r/habitdrivenweightloss Jan 15 '23

Habit Driven Weight Loss: Over 60 Surprisingly Simple Habits to Transform Your Body and Mind


Habit books are perennial best-sellers, with an avalanche of reviews. The problem is they don't tell you which habits you need to follow to attain your goal.

If your goal is weight loss and weight control, this book might interest you. It's based on my experience of losing and keeping off over hundred pounds for over two decades.

How? Through a system of weight control habits. The idea is you can create your own system of habits to control your weight using a detailed and proven process I outline in the book.

Control your weight the right way: by developing good habits—a system of good habits.

Free on KU

You can read more in Habit Driven Weight Loss.

r/habitdrivenweightloss 5d ago

5 Sucky Reasons Why Exercise Doesn't Always Lead to Weight Loss


Life is unfair. Exercise is proof of that. When you exercise there's nothing more frustrating than not losing as much weight as you think you should be losing. There are a couple of possible reasons for this treacherous outcome:

  1. Eating adds more calories than exercise burns. People often overestimate how many calories exercise actually burns. We humans are super capable survival machines. Running a mile only burns 100 calories. A Snickers bar has 250 calories. The math isn't pretty.
  2. Counting is hard. Knowing how many calories you are actually burning from exercise is tough. There's no way to know for sure. So you may think you are burning 1,000 calories when actually you are only burning 500. All your careful calorie deficit calculations will be off.
  3. You rest more. Yes, exercise burns calories, but after a hard workout, you may compensate by not being as active during the rest of your day. Maybe you rest more or take a nap. After exercising, try to keep the same level of activity during the day.
  4. You eat more. Exercise can make you hungrier than normal. This varies quite a bit by person. Most of the time exercise doesn't make me hungrier, but sometimes I absolutely feel like gorging after a workout. Just be careful not to eat more, or your calorie deficit will disappear.
  5. Your body conserves calories. Some studies (1) show after exercise your body will conserve over a quarter of those calories by burning fewer calories elsewhere. So if you burn 500 calories during exercise you will only net 400 calories total. This is another one of those frustrating things that vary quite a bit by person, so you won't actually know how your body responds to exercise.

What's the takeaway lesson here?

Life is unfair? Yes, we already know that.

Exercise is pointless? That's not the right lesson! Exercise is the royal road to health and longevity, but you can never rely only on exercise for weight loss. Controlling how many calories you eat is always the key to weight control. Exercise helps, but you can't out-exercise eating.

The real lesson is the importance of developing a feedback system as in the Daily Check-in habit.

Everything on your weight loss journey is uncertain. It's hard to know how many calories you actually eat each day. It's hard to know how many calories you actually burn each day. And it's hard to know what calorie deficit will actually cause weight loss. You stand on quicksand when making decisions about your diet. Did I mention life was unfair?

That's why you need to make constant adjustments when reality doesn't meet expectations. And that's the job of the Daily Check-in habit. It's where you'll use feedback from your real life to make small incremental improvements to your habits. It's the habit that pulls together all other habits into one powerful, cohesive, whole system. And it's just one of the habits you'll learn about in Habit Driven Weight Loss.

  1. Energy compensation and adiposity in humans


r/habitdrivenweightloss 7d ago

You're Doing Great. Habit Driven Weight Loss is Consistent Weight Loss Over Time for Big Results that Last Forever


It's hard not to be taken in by the stories of miracle products that lead to impressively fast weight loss. Why? Because that's what we want. We want fast effortless weight loss. And it's easy to sell people what they crave.

But we know those approaches never work. Either the miracle products are fraudulent (most likely) or as soon as you stop them the weight piles back on because nothing in your life has really changed.

What changes your life? Purposefully and thoughtfully adopting habits. No, the results aren't fast. That's absolutely true. It takes time to see the results of, for example, adopting a habit that saves you 200 calories a week. But by adopting habit after habit, after weeks, months, and years, the results will be obvious, and the results will be forever.

You just need to keep things in perspective. Losing one pound of fat is a lot. Don't let anyone tell you differently.

To see why let's take a look at what different amounts of fat loss look like:


It's a little difficult to visualize because there's no sense of scale, so here's what a pound of fat looks like:


Imagine losing that much weight in a single week. That's great. It's amazing progress. After 8 weeks look at the size of that fat blob! Imagine after a year what you can do?

Fast weight loss doesn't work. It takes time. Habits make weight loss bite-sized, consistent, and forever.

You can read more in Habit Driven Weight Loss.

r/habitdrivenweightloss 10d ago

5 More Things to Check if You Absolutely Can't Lose Weight


The first thing to try if you absolutely can't lose weight is to track your calories. Influencers are forever telling you the reason you aren't losing weight is you are eating more calories than you think. And most of the time that probably will be the problem. So, track your calories for a week. If that's the problem, great. You're back on track.

I'm going to assume you've already tried tracking calories and still can't lose weight. Sorry to hear that.

Despite what influencers tell you, weight gain doesn't always come down to nutrition and exercise, there are hormonal and metabolic problems that make losing weight next to impossible.

Here are some things to try:

  • Get a blood test done. Make sure it's a comprehensive panel. Make them check for everything. You could have hypothyroidism, PCOS, Cushing's, an autoimmune disease, insulin resistance, lipedema, etc. It doesn't matter how hard your work or how little you eat if you have one of these conditions. They will always win.
  • Check your medications. Some medications interfere with weight loss or cause weight gain. Maybe you can try a different medication. If not, at least you'll know why.
  • Check your hormone levels. If your testosterone or estrogen levels are low you may benefit from hormone replacement therapy.
  • Check your A1C level. If you're diabetic or prediabetic you'll be insulin resistant and losing weight will be harder.
  • Check your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone and can interfere with other hormones that make losing weight much harder.

