Many people out there who don’t know nearly as much as you probably don’t know about losing weight. For example, they don’t know what energy balance is, they do know that if they just starve themselves, if they eat very little and move around a lot, do a lot of cardio, they will lose weight. And of course, that’s true.
But often what happens is these people do that and then they don’t know what to do after and they end up gaining all the weight that they lost back or sometimes even more.
And that usually is either the beginning of or just another episode of a long saga of yoyo dieting, where their weight goes up to a point where they’re uncomfortable and they feel like they have to lose weight or revert back to their old ways that results in rapid weight gain.
Research shows that most people out there who diet regain at least 50% of the weight they lose in the first year after losing it. The most powerful way to break this cycle to be able to lose weight is developing the right habits.
In this episode, I’m gonna be talking about habits that will help you keep the weight that you lose off.
Let’s get started!
5:09 – Habit 1: Stick to a meal plan
14:15 – Habit 2: Replace unhealthy fat with healthy fat
18:26 – Habit 3: Be more active
21:39 – Habit 4: Snack on fruits
28:20 – Habit 5: Know what you’re eating
35:30 – Habit 6: Portion control
38:29 – Habit 7: Don’t be sedentary
40:22 – Habit 8: Don’t drink your calories
43:15 – Habit 9: Mindful eating
44:50 – Habit 10: Eat 5 servings of vegetables a day
Mentioned on The Show
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hello, I’m Mike Matthews. And this is another episode of muscle for life. Thank you for taking the time today to explore yet another facet of the art and science of getting super fit. And in this episode, I’m gonna be talking about keeping weight. Off habits that help you keep the weight that you lose off.
And this is probably more important and in some ways more difficult for many people than knowing how to lose weight. For example, many people out there who don’t know nearly as much as you probably know. Losing weight, for example, who don’t even know what energy balance is. They do know that if they just starve themselves, basically if they eat very little and move around a lot, do a lot of cardio, they will lose weight.
And of course that’s true. But then often what happens is these people do that and then they don’t know what to do after. And then they end up gaining all of the weight that they lost back, or sometimes even more. And. Usually is either the beginning of, or just another episode of a long saga of yo-yo dieting, where their weight goes up to a point where they are very uncomfortable and they feel like they have to lose weight, or maybe their doctor says it’s time to bring your weight down your BMI downright.
So. Star themselves do a bunch of cardio. They get their weight down and then they are not sure what to do next. They know that they are sick of dieting that’s for sure. And so of course, then many of them just revert back to their old ways that then results in rapid weight gain and the cycle goes on.
And this is one major reason why research shows that most people out there who diet regain at least 50% of the weight they lose in the first year. Losing it now the most powerful way to break this cycle and to be able to lose weight and then keep it off for the long term is developing the right habits.
And a great example of this comes from a study that was conducted by scientists at bond university that took 75 overweight and obese people and taught them 10 key habits to incorporate into their day to day living. And what happened is after 12 weeks, without being told to follow a specific diet or a specific exercise program, just being given these 10 habits to work on these people lost on average about seven pounds, which is great, but what is even better is after 12 months they had lost another.
4.6 pounds on average. And there were no other interventions during that period, there was no contact even during that period. And what the scientists found is not only did these people lose weight and continue to lose weight and keep it off, they also were eating better. They were eating more fruits and vegetables and had improved their mental health as well.
So habits are very power. And in this podcast, I’m going to share those 10 habits with you, as well as some of my insights on how to make them work practically in your life. Also, if you like what I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports, nutrition company, Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world.
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So I can keep doing what I love, like producing more podcasts, like. Okay. The first habit is stick to a meal plan, make a meal plan and follow it. This is a huge quote unquote hack for losing weight and keeping weight off because it allows you to control your calories. It allows you to control your macros.
And if you know what you’re doing with your. Meal planning. And if you know what you’re doing with portioning your food, that doesn’t necessarily mean weighing and measuring everything, although that’s a great way of going about it. And I would say it’s probably necessary if you are lean, wanting to get really lean, because then you don’t have as much wiggle room with your calorie deficit.
If you have a lot of fat to lose, you can afford to use a larger calorie deficit than if you have less fat to lose. And therefore, if you accidentally over. By let’s say 200 calories in a day. It is not as big of a deal. If your calorie deficits, let’s say 5, 6, 7, 800 calories. But if it is two or 300 calories, well, then you may have just wiped out most or all of your fat loss for the day by accidentally overeating just a little bit in each meal, for example.
But if you’re a guy above, let’s say 15% body fat, if you’re a woman above 25% body fat, you don’t have to weigh and measure everything, but you do have to have a good sense of portions of the portions you like to eat in your meals and the approximate calories and macros of those portions. And. Then of course relates back to meal planning in that when you create a meal plan, you are taking your calories and you’re taking your macros and then you are taking the foods you like to eat and fitting it all together.
