All Posts by Josh Hillis

About the Author

Josh Hillis is the Chief People Officer for One by One Nutrition, Author of Fat Loss Happens on Monday, and Nutrition Habits Coaching Expert for Strength Matters Magazine

Mar 23

When Your Weight Loss Goals Ruin You

By Josh Hillis | Uncategorised

What are your goals?  What are your values? 

The short version is that values are a direction.

A goal is a possible, or optional, destination.

People often focus too much on  destinations, and not enough on directions.  We have such a goal oriented society that it’s easy to end up at a destination that isn’t in the direction you actually wanted to go.  That’s how people lose weight, find themselves in a lifestyle they hate and can’t sustain, and then gain it all back.

If you’re tired of gaining it all back, this is an article you need to read.

A Focus on Goals:

If Susan really sat down and clarified her values, she’s say that what she wants for her food habits and for her body is:

  • Peace
  • Confidence
  • Results she can maintain for life

But she sets a goal of losing 15 pounds in 12 weeks.  On the surface, 1.25 pounds per week is a reasonable goal.  But let’s see what happens.

  1. First, Susan starts working on basic food skills like portion size and eating mostly whole foods.  The first week she loses a pound. She feels good that the weight is going down.
  2. The second week, she adds in waiting until hungry to eat.  She loses another pound her second week. That puts her at 2 pounds down, but to hit her goal she’d have to be at 2.5 pounds down by now, she starts to get nervous feeling behind.
  3. The third week is her husband’s birthday.  She knows she’s behind so she makes sure not to order what she wants when they go out for dinner, she doesn’t have any wine, and she skips desert.  She totally feels like she missed out on what should have been a fun meal with her husband. At the end of the week she’s down 0.75 pounds. That puts her down 2.75 pounds, and to be on track for her goal she would need to be down 3.75 by now.  She’s really frustrated and sad, that even with missing out she’s still off track from her goal.
  4. The fourth week she decides to get back on track.  She starts to weigh and measure her food, and track every calorie.  Basically the less she eats the better. She figures that if she can really cut hard for a couple weeks, she can get back on track.  She’s hungry all the time, tracks every calorie, and loses 2 pounds. She’s on her way to being back on track and feels awesome.
  5. The fifth week, she plans to keep cutting hard again and keep catching up.  On Wednesday, hunger gets the better of her, and she smashes a box of girl scout cookies.  She looks at the calories, knows she blew the whole week, and eats whatever she wants for the rest of the week.  Sunday she weighs, finds herself up a pound, and is despondent.
  6. The sixth week, she decides to cut even harder.  No carbs, no fat, just protein and vegetables. Her weight is down 2 pounds in 3 days and she thinks she found the key.  Then she has a terrible day at work, snaps, and eats a brownie. Knowing she blew her no carbs plan, she has pizza for dinner.  Then more girl scout cookies. She follows that with chips. At the end of the night she feels bloated, uncomfortably full, and didn’t even enjoy any of the things she ate.  She gets on the scale the next morning to “see how much damage she did” and she gained back the 2 pounds she lost the first three days of the week. She gives up completely. 

I’m sure we’ve all seen some version of this cycle repeat a million times.  If you look at her values (peace, confidence, results she can maintain for life) we can see that she sacrificed those to try to hit her goal.  

A Focus on Values:

Lets see what that same week would look like if she came at it from the perspective of valued direction:

  • Week six of food skills practice:  Susan has been working on the 5 Core Food skills, and has slowly worked up to practicing all three.  There have been some bumps in the road, but she’s still down 4 pounds in 6 weeks. She feels really good because her skill practice actually lines up with her values.  She feels good because she’s practicing being the kind of person she wants to be.

She already feels more peaceful, more confident, and more like her results will be sustainable, just from how consistent she’s been with her skill practice.  The weight loss has been simply a natural consequence of consistent skill practice. She doesn’t have to stress about how fast or slow it goes, because she’s already being the person she wants to be. She already feels peaceful and confident, knowing she’s doing her skills, and knowing everything is going in the right direction.

What you do need to know, is that if you set goals without clarifying your values, you’re putting the cart before the horse.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t set goals.

A goal, actually, can be a fun game to play inside of moving in a valued direction.

What you do need to know, is that if you set goals without clarifying your values, you’re putting the cart before the horse.  You have no idea if your goals, and the methods you use to pursue them, are moving you towards or away from the kind of person you want to be.

