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    The Simplest Weight Loss Tips No One Follows
    Copyright © 2006, Will Brink

    You may use this image in your ezine or website if you choose to publish my article. --- Will Brink
    You may use this image in your ezine or website if you choose to publish my article. Click here to see the picture full-sized.--- Will Brink
    I have a Cheez-It problem. You're not listening, I really have 
    a Cheez-It problem! I have never met a Cheez-It I didn't like.* 
    Some people can't resist chocolate or ice cream, some people it's 
    pizza or some other food or sweet. While I enjoy all of those 
    foods on occasion, Cheez-It's are the food equivalent of crack 
    cocaine for me.
    
    It takes all my willpower to pass up the isle where the Cheez-
    It's reside on the shelves at my local grocery store. My ever-
    loving girl friend Kimberly rolls her eyes at me in shear disgust 
    when she sees how weak I am to the power of these little 
    crackers, which draw me in like a cheese flavored black hole. 
    'But you have given advice on nutrition to millions of people 
    Will, how could you of all people be so weak willed about some 
    little cheese flavored cracker?!? she says. I hang my head in 
    shame and avoid eye contact with her for the rest of the day'.
    
    The point of this introduction is to point out we all have our 
    weaknesses and we are all human'even me. I find Cheez-It's to be 
    cheese flavored morphine!
    
    This small problem got me to thinking. If there is one thing I 
    have learned after all these years of doing nutritional research, 
    writing countless articles on the topic of nutrition, and working 
    directly with people on their diets, it's this: it's rarely one 
    single thing a person does that is sabotaging their efforts to 
    lose fat and or gain muscle, but a bunch of little things that 
    have an accumulated effect.
    
    There are some amazingly simple behaviors and strategies we can 
    all add to our nutritional goals and workout plans that will have 
    a positive effect. Using my own addiction to Cheez-It's as the 
    primary example, I am going to cover a few of these surprisingly 
    simple yet effective strategies. A few issues to keep in mind:
    
    (1) Taken alone, these simple tactics will have very little 
    effect. Used alone without any other dietary changes and an 
    exercise plan, these strategies wont amount to much. However, as 
    I mentioned, it's often many minor mistakes adding up to a lack 
    of results for people, and taken in that context, these are some 
    simple mistakes that can be avoided, hopefully resulting in an 
    accumulated effect in a positive direction.
    
    (2) I didn't invent any of these tips. They are some of the 
    oldest and simplest tips you will ever read. I don't even know 
    who first came up with them, and I bet most people have seen 
    these strategies in other places, such as various diet books, 
    articles, or web sites. I do however think that they may be so 
    old and so simple that most people with the best of intentions 
    about their nutrition and exercise plan, don't follow these 
    simple concepts.
    
    These tips are more about behavior changes and psychology then 
    nutritional science, study results, or research. I have written 
    many articles based on the later topics, but this is not one of 
    those. If you are looking for more in-depth science oriented 
    information about nutrition, supplements, and fat loss or gaining 
    muscle, I suggest reading my ebooks on the topic and the many 
    free article on my web site.
    
    
    Tip #1: Never Ever Go Food Shopping Hungry
    
    This is one of the most effective strategies I know of to avoid 
    unwanted junk and various snacks from finding their way into your 
    shopping cart, which ends up in your home, which ends up on your 
    butt!
    
    Make sure to eat something before you go food shopping and you 
    will be able to resist the junk that often finds its way into 
    your cart. If I go food shopping without a good meal in my 
    stomach, I often come home with a family sized box of Cheez-It's 
    and feel like sh*& for days after eating the entire box!
    
    Human hunger and appetite are regulated by a phenomenally 
    complicated set of overlapping feedback networks, involving a 
    long list of hormones, psychological factors, and others way 
    beyond the scope of this article. Suffice to say, we often make 
    snap decisions and impulse purchases with certain foods due to 
    one or more of these feedback loops being activated due to an 
    empty stomach while we shop.
    
    Translated, your 'willpower' to resist junk foods will be much 
    greater if you eat something healthy at least 20-30 minutes 
    before you go food shopping. You can either plan your meal 
    schedule so that one meal is eaten before you go shopping, or 
    have a snack (at least 20-30 minutes before shopping) which will 
    have the desired effects.
    