Kind of like a puzzle. So there are no foods. That are off limits entirely. Of course, as you know, I am a big proponent of flexible dieting, which really just comes down to getting most of your calories. Let’s say at least 80% of your calories every day from nutritious stuff like lean protein and fruits and vegetables and whole grains and legumes and healthy fats and so forth.
And then allotting a minority of your calories up to 20% to whatever you want, treats indulgences non-nutritious foods. And so when you’re creating a meal plan, You can eat anything. Theoretically. However, you’ll find that if you try to fit in, let’s say pizza into your meal plan every day. It’s just too calorie dense, unless you are satisfied with a not very much pizza, then it’s just not feasible to do that.
That would be better saved for a quote unquote cheat meal that would be better saved for maybe one day a week. You save some of your calories by eating less during the day. Eating fewer of the foods you’d normally eat. So you can have enough pizza to be satisfied for me. For example, I would say a bare minimum for satisfaction with pizza is probably 500 calories.
Ideally, it’d be more like a thousand calories. If I’m gonna have pizza, I wanna have enough to really enjoy it. Ice cream is similar for me. I. Would not enjoy eating 100 or 200 calories of ice cream every day. I just wouldn’t. I would rather have chocolate for me to enjoy ice cream. I have to eat at least half of a pint.
That’s just how I am. That’s 500 calories of any ice cream worth eating, but I like going all the way. I like doing the full pint of 1000 calories. And so again, I save that for one, maybe two days a week where I’m gonna eat a bit less of other things, so I can have that kind of ice cream. So with meal planning, then what you’re able to do is think in advance about what you want to eat and how you want to go about eating it.
Of course, you get to set up your meals in terms of frequency, whatever you like is fine for most people. If you like to skip breakfast, for example, and do something like an intermittent fasting style of dieting. That totally fine. If you like. Eight meals a day. That’s totally fine as well. You also get to decide meal compositions.
So if you’re the kind of person who likes smaller breakfasts and bigger dinners, that’s me, for example, you can do that. Or maybe you’re the other way around and you really like breakfast food. And so you like to have a big breakfast and then you like to taper your meals off as the day goes on. That’s totally fine as well.
Really, what you end up with is a plan that is just easy to follow. It makes it easy to hit your calories, hit your macros. And even you could say hit your micros, get plenty of nutrition, eating foods you like looking forward to every meal of every day. And as you can imagine, that works wonders for compliance, which is the biggest Achilles heel that undermines people’s weight, loss effort.
Lack of compliance, just not following the plan, no matter how good the plan is. If you can’t stick to it consistently, you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be good enough most of the time. But if you can’t do that, it’s not gonna work. I don’t care how evidence based the meal plan is or how time proven it is or how effective it is for other people.
If it doesn’t work for you, then it is. For you, we need to find something that will work for you. And the same goes with workout plans too. No matter how science based they are, if you don’t enjoy them, if you don’t look forward to most of your workouts and because it’s okay, sometimes you’re not gonna want to get in the gym.
Similarly with meal planning. Sometimes you’re not really gonna look forward to that. Lunch salad that you normally look forward to. But most of the time you should be looking forward to your workouts. You should enjoy your workouts. You shouldn’t feel good after your workouts. And on the meal planning side of things, the same applies to the foods that you’re eating.
You should be looking forward to your meals. You should be enjoying them. You should be feeling satisfied most of the time for most of the meals. And that is the. Most powerful way to increase compliance. And a lot of research shows that increasing compliance and maintaining high compliance is the most effective thing you can do really for losing weight and for maintaining.
Weight, of course, there are some non-negotiable factors, not all diets are gonna work. If a diet doesn’t keep you in a calorie deficit, it is not going to result in weight loss regardless of how healthy it is or nutritious it is. And similarly, of course, so long as a diet does keep you in a calorie deficit, you are gonna lose weight regardless of what you’re eating.
And so that is the first tip follow a meal plan and. If you are someone who needs a lot of variety, you can do that. What a lot of people who like to change up their meals do is they start with options for usually it’s their main meals. The people I’ve worked with. And usually it’s not. Every primary meal.
We’re talking about the three squares a day, right there aren’t many people I’ve come across over the years who say, I really like to regularly change up my breakfast, lunch and dinner. Usually it’s one of them. And so what we’ll do is we’ll start with the calories and macros for that meal. So let’s say it’s someone who likes to eat a big breakfast.
And so we allot plenty of calories and macros to that. And then they start with three options, usually that are already pre-prepared as far as the numbers go. So it’s gonna be one egg or two eggs. It’s gonna be this much oatmeal. It’s gonna be this much yogurt, this much fruit, granola, whatever. And they can choose every day from those three options.