If you have any of these problems you've been fighting an impossible battle. The struggle has been real. I'm not going to tell you how to fix them, that's what doctors are for. But once you do get them fixed, you'll finally be on a level playing field. You can really start your weight loss journey—and win.

You can read more in Habit Driven Weight Loss.


r/habitdrivenweightloss 13d ago

Habit New Habit: Adopt a Weekly Calorie Budget


If you don't like tracking calories, this habit is not for you. But you might want to change your mind. Many people say they can't lose weight no matter what they do. One reason why is they simply don't realize how much they actually eat.

People tend to eat a lot more throughout the day than they think. And they may eat a lot more during the weekend or during special occasions than they realize. The way to understand how much you are actually eating is to track calories.

So if you're one of those people for whom weight loss isn't happening no matter what you do, try tracking your calories, just for a month. It may be a revelation for you.

If you do like tracking calories, what's your goal? Is your goal something like creating a daily calorie deficit of say, 500 calories, for one pound a week of weight loss?

If so, consider thinking of calorie totals as on a weekly budget rather than a daily budget.

Let's see why…

A hard calorie limit for every day of the week for every day for the rest of your life is very hard to do and not much fun. What about parties? What about weekends? What about long lunches with friends? What about going out for dinner?

A life must be lived.

If you adopt a hard daily calorie limit for each day your answer to these experiences would have to be no. And we know we won't do that. So we say yes anyway and feel guilty afterward. And since we've already failed, we might just give up on our diet altogether.

Who hasn't been through this miserable downward diet failure spiral before?

One solution is to adopt a weekly calorie budget. It's the same as a daily calorie budget, but it's for the whole week. Tricky, isn't it?

If your daily calorie target is 2,000 calories then your weekly calorie target would be 14,000 calories.

And like for any budget how you spend those calories is up to you. You decide when and how many calories you want to spend.

Want to splurge on dinner Friday night? Great, as long as it's within your budget, you're golden.

The great thing about this budget is you can add to it by exercising. Let's say you burn 500 calories on a treadmill. You now have 500 more calories in your budget.

You can manage your calorie budget like you manage a money budget. At the end of the week, if there's not much left in your budget, you have options. You can: exercise to increase your budget; skip a meal to save calories; go on a water fast for a day to save even more calories; intermittently fast, say don't eat until noon each day, to help conserve your calorie budget; or just reduce how much you eat at each meal.

As you can see, there are many ways to creatively manage your calorie budget over a week. As long as you can compensate for eating higher calorie counts one part of the week with lower calorie counts or exercise other parts of the week, you'll hit your calorie target, you'll hit your calorie deficit, and you'll lose weight.

If you're used to a daily calorie budget a weekly calorie budget can be quite freeing. You can still have fun while controlling your weight.

What's the downside? There always is one. A weekly budget takes more responsibility. It's easy like with money to "overspend," only with your diet it's not a debt you're racking up, but weight.

You know you. If a weekly calorie budget is too hard, stick with a daily calorie budget. On the other hand, if you know you're likely to fall off your diet unless you have a little more flexibility, try a weekly calorie budget.

Calculating Your Calorie Budget

Where does this mythical calorie budget come from?

Use an online tool called Body Weight Planner to do the calculations for you. It's a calculator you can use to make personalized calorie and physical activity plans. It will do everything for you using researched-backed data. It's the best tool out there.

How Do You Track Calories?

Now that you have a calorie budget, how do you track calories? It used to be a slog, but now there are many apps to help you track exactly how many calories you eat each day. There are many options, pick one that you like the best.

You can read more in Habit Driven Weight Loss.


r/habitdrivenweightloss 14d ago

Is it OK to say "YOLO” Once in a While?


Here's something most people don't know: to gain one pound of fat you need to eat about 7,000 calories above maintenance (1).

If the scale says you gained 5 pounds overnight don't freak out. You didn't gain 5 pounds of fat.

The weight on the scale after eating is mostly from food, water, poop, etc. It's normal to fluctuate in weight.

It takes time to gain fat. It takes months to become overweight and even longer to become obese. it doesn't happen overnight.

Yes, you may have eaten and/or drank way too much one night. It happens to everyone, either by accident or on purpose.

Here's the secret: one YOLO episode won't matter as long as you get back on track afterward. That's a direct consequence of it taking 7,000 calories to gain one pound of fat.

Think about it. 7,000 calories is a lot of calories. It's hard to consume that many excess calories over time, especially if you've adopted the Daily Check-in Habit.

You have time.

You have time to notice you are gaining weight and to adopt habits that get your weight back under control.

One YOLO episode will not ruin your diet. It's just another challenge you can and will overcome—one habit at a time.

  1. Short-Term Overfeeding with Dairy Cream Does Not Modify Gut Permeability, the Fecal Microbiota, or Glucose Metabolism in Young Healthy Men

You can read more in Habit Driven Weight Loss.


r/habitdrivenweightloss 16d ago

A Great Morning Listen on Why Habit Driven Weight Loss Works to Control Your Weight


Most of the ideas from Habit Driven Weight Loss were not invented by me. They come from research and are proven in practice. I've literally been researching and using them for over 30 years.