    A yogurt with some flax oil mixed in is a good choice, as is a 
    half cup of cottage cheese and a handful of walnuts or some other 
    nut. A protein shake or MRP will suffice, but solid food tends to 
    be more satiating.
    
    
    Tip # 2: Never Keep Snack Foods In The House
    
    This tip is a logical extension of tip number one. If it does not 
    make it into your cart at the food store, it's not in your house. 
    However, many people use excuses like 'I have snack foods for the 
    kids' or 'my spouse keeps a box of Oreo cookies in the kitchen 
    cupboard' as reasons they can't avoid the snacks that sneak into 
    their diets and sabotage their efforts.
    
    Many of the foods we eat that we know we should not be eating are 
    based on an impulse. Impulse control goes a long way here but no 
    one will deny it's far harder to resist that impulse if your 
    favorite junk food is under your nose. That's human nature. When 
    I have an impulse for some Cheez-it's, I wont resist it well if 
    it's only a few steps to the kitchen vs. having to get in the car 
    to go get a box.
    
    The former I can't resist, the latter I can. Remember an impulse 
    is defined as 'a sudden desire, urge, inclination.' That means 
    it's short lived and will go away given sufficient time, so it's 
    a matter of not having foods in your house that allow you to act 
    on the impulse while it lasts.
    
    As for the excuse of the spouse, kids, etc. That is more an issue 
    between your kids and or your spouse. Should the kids be eating 
    that stuff anyway' No! I had a client tell me one day 'I keep 
    eating hot dogs 'cause I keep them in the house fort the kids.' I 
    said 'so you're Ok with feeding your kids foods you know to be 
    unhealthy for you and them?' She stopped feeding her family hot 
    dogs shortly after'.
    
    ...Bottom line here is, those foods should be occasional treats 
    for both kids and adults, not staple foods that can be found in 
    your kitchen. It's more an issue of teaching the kids good 
    dietary habits young so they don't end up overweight unhealthy 
    adults.
    
    As for the spouse, I like to have some chips in the house, which 
    I can resist without a problem. That is, unlike the Cheez-it's, I 
    can walk past the chips without having to eat them all. I can 
    regulate myself with them. However, Kimberly can't. Chips are to 
    her what Cheez-it's are to me, so I make it a rule not to keep 
    chips in the house.
    
    Point being, your spouse needs to support your efforts by making 
    some small sacrifices. If you were an alcoholic trying to avoid 
    alcohol, you would (or at least should!) expect your significant 
    other to not keep booze in the house. If they wont support your 
    efforts here, then relationship counseling is in order or a long 
    talk, and I can't help you there; sorry!
    
    
    Tip # 3: Eat Off Of Smaller Plates
    
    The first two tips are common sense, this one is less so. 
    However, I find it helps, albeit not to a great extent. Again, 
    how much we eat is based on many variables. One of them is the 
    visual cues we get looking at the food we are about to eat. We 
    are extremely visually oriented creatures and part of deciding 
    how large an object is must be compared to other objects, in this 
    case, the food we put on the plate in comparison to the size of 
    the plate we put the food on. Some of you may remember this 
    little visual test from grade school.
    
    Looking at these two horizontal lines below, which one is longer?
    
    [image]
    http://thephantomwriters.com/client-img/Brink-OpticalTest.png
    
    
    Answer: both lines are identical in length. As you can see, the
    bottom "plate" looks longer then top "plate", yet they are the
    same length. It's a visual illusion that shows how our brains are
    set up to interpret certain visual cues. It is my experience that
    people will put less food on their plate if they eat from smaller
    plates as a smaller plate full of food looks like much more to
    eat then a large plate with the same amount of food on it.
    
    I know for myself I tend to put 2 slices of pizza on a small
    plate and three on a large plate! Now this is only one minor cue
    we have to self regulating how much food we eat, and other
    feedback loops (i.e., hormonal, psychological, etc.) can kick in
    and easily offset this strategy.
    