They have everything they need to prepare them. They can just decide when they wake up in the morning, what do they feel like eating option a, B or C, and as they run through those, and eventually they get sick of those. We just come up with more options and we don’t even have to change the calories and macros usually, sometimes we do.
And that’s fine too. You can do that. If you want more calories now for the breakfasts that you wanna be eating, you can adjust the other meals accordingly. Or if you. Want to eat a lighter breakfast. Now you have calories and macros to add to other meals. And so that’s a very simple tip for people who bulk at meal planning, because the idea of eating the same foods, every meal, every day indefinitely turns their stomach.
Although I’ll say I’ve seen many of those people over the years. Start out with a lot of variety in their meal plans and eventually just settle into a lot less variety because they find that when they don’t have any actual restrictions, just even the psychological effect of knowing they can eat whatever they want, they just have to fit it into these very flexible guidelines.
They often find they just don’t feel compelled to. Eat the types of foods that make dieting difficult nearly as much as they did in the past when they were following very restrictive, clean eating types of diets. And that has also been shown in research that for many people, compliance is better with flexible dieting than with restrictive dieting.
And if you wanna learn more about meal planning, the whole process of how to go from. Nothing to a completed plan that has the calories and the macros and the foods and the meals, everything laid out for you. Head over to Legion, athletics.com and search for meal planning. And you will find a long article.
I wrote that breaks it all down. All right.
move on to the next tip, which is to replace unhealthy fats. And I should probably put that in scare quotes, quote, unquote, unhealthy fats with quote unquote healthy ones and practically speaking. This would mean cutting out the fat from stuff like fast food and maybe TV dinners and replacing it with stuff like olive oil and avocado and nuts.
And the reason why I. Put unhealthy and healthy in scare quotes is it really depends on your diet, on the whole and your fitness on the whole. If you have a really good diet and you eat a lot of nutritious foods and you’re very healthy and fit, and you have a little bit of fast food every day, let’s say you love French fries.
You love McDonald’s French fries, and you can eat a couple hundred calories per day of French fries, which is probably not. I haven’t looked at the calories in French fries in a while, but let’s just say a couple hundred calories per day is very satisfying to you. You can do that. That is not an unhealthy habit.
However, if you are out of shape and overweight and your diet sucks and you’re not exercising much, then eating the couple hundred calories of French fries every day is adding to the problem. I would say that is an unhealthy habit to some. and similarly, if you’re that person and you’re eating a lot of nutritious sources of fat, let’s say you’re following a ketogenic diet and you’re doing it correctly.
You’re not just eating like butter and bacon and 80 20 P all day, but you’re eating. Olive oil and nuts and avocado, but you are also in a calorie surplus, and this is resulting in weight gain, which of course it will, regardless of how nutritious the food is. I would say that is an unhealthy habit.
You’d be better off. Eating some fast food every day, but restricting your calories and losing weight in the end, the health outcome will be better in that scenario than the overweight out of shape. Unhealthy person. Who’s eating a lot of nutritious food, but eating. Way too many calories and getting even more overweight because that is extremely unhealthy.
Especially as you get into the obesity range, all types of diseases and dysfunctions are associated with just being too fat, regardless of pretty much anything. So then coming back to this tip of replacing the unhealthy fats with the healthy ones, it’s still a good idea. If you want to. Maintain your weights.
And it’s also a good idea if you wanna lose weights. And the main reason is the foods that contain the unhealthy fats. Let’s take fast food. For example, it’s just hard to control your calories and to get enough nutrition if you’re eating fast food every day, because the food is so calorie dense often, and that’s one of the reasons why it’s super delicious, right?
And you can. Easily put down a thousand calories of fast food, for example, and be hungry a few hours later. Whereas if you eat a thousand calories of nutritious stuff, especially stuff that has fiber, for example. So if you were just to make a nice mixed meal of lean protein and some vegetables and some whole grains, and it’s a thousand calories of food that might keep you full for 4, 5, 6 hours.
And that’s not gonna be the case with a thousand calories of fast food. I would say that’s really the main benefit of getting rid of the quote unquote unhealthy fats. And if you can enjoy them in moderation, then of course you can include them in your plan, in your weight loss plan, in your weight maintenance plan.
You just need to make sure that you are not allotting more than 20% of your daily calories to stuff like that. But if you can. Do that. If you can take 20% of your calories and put them into Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets, then Hey, more power to you and enjoy yourself. But if you can’t eat Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets or you can’t eat, Chick-fil-A in moderation.
