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7 Life Changing Fat Loss Hacks You Aren’t Using

7 Life Changing Fat Loss Hacks You Aren’t Using

With all of the competing, confusing information out there, losing fat can seem almost impossible. Maybe you’ve tried every diet and fitness program in existence; or maybe you’re at square one, with no idea where to start – either way, I can help. In order to find a simple solution to weight loss, we need to go back to the basics. Fat loss doesn’t have to be about complicated formulas or eating foods you hate. In fact, armed with a few fat loss hacks, rediscovering the six-pack abs that faded a few Budweisers back is certainly doable.

Here are 7 things you can start doing today to make the process of losing fat more simple and enjoyable.

1. Karate Kick Your “Diet”

Diets don’t work.

Kind of a weird way to start off a list of rules about losing weight, right? But let’s be honest: diets aren’t fun. Massively restricted eating, carrying around tupperware containers (of food you don’t even like), and skipping out on social events? No thanks.

By encouraging a short-term mindset, diets may allow you to lose some fat quickly, but most people end up gaining all of the weight lost back (and more) when their “diet” is over.

Diets rely on willpower, which is actually quite unreliable. Most diets force you to “blacklist” all of the foods that aren’t good for you, like cake and pizza. Do you know what happens when you make something forbidden? You want it even more. You think about it constantly. And before you know it, you’re twelve slices into a deep dish wondering what the heck happened.

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Most often, dieters who suppress thoughts about food have the least success staying on track. Instead, they end up binge eating the very thing they were trying to avoid. So channel your inner Chuck Norris, give your diet a roundhouse kick to the curb, and embrace a more sustainable approach for losing fat. How can you do that? By following the rest of the fat loss ‘hacks’ you’re about to discover.

2. Avoid The “What-The-Hell Effect”

This concept, first introduced by dieting researchers Janet Polivy and C. Peter Herman, describes a cycle of indulgence, regret, and greater indulgence.

Here’s how this plays out in real life: you walk into the break room at work and notice some fresh doughnuts sitting on the table, waiting to be eaten. You start to think about how you’re trying to lose weight and be more fit, but before you know it, you’re halfway through glazed doughnut smothered with sprinkles.

Instead of stopping things right there, throwing the rest of your half-eaten doughnut away and going back to your desk for an apple, you think, “ah, what the hell, I’ve already blown my healthy eating for the day – I’ll just eat three more.”

doughnuts pic jumbo

    Sound familiar?

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    Instead of minimizing the harm by stopping an action that isn’t consistent with your goals and making the next best decision to get back on track, you compound one bad decision by make more bad decisions.

    Here’s what you need to do instead: no matter what happens, don’t throw yourself farther down into the gutter. Instead make the next best decision to get back on track with your goals.

    3. Stop Labeling Foods “Good” and “Bad”

    Chicken and broccoli are  “good” while ice-cream and pizza are “bad.” Sounds like a good idea, right? Actually – no. It would seem that by identifying which foods are good, and which are bad, you will be more likely to choose good foods and get closer to your fat loss goals.

    But that’s not usually how it works.  Labeling foods “good” and “bad” is actually making it more likely that you will make choices that lead you further away from your fat loss goals. In psychology, there’s something called “moral licensing”, which describes our natural tendency to feel justified about doing something bad after we feel like we’ve done something good.

    Instead of labeling foods as “good” or “bad”, consider your goals. Before eating a specific food, ask yourself if it will take you closer, or further, from your goals. This allows you to make good decisions without the negative effects of moralizing your food choices.

    4. Embrace Fast Food

    Is hitting up a drive-through a common experience for you? If so, sorry to disappoint, but this isn’t permission to do that more, and that’s not the kind of “fast food” that we’re talking about. Enter: made-for-you meals.

