Eat to Live
Wellbeing | Personal Development
This section focusses on diet and nutrition. The aim is to help you develop a healthy, long-term diet that’s sustainable and helps you lose weight. You'll learn how it's not all about willpower and discover some great ideas like mindful eating.
There are plenty of diet tips out there, but it’s really hard to find something that works. Evolution has geared us towards surviving famine, which is why ‘boom and bust’ dieting is rarely successful in the long run. This is why you need to develop a long-term strategy, change the way you view food and adopt some very effective practices.
How to Eat to Live
There's far more to this section than the health benefits of watching what you eat. If people feel they are overweight, it can affect the way they view themselves, create a great deal of stress and anxiety and worse still, push them into situations where they're likely to gain even more weight.
We're also bombarded with images of the perfect body and are lead to believe that we simply need to diet to put things right.
Unfortunately, diets are incredibly unlikely to work in the long-term and you could risk gaining even more weight over time. This is largely due to the fact that evolution has geared us towards adapting to food shortages, so the body naturally works towards a set weight.
This obviously creates a huge problem for a lot of people. We're not powerless though, as we can make sure we do everything to focus on not gaining weight rather than working to lose it. If you start to follow the advice below, over time you should naturally lose weight and start to regulate you natural limits.
Your Plan and Practices
Instead of starting with nutrition or scientific ways to burn off fat, we’re going to change your behaviour and your relationship with food. If you want to lose weight, I suggest you start off by doing all the things I’m about to describe for 21 days.
We face some big problems when we start to think about our food intake. We can either eat too much or we can eat the wrong things. Some people are also ‘internals’ who mainly react to their body's signals to eat and others are ‘externals’, who are more likely to react to what's in front of them and be seduced by a tempting treat.
We all process glucose differently as well, so some people have more natural willpower than others. Cutting down your eating requires a lot of willpower though so if you try to do it among a number of new initiatives, you’re likely to fail at all of them.
Because of this, losing weight should be your sole focus for the 21 days of your initial push in order to make it a habit and get used to it.
You should also try to implement all the ideas below, as they should help you see long-term results. They can also become helpful daily practices that should really make a difference.
We’re going to start by setting everything up and the first step is to remove temptations. Shop smart and if you can, don’t have tempting food within reach in your home. It’s a lot harder to be tempted if the food isn’t in your fridge when your willpower is low.
You probably won’t go to the bother of going out to get a snack but if it’s right in front of you, that’s a different story.
Be ruthless before you begin and get rid of unhealthy and tempting treats. It also helps to stick to a specific shopping list while you’re starting out and if possible, make more trips to the shops so you only get what you need. It also helps if you avoid shopping when you're hungry.
Keep a Food Diary
We’re now going to set up a food diary and this is such an important tool. A lot of people think they're eating ok and can’t understand why they aren't losing weight but if they kept track of everything they ate, they'd probably be very surprised.
Keeping a simple food diary can be very effective as it keeps you focussed on what you’re eating. It not only keeps track of everything, so you can see where you’re going wrong, as it also makes you accountable for any slip-ups.
It’s simple, if you cheat you’re going to have to write it down.
It doesn’t take much effort to maintain and it helps to fix your attention on what you’re trying to do. You can also review it later on to identify areas you need to work on, or times when you need to be a bit more careful.
I’d like you to create your own food diary now and I suggest using apps you can can sync on all your devices. You can also take a photo of your food on your phone if it's easier as this is also very effective.
Do this now and also mark out your initial 21 days in your calendar. If there are events coming up where you know you’ll have to indulge, don’t wait. Simply think of these as ‘Mardi Gras’ days and add additional days at the end to catch up.
Weigh Every Day
We’re now going to look at all the things you can do while you’re trying to lose weight.
The first, and most important, thing to do is to weight every day. I know it can be the most daunting aspect of trying to lose weight, but it can also be the most rewarding. It’s also very hard to take that first step when you’re starting out, as it can really be a nasty surprise. Bite the bullet though, and get going.
There’s also a lot of conflicting advice when it comes to how many times you should weigh yourself. Some people say once a week, as it fluctuates, and others say it’s best to check every day. This makes it a choice between a ‘lucky dip’ at the end of the week, or an up and down ‘rollercoaster ride' throughout it.
Regardless of what provides the best reading, weighing every day will focus your attention on what you're trying to do.
I suggest you do this in the morning as well, as it will become an effective daily ritual. It also keeps you from losing track and considering the consequences of breaking your diet to be something in the future that you'll make up for in-between.