If you just need to go all out when you’re there, then it would be better to save that for the cheat meal or free meal, whatever you want to call it that I mentioned earlier. Okay. The next tip is to move more, to walk more, take the stairs, try to be more active outside of your workouts. And the reason why this is a great tip is it can burn a lot more calories than people realize.
For example, walking at a normal pace, not slow, but not fast, just walking at a normal pace. Burns a couple hundred calories per hour. Walking is a great source of cardio, especially when you’re cutting because you get the extra calorie burn and it doesn’t really put any demands on the body. It doesn’t cut into your recovery and it encourages you to get outside and hopefully you have some nature around you.
So you. The benefits of being in nature every day. And so this goes for just everyday decisions that you make. For example, instead of taking the elevator, you can take the stairs instead of just sitting in your chair for hours on end every day, while you’re working, you can set a timer to get up. Hour to maybe two hours max.
And you can go for a little walk, even if it’s just 10 minutes, but if you’re doing that every day and then maybe you have a longer walk on the weekends that all adds up. So if you can just think of ways to stay. In motion more than you maybe otherwise would. If you tend to be sedentary, then this can really help with maintaining weight.
Again, if you were to do just a couple simple things, if you’re to make a couple simple changes to your routine, where for example, some of the things that I hear about from people I’ve worked with a common one. Is using the car less and walking and riding bikes more. That’s just a great, simple way. And especially now in the post coronavirus world, that’s even more feasible than ever before for a lot of people.
But that’s a great way. Again, if you are regularly going to, let’s say a you’re back in an office and you normally take the elevator up and down, and maybe you’re doing that several times per day, take the stairs. Instead, people often. Will take a little bit of their lunchtime at work and go for a walk, as opposed to slowly eating their food at their desk and maybe browsing the internet, they’ll get their meal done quickly and then go for a walk.
People will often add walks in on the weekends. I had mentioned that sometimes after dinner as well. Gather up the family go for a walk. And when it’s all said and done, it is not difficult to burn an extra, probably like 200 to 400 calories per day for most people. And that’s significant. Let’s just call it an extra 2000 calories burned per week.
Well, pound of fat has about. 3,500 calories. So if you are cutting that can speed up your fat loss quite a bit. And if you are wanting to maintain your weight, it just makes it harder to gain weight. Right? So if you have that extra calorie expenditure, it gives you a larger margin for error. With your eating and it makes those small mistakes of just eating a bit more than you should have.
Let’s say a few times in one day, not matter anymore because you burned extra calories. All right. Let’s move on to the next tip. Tip number four here, which is if you are going to snack, go for fresh fruit instead of delicious things like cookies. Pastries and confections and the like, and I would say it, the first thing that you should know is the less snacking you do, the better that has been shown in research that the better you stick to just a few larger meals per day, and don’t randomly nibble on stuff throughout the day.
The better, you’re gonna be able to lose weight and keep it off. And the reason for that is obvious, especially if you’re snacking on stuff like cookies and muffins and chocolate, it is very easy to eat an additional, let’s say 500 plus calories per day.
you are the snacking type. And if you’re snacking starts right in the morning, let’s say you eat breakfast and within an hour or two you’re snacking, and then you have lunch.
And then within an hour or two you’re snacking dinner an hour or two and snacking, and then you go to bed or. Have a pre-bed meal as well. And it’s hard to track the calories and macros of the snacking, even if you’re trying to do that, let’s say you’re using an app, like my fitness P you’re trying to just kind of eyeball it and do the math in your head.
It’s difficult because you don’t really know. How much you ate often. Like if you have some chips and you just kind of grab a couple of handfuls, how many calories was that really hard to say, if it’s a muffin, for example, how many calories were really in that muffin? How much butter was in that muffin?
For example, how much sugar was in that muffin and how much did you really eat? And so I. Highly recommend you don’t randomly snack. If you are trying to lose weight or maintain your weight. And I would say, even if you’re trying to gain weight, if you’re lean bulking and you snack too much, you’re just gonna gain too much fat too quickly.
And then you’re gonna have to end your lean bulk sooner than you would otherwise. And that ultimately means less muscle and strengthen over time, et cetera, et cetera. But if you. To have a couple of smaller meals throughout the day. Like me, I’m like that. You can use snacking strategically. You can insert it in your meal plan.
For example, at about 3:00 PM, three to 4:00 PM. Every day I have a protein shake. I take two scoops of Legion’s plant. Plus right now I’m using vanilla. I’m gonna switch chocolate. And I like to mix it with less water. You normally would for a protein shake. So it kind of turns into like a protein pudding and then you can eat it with a spoon.
I just like the texture and the more intense taste. And I also have a piece of fruit. Sometimes it’s an apple, sometimes it’s strawberries. Sometimes I’d say a serving of fruit. Right? So sometimes it’s an apple. Sometimes it’s strawberries. Sometimes it is blueberries. I also have a banana, but I like to have that first thing in the morning.
