A Curious (Yet Effective) Method for Avoiding Tempting Treats

Over the past few months I’ve found myself intermittently relying on a highly effective means of ensuring I don’t succumb to temptation when eyeing a particularly appetising snack.

It’s not a strategy I’ve deliberately employed, but it has been no less effective for that fact. Perhaps it can be effective for you too.

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How to Listen Less to Your Inner Glutton

Yesterday evening, having finished a round of golf, I had a hankering for a particular English delicacy known as mixed meat and chips.

There was a slight issue with my plan, however: the portion sizes they serve up at my local chip shop (where one can buy the aforementioned meal) are formidable, and I’d had a rather substantial lunch. Since I have major issues leaving food on my plate when full (a weakness I am yet to overcome), I could predict the potential outcome:

  1. Buy mixed meat and chips.
  2. Eat until finished (and somewhat nauseous).
  3. Suffer from the effects of overeating for the rest of the evening, and likely into the following morning.

My first thought was simply to employ my standard Portion Reduction Method, but that’s not an entirely watertight approach. In other words, the extra food I didn’t load on my plate would still be in the vicinity, which in my case, gives it a pretty decent chance of getting eaten regardless.

Still keen to avoid the seemingly inevitable outcome of eating way beyond what was strictly necessary, I pondered potential alternatives. A highly controversial idea hit me: why not ask for a smaller portion at the chip shop?

As a concept, this was both alien and controversial to even contemplate. However, I decided to allow the rational side of my brain to take over for a moment and see how this might play out.

I started by telling myself a couple of key things in order to assuage the fears of my inner glutton:

  1. You’re not that hungry. Although your gluttonous side is telling you that you don’t want to miss out, it’s highly likely that whatever portion you go home with, it’ll be enough to satiate you.
  2. If the portion doesn’t fill you up, you can have a decent-sized dessert to make up for it.

I also reminded myself to focus on the positives of my decision; how I’d be proud of myself for ordering less, and how good it would feel to not be bloated after my meal.

That was enough to calm my inner glutton – I had permission to move ahead with my experiment.

I walked into the chip shop, strode confidently to the counter, and asked for a portion of mixed meat and chips – “but can you put a little less in than you normally would?”

The chap behind the counter eyed me for a moment; I imagine suspiciously, wondering what kind of business I had asking for a smaller portion than what was on the menu. (At that point I was asking myself the same question.)

After that brief pause, he appeared to digest my request. To my horror, he then turned to a colleague and said “mixed meat and chips, but extra small”.

Extra small.

Extra small?!

I didn’t say “extra small”. I said “a little less”. I felt there was a clear distinction between the two. One involved my planned outcome – say a 10% reduction in portion size – while the other was a true unknown. At this point, panic set in.

Shortly thereafter, I got a glimpse of what appeared to be a paltry amount of food within the polystyrene box that contained my dinner. I paid and left, somewhat dismayed at the presumably terrible decision I had made.

I didn’t feel much better once I’d got home and unloaded the contents of the box onto a plate. However, I’d gone past the point of no return. Now was the time to stop listening to my brain and see what my stomach would have to say about the situation.

I sat down to eat my meal, and as always, tried my best to be present in the process of eating my food.

Guess what – there was more than enough food. Once I had finished, I was satiated, and didn’t feel in the least bit deprived. Had the extra food been there, I may have eaten it, but it wasn’t, and I didn’t miss it in the slightest.

This story demonstrates just how big a disconnect there can be between your (often negative and almost always habit-driven) thinking, and the reality of how you will experience the food that you eat. My ingrained thinking went to great lengths in an attempt to sabotage what was a perfectly logical decision that left me feeling not in the slightest bit hard done by when all was said and done.

In short, we should all learn to listen less to our inner glutton. He’s almost certainly got nothing of value to say.

How to Eat Less (But Enjoy Your Food Just As Much)

Do you enjoy food?

If you’re anything like me, your answer will be a resounding and enthusiastic “Yes!” However, I believe the question warrants more thorough consideration.

In fact, it’s a question I’d like you to ask yourself when you next sit down for a meal. More specifically, I want you to think about why and how you enjoy your food. The answers may surprise you.

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34 Easy Ways to Exercise (And Enjoy It!)

I hate what I call ‘prescribed exercise’.

I’m talking about the kind of exercise that you feel you should do in order to get/remain in good shape. The kind of exercise that you feel guilty not doing. The kind of exercise that you probably don’t enjoy.

Because I hate it, I don’t do it. And yet I still exercise; I just choose to exercise in ways that I enjoy.

The simple fact is this: there are an enormous number of ways in which you can be physically fit and enjoy it. If you hate the gym as much as I do, the following list will be absolutely invaluable. I can practically guarantee that you’ll find a physical activity below that you will enjoy doing.