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    Thanks to places like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and other health food stores, it is possible to get the convenience of fast food while staying on track with your fat loss goals. Instead of stopping at a fast food restaurant, swing by a health food store and hit up the fresh salad bar or grab one of the many made-for-you meals like grass-fed chili or cooked chicken, steak, and fish – along with along with different vegetable and bean medleys, fresh salad fixings and more.

    When eating typical fast food, it can be easy to knock down a few thousand calories of the scrumptious – yet artery clogging – cuisine in a matter of minutes. Ditch the ‘old’ fast food and embrace the new, healthier version and everything – from your health to your waistline – will benefit positively.

    5. Use A Smaller Plate

    Some people who struggle to lose weight have what I call “potluck” syndrome. They have good intentions, but fall into the trap of thinking, “If I can fit it on one plate, I’m good to go.” Aiming to reduce calorie consumption by avoiding seconds can be an effective plan, but it doesn’t do much good if you overcompensate the first time around.

    A simple fix: use a smaller plate. Instead of using a typical dinner plate, try opting for a salad plate instead. Salad plates are typically a bit smaller than a dinner plate. A smaller plate equals less space to put food, which in turn, means you will consume less calories overall.

    Vegitables and Salad On Small Plate Stokpic

      Pro tip: Now that you’re using a smaller plate, don’t fall victim to “potluck” syndrome by taking your food vertical (i.e. don’t stack your food so that you can fit more on your smaller plate).

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      6. Set a Timer

      When is the last time you actually took the time to enjoy the intricate tastes and textures of your food? By eating slowly, you are better able to not only enjoy your food, but you’ll also improve your “hunger awareness.” Slowing down allows you to override the irrational, emotional side of your brain and think about what, and how much, you are eating.

      As a general rule, if you’re meals aren’t taking at least 15 minutes to consume, you need to slow down. If this turns out to be a significant challenge for you, set a timer on your phone and aim to pace your eating. As an added benefit, slow eating may improve your relationship with the people you spend your time with because you’ll actually have time to talk about something that matters when sitting across from them for an extended period of time.

      7. When You Eat, Just Eat

      Most people spend all of their time focusing on what they are eating and not enough on how they are eating. Confused? Here’s what I mean… Are you eating in your car on the way home from work? In front of your TV? Your desk at work?

      Eating while doing other things – like watching TV, driving your car, or working on a computer – can easily distract you from how much food you shove down your pie hole. But instead of blaming this lapse on a lack of willpower, it may be more effective to change your environment.

      When you eat, just eat. Don’t stare at a screen or drive or do anything else distracting. By focusing on one thing at a time – in this case eating, you will be more aware of how much food you are eating and better able to identify when you are full.

      Oh, and about the Doritos – get all of that garbage out of your house. No matter how strong you think your willpower is, most people will make the choice of least resistance. If this means ripping open a bag of chips that you have in your cabinet instead of making a well-balance meal; you’re going to take the easier route.

      Conclusion

      When you follow the fat loss hacks discussed above, an interesting thing happens. Losing weight and “dieting” starts to become less of a torturous process of obsession and restriction and more about making good choices most of the time and doing what you can to not sabotage yourself in the process. The best part is, none of the strategies outlined above are difficult to understand and all can be easily implemented, starting today.

      Featured photo credit: Kevin Schmitz via unsplash.com

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      Last Updated on November 9, 2020

      10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

      10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

      Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

      Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

      Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

      If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

      Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

      1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

      Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

      Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

      Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

      2. No Motivation

      Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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      This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

      If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

      3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

      Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

      A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

      A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

      The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

      4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

      One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

      We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

      Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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      You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

      5. Upward Comparisons

      Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

      The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

      These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

      Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

      6. No Alternative

      This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

      Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

      Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

      Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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      7. Stress

      As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

      When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

      We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

      If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

      8. Sense of Failure

      People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

      Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

      Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

      If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

      9. The Need to Be All-New

      People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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      These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

      10. Force of Habit

      Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

      Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

      These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

      Final Thoughts

      These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

      There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

      More on Breaking Bad Habits

      Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
      [2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
      [3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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