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10 Unconventional Diet Tips: How to lose 50 pounds in three months

10 Unconventional Diet Tips: How to lose 50 pounds in three months
The following are 10 unconventional weight loss tips that worked for me. Between January 4, 2006 and March 31, 2006 I lost fifty pounds. These tips work well because almost every tip is focused around completing a small goal. In my opinion, to stay motivated and lose a significant amount of weight, you should complete many goals in a short period of time. The reason I call these tips unconventional is that I had not seen a majority of them before starting my diet.

I will start by recognizing the typical “calories in, calories out” schpeil. Yes, to lose weight you have to eat well and exercise. But there is much more to it than that, and I don’t want to spend time regurgitating ideas you’ve heard before. That brings me to the first point:

Buy a digital scale
This seems easy enough. I recommend that before starting a diet, buy a scale that is accurate to .2 (two-tenth of a pound). I will explain why below. I also recommend either buying a scale that can record your daily weight, or manually logging your weight everyday. I bought a scale that was accurate to .2 and logged my weight at Sam’s Club for $22. It has been a great investment.

Weigh yourself everyday
You’ll find that almost every other dieter will tell you to weigh yourself only once a week. I recommend the exact opposite. I am very goal oriented and I like to see results everyday. The reason I recommend buying a scale that is accurate to the .2 is that there is a very big difference between weighting 170.8 one day and 170.0 the next day. Losing .8 pounds in one day is excellent. However, if your scale is not accurate enough to report the loss and still shows 170 after a day of healthy eating and working out, you will feel extremely discouraged. A more detailed scale makes it easier to keep a positive outlook. The more successes (days with positive weight loss) the easier it is.

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Drink 8 glasses of water everyday
This one is obvious and broadly recommended, however, the reason I recommend it is slightly different. Drinking eight glasses of water per day helps you “feel less hungry.” I can’t prove this scientifically, however, when I am at work, I drink 4 cups in the morning and 4 cups in the evening. On the days that I don’t drink the water, I feel hungrier, earlier. Also, on the days I don’t drink water I feel sleepier, sooner. Don’t feel intimidated by trying to drink 8 glasses of water. Try doing what I do: I have a pint glass I keep at work, it holds sixteen ounces (as all pint glasses do). All I do is drink two pints of water in the morning and two in the afternoon.

Make your diet public
Tell people you’re on a diet. There’s no reason to be ashamed to be on a diet. I found that trying to keep my diet a secret was harder than just telling people. In fact, telling your coworkers, girlfriend, family, etc. will increase your accountability. It motivated me knowing that my coworkers and family knew that I was dieting because I did not want to fail. I also chose a typical “fat picture” and put it on my fridge, in my cubicle, and on my wall. I wanted to have a continual reminder to lose the weight. I know it’s a cliche, but it was important for me to remind myself of my ultimate goal.

I feel I should also note that although I was 50 pounds over weight, when I told people I was on a diet they often said “you don’t need to diet.” I found this surprising because I was obviously overweight. Beware that you will likely hear similar comments. I found it easier to just accept the “compliment” than to try to justify my diet to them. Remember that you are on a diet for you, and that you do not need to justify yourself.

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Don’t diet on the weekends
This is another unconventional bit of advice. I was able to lose 50 pounds without dieting on the weekends. I found myself tired, depressed, and unmotivated if I tried to continue my diet into the weekend. I felt that Friday and Saturday (my weekend) was a time to celebrate 5 days of dieting. You may not find this necessary, especially in the first few weeks of a diet. However, as many weeks passed, the weekend became a time for me to celebrate my weekly successes and get myself mentally prepared for another five days of dieting. I considered it a mental recharge.

Don’t sacrifice your life for your diet
On occasion, you will find yourself unable to eat healthy. Whether this is because of lunches with your team at work, birthdays, or special occasions, there will be events that you just can’t (or don’t want to) eat healthy. A diet will feel overwhelming if you have to sacrifice special events in your life. The way I combated this was to exchange a day that I was not going to diet on the weekend. In other words, if I didn’t diet on Tuesday, for example, I would diet on Saturday, instead.

Make the small changes
This is a pretty common tip, however, I have a twist to it. Rather than giving up what most diets say you should give up (soda, coffee, beer, caffeine, etc.) just make healthier decisions. I didn’t want to give anything up, so I decided to make some changes instead. The first switch I made was switching to diet soda. Don’t worry, you’ll quickly get used to the flavor. Before I started my diet, I swore I would never drink diet soda. Now thanks to my girlfriend, diet is the only soda I drink. The second switch I made was to drinking black coffee. Cut out the sugar and creme, and you get the benefits of coffee (caffeine) without the calories. The last major switch I made was to “healthy” beer. I’m a Miller Lite drinker, however, by temporarily switching to Beck’s Premier Light (60 calories per serving) I was able to still enjoy a healthy social life while maintaining my diet.