This may sound odd, but you should also try to look at yourself in a mirror and focus on the things you’re trying to fix before you eat. Better still, if you can see a reflection of yourself while you eat you’re a lot less likely to overdo it.
It’s also important that you remove any distractions. This means no TV, no reading and if possible, try to eat alone. This will help you focus on your food, eat slower and savour it.
Try Mindful Eating
I strongly suggest you try mindful eating. If you haven’t already, take a look at the ‘Clear Mind & Focus’ section for some great ideas and an introduction to mindfulness.
All you need to do is to be focused on the present moment while you eat and in particular, all the tastes and textures of your food.
This will help you appreciate what you have and like the other ideas, it should reduce the chances of overeating and feeling hungry afterwards. You should also focus on becoming aware of when your body naturally wants to eat and when it has had enough food.
Before you start, I’ve got a few tips that could help you out. The biggest thing to avoid is having the ‘what the hell’ approach to going off track and to describe it, I’ve included this example.
Imagine you’ve had a good week watching what you eat, you haven't cheated and it looks like you’re on track. Then the weekend comes along and it’s not so good. A few drinks at lunch, some snacks, a big meal and then it’s time for dessert.
By this time, you just think to yourself ‘what the hell’ the damage has already been done and this is where you’re going to lose the battle.
Calories don’t cancel out after a certain limit, they all add up and you’re unlikely to stop at this point. We all have slip-ups and bad days, but we need to keep the damage contained. If you keep this in mind, you should be able to limit the damage of any slip-ups.
Balance It Out
When you’re cutting down, it’s also worth remembering that evolution has geared us towards surviving famine. To tackle this, you could try adding a few treats after a couple of weeks like the bag of crisps with your sandwich you initially cut out. This way, you can then cut it again later to kick the body back into losing weight.
Be Aware of Changes
One last bit of advice I'd like to share is that depleting your willpower is likely to alter your mood. Be aware of this and when you start to feel grumpy or down, just accept that it’s a natural reaction in the body. It’s also a good idea to avoid cutting down on days where this could be a problem.
The Simplicity System
So to sum it up simply, if you want to lose weight and keep it off you should:
- Remove temptations
- Keep a food diary
- Weigh every day
- Pay close attention to yourself
- Remove distractions
- Try mindful eating
Ideally, your 21 day plan should just the start of a lifelong journey. When you start to get to grips with the basic practices, you can then start look at diet and nutrition and really begin to be healthier, happier and more productive.
Good luck with everything and I hope it makes a difference. I’d also be very interested to hear any feedback you have as The Simplicity System will always need to evolve and improve.
Your Eat to Live Resources
Follow the links below to learn a lot more
Your Eat to Live Golden Rules
Don’t exercise to lose weight
So many people head to the gym when they want to lose weight and while fitness is important, it should be kept separate from weight loss. It’s also easy to justify a sneaky snack if you think you’ve burned off plenty of calories.
The truth is, this really doesn’t work out in real life as it takes a lot to burn off just the basics. Those readings on the machines include calories you would have lost by just sitting down.
If you want to lose weight, focus on what you’re eating and how you eat it.
Make weight loss a priority
Everyone has a finite supply of willpower. This isn’t some magic cosmic force though, it’s the glucose the body produces to nourish us.
This means that if we set out to accomplish a host of new things at once, we’re unlikely to achieve any of them.
This is why most New Year’s resolutions are soon forgotten by February and why so many people fail when they try to lose weight. If you can, make weight loss your sole focus for at least 21 days.
You should cut out sugar if you want to lose weight. This is likely to have a huge impact and you’ll soon get used to it.
Try going without sugar in your hot drinks for 21 days and you’re unlikely to want to switch back afterwards.
Before meals, try to drink a full glass of water as it can help suppress your appetite. You should also reduce the chances of feeling hungry immediately afterwards.
Sticking to water also helps, as it's easy to allow yourself a sugary treat with your meal. This is another one of those things that's easy to do and will really reward you.
Your Eat to Live Slots
First Thing Focus
If you’re trying to lose weight, make sure you weigh yourself and take a quick look at your food diary first thing in the morning. This focuses your attention on what you're trying to do and really keeps you in sync with your goals.
Daily Journal Time
Try to write about your progress and how you feel about it. This will help you focus your attention and stay motivated. You can also keep a separate journal just for weight loss if you think it will help.
Take some time each week to review your food diary and try to spot anything you need to fix. You can also do this as part of your weekly productivity review.
21 Day Recap
When you’ve focused on weight loss for 21 days, it’s important to take time to assess your progress. Did it all go to plan or do you need to make any changes?
It's also important to really reflect on your successes and how it makes you feel.