And so you could say, then I wake up and I have a banana that’s a little snack. Right. And then in the afternoon I have a protein. Putting slop and I have some fruit, that’s also a snack, but it is not me going into the pantry and just picking little bits and pieces of things that sound good. And sure. I might do that sometimes.
And of course you can afford to do that sometimes when you are doing most the most important things, at least when you’re doing them mostly right. Most of the time, but generally I am not just randomly snacking. My snacks are strategic in that. And if you want to do that, then that’s totally fine. And the tip, which is to use fruit for snacking is a good one because fruit is tasty and it contains at least most fruit contains a considerable amount of fiber.
So in some cases you might get a full serving of fiber. In the serving of fruit that you’re eating. And of course it is nutritious. So it’s smart to eat a couple of servings of fruit per day. And let’s say four to six servings of vegetables per day, and one serving of whole grains per day. And to get that fruit in what many people like to do is use.
Maybe with some protein, a lot of people like to do something similar to what I do. Some people, they prefer to take the fruit and put it into a high protein, yogurt, like a skier or a Greek yogurt, and also include some whole grains in the way of let’s say granola, right? Especially one that doesn’t have a bunch of added sugar.
You can find many brands that are pretty simple. It’s just oats and maybe some honey and some nuts and mix that all up. And that’s a really good snack that is nutritious, and that is going to keep you full for a little bit. And that contributes meaningfully to your meal plan. It’s not a cookie. Now with flexible dieting, of course you could have a cookie as a snack if you wanted to.
But what you’ll probably find is for the calories, if you were to replace the high protein nutritious meal that I just described with cookie, you would be hungry sooner. Probably a lot sooner. For example, if you ate the nutritious meal at 3:00 PM, it’s probably gonna hold you over until six or seven until you’d have your dinner.
But if you ate a cookie at 3:00 PM, I’ll bet you’ll be hungry a lot sooner. You might be hungry by 4:00 PM at best. You make it until 5:00 PM until your stomach is rumbling. At that point, of course you don’t have to eat. You can just tough it out and wait until the next meal, but that is no fun, regardless of how good your self discipline is.
It is not enjoyable to feel hungry and then to start having cravings every single day and eventually. What will happen is you will start to slip up. You will start to eat more than you should, and that is going to undermine your results. And that is going to undermine your motivation, which then of course, leads to more slipups.
And this is often how people just fall off the wagon altogether. So again, if you want to snack, do it strategically, and a great option is a lean protein. Some fruit and some whole grains and, or some healthy fat. So for example, if you don’t like granola, but you like almonds, then you could throw the almonds in the high protein, yogurt, along with the fruit.
And that is a great, nutritious, balanced snack that should be able to tide you over until you have your next big meal.
If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports, nutrition company, Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world. All right. Let’s move on to the next tip, which is to read food labels.
So, you know what you’re eating, you know, how big a serving is and so forth. And this is so important. If you’re going to be eating prepackaged foods, generally, you don’t want to be eating prepackaged foods. If you’re eating a lot of prepackaged foods, I’m gonna guess that your diet isn’t very nutritious because the most nutritious foods are generally the ones that you prepare and you cook yourself.
But when you are gonna be using prepackaged foods of any kind. Just make sure that you look carefully at the serving sizes. And let’s take an example here of why this is so important. Let’s take oatmeal, right? So nutritious food. And of course it is prepackaged unless you’re buying it in bulk and it just comes in bags, but you don’t have to do that.
Right. I don’t do that. I just get 365 organic, not their instant oatmeal. I like the rolled oats, the old style. If you were to look on the nutrition fax panel and you go, oh, cool. A cup of oatmeal has this many calories. Here are the macros. Perfect. But. If you don’t look at the weight in grams of the oats that they’re assuming is one cup of oatmeal.
What might happen is let’s say it’s 60 grams. I would have to look what it is. Let’s say it’s 50 or 60 grams is what they’re assuming. And you accidentally are putting in 80 grams because of course you can do that. And maybe you’re. Cup is slightly heaping. Let’s say it’s 60 to 80, right? That is a significant jump in calories.
You have just accidentally over eaten by a fair amount. And the same thing would go for, let’s say a nut butter. That’s another prepackaged food. Totally fine. If you want to eat it, if it’s one that is relatively unprocessed. So if they haven’t. Added a bunch of junk into it. They haven’t added a bunch of sugar and a bunch of partially hydrogenated oils and so forth.
I would say if it’s mostly just ground up nuts, then that’s great. That’s a good way to get in healthy, nutritious fat. But if you were to look at the nutrition fax panel and let’s say it’s a tablespoon, is this many calories and your tablespoon though, if you’re not paying attention, Again, the weight in grams.