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In addition to making the small changes in your diet, make the small changes in your life: park further away, walk to the end of the train platform and get in the last car, and vow not to take an elevator for an entire week. I also found it advantageous to wear a pedometer and try to compete against myself for how far I could walk in a single day. The furthest I walked in a day was 6.5 miles. I voluntarily walked to work twice a week.

Gain perspective by understanding the fractions
Your diet is an incredibly small fraction of your life. If you live for 80 years, and dieted for four months, that would only be .42% of your life. That’s right, if you diet for four months, it will be less than one half of one percent of your life. On the other hand think of the major benefits you can get from .42% of your life. If it helps you stay motivated, count down the days starting at 120.

Rationalize your workouts
Finding the time to get to the gym can be very difficult. However a 1/2 hour workout is only 2% of your day (assuming 24 hour days). For me, the most motivating thought was comparing my workouts to sitcoms. As a huge Everybody Loves Raymond fan, every time I would sit down to watch an episode, I would remind myself that in the 1/2 hour that I was sitting and doing nothing, I could complete my daily workout.

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You’ve lost the weight, what now?

Have a red flag weight
Once you’ve lost the weight, you need to keep it off. This is where the red flag comes in. You need to pick a weight and vow to never get heavier than it again. It is normal for your body to fluctuate five to ten pounds. I recommend picking a weight that is ten pounds heavier than what you “normally” weigh and never weigh more than it again.  Setting a red flag weight allowed me to keep off every pound for over 1 year.

Lastly, for the curious out there…I followed the Weight Watchers diet. I did not pay for the diet, nor did I go to meetings. I found out all the information about the diet on-line. The first place to look is at their patent.

All well known diets are available via Google Patent Search.  For the several months that I was dieting, I also gave up red meat and made sure to drink a lot of milk.  The preceding tips worked perfectly for me and they will work for you, too. Prior to creating my own diet plan, I tried to diet several times and failed every time. I swear by these weight loss tips.  What do you think of them? Do you have a tip that didn’t make my list?  Let us know in the comments.  I will be glad to answer any questions or defend any point.

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Last Updated on February 13, 2020

What Is Speed Reading and How to Successfully Learn It

What Is Speed Reading and How to Successfully Learn It

Too much to read, too little time! Don’t you wish you could read faster without compromising your knowledge intake? This is where a valuable learning technique comes to the rescue: speed reading.

Speed reading is the top skill to learn in 2020. Read on to find out all about this amazing technique!

What Is Speed Reading?

On average, an adult can read somewhere between 200 to 300 words per minute. With speed reading, you can read around 1500 words per minute.[1] Yes, that sounds impossible, but it is true.

In order to understand how this skill works, you first need to know how the reading process works inside a human’s brain.

The Reading Process

The first step is for the eyes to look at a word. This “fixation” on every word takes around 0.25 seconds.

Next, the eye moves on to the following word. It takes 0.1 seconds for the brain to move from one word to the next. This is called “saccade.”

Usually, a person reads 4 to 5 words or a sentence at once. After all the fixations and saccades, the brain goes over the entire phrase again in order to process the meaning. This takes around half a second.

All in all, this allows the average person to read 200 to 300 words in a minute.

Speeding up the Process

The concept of speed reading is to speed up this process at least 5 times. Since the saccade period cannot be shortened any further, speed reading emphasizes quicker fixations.

To accomplish this, scientists recommend that the reader skips the subvocalization: when the readers actually say the word in their mind, even when reading silently.

Basically, speed reading is the technique of only seeing the words instead of speaking them silently.

Do not confuse this with skimming. When a reader skims through a text, they skip the parts that their brain considers to be unnecessary.

You may skip important information in this process. Moreover, skimming does not allow the brain to retain what has been read.

Why Speed Read?

Speed reading is not just quick, but also effective. This skill saves a lot of of time without sacrificing information.

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Also, it has been proven to improve memory. The brain’s performance improves during speed reading, which allows the reader to remember more information than before.

Since speed reading stabilizes the brain, the information is processed faster and more efficiently.

Believe it or not, this technique leads to improved focus, too. As the brain receives a lot of information during speed reading, there is far less chance of distraction. The brain focuses solely on the job at hand.

Since the brain is, after all, a muscle, the process of speed reading acts as an exercise. Just like the rest of your muscles, your brain needs exercise to grow stronger, too.

A focused brain means improved logical thinking. As your brain gets used to receiving and organizing so much information so quickly, your thinking process will become faster.

As soon as a problem is thrown at you, your brain will quickly put two and two together. You will be able to retrieve stored information, figure out correlations, and come up with new solutions, all within seconds!

Still not convinced? Read 10 Reasons Why You Should Learn Speed Reading

Greater Benefits

With a healthier brain, you can expect better things in other parts of your life, too. A boost in self-esteem is just one of them.

As you begin to understand information at a faster pace, you will also begin to figure out more opportunities all around you.

With the ability to deeply understand information in a shorter period of time, your confidence levels will quickly grow higher.

Moreover, all the aforementioned benefits will relieve you of stress. You will manage your readings in lesser time, your brain will be healthier, and you will feel so much better about yourself.

