Eat whatever you want and still lose weight!
Does anyone actually believe this spiel anymore? Supposedly it still draws people to read articles, spend beacoup bucks on diet supplements, and call the number on late-night infomercials. I don’t think that’s due to belief, though—it’s desire. You want those words to be true.
But they’re a fantasy and as long as you continue to chase them, you’re going to end up miserable. You won’t get sustainable results for your body. Your wallet, on the other hand, will grow significantly lighter. You’ll also feel like you failed. Again.
You haven’t failed. That fantastical claim failed you. You’re being lied to and manipulated.
Let’s start with this: Losing weight is an unnecessary goal.
Losing body fat is more important, but lest you think I’m going to get into semantics, even that shouldn’t be a goal. Think of losing body fat as a side effect. Let me explain.
If you believe you need to slim down for your health, then focus on the steps you need to actually improve your health. Make that your goal. Don’t worry about the number on the scale (in fact, please throw it out!).
If you believe you’d look or feel better with a leaner line, I understand. Ideally you’ll love your body at whatever shape it’s in, but you can still want to reduce the squish around your waistband or be able to touch your toes without your belly getting in the way. Yet if you try to melt away your fat through extreme dieting or exercising for hours daily, you may be successful at first but you’ll also be wrecking your health and making it harder to maintain that shape you desire. That’s why I still urge you to make health your goal—not an arbitrary number of pounds or a specific size.
There’s another reason why “Eat whatever you want and still lose weight” is an awful claim: Being free to eat junk food isn’t actually freedom. Regular consumption of overly processed “food” has too many unhealthy repercussions. You know this: a diet of ice cream pints, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream is awful for more than just your waistline.
What you really want is to be free from the desire to eat foods that don’t support your health and happiness.
It’s not as pithy as “Eat whatever you want and still lose weight,” but it’s more honest. And helpful. It’s also possible—and it may be easier than you think.
4 steps to kicking cravings to the curb
Eat real food
This is where you’ll start. You need to educate your palate to the taste of real food, so that eventually manmade chemicals, fillers, and sweeteners will just taste bad. As you bring in more nutrients, your body can create more energy. This can help quell some of your cravings.
Improve your digestion
As you know, what you eat isn’t as important as what you digest. By taking steps to improve your digestive process, you’ll be able to get more nutrition from your food with less effort. Cravings for sugary, starchy, and salty foods are often signs that your body is lacking in certain minerals or unable to create the energy you need to thrive. Once your body gets what it needs through the proper breakdown of real food, more of your cravings naturally start dropping off.
Balance your blood sugar
The first two steps should help you with this one. But if you find that you’re still craving sweets or high-carb foods, focus on eating small amounts of starchy vegetables with your meals (think: sweet potatoes, root veggies, tubers). Severely reduce—or eliminate—sugar. Also make sure you’re not eating too much protein, which your body can break down into glucose (in a process known as gluconeogenesis). The next step helps a lot, too…
Stay full longer
Add more healthy fats—such as nuts, olive oil, pastured butter, coconut, and avocados—to your meals. First, they’re delicious. Your food will taste even better with the addition of fat. This final step also makes your meals more satiating so that you can go longer periods without eating. You might find that you can easily eliminate snacks or just enjoy one occasionally. Even intermittent fasting—such as not eating for at least twelve hours from your last bite to breakfast the following day—becomes doable. As you work on this step, you’re strengthening your body’s ability to use your dietary and body fat for energy.
When you’ve been practicing all of the above for about a month, your body will have a much easier time deriving nutrition from your meals and you’ll actually find yourself wanting these real foods. Junk food won’t be a treat, because it actually won’t taste good anymore. As this happens, your body naturally shifts to burning fat for energy and your cravings will reduce to mere whimpers. You may not even have them at all.
Isn’t that real freedom?