Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight on a short-term diet knows that there’s something mysterious about the process. The more you grind and sweat and loathe the process, the less effective the diet seemingly becomes. Eating feel like drudgery, grocery shopping feels like a puzzle, and a trip to the scale induces panic and fear.
At 247Health, our mission couldn’t be simpler: feel better each and every day. That call to action is basic, but profound; and it shouldn’t be overlooked. The only way you’ll feel better each day is to simplify the painful confusions of life that cause you anxiety or grief. Put bluntly: what you resist, persists, and if you don’t start seeing your world in ways that promote health, then the vicious cycle of pain and lackluster results will persist. Why? Because you are resisting your own wellbeing.
Optimal health means something slightly different to everyone, and that’s exactly how it should be. No diet works the exact same for any two people because every body boasts different sensitivities. Therefore, the key to learning how to diet appropriately is learning to shift perspective: dieting should be a fun exercise in learning more about the body, tinkering with the process, and discovering the truest self in the process.
We know this advice is all quite theoretical, and it should be: the mental projections of any endeavor will make or break the final outcome each and every time, no exceptions. You have to stop resisting the positive outcome by choosing struggle.
So how can we develop unbreakable minds, and then learn to think positively about a subject like dieting that likely carries a lot of old wounds? How do we force our brains to feel better about something that historically makes us feel poorly?
Again, simple: trick that sucker into new opinions about the process.
An excellent way to trick the brain is to give it a visual cue that doesn’t tell the whole story. Here’s the honest truth: most people instinctively know which foods they should eat and which foods they should avoid. They’re just lying to themselves about how much they indulge or how much of any poor food they actually eat during their “cheat” meal. If they would just reduce their caloric intake, the body would burn excess fat as fuel, and the scale would decrease. Easy.
But the brain develops routines. It tries to justify excess calories or empty calories based on the emotions it feels while eating. The eyes see food on the plate, and the brain knows that a certain level of satisfaction will come from eating. The good feelings derived from the meal are fleeting, though, because the food is either overwhelming to the body or deficient in nutrition, which causes the body to work harder to remove it. Our daily mission to feel better each and every day has been hijacked by a false promise.
The way to actually feel better is to give the brain that much-craved stimulus it receives by thinking about the meal, but replace the calorie-dense foods with alternatives that have less calories, but do not sacrifice volume. In other words, make sure your food continues to take up however much of the plate looks satisfying; just incorporate foods with fewer calories into the meal. That way, the volume in your stomach remains the same (which satisfies the mind), but the body does not have to work hard to digest the food.
And as an added benefit, almost all voluminous foods that are low in calories are also high in vitamins. It’s as if human beings were meant to eat healthy. Who would’ve thought?
One great food to try is pumpkin puree. Since it’s mostly water, and only packs 50 calories per cup, you can fill up on it guilt-free. It’s rich in the antioxidants alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and others, and tastes delicious as a dessert with some cinnamon, sea salt, and honey.
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