How are you feeling right now? Yes, I mean it. Stop. Think about the question.
How are you feeling?
Take a moment. Give yourself a body scan. And a mood check. How did you feel when you woke up this morning? What about yesterday? Do you ever know how you feel?
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t pay much attention to how you feel. A busy, demanding life has a way of doing that to even the well-intentioned person.
Tired…you go to work anyway. In pain…work through it. Hungry…grab something, even if it is junk or doesn’t taste all that great. Sad…eat comfort foods, maybe talk to your doctor about a prescription antidepressant. Happy…fleeting, but we enjoy those moods when we can.
Well, there is one Big Fat Exception, like a movie that keeps playing over and over in our heads. We know exactly when we feel fat, which can be most of the time. What do we do when we feel fat? Go on a diet. It typically doesn’t matter how bad it makes you feel, as long as you lose weight. Right?
Have you ever been on a diet? Of course, you have. You’ve followed it diligently, only to fall off after a few months (or even a few weeks or days) with a loud thud.
Why did you stop? You felt lousy, had no energy, your cravings went out of control – and that was the end. You droop shoulders and fret about another failure of your body and your willpower.
But wait. Rather than keep thinking that everything is wrong with you and your body, it could be the diet doesn’t hold together.
The fact is, most diets are inherently depressing. The way these diets are put together and the foods they dictate you should eat cause chemical changes in your brain that actually make you feel depressed. Add that to a plan too low in calories to fuel a day’s worth of energy to satisfy even a small pigeon. You’ve got a prescription for feeling just exactly how you must have felt on those past diets: Lousy, no energy, and craving the foods that give you instant fuel and naturally elevate your mood.
Oh, and did I mention lousy?
You may initially have lost weight quickly on a fad diet and been happy, even elated, with the results. But over time, your desire to lose weight lessens and even disappears. You can barely get through the day without feeling you would rather be somebody else, anybody who can order a bagel with a smear or tacos or a lamb chop without feeling like you are cheating. The only person you are cheating is yourself.
What may have gone wrong with your other diets is that you either got no fat, healthy or unhealthy or that you feasted on fatty animal foods. I still find it hard to grasp how much bacon some people have consumed on high-protein, low-carb diets.
Here’s why the no-fat or high-fat diets both may have crashed on you. Your body’s natural defense mechanisms kicked in to prevent disaster. While you may assume that losing weight requires a painful, uncomfortable process, your body knows better.
When such a process throws you off track, way off track in most cases, your body responds with a survival tactic built in millennia ago. It makes it nearly impossible to lose any more weight.
Starving yourself doesn’t drop pounds, but likely will do just the opposite.
In fact, deprivation diets accomplish just the opposite. Your body braces itself to not lose weight.
One result is you feel lethargic and, well, moody in all the wrong ways. You are impelled to eat high-fat, high-sugar foods to ward off the blues. You crave a different way of living and reaching for cookies or chips is a natural response. That’s your physiology calling, not your will power waning.
Remember this, especially if a friend or loved one or counselor urges you to reach down deep for your willpower. You’re not broken, your diet is, and your body is working as it is meant to, protecting you from the damage that can come from an inadequate diet.
Forget that whole no-willpower guilt trip. Not to sound sappy, but we have one life here. Nobody says you have to live it starving all the time to demonstrate to the world that you have a strong will. Fuel your body and mind with my New Power Eating plan, and your will and your happiness will follow.
The New Power Eating is both a food plan and a lifetime philosophy. I want you to think like the athletes that I’ve worked with for 30 years. They are tremendously optimistic. All they think about is doing what they need to do to be successful. They follow a plan for success. If they step off the path, most just get right back on again and keep following their plan. Food is their fuel, their friend; not the enemy. They don’t waste time thinking about what doesn’t work, or what they didn’t do right. Their focus is on doing what it takes to be, and stay, in top form.
On a daily basis, I want you to think about what you need to eat, not what you can’t eat next. You must feed your brain to feel great. What’s more, the care and feeding of your brain in The New Power Eating will recalibrate your ability to burn fat and build muscle after years or maybe decades of a yo-yo metabolism. You will be leaner but not meaner.
I’ll give you a sneak peek at some of the foods that I recommend to athletes, CEO’s, airline pilots, and moms and dads who are trying to stay more healthy and fit. Some want a play by play diet plan, but others want a list of foods that they know they can choose from to keep feeling great no matter where they are in the world. I’ve created this Feel Great Foods List from research studies published in scientific journals. Every food on the list has at least one study published about its ability to help you feel great. Keep it with you when you are shopping, dining out and traveling. It will help you maintain your happy and healthy self. Find more in The New Power Eating.
- Air-popped popcorn
- Caffeine-containing beverages (1-2)
- Cocoa powder (or chocolate in small amounts)
- Cultured & fermented foods
- Dark leafy greens
- Edamame (soy)
- Egg yolk (whole egg)
- Fish and seafood
- Flaxseed meal
- Grape Juice
- Green Tea
- Lean pork
- Low-fat, fat-free dairy
- Olives, olive oil
- Sunflower seeds
- Unrefined vegetable oils
- Whole grains
- EPA & DHA (fish oil)
- Vitamin D
- VITARGO Sports Drink
*Adapted from original list published in Kleiner S and Condor B. The Good Mood Diet. Springboard Press 2007
Your brain is the control center. The brain allows the release of neurotransmitters and hormones that changes your body from a fat-making machine into a fat-burning machine. Until your brain is in nutritional and fitness balance, the switch will never happen.
That’s why even when you think you’re doing everything right, you don’t lose weight. You have to feed your brain first. First you need to feel great.
Imagine that. The first step to losing weight is to make sure you are feeling great. That is a happy difference in my plan. If you feel great, then you stick with it. And if you stick with the plan, you lose weight. It’s that simple. Cause and effect is a powerful tool for self-enhancement.
Of course, none of this works well without exercise. The New Power Eating will help you customize how you fuel your body with the foods that you actually need to meet not just your exercise goals, but all the things that you want to accomplish in a day, including relaxation, rest and sleep.
Bottom line, weight loss should be exhilarating. But on most diets, it’s depressing. That’s because the nature of the diet plan actually makes you depressed. Not so with The New Power Eating. Learn how to feed your body and nourish your mind and meet all the goals that you have in a day with a healthy body and a happy, high-performance mind.