If you notice your goals are taking you away from your values, then you’ve set goals taking you away from the kind of person you want to be.  And it’s all about practicing being the kind of person you want to be.  

Your values are how you know.  Clarify your values, and then you have a filter to test your actions against.  You can ask, “Is this moving me in the direction of my values?”

The funny thing about weight loss, is that it tends to come with being the kind of person you want to be. Most people, after clarifying their values, have tremendous clarity around what kinds of food habits and skills they want to practice.  All of a sudden, diet culture looks fairly repulsive. On the flip-side, eating balanced meals, eating meals not snacks, learning to cope with emotions without food, moderating treats, eating vegetables, eating slowly, these are all things that people feel good doing.  These are things that fit their values. These are also the same things that work best for long term weight loss.

Mar 09

How to Beat Perfectionism and Start Losing Weight

By Josh Hillis | Uncategorised

One of the most common obstacles that clients face in weight loss is perfectionism.  Clients who identify as perfectionists almost always have a similar cycle:

“I was doing really well for a few days, then I blew my diet.  I couldn’t be perfect, so I decided I’d just start again Monday.”

The thinking is — they want to do really well.  So, if they can’t “do well” they’d rather not do it at all.  I get it, we all want to do well.

Unfortunately, research into perfectionism shows that it always produces failure.  That perfectionism isn’t defined by doing well, it’s defined by quitting.

If you want to do well and hit your goals, there are two other things you should do instead.

We’re going to take a look at what perfectionism is, we’re going to change your context for perfectionism such that you can break free of it, and then we’re going to look at the two things you can begin practicing, today, that will actually have you hit your goals.

If you want to lose weight, and perfectionism is getting in your way, this post is a must read.

Perfectionism — Working Really Hard Until you realize you can’t be perfect at something, then quitting.

Perfectionism is that cycle of working really hard and quitting.  But it’s the action of quitting that distinguishes something as perfectionism.  Researchers studying “positive perfectionism” vs. “negative perfectionism” found that there is no positive perfectionism.  It’s only negative. It’s only about quitting.

If it were positive, it would be “pursuit of excellence” or “conscientiousness,” which we’ll talk about later.

The perfectionist is someone who works on her diet really hard for Monday-Wednesday, then has some sort of mistake on Thursday, quits, and says “I’ll start again next Monday.”

The lie is — “If I can’t do it perfectly, I should start over again next week.”  

Unfortunately, humans are never perfect.  The most successful weight loss clients aren’t perfect.  The most successful weight loss clients are the ones who have practiced becoming comfortable with their imperfection, while they are practicing pursuit of excellence and conscientiousness.

Let’s take a look at those next two things.  Practicing these two things are the best ways to avoid “perfectionism failure.”

Pursuit of excellence — Working really hard at something. When you mess up, you work harder or you get coaching.

The 2018 Olympics are on as I’m writing this.  It’s easy to imagine that all of the Olympians have been perfect every second of their lives, and that’s what got them there.  In reality, it’s the opposite. It’s that they’ve become very comfortable with working really hard, then when they mess up, they get coaching on how to do it more effectively.

An interesting thing in figure skating — some of the top skaters fell during their performances.  Did they give up and leave the ice? No, they finished their routine, amazingly so, and actually won medals despite having made a mistake.

So, quick review:

  • Perfectionism is defined by quitting when they make a mistake
  • Pursuit of excellence is defined by getting coaching when you make a mistake.

Conscientiousness — Honoring your word about what you said you would do.

If someone is conscientious, when they mess up, it has no effect on them continuing to do what they said they would do.

The person who is conscientious is someone who diligently works on her food skills Monday-Wednesday, then has some sort of mistake on Thursday, and then diligently works on her food skills Thursday-Sunday.  A mistake one day has zero impact on keeping her word the next day. The only game she is playing is to keep her word the next day.

Now, in honoring your word, depending on what you mess up, that may include letting someone know who you are accountable to that you messed up.  But that’s done without emotion or exaggerated bad feelings. It’s done with conscientiousness: “I said I’d do this for seven days, and I did six.”  That may be followed up with, like pursuit of excellence, some coaching. Or, it may just be that that’s how life goes, that humans are imperfect, and that’s okay. 

Another quick review:

  • Perfectionism is defined by quitting when they make a mistake
  • Pursuit of excellence is defined by getting coaching when you make a mistake.
  • Conscientiousness is defined by doing what you said you would do, regardless of if you make a mistake.