How many grams of the nut butter are we talking about here? You could overeat by another 20 or 30% just in that. As far as the nut butter goes, not on the whole, of course. And if you repeat those mistakes several times, every day, you can. Be accidentally overeating by a lot. I mean, I’ve seen two, 300 calories per day.
That’s normal for people who make these mistakes. And of course, then that’s very perplexing to them because they feel like they’re following their diet and they feel like they’re in a deficit because they are, it’s not a very large deficit, but unfortunately, a small-ish deficit like a 10% or maybe even a 5% deficit doesn’t necessarily.
All that different experientially, like to you subjectively than a larger deficit. So they feel like they’re on a diet. They feel like their calories are restricted. They are eating the exact foods and they are weighing or measuring in this case, it would be measuring, weighing is the key, right? So they are measuring.
But they’re not weighing and they’re not losing weight or they’re losing weight very slowly and they don’t get it. And then sometimes they think calorie doesn’t work or they think something’s wrong with their metabolism. They think there’s maybe something wrong with their thyroid, et cetera, et cetera, when no, they just were eating more calories every day than they realized.
And so how do you avoid all of that? Well, Make sure that, you know what, you’re eating check out the food labels, check out the serving sizes and also know that unfortunately, the calories and macros listed on food labels don’t have to be as accurate to comply with FDA regulations. As many people would believe specifically the calories can be off by as much as 20% and still be in compliance.
And you better. There are unscrupulous food companies out there that use that to their advantage, that under report calories by up to 20%, because they know there are people out there like you and me who are gonna pay attention to that and who are gonna notice that their product contains significantly fewer calories than these other products we’re considering.
And that alone might be enough to sell us on trying it or sticking with it. And in some cases, calories reported are just complete fake news. For example, there is a. Ice cream called Dolche that I would go to if I wanted to have a pint of ice cream as a cheat meal, basically, or if I wanted the meal to include a pint of ice cream, which is maybe a little bit excessive, I don’t need to eat a pint of ice cream to be satisfied, but I have to eat at least half of a pint, less than half of a pint is just not worth it.
I’d rather have something else like chocolate. And as I still get a lot of enjoyment out of the second half of the pint, I get let’s. Probably 70% or 60% of the enjoyment out of the second half as I do the first half, if I’m going to eat ice cream, I’m going to eat a pint. I’m gonna work in a pint to my daily calories and macros.
And so with this Dolche brand, they have a butter pecan flavor that purportedly had 500 calories per pint. And it was very good. It was much better than enlightened. It was much better than. Halo top. And it was not as good as something like Jenny’s, which is a thousand calories per pint. And so I thought maybe the calories are real.
A couple of guys at the office also would do the same thing as me. And we would talk about this sometimes, or we’d be like, It is too good. Right? I mean, these calories don’t quite make sense. This shit’s on halo top it shits UN enlightened. How is it? 500 calories. And you look at the ingredients and it’s similar to a lower calorie, not a true like quote unquote diet, super low calorie ice cream, but it wasn’t with full fat milk.
I think it did have some butter. It did have some protein. Powder of some kind. But still it was quite good. So I was eating that fairly consistently. You know, I’d have one here and there for, I don’t know, a year probably. And then one day I noticed that the calories were double all of a sudden. Now it’s a thousand calories per pins and the ingredients didn’t change the serving size.
Didn’t. Change. At least it was still a pint, right? The servings got reworked, but it was still a pint of ice cream with the exact same ingredients in the exact same order. Like the recipe did not change the calories just doubled because they were lying straight up, just lying. I refused to believe that was just a mistake.
Oh, oops. 20%. Maybe even 30% lower. Maybe that’s an oops. 50% lower. No. So fuck you, Che I no longer eat. Doche now Jenny’s gets my ice cream monies. So anyway, the point here is pay attention to the food labels, pay attention to the labels on the food products, as opposed to only looking online, make sure that those things are matching up.
If you’re looking at stuff online, then do look at the product because things can change and really try to minimize the amount of prepackaged foods that you’re eating. So you minimize the chances of accidentally overeating because the calories are just consistently being under reported in the foods that you like to eat.
All right, moving on to the next tip and that is to control your portions. And I wrote an article about this [email protected] If you want to really dive into portion control, but this is really good for maintenance because chances are after you. Been cutting for a while. And now you just want to maintain your body composition.
You don’t want to be following a meal plan as rigidly as you were when you were cutting. I mean, even if you’re gonna eat the same types of foods, which I tend to do, like when I’m cutting my diet, doesn’t change that much in terms of the actual foods and meeting. It’s just the amounts because I eat stuff I like, and I make changes when I wanna make changes.
