Lose weight 102: Shifting your mindset and crafting a plan

With all the choices available today you would think enjoying healthy diet is easy. But, unfortunately there are too many bad choices from the past present on the dinner tables of today. Entrées of mainstream dining establishments are completely out of touch with nutritional needs. Any fast-food “meal” is a caricature illustrating the point: TONS of carbs and fat with little else.

And it’s not too hard to figure out why restaurants keep serving same, bad food – people buy it. Fries and Coke sell. What else can you serve that costs less than $1 that people will gladly pay as a “compliment” to main item? Steamed broccoli? Or go with not up-selling customer and tell him to have water with their burger? Yeah, dream on…

But, just because something is convenient for restaurant and their marketing department – it doesn’t mean it should be convenient for you. That’s the biggest problem with most people’s diets. It’s not that 600 calorie pizza slice that’ll kill you. It’s that extra can of Coke you can’t eat pizza without.

As I talked in part 1, mindset is really the biggest thing when it comes to losing weight and eating right. It’s about taking time to finally look into all habits built with help of marketing departments and your sugar enjoying taste buds. Only when you shift mindset can you proceed with planning proper diet.

Figuring out how to eat right is pretty easy. Here is the flow:

  1. Calculating daily caloric intake. Your body needs certain amount of calories each day to maintain weight. I like Bodybuilding.com Caloric Intake calculator. Visit link, you put height, age and sex and get your value.
  2. Macronutrients – carbs, proteins and fats. Here you can use different splits for different results. For example, 40/30/30 means that your calories will come be 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fats. For losing weight lowering carbs intake is beneficial, and you can go with 25/45/30. Here is great calculator that allows shows you breakdown of carbs, proteins and fats. Just input daily caloric intake we got in step 1 and select split.
  3. Micronutrients – most of us never spare a single thought on how much DHA, vitamins and minerals we need. Consuming various micronutrients is paramount to your health. It’s easy to overlook this part of diet – it’s daunting task. Preparing and consuming diet that satisfies all micronutritional demands is practically impossible for most of us. Let’s look at an example in which we completely forget vitamins and minerals. Let’s just look at Omega 3 DHA. To meet this micronutrient need, you should be eating fish 3 times a week for the rest of your life. Unless you are living in a culture where fish is standard part of diet (like Japan) there is no way you’ll be able to do this without significant effort. And we are not even talking about costs – being able to buy enough salmon and find time to cook it is another issue.
  4. Water – now here is one step that never ceases to amaze me. Lots of people can induce significant weight loss just by drinking more water. If you are over 5’3” (160cm) it’s likely you need at least 6 x 500ml bottles of water a day. Whenever I bring this up almost everyone tells me – no way I can drink that much water. Well, your body actually needs that much water. If you are not consuming 3 liters of water every day, it’s no wonder you feel “hungry” or are easy target for soft / hard drinks.

Reading previous list may have left you with impression that iron will is prerequisite for eating right. Well, not really. To lose weight or maintain ideal weight you don’t need much. Considering offers on the market today eating healthy nutritional diet is 5-minute work – IF you don’t mind gulping down meal replacement shakes. Take a look at:

  1. Vega – my go-to brand. Their flagship product is plant based meal replacement smoothie. 12 oz (350ml) drink contains 170 calories, 20g of protein, 6 servings of greens, 25% of daily fiber, 50% of vitamins&minerals, antioxidants, probiotics… and so on and so forth. This drink is actually TOO nutritious for meager calorie content. If you are to consume 10 of these shakes to get near 2000 daily calories, you would poison yourself. Too much vitamins is as bad as no vitamins. Vega has great presence on Amazon and I order using Subscribe&Save.
  2. Soylent – startup with interesting concept. Focus on building healthy, convenient, and finally – affordable food. I like how they present cost per calories. Currently they are at around $2 per 500 calories… eating healthy diet for $8 a day sounds great. What’s great is that price is same regardless of whether you order from Amazon or Soylent website. For people who are on Subscribe&Save ordering from Amazon can actually be cheaper.
  3. Ambronite – another interesting food startup. Their focus is on quality of their meal replacement drink. They are definitely not the cheapest alternative. I’m talking about 4x cost of Soylent. You can order Ambronite from Amazon or their own website.
  4. True Nutrition – All companies I’ve presented here basically do the same thing: grind certain foods and dehydrate them. True Nutrition is unique in allowing you to customize your powder. You decide composition of your meal replacement – macro and micro nutrient composition. Take a look at their website or order premixed powders they offer from Amazon.

I remember first time I saw these products. I was stunned that something like this is available. The prospect of being able to drink my diet in form of 5 daily shakes was mind blowing. It was like future from movies arrived and I had no idea it’s already here.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting you completely switch to this. I am just saying you can do it – and if you did it you would eat “healthier” than 90% of people. I am still sticking with “standard” meal or two a day; not because of foods, but because I enjoy chewing.

But meal replacement shakes allowed me to simplify my daily eating. They hit all items from the list – calories, macronutrients, micronutrients and water. Add 2 meal replacement shakes to your routine and you have lot less calories to plan and break down.

Final thing I wanted to touch upon before closing this part are supplements. It’s easy to overlook many nutrients because we are not feeling impact. Iron deficiency is probably the best example. Most people never think about iron in their diet until their head starts hurting or their heart starts pounding. The problem is that deficiency of lots of other nutrients are not as easy to diagnose. Your insomnia could be related to magnesium deficiency. Your brain fog may be present because you haven’t consumed Omega 3 DHA in years. And so on…

Labdoor.com is great for identifying supplements to incorporate in your daily routine. So, invest a bit time to look through that website and figure out supplements you may need.

I understand this part covered lots of information and maybe sounded like too big of a shift. But give it a time. Read what I wrote once more and re-analyize products. And most importantly, keep open mind and think about what I suggested. If you read this far, I am pretty sure weight loss won’t be a problem for you. As I said, to lose weight is not hard. As long as you have will, figuring out battle plan is easy.

In next part we will take a detailed look at popular food items and what we can replace them with. Also, I will present my own eating schedule along with supplements and meal-replacement shakes.

Part 3 of this guide is up – Losing weight 103: Diet plan replacing Coke, pizza, burgers and other popular items

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