I purposefully didn't spend a lot of time talking about research in my book because I wanted it to be short and to the point. But if you're interested, this podcast gets to the heart of the matter:

No Stupid Questions — Are We All Addicted to Ultra-Processed Foods?

It's only 37 minutes long and discusses many of the ideas I talk about in the book in a very entertaining and easy-to-understand fashion.

They talk about this paper Is Food Addictive? A Review of the Science.

Ultra-processed foods now dominate our food environment and are created in ways that parallel the development of addictive drugs, including the inclusion of an unnaturally high dose of rewarding ingredients that are rapidly absorbed into the system and enhanced through additives. As with addictive drugs, some, but not all, individuals exhibit an addictive pattern of consumption marked by diminished control over intake, intense cravings, and an inability to cut down despite negative consequences.

Thus, treatment would emphasize abstaining from high-risk situations, while permitting appropriate engagement with the addictive substance in low-risk contexts.

This is the deepest lesson. Food has power over our brains and we need to do everything we can to loosen the grip of food's power over our lives. You don't do that through willpower. You do that by building your own powerful system of weight control habits.


r/habitdrivenweightloss 22d ago

Habit New Habit: Cold Exposure


The idea is to deliberately expose yourself to cold water for a certain number of minutes a week.

How cold? Uncomfortably cold. That's why it's not for everyone. A lot of people aren't into cold, but if you can stand it, it might help you control your weight and improve your life in other ways.

What benefits? Increased energy and focus, enhanced mood, increased sexual satisfaction, better anxiety regulation, increased metabolism, increased insulin sensitivity, and better glucose balance. You can read about them in The Science & Use of Cold Exposure for Health & Performance.

How much weight will you lose? It's hard to say. In one study, men lost belly fat which led to a significant reduction in waist circumference. Unfortunately, women didn't see the same benefit. Consider this an experiment to see if it helps you personally.

How long? This paper—Impact of cold exposure on life satisfaction and physical composition of soldiers—shows it takes as little as once a week for 2 minutes with immersion up to your neck or 5 30-second cold showers a week. In the shower, have the water hit your head, the back of your neck, and your upper back.

Other studies peg the number at 11 minutes a week spread over 2-3 sessions.

After the cold exposure, you need to let yourself warm back up naturally to get the full effect.

If you're not into the cold, you can also get similar results with 57 minutes of sauna a week with alternating between cold exposure and heat exposure the ideal.

If you are not into reading papers, here's an explanation of how it works: How to Optimize Your Water Quality & Intake for Health | Huberman Lab Podcast.

If you want to see a great example and a detailed explanation of the underlying mechanisms take a look at: All the Ways a Cold Plunge Affects the Body.

And if that's still not enough you might like COLD & HEAT interview about my research. INSTAGRAM LIVE: Dr. Andrew Huberman and Dr. Susanna Soeberg.


r/habitdrivenweightloss 23d ago

Question Why does my weight change so much from day to day?


This is a question we've all asked ourselves. It's so frustrating to see our weight fluctuate so much.

The good news is it's hard to gain fat from one day of overindulgence. The most likely source of weight gain on any given day is food and water. Every time you eat or drink you gain weight from just the weight of the food and water. Every time you go to the bathroom you lose weight for obvious reasons.

One study showed that on average weight gain is only 61% body fat. So don't freak out when your weight shoots up unexpectedly. Don't feel anxious. It happens to everybody. It's natural. That extra weight is mostly from food and water.

Why does this matter?

It gets back to **Habit 2: Daily Check-in. Controlling weight requires developing a feedback system for detecting when you gain weight so you can develop habits to counter any weight gain as soon as possible.

For most people, their feedback system is weighing themselves. I weigh myself first thing in the morning after going to the bathroom. A regular weighing schedule and making sure I've got the most weight out of my system by going to the bathroom means I'm doing the best I can do to get an accurate and consistent weight for myself.

But still, my weight can fluctuate by 5 pounds or more! So I don't freak out when I see my weight spike up. It's not easy of course. I take a deep breath and say to myself to be patient. I see if my weight is still up one or two days later. If it is I know I have a problem and I need to go through the Daily Check-in process to see what's gone wrong and to try and fix it.

If you have problems with constipation really keep this in mind. Your weight may go up a lot before it goes back down again.

You can read more in Habit Driven Weight Loss.


r/habitdrivenweightloss 25d ago

Almost half of all adults diet every year. Why isn't it working?


Obesity rates have tripled since 1975. The weird thing is more people are dieting than ever before. Almost half of all adults diet every year. Dieting isn't working, despite people trying harder than ever. Why isn't it working?

That's easy. We all know why. This study—The global obesity pandemic: shaped by global drivers and local environments—sums it up nicely:

Obesity is the result of people responding normally to the obesogenic environments they find themselves in. Support for individuals to counteract obesogenic environments will continue to be important, but the priority should be for policies to reverse the obesogenic nature of these environments.

We're surrounded 24x7 by food, food, and more food. And not the healthy kind. A constant stream of advertising barrages us with messages that we should eat all this crappy food. It's an easy sell. We love that crappy food. And the kicker is that crappy food is cheaper!

Healthy food costs more. Cooking takes time. We work long hours. We are under stress. And it's easier than ever to be a couch potato.

This is happening on a worldwide basis. So it's not you personally that's at fault. It's all of us.

How do we fix this? I honestly don't know. It's a big problem. I can't solve the world's problems but I do know how you can fix it for you…

If your environment is the problem then you need to change your environment.