With all these advantages, your emotional well-being will be healthier than ever. You’ll feel less stress since your brain will learn to tackle problems efficiently. Speed reading will lead to a relaxed, tension-free lifestyle!

How to Learn to Speed Read

Speed reading is a superpower. Fortunately, unlike other superpowers, this one can be learned!

There are different techniques that can be used to master this skill. Opt for the one that best suits your learning style.

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1. The Pointer Method

The person who is credited for popularizing speed reading, Evelyn Wood, came up with the pointer method. It is a simple technique in which the reader uses their index finger to slide across the text that they’re reading.

As the finger moves, the brain coherently moves along with it. It is an effective technique to keep the eyes focused where the finger goes without causing any distraction.

Readers have a tendency to back-skip. The pointer method prevents this from happening, thereby saving at least half the reading time.

2. The Scanning Method

In this technique, the reader’s eyes move along one part of the page only. This can be the left or right side of the text but is usually the center since that is the most convenient.

Instead of pacing through the entire text from left to right, the vision shifts from top to bottom.

This method involves fixation on keywords such as names, figures, or other specific terms. By doing so, the saccade time is minimized.

3. Perceptual Expansion

Generally, a reader focuses on one word at a time. This technique, on the other hand, encourages the brain to read a chunk of words together. In doing so, this method increases the reader’s peripheral vision.

Here’s the thing: even though the fixation time remains the same with perceptual expansion, the number of words that the eyes fixate on increases.

So basically, the brain receives 5 times more information within the same amount of time.

This technique is the hardest to master and takes the most time to learn. You’ll need help from speed reading tools in order to practice the perceptual expansion method.

However, once you master it, this technique will offer you the fastest reading pace with the maximum knowledge intake.

The Best Speed Reading Apps

The easiest tool to aid any process in any part of life these days is your smartphone.

You can use mobile applications to learn speed reading on the go. It has been proven that regularly practicing speed reading is the fastest way to learn this skill. [2]

Here are a few great options to look into:

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1. Reedy

If you own an Android smartphone, you can download Reedy to your mobile. Otherwise, get the chrome extension on your laptop to enjoy speed reading with Reedy.

This app trains readers to read faster by displaying words one by one on the screen. Instead of having to go through lines or long texts, Reedy prepares the user to focus on one word at a time.

Although this isn’t an effective method to learn speed reading long texts, it is a great way to start.

Once your brain gets used to the idea, you can shift to another app to train speed reading sentences or longer texts.

2. ReadMe!

Whether you’re an android or iOS user, you can take advantage of the ReadMe! application. This app even comes with some e-book options to practice speed reading on.

Start by choosing your desired font size, color, layout, etc. Other than that, there are different reading modes for the user to choose from.

If you want to practice reading sentence by sentence or in short paragraphs, you can choose the focused reading mode.

The beeline reader mode changes the color of the text to guide the eye to read from the beginning to the end at a certain pace.

Lastly, there is the spritz mode in which the app focuses on chunks of words at once. This controls the reader’s peripheral vision. However, this mode is not fully available in the free version of the app.

3. Spreeder

Spreeder is available on both iOS and Android. However, users may also gain benefits from Spreeder’s website. This application lets the reader paste in any text that they would like to speed read.

Starting off at a rather low speed, the app flashes words one by one. Gradually, as the user becomes more comfortable, the speed increases.

Slowly, the user is trained to speed read without having to skip any words.

This app is different from the rest because it tracks the user’s reading improvements, recording the overall reading time and speed.

The progress and improvement are tracked in order to motivate the user to perform even better.

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Adjustable settings, such as the speed of the text, background color, etc. are in the control of the user.

The Controversy Surrounding Speed Reading

Truthfully, speed reading does sound too good to be true. It’s hard to believe that it is humanly possible to attain such a fast pace in reading without compromising the quality of information you receive.

Perhaps as a result, there are people who do not trust the process of speed reading. They believe that when you read through a text at such a high speed, you cannot comprehend the information successfully.

According to these people, your brain is unable to process information at the speed that you’re reading, and so, they regard speed reading as problematic.

It is true that speed reading will be of no use if you do not understand the text you’re reading, no matter how quickly you did it.

Similarly, if you were to read slowly and still not retain or understand the information you read, that would be useless, too.

However, there a few factors to consider here. When reading at a normal pace, there is enough time in between every step of the process for the brain to get distracted.

Conversely, speed reading leaves behind no time for the brain to focus on something else. It is unlike skimming. No part of the text is skipped, which means that the brain receives every single bit of information.

Conclusion

Keeping all of this in mind, speed reading cannot be labeled a hoax or a failure. Science has backed up this technique, and numerous readers have been using this skill to improve their learning ability.

At the end of the day, it is your decision whether or not you want to trust this process.

However, if you decide to take advantage of the opportunities speed reading provides, you will find a world of possibilities opening up to you.

We live in a fast-paced world. Consuming information faster will help you keep up with that pace and find further success.

Speed Read Like a Pro!

Featured photo credit: Blaz Photo via unsplash.com

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