And so. Makes it easy, but when I am maintaining, like I am now and like I have been for several months now, I cut for a couple of months during the COVID lockdown because I figured why not? I’ll take the time that I normally would’ve been driving, for example, to, and from the gym and the office. And I’ll just hop on my upright bike and get in, you know, maybe 30 minutes or show of low intensity cardio, every.
And that plus eating the way I was eating previously. And in some cases eating a little bit less, a couple of days per week, consciously eating a bit less than I was, but mostly just eating the way I was. Plus the cardio was enough to drop about eight pounds over the course of several months that started maybe.
I don’t know, February or March, and I have been maintaining for about a month now. And when maintaining, I am looking more at the portion sizes of the foods that I’m eating than the exact amounts that I’m eating. Now, of course, I’ve done so much in the way of weighing and measuring food over the years and cutting, maintaining lean bulking.
I’ve gotten pretty good. Eyeballing calories and macros. And so the normal portion control tips that people share that do work well, that show have been shown in research to work well. Like for example, using smaller plates in smaller utensils, drinking water with. Meals drinking water. If you’re tempted to go back to eat another portion of food and waiting five minutes, stuff like that is great for reducing hunger and reducing the chances of overeating.
And those are the types of tips that are discussed in this study, where all of these tips came from. However, in my case, I don’t worry too much about those things because I’m just so used to eating the. Right. Amount of food for what I wanna do, but if you are not quite there yet, those are a few ways to keep your portions under control.
And again, if you wanna learn more about that in particular, just head over Legion athletics.com, search for portion control. Also for intuitive eating and check out the articles I wrote. On those topics. I probably have recorded podcasts as well. So you can search my podcast feed or YouTube channel and they should come up.
I think I have. All right, let’s move on to the next tip, which is don’t be sedentary. And if you have to sit a lot, try to stand up, walk around, stretch every so often. And this is really just the other side of the tip. That I discussed earlier about being more active. And so yes, avoid extended periods of sitting still of not moving plan, regular periods of movement throughout the day.
Not just your one workout or maybe even your two workouts, if you’re like me. And again, my schedule right now is I do about 30, 35 minutes of low intensity cardio in the morning. And then I do my. Resistance training workouts after work. So 7:00 PM. I try to start by seven. Sometimes it’s seven 30, sometimes it’s eight, but that gets a little bit late.
Cause I’m in bed by 10. So seven is when I’m usually starting and I’m doing it for about an hour. And so anyway, there’s not much to add here in terms of why of avoiding long periods of sitting still helps you maintain your body weight, but I’ll also add that by. Planning in consistent bouts of movement.
It’s also good for your health. It’s not healthy to sit for extended periods of time. Every single day. It is much healthier to break that sitting up with movement. And that’s the current weight of the evidence regarding sitting in health. It’s not that. Sitting every minute of sitting every day is working against your health.
That’s what some people would have you believe. That’s not what the research shows. The research shows that if you sit too much for too long, too often, that’s bad for your health. However, if you are doing the normal things, I talk about to live a healthy lifestyle and you are breaking up your sitting with regular.
Periods of movement, then you should be totally fine. So there is the extra health benefit of not being too sedentary. All right, let’s move on to the next tip, which is to not drink calories because while beverages can be filling, at least temporarily, they are not as satiating as food. It is much smarter to stick to water and.
To eat calories and to avoid stuff
soda and juices, which can provide a lot of calories for very little satiety. You can drink a thousand calories of Cola or of juice and be hungry 30 minutes or 60 minutes later. And that’s why I tell people who are cutting to drink as few calories as possible zero, if you can.
And also people who are maintaining to drink as few calories as possible, especially if they’re struggling to maintain their body composition. If they’re struggling not to regain fat after cutting just first, cut out all calories from beverages, replace those beverages with water and eat all of your calories.
Now where I actually recommend drinking calories is in the case of someone who’s struggling to gain weight, they’re struggling to consistently eat enough food to gain weight because their appetite just isn’t naturally big enough to maintain the calorie surplus that’s needed. And that’s rare, but that’s definitely out there.
I’ve heard from quite a few guys over the years who were 150 pounds, 60 pounds, 70 pounds, skinnier guys. Who really struggled, who are new to weightlifting too, or new-ish maybe they have six months of weightlifting. Their body still should be quite responsive to proper training. And yet they just didn’t see much in the way of weight gain when they were lean bulking.
And one for one, what I found with these guys is they had to eat quite a few more calories, quite a bit more food every day than. Calculators even good calculators would predict, and they simply didn’t have the appetite for it. It was very hard for them to get to 4,000 calories a day, 4,500 calories a day consistently with food.