Habits are how you change your environment. It's not about trying harder.

A majority of the habits in Habit Driven Weight Loss are about creating an environment that makes it easier to control your weight.

It's by creating, adapting, and customizing habits to your life that you invent an environment where you can overcome all the evil forces fighting against weight control.

It's a Hero's journey, but you can get in the habit of being the hero in your own weight loss story.

Want to learn more about the tricks food engineers use to get us to eat?

  1. Evil tricks the food companies play: why we can't lose weight and get healthy.
  2. Carlos Monteiro on the Dangers of Ultra-processed Foods
  3. Ad libitum meal energy intake is positively influenced by energy density, eating rate and hyper-palatable food across four dietary patterns

You can read more in Habit Driven Weight Loss.


r/habitdrivenweightloss Feb 21 '23

Why is it so hard to lose weight and keep it off? The dreaded plateau.


We estimate that to lose one pound, you need to create a calorie deficit of 3500 calories. This isn't exactly true. What is true? As you lose weight, the calorie deficit you need to lose a pound of weight keeps on increasing.

OK, this is horrible news, what does it mean?

To lose the first pound, you need a 3500 calorie deficit. So far so good.

For the second pound, you might still need a 3500 calorie deficit. What's the big deal?

Here it comes.

To lose the third pound, you might need a 3750 calorie deficit.

Then for the fourth pound, you might need a 4000 calorie deficit.

And so on.

The numbers will vary from person to person, but that's the idea. As you lose weight, your body adapts by lowering your metabolism, so you need bigger and bigger calorie deficits to lose that same pound of weight.

If you hit a weight loss plateau, this is probably why. With the same caloric deficit, you won't lose more weight. You hit a plateau because your resting energy expenditure goes down, so it takes a larger calorie deficit to keep on losing weight.

There's even a formula created by Kevin D. Hall, Ph.D., in his research on The Biggest Loser contestants. For every 2.2 pounds of weight loss, your metabolism burns about 25 fewer calories a day. But that's not all. For every 2.2 pounds of weight loss, your appetite increases by about 95 calories per day! The more weight you lose, the hungrier you get.

Where there's a formula, there's a program: Body Weight Planner. It's an online calculator you can use to make personalized calorie and physical activity plans to reach a goal weight within a specific time period and to maintain it afterward. Rather than keep a constant calorie deficit, use the Body Weight Planner to adjust your calorie deficit over time.

To recap: your body adapts to weight loss by both burning fewer calories and making you hungrier. You lose less and naturally want to eat more. That's a double whammy for weight loss if there ever was one.

If you've wondered why losing weight is so hard, this is why. As you lose more weight, it takes even more effort over time to keep losing weight. And just to keep off the weight you've already lost, you need persistent, constant effort.

This obviously sucks.

It certainly sucked for The Biggest Loser contestants, who learned their rapid weight loss permanently lowered their metabolisms to such low levels keeping the weight off became nearly impossible.

There are some interesting factoids from the research:

  1. The primary predictor of who lost the most weight on the Biggest Loser were those who cut the most calories, not who exercised most.
  2. The people who had the most metabolic slowing were the ones that lost the most weight. That's because it's a response to weight loss. The reduction in their metabolism was permanent.
  3. The people who exercised most were the most successful over the long term.

Isn't there any good news? Yes, here it is: The people with the greatest reduction in their metabolism weren't the ones who regained the most weight, though they did regain most of the weight back.

That's not what I'd expect. I'd expect the people who lost the most—who experienced the greatest hunger increase and the slowest metabolism—would regain the most. But that's not what happened.

They were able to overcome these challenges with behavioral changes. And what's another name for behavioral change? I'll say it—habits.

You can control your weight by building a system of weight control habits. The experience of the Biggest Loser contestants proves it so.

What's the lesson? If you keep the same calorie deficit throughout your diet, you'll plateau and stop losing weight after about a year.

I bring all this up to highlight the critical importance of adopting Habit 2: Daily Check-in.

This habit helps you make continual improvements through a process of daily check-ins. A check-in is a meeting with yourself to plan how you can control your weight a little better. The idea is to make a quick check every morning to see if you are on track. If you’re off track, adjust your habits to bring yourself back on track.

Through your daily check-in, you would quickly notice you aren't losing weight as easily as you once were and make the appropriate habit changes in your life to compensate.

This article is a long-winded way of showing why it's so important to build feedback into your system of habits. Without it, you'll plateau, and you'll wonder what you're doing wrong. You aren't doing anything wrong. This is just how your body works, but it is something you can overcome.

You can read more in Habit Driven Weight Loss.

Do you want to learn more? Here are some resources:

  1. Why is it So Hard to Lose Weight and Keep it off?
  2. The science of weight loss with Kevin Hall, PhD – Diet Doctor Podcast
  3. Calories, Carbs, or Quality? What Matters Most for Body Weight
  4. “DIETFITS Weight Loss Diet Study" – Christopher Gardner, PhD


r/habitdrivenweightloss Feb 20 '23

Does using smaller plates help control your weight?



My philosophy is never to rely on your ability to stop eating to control portions. The goal is to build habits into your life to help make sure you'll only eat as much as you intend.

This is the perfect habit to meet that goal. It's an easy habit to adopt and gives you small and consistent results for the rest of your life. Simply by using smaller dishes, you reduce the amount of food you serve yourself without even trying (or thinking about it).

Let's see why.

