Why eating less and exercising more can actually hinder your weight loss

Thanks to Gary Taubes for this excellent illustration.

Let’s say I’m inviting you to a special dinner at my house tomorrow night, with tons of great foods you’ll really want to try, and I tell you to bring your very best appetite with you so you can eat as much as possible.

What might you do to make sure you’re not too full?

  • Eat less at every meal during the day
  • Go to the gym and have a really tough workout to whet your appetite
  • Maybe even skip the meal before

Been there, done that.  It increases your ability to consume more at the big meal.

But you know what?  These are the same step lots of us are taking to lose (or keep from gaining) weight!  Our carefully constructed food and exercise play may actually be heightening our appetite.  Helping us get hungrier and hungrier.

It’s part of why most people’s weight loss efforts fall over within the first 6 weeks — we get so hungry trying to limit our intake and maximize our output.

Here are some real world helpful ways to avoid this trap.

  1. Don’t eat incredibly below your daily intake requirement
  2. Don’t use exercise as anything except what it’s for; moving some today so you can move some more tomorrow.
  3. Look at what you eat, not just its caloric content.  Eat mostly foods that cause the biggest decrease in your feeling of hunger — proteins, vegetable carbs and even some fat.
  4. Eat often enough that you’re not really very interested in eating more.
  5. Don’t medicate with food. Do something positive instead.

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