    For example, you could simply come back for a second helping
    using the smaller plates. However, it's my hunch (and it's only a
    hunch as research is lacking here) that over the course of say a
    month, a person may end up taking in fewer total calories using
    this strategy as has been my (admittedly anecdotal) experience
    with both myself and the many people I have given advice to over
    the years.
    
    Again, as already mentioned, taken alone, this strategy will
    probably have no effects on your efforts to lose fat if there is
    not a specific diet and exercise plan involved in the overall
    equation. It is however one simple small change that may improve
    compliancy to your efforts. It would be interesting to see a
    study on this, but whatever effects it may have, would be subtle
    and fairly small I suspect. Even so, over the course of a year
    say, it may help.
    
    
    Tip #4: Know Thy Self
    
    Lesson here is, we are all human and we all have our weaknesses.
    Trick is to know your weakness and develop strategies for coping
    with them. How well do you know yourself' That is, do you know
    what cues/triggers tend to set you off' Have you examined that
    issue for yourself' It's essential to recognized the cues that
    sabotage your efforts. We all have them. Find yours and take
    steps to avoid them where possible.
    
    For example, try making a list outlining the things you know tend
    to set you off and how you react to the, then add a column for
    how you could deal with it. For example you might write 'talking
    to my crazy mother makes me anxious and I eat things I shouldn't
    immediately after the phone conversation' which would be followed
    by a suggestion of steps to change it, such as 'always eat a meal
    right before talking to mom' and 'only take calls from mom when I
    am ready and able to deal with her' and 'go for a walk
    immediately after talking to mom to distress and give me time to
    get over impulse to eat junk' and so on.
    
    Develop coping strategies to your known triggers. I know for
    example going food shopping on an empty stomach means I will most
    probably end up with a large box of Cheez-it's in my house. I
    have also found if I go shopping irritated over something I will
    buy more foods I don't need as food is one of many ways we self
    medicate looking for some comfort. Hence the term 'comfort foods'
    which is commonly chocolate, ice cream, and so on.
    
    Bottom line:
    
     * Learn what your hot buttons are that lead to a negative 
       behavior
    
     * Learn to identify when it's happening
    
     * Develop strategies for coping with it.
    
    How do you go about doing that' As entire books have been written
    on that topic, my advice will fall short here. That journey is
    also highly individual. For some it's working with a therapist or
    behavioral specialist, for some it's reading a few good self-help
    type books, and for some it's activities such as meditation,
    joining support groups, and others. It's also a life long
    journey.
    
    
    Conclusion
    
    The purpose of this article is not as much to supply tips for
    success in your fat loss endeavors but to actually remind people
    of what is stated in the intro to this article: most people fail
    in their fat loss/diet goals not due to a single mistake they are
    making (with exceptions) but many small events that have an
    accumulated effect that sabotages their efforts. If the tips in
    this article help, all the better.
    
    Some people are amazed how many extra calories slip into their
    diet from snack foods that they are not accounting for, or the
    fact they tend to take the elevator when they could take the
    stairs, and so on. 99 out of 100 times the person that says 'I
    have tried everything and nothing works' actually translates into
    'I have not stayed on any one plan long enough for it to have an
    effect and sabotaged it with small unaccounted for negative
    habits and behaviors.' Now, if I can just get the funding for
    that adult Cheez-it rehab center I want to have built'.
    
    
    
    * Cheez-It's are a cheese flavored cracker made by Sunshine 
      foods and can be found on the shelves of any major food 
      store in the US.
     
    



    Writer's Resource Box:
    Will Brink writes for numerous health, fitness, medical, and 
    bodybuilding publications. His articles can be found in Life 
    Extension Magazine, Muscle n Fitness, Inside Karate, Exercise 
    For Men Only, Oxygen, Women's World, The Townsend Letter For 
    Doctors and many more. His website is http://www.brinkzone.com
    
    Muscle Building Nutrition 
    http://musclebuildingnutrition.com 
    A complete guide bodybuilding supplements and eating to gain 
    lean muscle
    
    Diet Supplements Revealed 
    http://aboutsupplements.com 
    A review of diet supplements and guide to eating for maximum 
    fat loss




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