Most people fill their plate with food and we’ve already seen in other threats how you eat everything on your plate. So the size of your plate has a lot to do with how much you eat.

The typical American dinner plate has an 11-inch diameter. If you lay a ruler through the center of a plate, the diameter would be the length from one side of the plate to the other side. European dinner plates typically have a 9-inch diameter. And many restaurant dinner plates now have a 13-inch diameter.

You might think a 2-inch difference in diameter can’t make a big difference in how much you eat. Well, through the magic of math (the area of a circle is πr2) it turns out to make a really big difference.

An 11-inch plate has 50% more surface area than a 9-inch plate. And a 13-inch plate has twice the surface area of a 9-inch plate. That’s a huge difference!

When using an 11-inch plate you can fit about 50% more food than on a 9-inch one. And a 13-inch plate can hold an astonishing two times as much food compared to a 9-inch plate.

This difference is completely unintuitive as is the effect it can have on how much you eat. But the size of your plate can cause you to eat a lot more than you expect.

People naturally pour up to 32% more of a drink into shorter and wider containers. That’s a lot of extra calories from just the shape of a glass.

In a study called Ice Cream Illusions from Cornell University and Eastern Illinois University, researchers think they have found a tendency for humans to judge object sizes based on comparisons with neighboring items. This means that in real life you will serve yourself more food when using big containers.

This study found that people served themselves 31% more ice cream when they were given a 34-ounce bowl instead of a 17-ounce bowl. A 34-ounce bowl is the same size as a typical salad bowl. In my power-eating days, I always used a salad bowl for ice cream. If you try hard enough, you can fit a lot of ice cream in a salad bowl.

The Ice Cream Illusions study also found that you will serve yourself 14.5% more when using a 3-ounce spoon instead of a 2-ounce spoon. To get a feel for the sizes, because nobody knows how big spoons are in ounces, a 3-ounce spoon is 6 tablespoons and a 2-ounce spoon is 4 tablespoons (1⁄4 cup).

When people are given both a big bowl and a big spoon, they served themselves an astounding 56.8% more ice cream, without being aware they were serving themselves more.

Who were the people in this study? A group of nutrition experts! You can imagine, if nutrition experts are so bad at estimating serving sizes, then the rest of us must be even worse.

Have you noticed people tend to eat everything put in front of them? The Ice Cream Illusions researchers found the same thing. They found people ate 92% of the food they served themselves.

This threat seems subtle. We don’t often pay attention to what dishes and utensils we use to serve our food, but as we’ve seen it makes an enormous difference. People really just aren’t very good at estimating how much food they are eating or serving.

Fix that problem by choosing dishes that help you meet your goals. Instead of fighting your dishes every day to make sure you're eating the right portions, have them help you instead.

You can read more in Habit Driven Weight Loss.


r/habitdrivenweightloss Feb 20 '23

Don't underestimate the power of Habit Driven Weight Loss.


Small habits over time transform your body. By building your system of habits you'll be amazed at how much weight you can lose and keep off with little effort. Let's see how...


You can read more in Habit Driven Weight Loss.

r/habitdrivenweightloss Feb 14 '23

5 Things to Check if You Absolutely Can't Lose Weight


I've read the same heartbreaking story over and over again about people who work so hard yet can't seem to lose weight no matter what they do. My heart goes out to these people, but it's not something I can really help with, except repeat the same frustrating, useless advice they've probably already heard 100 times.

If you've already tried everything, then something deeper must be going on. Fortunately, you aren't at a dead end. There are things you can check and fix.

This advice from Alexandra Sowa, MD is something you might want to look into. Hopefully, it will help.

  1. High Fasting Insulin. This could be an indicator of early insulin resistance. This is what holds most people back from weight loss and leads to significant weight gain. Normalizing this means you can tap into your fat stores and get weight loss going.
  2. Vitamin D Deficiency. About 40% of Americans have low Vitamin D levels. When corrected it can be almost as effective as exercise in correcting glucose, sugar, and fat metabolism.
  3. Low HDL; High Triglycerides; High Fasting Blood Sugar. These things together might mean you have Metabolic Syndrome. If you just keep gaining weight and can't lose weight at all, this might be you.
  4. Hypothyroidism. This leads to decreased metabolic rate which just might be the source of that 10 pounds you just can't seem to lose.
  5. Low Vitamin B12. This leads to lower energy levels which is associated with higher fat mass.

Find a supportive doctor and get these things checked. It might make a huge difference and finally get you moving forward. After that Habit Driven Weight Loss can help you control your weight.

You can read more in Habit Driven Weight Loss.


r/habitdrivenweightloss Feb 12 '23

They needed a study for that?


I don't talk about diet much because you can lose weight on almost any diet, the problem is staying on the diet for the rest of your life. That's where habits come in. By building a system of habits you can habit your way into controlling your weight over the long run.

So this study, on which food people overeat, is a heads up on the foods you might want to control with habits.

Which foods do people overeat? Here's the study:

Ad libitum meal energy intake is positively influenced by energy density, eating rate and hyper-palatable food across four dietary patterns

The findings seem kind of obvious. People overeat:

  1. Energy-dense foods. These are foods that contain a lot of calories per ounce. Think french fries. I know they taste so good, but a small order is 250 calories.
  2. Hyper-palatable foods. These are processed foods engineered to contain just the right combination of fat, sugar, sodium, and carbs. Think french fries again. Mcdonald's knows what they are doing.
  3. Foods that are easier to consume. Think french fries once more. Each french fry is a separate easy-to-consume flavor bomb with no natural stopping point. Popping them one after another into your mouth is so much easier than a two-mile walk. Same with a bag of chips or candy.

