Back when I was 40 pounds overweight, I thought I knew every diet trick there was out there. The only problem was, none of them worked.
Overall, I was eating less, I was counting calories and going to the gym up to two hours a day. While my goal was to be slim, I was left with a massively strong body, a thick layer of fat hiding it all and a sweet tooth I couldn't cure.
I excitedly listened to a lecture by a nutritionist one day, waiting for her to tell me the missing secret to my weight loss struggle.
Instead, she said generic things like “make sure you eat your vegetables,” and “drink plenty of water."
I left the lecture feeling like I would have to continue depriving myself of what I wanted to eat, and working out like a maniac all to maintain a body I wasn't even happy with.
But then I came across Food Energetics. Food Energetics bridges the gap between logical diets (meal plans and bootcamps) and intuitive diets (“eat and see how you feel") by looking at patterns in nature.
I was skeptical, but once I started applying the concepts, the weight fell off effortlessly.
Here are the eight diet rules I broke leading me to drop 40 pounds:
1. “You have to eat less."
It's pretty common to think only in terms of how our body uses energy. People are attracted to diets that tell you to eat less than you burn, because they make sense in your brain.
But our bodies don't work like that. You have to consider other things like your body chemistry, stress levels and how the kinds of food you eat can affect these things.
If your body chemistry is out of whack it's going to be harder for you to lose weight.
So, I shifted my focus to what kinds of nutrient-dense foods I could add into my diet, instead of thinking about what I should cut from it.
2. “You have to exercise more.”
As someone who exercised for up to two hours a day without seeing any weight loss results, I can honestly say this isn't the only thing you need to do to drop some pounds.
I thought I was going to have spend more than two hours in the gym if I wanted to see results, but I ended up seeing results when I switched up my routine and did a lot more cardio like walking, stretching and yoga.
Too much exercise can put an immense amount of stress on your body. When this happens, your body uses quick energy in the form of sugars to help get you through your workouts.
However, when you're calm your body uses the fat on you for energy.
3. "You have to cut out sweets."
The first thing you hear when you want to diet is "Sugar is bad for you." And it is. But I interpreted that to mean, "You can't have sweets for the rest of your life," and that's not true.
Staying away from sweets was probably the most challenging part of any diet I tried.
It wasn't until I began having sweets made from ingredients other than sugar, that my sweet tooth started to go away and I began to lose weight.
Try making your favorite sweets by substituting maple syrup, brown rice syrup, stevia, dried fruits, dried juices or brown sugar, for real sugar.
4. "Diet and exercise are the only ways to lose weight."
One thing that helped me lose weight was taking hot baths instead of showers. A warm bath helps improve your circulation, which in turn improves your digestive system.
It also helps you feel relaxed and able to sleep deeply, which helps your body get out stress and a bad sleep cycle. (Both of those things can also hinder the weight loss process.)
5. “You have to drink more water.”
I always felt uncomfortable forcing myself to drink water even when I wasn't thirsty.
So instead, I looked for more hydrating foods instead of drinking more liquids. Having moist rice instead of dry bread and adding soups to my meals were a of couple ways.
6. "Be skeptical about holistic diets."
Holistic diets are about eating whole foods which heal your body, as opposed to focusing your diet on foods like protein, cards and calories.
But when you've spent years researching the next meal plan or bootcamp to try, it can seem a bit abnormal to try a holistic diet.
I remember thinking, “If I can't lose weight by counting calories how can just eating and seeing how I feel work more?” I was opposed to anything without a strict plan because the outcome didn't seem definitive.
Once I started focusing more on what foods I did and didn't like, my body started to lean out.
I was finally giving it what it wanted instead of what I thought it should have.
7. "Maybe it's just your body type."
This is a terrible phrase to ever be told, and to ever try to accept.
I used to think I was destined to be fat for the rest of my life because none of the diets I tried were working the way I wanted them to.
But your mind plays a huge roll in your weight loss journey and if you're telling yourself you won't lose weight, well, you won't.
You desire to be at a healthy weight and you need to admire yourself at every stage of your weight goal. Admiring yourself and loving yourself are key points in keeping the weight off.
8. "Eat vegetables, they're healthy for you."
I stopped eating veggies I didn't like and started eating only the ones I did. And I experimented with ways to eat them.
For example, I'm not a fan of raw carrots but I love stewed carrots. Giving vegetables a chance based on different cooking techniques helped me find what I like and be good to my body in the process.
Figure out what you like about dieting and stick to it. If you force yourself to do anything you'll never stick to it, you have to love it.