
    3. Cutting out 400 calories every day = 1lb lost every 8-9 days.

Here’s an interesting article discussing fasting, written by those with PhDs:  Intermittent Fasting

The benefits of Intermittent Fasting

This short video from Healthline: Authority Nutrition does a really great job of breaking down the real benefits, backed by more recent science, of this easy diet intermittent fasting.

Why Do We Make Everything So Complicated?

easy diet rich house
I’ll take 2!

Everyone knows how to lose weight: eat less.

Everyone knows how to be rich: spend less.

Everyone knows how to be smarter: study more.

Yet, we go around and around in circles until we’re dizzy with the number of options. In the end, we decide it’s too overwhelming and we do nothing.

There’s something I used to tell clients when I worked as a personal trainer. They would come to me and they’d ask, “What’s the best way to lose weight, gain muscle, etc.” I’d say, “The best way to (insert goal: easy diet) is the one you can stick to.”

If your routine works for you, stick with it. We’re obsessed with the best and most efficient, and the latest way of doing everything. If we can’t have it that way, then we do nothing. So for once, I’m telling you to do nothing, and you can help yourself out in the process. Give the easy diet, Intermittent Fasting a try and let me know how it goes.

Easy Diet Overview

I’ve titled this article “easy diet” because in my mind, it really is the easiest diet out there. What’s easier than doing nothing? Is this the only way to lose weight? Of course not! For me, it’s worked really well as it’s something I can stick to long term.

If you have a regular schedule you follow, then take one of those meals and don’t eat. I prefer breakfast since I go to the gym and run errands so I’m not really thinking about food until mid-morning.

I’ve got some other great tips in my article: 10 Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle While Working at Home if you’re interested in more goodies!

Have you ever tried this easy diet of intermittent fasting before? How’d it go?

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions or concerns.

 

 

4 Replies to “Easy Diet: No-Brainer Weight Management”

  1. It’s strange, but I feel there are two types of people out there when it comes to dieting:

    1) The dieter with the willpower

    2) The dieter with no willpower, who ends up taking on cardio instead (and loses weight that way!). 

    I’m in the second category, but I see great success with it nevertheless. 

    I firmly believe that some people will never succeed at dieting, due to their lack of willpower when it comes to food. Do you think I’m being a bit harsh? Or do you agree?

    1. Hey!

      I can see where you’re coming from when you say it’s willpower to stick to an easy diet but for me there’s a bigger issue at hand and that’s priorities. No one can use education or knowledge as a crutch these days saying they don’t know how to eat well, or workout, etc. because you can find any tutorial on YouTube within 10 seconds.

      Now, I believe willpower all boils down to which you want more. Would you rather have normal blood pressure or a box of macaroni? Do you put drinking soda ahead of being at healthy weight? Willpower only goes so far your priorities and that fits for most things I believe. Saving money, building relationships, learning something new..

      I don’t think you’re being too harsh at all but there’s a bit more at play. Thank you for stopping by and your great comment!

  2. Will power is a funny thing.  I was a 30 year smoker, smoking 2 packs a day.  8 years ago I quit cold turkey and never looked back.  What the heck, smoking was supposed to be so hard to quit and I did it without blinking an eye.

    Last year I was diagnosed with diabetes and told that I need to get strict with my diet and that I had to lose weight.  Well I figured this was going to be a no brainer.  I could quit smoking so I could lose some weight.

    Was I ever wrong.  No matter what I do I dont lose weight.  I cheat and the will power doesnt seem to be there.

    I am going to try your diet if you know if it is healthy for diabetics.  I will be watching for your answer.

    1. Hey,

      Thank you for stopping by. Fasting with diabetes is a bit of a tricky issue as the point is to try and keep your blood sugar as stable as possible with insulin, etc. There are scientific studies backing the use of Intermittent fasting with diabetes and there are some that say it can make it more difficult to control blood sugar.

      It’s definitely an option but I would talk to my doctor before doing anything too drastic and also be ready for side effects. If you’re controlling your diabetes well right now with exercise and healthier food options then it’s more likely that intermittent fasting can help. 

      In the end, the answer to your question is a bit of a complicated one and really depends on your individual characteristics. If your interested I’m sure your doctor, who knows you baseline values, would be able to point you in the right direction.

      Thank you again for stopping by!

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