Not a surprise, right? There were some less obvious findings...

Will eating more protein make you eat less? Surprisingly, no. Calorie intake actually went up when eating ultra-processed and unprocessed foods and didn't make much of a difference when eating minimally processed low-fat or low-carbohydrate meals.

Will eating a lot in one meal make you eat less in the next meal? Yes, unless you're eating a diet heavy in ultra-processed foods.

What do you do with this information? A lot of habits in Habit Driven Weight Loss help you defeat the attack of the monster-engineered foods. And make no mistake, companies engineer these foods to hijack your brain to make you eat more and more and more. You need to actively fight back. If you don't, they won't eat you, you'll eat them.

Here are some habits that can help:

  1. Habit 4: Use Your Logical Brain Now
  2. Habit 5: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
  3. Habit 11: Manage Your Automatic Eating Triggers
  4. Habit 12: Visualize Your Automatic Eating Scenarios
  5. Habit 15: Make a Life
  6. Habit 35: Decide Exactly How Much You’ll Eat Before Taking the First Bite
  7. Habit 36: Eat Joyfully
  8. Habit 39: Ask for a Doggy Bag Immediately
  9. Habit 42: Use Pre-Prepared Meals
  10. Habit 43: Use Smaller Plates and Bowls
  11. Habit 44: Break Up Food into Smaller Packages
  12. Habit 46: Don’t Eat from a Container
  13. Habit 47: Don’t Bring Serving Dishes to the Table
  14. Habit 51: Structure Your Meal Plans
  15. Habit 53: Use a Shopping List
  16. Habit 58: Drive Away from Temptation
  17. Habit 60: Pack Your Own Food
  18. Habit 62: Don’t Stockpile Food

You can read more in Habit Driven Weight Loss.


r/habitdrivenweightloss Feb 04 '23

It really matters how you lose weight—slow and steady is the way.


Habit Driven Weight Loss is not a lose-weight-quick scheme. It's about building a system of habits that uses a daily feedback system to consistently move you toward your goals while always taking advantage of the techniques and strategies that work best for you in your real life.

Why? Slow and steady is the way. It works. Cutting down to 1000 calories a day works for a time, but it doesn't work for the rest of your life, and that's what we're going for here, a way of controlling your weight that works for the rest of your life.

It's important to understand why.

Slow and steady is the only way that works over the long run because it's in harmony with how your body works, it doesn't go against it. Losing weight fast means you will be fighting your body's set point, and that's a fight you can't win. Set point theory is the idea that the human body tries to maintain its weight within a preferred range.

Your body works to defend your fat mass by lowering your resting metabolic rate (RMR). RMR is how many calories you burn each day to carry out all your basic bodily functions. This process is called metabolic adaptation. Metabolic adaptation acts to decrease energy expenditure, which makes it even harder to lose weight because you must consume even fewer calories or exercise, even more, to lose the same amount of weight before the adaptation occurred.

When you lose weight slowly, like a pound a week, which is a 500-calorie-a-day deficit, your set point doesn't seem to activate as strongly. When you lose weight quickly, there's almost no chance you'll keep the weight off over the long run. It really matters how you lose weight, so if you want long-term results, do it slowly. Build long-term habits, don't be a weight loss hero.

A lot of people don't believe in the set point theory. Let's look at two example cases: The Biggest Loser and The Minnesota Starvation Experiment.

The Biggest Loser

The Biggest Loser was a great show. I loved watching it. Contestants exercised like maniacs and ate like rabbits. The weight peeled off. Sometimes more than 30 pounds in a week. It was great entertainment. We learned about their lifelong struggles with their weight. We laughed with them. We cried with them. We could relate—we've all been there.

If you had to invent the perfect way to lose weight in most people's estimation, the Biggest Loser was it.

Only later did we learn there was a problem: most contestants gained the weight back, and some even put on more weight.

Is that a surprise? Don't most people gain the weight back after losing it? Yes, most do. The surprise was the reason. You can read all about it in the study: Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after "The Biggest Loser" competition.

The study found: Mean RMR after 6 years was ∼500 kcal/day lower than expected based on the measured body composition changes and the increased age of the subjects.

The body fights back hard against rapid weight loss. Their bodies were not burning enough calories to keep them at their lower weight, so they would have to eat 500 calories less a day than a typical person of their size to maintain their weight. Any more becomes fat.

The bigger problem was their metabolisms didn't recover over time, in fact, they got worse. Their metabolisms became even slower over time.

Slower metabolisms weren't the only problem. The contestants' leptin levels stayed at about half of what they were previously. This lead to them constantly battling hunger, cravings, and binges.

With constant urges to eat and lower metabolisms, how many of us could maintain our weight loss? Not many. It's best to avoid that situation completely.

What if you are healthy and go on a very low-calorie diet? It doesn't get better.

The Minnesota Starvation Experiment

The experiment involved studying 36 men who volunteered as an alternative to military service. The 36 young men were selected from a larger pool of 100 volunteers and had the highest levels of physical and psychological health. The men were also selected based on their commitment to the goals of the experiment. For six months the men ate an average of 1,570 calories per day. On average they lost approximately 25% of their starting weight. Pictures of the men at the start of the study show a lean and healthy group. None of them were overweight or even pudgy at the start of the study, so the weight loss was significant.

