Daily Fit Tip – 9/18/17 – How to Eat Junk Food Everyday and Still Lose Weight

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One of the persistent myths out there in the world of weight loss concerns “clean eating”. The idea is that in order to lose weight we need to eat like bodybuilders with our diet consisting entirely of minimally processed whole foods i.e. something that was recently alive or had a face. If someone had a Frappuccino every single day some people might think it’d be impossible to lose weight because you are eating something “bad” everyday.

But that’s nonsense. First of all, sugar isn’t what’s making you gain body fat. Eating over your maintenance calories is making you gain body fat. So long as you are in a slight calorie deficit it’s perfectly possible to have “junk food” everyday as part of a healthy lifestyle. So long as you account for the caloric load it is possible to have your mocha everyday.

However, I will say that if you are already a pretty lean person or happen to be a tiny woman your total caloric budget might be low enough such that it’s not necessarily advisable to drink your calories. The reason is that you’re “wasting” your calories on stuff that won’t fill you up. Feeling full and satisfied after eating calories is an important strategy in the quest to lose body fat because if you’re in a slight caloric deficit you’re likely going to be ever so slightly hungry. And if you’re drinking 600 calories of sugary sweet beverage everyday and your maintenance level is 1800 calories that might make it difficult to stay in a deficit will also managing your hunger level.

But the solution is to not try to eat totally “clean” 24/7. Nor is the solution to go crazy on “cheat days”. Just exercise a little bit of restraint and get the tall Frappuccino instead of the venti. Learn to manage your portion sizes and you will be able to indulge a little and reward yourself after your stressful day. Incorporating small rewards into your daily life will make the overall process of weight loss far more sustainable than trying to eat “clean” 24/7.

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Daily Fit Tip – 9/17/17 – Why the Microwave is Your Best Friend for Healthy Eating

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I see it all the time. Someone wants to “clean up” their diet and get serious about losing weight but doesn’t know how to cook. So what do they do? They buy a recipe book or meal plan with complex recipes involving 15 ingredients and 17 elaborate steps. They go out to the grocery store and buy dozens of expensive, fresh ingredients. They spend 30-45 minutes preparing their first meal from the meal plan and it tastes amazing. They feel good. This is going to work. Time to start their fitness journey!

A week later they are back to eating bowl after bowl of cereal and pizza rolls.

What happened? So often we believe that in order to be serious about health and nutrition we have to be amazing cooks who slave over meal prep. But are you really going to eat veggies everyday if you have to spend 45 minutes roasting them in the oven? This is where the microwave comes in. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying a steamable bag of veggies and popping it in the microwave for 5 minutes.

The microwave can really be your best friend if you are trying to lose weight because consistency and sustainability are way more important than optimality. And what’s more consistent and sustainable than convenience? Are you really going to find the time to prep and cook raw chicken every week for the rest of your life? It’s perfectly ok to buy frozen precooked grilled chicken and pop it in the microwave for two minutes. Is this the cheapest or tastiest way to prepare chicken? Certainly not. But it’s sure damn convenient. And when you’re fighting the temptation to throw those pizza rolls in the microwave because you don’t feel like spending 45 minutes cooking your family dinner – allowing yourself the convenience of microwaving chicken, veggies, etc. is perfectly fine. 

Just remember, the perfect is the enemy of the good. It’s better to do something 80% optimally for ten years than to crash and burn over and over trying to do something 99% optimally.