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Yes! You really can eat what you want and still lose weight.

Updated on July 9, 2015

Who wants to be on a diet forever?

One of the things that keeps many people from successfully loosing weight is that they hate being told what to eat.It can be very difficult to stick to those diets that plan your meal for you or the ones that say eat X amount of carbs and X amount of protein and X amount of fats. It may just make you want to scream! It is just way too much to think about, plan and conquer. After all, who’s going to do that for an entire lifetime? Plus, we all like the freedom of being able to eat whatever we want. You want to be able to put your own meals together. But how, and still lose the weight? Nobody wants to be hungry all the time. Well, there is a way. Are you ready for this? It’s not about what you eat, so much as it is the proportion in which you eat it, and the amount of calories you are taking in in proportion to the calories you are expending.

The Secret: How to eat what you want and still lose weight.

I’ll give you a very realistic example of what I am talking about. Let’s say that without any exercise at all your body burns 1250 calories per day. Yes your body does burn calories without you working at all. Think about it, it takes energy to breath, your heart to pump blood and for your body to produce all of the involuntary physiological actions that it does each day. Your body even burns calories as you sleep! Go figure. As a general rule of thumb you can estimate how many calories your body naturally burns per day by taking your weight and adding a zero at the end. For example, if you weigh 125 pounds, you can estimate that without any exercise at all you may burn about 1250 calories per day. Ok, so now that we have that number, you can eat 1250 of just about anything everyday and successfully maintain your weight of 125 pounds without any exercise at all. As long as you don’t go over 1250 calories in a day, then you can eat whatever you want. Here is where your choices make a huge difference. Let’s say I love pizza and I want to eat 1250 calories of pizza. Well, that’s only about 3 slices of pizza. I could choose to eat 3 slices of pizza, but that would be all I could have all day long if I wanted to maintain my weight without exercise. I know me, and I would be starving and miserable by the end of the day. Or, I could choose to have a 300-calorie breakfast of 2 pieces of toast, 1 scrambled egg and a turkey sausage, then spend 400 calories on 1 slice of pizza at lunch, and 100 calories on an apple for a snack. Then for dinner, I could have a grilled chicken sandwich for about 300 calories and a protein shake for 150 calories as a snack before bed. This way I have spread my calories throughout the day and am not so hungry. I call this method “The Spending and Saving Method”. I look at calories in food like a bank account. I have a certain amount I can spend each day. If I choose to splurge in one area, I have to cut back in another. This is also why food journaling is so important.

Add a "Cheat Day" once a week

Now for everybody’s favorite! “Cheat Day”! Yes, you can still have a double cheeseburger, fries and a shake and not feel guilty about it! Choose one day of the week where you will allow yourself to have A cheat meal. Notice I underlined the letter A! Let me reiterate this part for people like me, A CHEAT Meal! Singular. Not a full day of binging and eating whatever you want with limitless calories, but one meal that you’ve been craving and a somewhat normal portion size. This is because; when I initially started with a cheat meal it was “Cheat Day”. For someone like me, with no “off” button when it comes to food, this was disastrous. I went for full binge day and felt horrible afterwards. I’m telling you this so you don’t do the same things I did. Just set aside one meal to go slightly over calories I typically stop at. It helps to even set a few limits on that as well if you need to. A cheat day is very necessary on your journey so that you do not feel deprived. You should never feel like you would not be able to eat ice cream, or pizza or chocolate again. You can have those things on your cheat days! You even can on your normal eating days if you are able to control your portions! I had ice cream almost every day while I was losing the weight. I just read the nutrition information on the package and only had the ½ cup that was equal to 100 calories. Be realistic though, ice cream is something I could control myself around so I was able to do that. Chips…no. Use this trick only with things you know you can control yourself around.

Another great thing about cheat days is that they actually help with weight loss! Yep, it’s true. Cheat days accelerate your metabolism by increasing your Leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone that influences your hunger and body fat levels. Long story short, it tricks your body by keeping it guessing. You don’t want your body to believe that it will be on a low calorie diet for the rest of its life. If it does, it will hold on to the fat instead of releasing it. Eating a meal high in fat helps your body to know that it will get fat eventually, so it can go ahead and release the fat. It’s like your body starts hoarding if it thinks it’s never going to get to eat fat again! So don’t be afraid to have a cheat meal once a week. Just do it within reason.

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