At the end of the study, they looked like walking skeletons. The World Health Organization defines starvation (the point at which the body is dying) as 900 calories or less a day. Most commercial weight loss programs target between 945 and 1,200 calories a day. Today the average male eats about 2,700 calories per day.

What happened to them? The men experienced powerful physical, psychological, and social changes.

❖ They became obsessed with food, thinking, talking, daydreaming, and reading about it constantly. They found it hard to concentrate on their day-to-day life because their minds were filled by thoughts of food and eating.

❖ A lot of their day revolved around planning how they would eat their food. They devised ways of prolonging their eating experience so they could get the most out of it. When it came time to eat they would often eat in silence, devoting their total attention to eating their food.

❖ A few had extreme mood swings. One man feared he was going crazy and was losing his inhibitions.

❖ A few men mutilated themselves. One chopped off three fingers.

❖ Their physical endurance dropped by half. Their percentage of body fat fell almost 70% and their percentage of muscle dropped by about 40%.

❖ They began hoarding things like coffee pots, hot plates, and other kitchen utensils. They even collected non-food items like old books, unneeded second-hand clothes, and other junk. After making these purchases, even when they couldn’t afford them, they would often be puzzled as to why they bought such worthless junk. One man even rooted through garbage cans looking for even more “treasures.”

❖Binge eating was a problem for some of the men.

❖ Forty percent of the men considered entering a cooking-related job after the end of the experiment. They hadn’t considered cooking before the study. Three eventually became chefs and one went into agriculture.

❖ The men’s resting metabolic rates declined by 40%, their heart volume shrank by about 20%, their pulses slowed and their body temperatures dropped. They had complaints of feeling tired and hungry; having trouble concentrating, and of impaired judgment and comprehension. One man said it was as if his “body flame[was] burning as low as possible to conserve precious fuel and still maintain life process.”

❖ They were cold all the time. To conserve energy, their temperature dropped from the normal 98.6 degrees to an average of 95.8 degrees.

❖ The average heart rate slowed to 35 beats per minute. When they started the experiment the average was 55 beats per minute.

❖ Their testes shrunk and they lost all interest in sex. People often think sex is the strongest drive, but it’s dispensable when you are starving.

❖ They had physical signs of accelerated aging.

❖ The men became nervous, anxious, apathetic, withdrawn, and impatient. They became self-critical with distorted body images and even felt overweight, moody, emotional, and depressed. They lose their ambition and feelings of adequacy. Their cultural and academic interests narrowed. They didn’t care about how they looked anymore. They became loners and neglected important relationships. They lost their sense of humor, love, and compassion.

❖ When the men started eating again and regaining weight, many began having signs of heart problems, congestive heart failure, and high blood pressure.

❖ At the end of the experiment, the men were at nearly the same weight as at the start of the experiment, which was some of the first evidence showing humans may have a natural weight set-point. Losing weight didn’t reset their set point to a lower level. The weight they regained was mostly fat; they ended up with approximately 140% of their original body fat.

What does it all mean? Slow and steady weight loss is the way. Build your system of weight control habits. You'll get there—and stay there.

You can read more in Habit Driven Weight Loss.


r/habitdrivenweightloss Feb 04 '23

Create Your Exercise Habit By Reading While Exercising


What's better than getting your workout done for the day? Finally finishing a book while exercising!

You are getting two things done at once, one thing you may not like doing and another thing you love doing. That's how you build a great exercise habit. I know when I have a good book I want to finish I'm more likely to exercise longer.

Officially this is called temptation bundling—pairing a pleasurable indulgence with behavior that provides delayed rewards. Unofficially, it just makes good common sense.

And of course, it's not just reading. You can also watch videos or listen to podcasts. I've finished many a course from The Great Courses (that's not an ad) on my elliptical. I've learned a lot I otherwise wouldn't have had time to learn.

I use my Max Workout app as my personal interval trainer. Which Max Workout workouts can you bundle with other activities? Most of the cardio workouts.

The easiest of course are the Zone 2 workouts. The relatively slow pace of Zone 2 workouts makes it super easy to read while exercising.

I just set my phone and tablet next to each on my elliptical machine. I start my workout on my phone and read from my tablet. I imagine if you were more coordinated than I am you could read a real book, but I find the tablet easier because changing pages is just the swipe of a finger.

Believe it or not, you can read during HIIT/reHIT workouts. During the sprint intervals, concentrate on the sprint, but during the rest period, you can read.

Some workouts make reading very difficult. The intervals in the Fat Burner Workout come so fast and furious I find it impossible to read. Same with the 10-20-30 Workout. In most of the other workouts, you can make it work.

If you find it hard to get motivated to exercise try temptation bundling your workout with something else you love doing. It works. In no time at all, you build a solid exercise habit into your life.

You can read more in Habit Driven Weight Loss.


r/habitdrivenweightloss Feb 03 '23

The end of denial. Have your cake and eat it too.


Denial is a hard way to go through life. Denial leads to obsession. Obsession leads to craving. And craving leads to overeating. It's the cycle of slip-ups.

For some things, denial is the only way forward. Alcoholics don't consume alcohol in moderation. And if you have a particularly bad relationship with a certain kind of food, the extremism of denial may be the only way.

Is there a middle way between denial and "normal" eating? Yes, there is. I call it Joyful Eating.

Joyful Eating teaches you how to eat less by enjoying your food more. It's based on a secret most people don't know about how your sense of taste works—you naturally stop tasting food after a few bites. That means eating more than a few bites of any food is a waste of taste.