And I understand I’ve been there myself toward the end of lean bulks. I’ve really felt like I was just force feeding myself, forcing that final meal down really did not want to eat it, but I had to keep gaining. Weight to keep gaining muscle and of course some fat, but to keep gaining strength in the gym and a good workaround is drinking calories.
Milk is a very simple go to for those guys. And I would prefer milk over something like soda, which has just a lot of added sugar or fruit juices. Often have a lot of added sugar as well. Whereas milk does not. It has the naturally occurring sugar has. Toast of course, but it also has some nutritional value.
It’s gonna provide some protein. It’s gonna provide some fat. It’s gonna provide some saturated fat, which we need, which is normally not an issue when we’re lean bulking, but milk is a, I think a good compromise and a good exception to the rule of don’t drink your calories. All right. The next tip, the pen.
Ultimate tip number nine. And that is to slow down. Sit down. Focus on your food when you’re eating, rather than on your phone or on a TV and try not to eat on the go because mindful eating, which is what we’re talking about. Paying attention to the food you’re eating and enjoying it is going to help you feel more satisfied with the calories that you have in each meal.
And that of course is gonna mean less hunger and better dietary compliance. So if you are like me and you tend to just scarf meals down as quickly as you can and move on to something else, and you are having issues controlling your calorie intake. If you’re not having any issues. Then keep doing it. Who cares?
I’m still the same way, because I don’t have any issues with maintaining my body composition. And I don’t feel like taking 20 or 30 minutes to eat dinner, but if I were having issues, controlling my calories and with compliance, then I would do that. I would slow down and I would chew every bite enough. I would chew.
I don’t know, what did our moms always tell us 15 shoes or 20 shoes per bite. And I would, again, no phone, no TV, no electronic devices. I would just focus on the food and enjoying it. And I would focus on the conversation that I’m having with my wife and my kids. I would drink water between each bite and I would be looking to, again, extend the meal and really focus on the food because I know if I did that, I would get a lot more satisfaction out of the meal.
Than just ramming it down my throat so I can go do something else. okay. The final tip number 10 is try to eat five servings of vegetables every day. And if you are a regular around here, you’ve heard me say this many times, and this is great for your health because your body needs to get a lot of key nutrients from vegetables.
But vegetables provide more than just nutrition. They’re also very filling. So for the calories, they are going to keep you a lot fuller than probably most other foods that you could eat calorie for calorie. And so this is particularly effect. To when you’re cutting, you do not want to take your lowered calories when you’re cutting and start removing vegetables and replacing them with things that are maybe a bit more satisfying, because you already are not enjoying the calorie deficit.
So you’re thinking maybe you can counterbalance that with more tasty foods. That’s an easy way to sabotage your diet and an easy way. Undermine your calorie deficit, because you’re gonna be dealing with more hunger and that means more cravings. And ultimately that just means more overeating. Whereas if you maintain a high level of vegetable intake, what you’ll find is you are generally just fuller.
And that goes a long way when you’re cutting and as well as when you are maintaining, because while overeating is not as big of a deal when you’re maintaining, because yes, that means you’re gonna gain a little bit of fat, but you know that you can just eat a bit less for a few days then and lose a little bit of fat you gained.
And the goal is to just stay more or less where you’re at. Whereas when you’re losing weight, you’re trying to get to that weight loss goal and overeating just sets you back. It means that you have to work harder and work longer to reach that goal. And that can be. De-motivating right. Whereas when you are maintaining, you could overeat for a week, for example, and then just undereat for a week.
And you’re probably gonna be back to where you want to be. However, that can be a slippery slope for many people, because they know that. And then what happens is they start overeating too often. They start overeating several days per week by let’s say a lot. And then they try to offset that with.
Undereating, but it’s not enough. Like their calorie Sur pluses are quite large and their calorie deficits are not. And if they’re not paying close attention to their body composition while maintaining the fat can just slowly accumulate until they’ve gained. I mean, I’ve seen it with guys who have gained.
10 or 15 pounds of fat over a period of quote, unquote maintenance without realizing it until they’ve hit that point until they then look in the mirror and they’re like, okay, I am definitely fatter what happened? And that’s what we want to avoid when maintaining first and foremost, we don’t want to accidentally lean bulk because if we wanted to lean bulk, we would just lean bulk.
We are probably maintaining for a reason. And of course, all the tips I have been sharing with you here are going to help you avoid that insidious. Weight creep phenomenon. And this final, one of trying to eat five servings of vegetables per day is a big helper in that regard because it keeps your hunger levels generally down fullness levels generally up.
And that means fewer cravings. And just more satisfaction day to day with your meal. Okay, well, that’s it for the habits that are going to help you maintain like a pro I hope you have found this helpful and happy maintenance. All right. Well, that’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful.
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And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode. And I hope to hear from you soon.