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Why It Can Be Okay to Be Overweight

I haven’t been skinny in about twenty years. In fact, when I was a kid I was just plain fat. There’s no two ways about it.

These days I would consider myself to be in pretty good shape. However, by the most popular conventional standards I am officially overweight, along with 2.3 billion other adults in the world. And as you will already know if you pay any attention to the media, excess fat on your body is supposedly a ticking time bomb.

Well, screw that. In this post I want to explain why I’m perfectly happy with my weight. I want to explore the absurdity and contradiction behind conventional ways of determining whether someone is “overweight” and reveal why being overweight may have no negative impact on your health and can enable a sustainable and fulfilling way of life. Continue reading Why It Can Be Okay to Be Overweight

How to Beat Food Addiction

“They’re okay I guess, but they’re not a patch on Minstrels.”

It started innocently enough – a debate on the relative merits of confectionary on a second date with my now girlfriend. I’d always been a huge Minstrels fan, but she was putting an argument forward for Maltesers. I wasn’t convinced.

A couple of dates later we headed to the cinema. I bought a bag of Minstrels and she chose Maltesers. It was a standoff. Maltesers won comprehensively.

Fast-forward a year or so and things had gotten out of hand. I joke, but in all seriousness I did actually have a problem. It was not at all unusual for me to scoff an entire 360g box of Maltesers in one sitting. That’s about 1,700 calories.

While you cannot form a physiological dependence on sugar or chocolate, I was nonetheless psychologically addicted to Maltesers. It was ruining my otherwise relatively healthy diet and had the potential to lead to all sorts of health-related issues down the line. Something needed to be done.

So, I did something.

In this post I want to share the specific techniques I employed to neutralize my addiction while still allowing myself to enjoy Maltesers in moderation. If you are addicted to sugar, chocolate or candy (or in fact any type of food), you’ve just stumbled upon the means to make a major positive change to your seemingly fixed habits.

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How to Lose Weight (Without Dieting)

According to Science Daily, the number one reason why diets fail is because dieters underestimate the amount of calories they consume.

I call bullshit on that. In my opinion, the number one reason why diets fail is because dieters want to eat things that most diets don’t permit.

In short, diets suck. I am not prepared to go for extended periods of time avoiding the foods that I love in the name of weight loss. I love beer, pizza, chocolate, and ice cream, and I don’t want to avoid eating them as part of a long-term eating regime. There has to be a better way.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to change your eating habits in more acceptable ways that result in weight loss. You can have your cake and eat it too – literally. In this post I want to focus on some simple changes you can make to your eating habits that will result in just as much satisfaction from what you eat, but with less impact on your waistline. Continue reading How to Lose Weight (Without Dieting)

Should You Weigh Yourself?

There are a lot of negative connotations associated with weighing yourself. While stepping on the scales and seeing that your weight has dropped is a rewarding experience, plenty of people walk into the bathroom in the morning with a sense of dread – fearing what will stare back at them on the dial.

With the above in mind, some argue that the act of weighing yourself can not only be discouraging, but can even be psychologically damaging.

In this article, I will help you to decide whether you should weigh yourself. I will address both the pros and cons of doing so, and give you the information you need to make the best decision relative to your unique personality and circumstances.

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The First Thing I Tell Anyone Who Wants Weight Loss Advice

The process of losing weight can be simple and sustainable, or complicated and ultimately unsuccessful. I advocate the former approach over the latter.

To illustrate the simplicity of weight loss, if someone asks me what they should do, I suggest they implement just one small habit to start with. They’re typically surprised that my recommendation has nothing to do with consciously trying to eat less.

Instead, the simple habit I recommend is this: every time you decide to eat something, before you do, drink a glass of water and wait a few minutes. Do this before every single snack and meal.

Continue reading The First Thing I Tell Anyone Who Wants Weight Loss Advice

Dieting: A Long-Term Success Story

When it comes to dieting, most of us want to lose weight as quickly as possible. We draw on our disproportionately large short-term motivational reserves to embark on an ambitious weight loss campaign that promises big rewards in a short space of time.

It can work too. One can lose an awful lot of weight very quickly by following many popular commercial diets. However, it is often for naught, as the weight creeps back on over the succeeding weeks and months.

What most of us don’t consider is a diet that offers sustainable and controllable weight loss of just 1lb (or less) per week.

Does that sound like a slow death to you? It shouldn’t. You’re framing your opinion of such a diet based on your experience with fad diets – those that impose restrictive rules and require enormous amounts of willpower. But a diet that promotes gradual weight loss over a long period of time only involves relatively small sacrifices and simple adjustments in your mindset to produce positive results. Meanwhile, you can largely go on eating just as you were before.

Controllable weight loss and long-term weight management should be about small increments, not huge leaps. After all, huge leaps one way usually lead to huge leaps back in the opposite direction.