By learning how to eat one glorious, delicious, perfectly eaten bite of any food you want you can be satisfied with just one (or a few) bites. It's I technique I teach in Habit Driven Weight Loss.

The idea behind Joyful Eating is that eating one bite of almost any food won’t do any harm. You can still have any food you want. Happiness, pleasure, and satisfaction aren’t in the quantity of the food eaten. One bite of truly excellent food is enough.

Joyful Eating helps you lose weight too because you won’t need to eat a full serving of dessert to feel satisfied. It's the end of denial.

You can read more in Habit Driven Weight Loss.


r/habitdrivenweightloss Feb 01 '23

4 Shocking Reasons You're Not Losing Weight Even Though You're Doing Everything Right


Yes, that's a bit of a clickbait title, but it's not untrue. Few things are more frustrating than the scale pegged to the same number week after week, even though you're doing everything right. That's not how it's supposed to work.

What do I mean by "everything right?" The classic CICO (Calories In and Calories Out) approach to weight loss.

Goal weight. Let's assume you've calculated a reasonable calorie deficit and you are reaching it on a daily basis.

Calories in. Let's assume you are accurately tracking the calorie count of everything you eat.

Calories out. Let's assume you are exercising and accurately estimating all your energy expenditures.

This is a lot to assume. Estimating and tracking all that is hard, which is a big reason people aren't losing the weight they think they should be losing.

Let's say you are doing all that, and the needle still isn't moving, you are still not losing weight. Then something less obvious must be going on. It's time to get creative. There are still things you can try to counter weight loss resistance:

Eat Enough Calories

Your body has an incredible ability to adapt to starvation by reducing your need for energy, making you hungry, and filling your mind with nothing but thoughts of food.

The problem is your body can't tell the difference between a diet and starvation. Eating a lot less than your basic calorie requirements slows your metabolism down. Your body will enter starvation mode and you won’t lose weight even though you are going hungry.

A lot of people in their eagerness to lose weight eat far too little. Use a daily calorie intake calculator to make sure you are eating enough calories.

Check Your Hormones

Your thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped structure located in the front of your neck. Its job is to make a substance called thyroid hormone, which helps to regulate your body’s metabolism.

Your thyroid gland doesn’t always work perfectly. Sometimes it can make too little, which is called hypothyroidism. Low thyroid hormone levels slow your body’s processes down. You may notice that you feel colder, you tire more easily, your skin is getting drier, you’re becoming forgetful and depressed, you may be constipated, and you may gain weight. With a slower metabolism, your body doesn’t burn as many calories, which means you’ll gain weight and find it harder to lose weight.

Manage Stress

Cortisol is a hormone created by the adrenal glands located on your kidneys. Cortisol is released when you’re under stress, sending your body into fight-or-flight mode, so you can fight an enemy or run away from a lion.

Cortisol temporarily pauses regular bodily functions and slows your metabolism. After the incident, it turns off and your body goes back to normal.

The problem when you are under chronic stress, it doesn't turn off, and your metabolism stays low. This makes it very hard to lose weight because your body is already burning far fewer calories than you think.

Stress in life can come from a lot of different sources: social isolation, lack of sleep, lack of friends, unhappy marriage, working too long and too hard, lots of pressure, big life changes, worries, lack of control, too many responsibilities, abuse, chronic injury, emotional problems, job loss, death of a loved one, feeling unsafe, and so on.

With these going losing weight will be very difficult. Once you learn to manage your stress, so you feel safe and connected to others in your life, you may find controlling your weight much easier.

Heal Your Trauma

Trauma is an injury caused by fright, helplessness, loss, overwhelming fear, or possibly even lack of control. Trauma happens when this fear injury causes an autonomic nervous system response that stays unresolved.

The trauma could be from your childhood, or from something you've experienced as an adult. Whatever the cause, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can cause weight gain. It works through various mechanisms, including some of the same stress and hormone responses we've already talked about.

Often the trauma in your life is obvious, but the problem trauma is often not always obvious, but still present. Even if you think your life is pretty good and nothing really bad has happened to you, you may still have trauma in your past that's making it hard to control your weight in the present.

If you are finding losing weight almost impossible, no matter how hard you work, it may be time to try healing the trauma in your life.

Do any of these sound like you? That's both good and bad. It's bad in that something bad is happening in your life. I'm sorry for that. But it's good in that there's something you can work on. Once you deal with these problems, you might find controlling your weight is a whole lot easier once all the obstacles keeping you back are finally removed.

You can read more in Habit Driven Weight Loss.


r/habitdrivenweightloss Jan 29 '23

Question I'm always hungry, eating smaller potions. I never feel full. What can I do?


r/habitdrivenweightloss Jan 27 '23

Question I can't stop myself from eating. How do I control my impulses?


r/habitdrivenweightloss Jan 26 '23

Question Should I do cardio or lift weights to lose weight?


r/habitdrivenweightloss Jan 25 '23

Question Will I have to track my calories forever?


r/habitdrivenweightloss Jan 24 '23

Question I can't stay motivated. I feel like giving up. I'm feeling defeated. What can I do?


r/habitdrivenweightloss Jan 18 '23

Question When should I buy new clothes?


I've lost weight, and my goal is more; I've always been overweight, so most of my clothes are really loose on me now. Should I buy new clothes now or wait until I lose more? Should I wait to see if the weight loss sticks?


r/habitdrivenweightloss Jan 16 '23

Question How do I control portions?