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Three Easy Tricks To Never Count Calories Again

Three Easy Tricks To Never Count Calories Again

Ever notice that when things are complicated, tedious, or generally not fun, the likelihood of quitting is higher? When it comes to diets and healthy eating, having to count calories is all of those things. Nobody feels like tracking, measuring or weighing every little thing they eat, but the good old law of thermodynamics (calories in vs calories out) is often hailed as the king of all weight loss rules.

I am a huge proponent of keeping things simple; finding something deeper and more meaningful than just “lose 10 lbs” or “fit back into my skinny jeans” to motivate you, and above all, injecting some enjoyment in to the process. These three things increase the likelihood that you follow through and see results drastically.

The three easy tricks I have for you today will eliminate the need to ever count calories again, yet still get you results. Whether you’re seeking fat loss, more energy, or to address any other diet-related disease or illness, try these tricks out for 30 days and prepare to be pleasantly surprised.

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These tips are mostly inspired by my nutrition training through Metabolic Effect, founded by Dr’s Jade and Keoni Teta, authors of The New ME Diet.  

Trick #1: Follow this simple Label Rule for anything with a label

Reading labels can be one of the MOST confusing (and misleading) parts of healthy eating. We get distracted by words like “natural” “healthy” and “wholesome.” We even assume that just because something is vegan or gluten free that it’s healthy. This isn’t always the case. The Label Rule outlines the only three things that actually matter: Total Fat, Sodium, and Hormonal Carbs.

Total Fat should be less than or equal to 15. Lower numbers are better and you want to avoid foods with hydrogenated oils, trans-fats or mostly saturated fat. Foods that have higher mono-unsaturated fats and omega-3 oils are best.

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Sodium content should be less than or equal to 200mg. Foods with lower sodium numbers and higher potassium numbers are better.

Hormonal Carbs. This is where the genius of the Metabolic Effect approach shines. Unlike the calorie counting approach to losing weight, focusing on hormonal carbs prompts your body to shed fat specifically.

You’ll hear people say “muscle weighs more than fat”, but that’s not true.  Five pounds is five pounds, regardless of what it’s made of. Muscle is more dense that fat though, so it takes up less space. Picture a five pound brick versus a five pound pillow. Get it now? To calculate Hormonal Carbs you subtract Dietary Fiber (including any sugar alcohols) and Protein from the Total Carbs. Choose foods with a Hormonal Carb value less than 15. Lower numbers are better, and negative numbers are best. This means you’ll get the energy you need from the food, but you won’t be left with excess sugar that winds up getting stored in your body as fat when you don’t burn it off. Another great book on this topic is Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes if you’re interested!

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Carbs are not in fact the enemy—it’s just the amounts and frequency with which we consume them that cause problems. Here’s a visual example:

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 6.16.05 PM

    Trick #2: Eat according to this ideal plate at every meal

    The thing I love most about this trick is that it makes eating out EASY. Most of us are pretty good at eating clean in our own little controlled environments at home, but toss a menu into the mix and give us a few naughty options and it’s bad news bears. Once you know what your plate should look like at every meal, you can use this as your barometer when eating out-unless you know ahead of time, it’s a treat meal…in which case, go crazy! (and tag me on Instagram @lizdialto and let me know, I love treat meals!!)

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    The ideal plate is made up of half veggies (the greener the better), a fist sized portion of lean protein (if you’re a veggie, then beans, tofu, tempeh etc. count for you), then just five to ten bites of carbs. The bite rule is what protects you from having to count calories in this trick.

    Remember in Trick #1 how I said carbs aren’t the problem, but rather the amount of carbs? Sticking to 5-10 bites of carbs that fit the label rule puts you in the sweet spot for fat burning instead of fat storing. Here’s an example: it’s a portion of grass-fed steak and a big salad with mixed greens, quinoa, strawberries and balsamic dressing.

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      Now I know what you’re probably thinking because clients give me this objection all the time “only 5-10 bites?!” When you follow this rule you can actually eat more food, it’s just more food that’s better for you. All we’re doing is shifting around ratios on your plate.  More protein and veggies, less carbs. Side effects of eating this way include: fat loss, weight loss, more energy, better looking skin, and frequently allergy and digestive issue symptoms clear up, too.  So give it a try—you’ve got plenty to lose.

      Trick #3: Eat your protein and veggies first, save your carbs for last

      The reason for this is simple: protein and veggies are the best things for you on your plate and they’re more satiating. By saving your carbs for last, you give yourself a better shot at feeling full at the end of the meal and not over eating.

      More by this author

      Elizabeth DiAlto

      Elizabeth is the Creator of Wild Soul Movement and the Host of the Truth Telling podcast.

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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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