Perfectionism Is Not A Fixed Human Trait, It Is A Practice

Perfectionism is an action —Quitting in the face of adversity.

Pursuit of excellence is an action — Getting coaching in the face of adversity.

Conscientiousness is an action — Doing what you said you’d do, in the face of adversity.

All of those are actions that can be practiced.  If you’ve practiced perfectionism around food for years (decades), it’s going to be hard to practice pursuit of excellence or conscientiousness.  

When you first begin to practice practice pursuit of excellence or conscientiousness, you may notice you still have perfectionist thoughts.  Don’t fight the thoughts. You’ve had those thoughts for years, they may stick around for years. Just let them be. Just notice. You don’t need to change the perfectionist thoughts, you need to change the perfectionist actions.

You can have perfectionist thoughts, and still practice pursuit of excellence or conscientiousness actions.

The only route to getting rid of the perfectionist thoughts is by practicing pursuit of excellence or conscientiousness actions, for months or years.  The action is your way out. In the beginning, don’t worry about the thoughts at all. Let the thoughts be there, while you practice the actions for the kind of person you want to be.

Weight Loss Success

Weight loss success is defined by pursuit of excellence and conscientiousness.

Granted, if you’re doing a diet, you’ll still fail.  Which is why we recommend using the One by One Core 5 Food skills.  Skill-based weight loss just works better for real people, in real life.

So, weight loss success is:

  1. Practicing pursuit of excellence (get coaching when you need it)
  2. Practicing conscientiousness (doing what you said you would, even when it’s hard)
  3. Practicing the One by One Nutrition Core 5 Food Skills

Keep it that simple, and you’ll steer clear of perfectionism failure.

Again, notice that all three things are practices.  You don’t need to do them perfectly (there’s that word again!), you just need to practice.

If you think about it like anything else you’ve ever learned that was hard (like a musical instrument or a language) you know that it’s just about practice, pursuit of excellence, and being conscientious. Practice, practice, practice your way to weight loss success.

Dec 31

New Years Weight Loss FAQ

By Josh Hillis | Uncategorised

What’s cool about having done this for 15 years, is that we know all of the questions that people ask every New Years.  The New Years questions are actually the perfect place for you to start.

Should I do this cleanse/magic diet?

This is a common question because people have that feeling of being “super motivated.”  You want to do something hard and exciting and really see results this time.

There’s a superstition created by our media that says that super hard crazy restriction, magic foods, or avoiding food groups is the key to weight loss.  This, of course, is false.  Calories determine weight loss.

You can lose weight in any amount of caloric deficit.  What we what to do is work on the skills that have people reduce calories and lose weight:

  1. Waiting until hungry to eat
  2. Eating 3-4 meals per day (no snacks)
  3. Eating mostly whole foods
  4. Plating meals ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrates, ½ vegetables, 1 tablespoon fat
  5. Eating just enough (stopping before too full)

If you really take a look at the above skills, it’s pretty obvious that if you were doing all 5, you would lose weight.  

There’s no reason to get distracted by “magic foods” if the issue is simply that you’re snacking too much between meals and after dinner.  Let’s focus on the big, important stuff, and not get distracted by things that don’t make a difference.

Will this supplement help me lose weight?

It's possible, but most people that try to lose weight without changing their diet end up the same size or heavier. A person may initially lose a couple pounds but they come back.  If you have weight to lose, it's not because you're lacking a supplement, it's a result of what, when and how much you eat. And popping a pill or drinking a tea won't help you solve those real issues behind your weight.

Working on your eating skills is so effective that you won't need any supplements

Should I count calories?

This is a better question.  

The answer, though, is probably not.

Counting calories is kind of like if you were playing basketball, but instead of passing shooting and dribbling (playing the game) you just stood and looked at the scoreboard, trying to will it to be different.

In reality, what you want to work on is playing the game really well.  That means working on food skills:

  1. Waiting until hungry to eat
  2. Eating 3-4 meals per day (no snacks)
  3. Eating mostly whole foods
  4. Plating meals ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrates, ½ vegetables, 1 tablespoon fat
  5. Eating just enough (stopping before too full)

If you do the above five food skills, you’ll be in a caloric deficit automatically, and you’ll lose weight.  Focus on the actions that put you in a caloric deficit.

Can I do more than one food skill?

Now we’re getting to even better questions!!!!

In the past, we tried to dial people back to one skill at a time.  The idea was simple: Lets focus on one thing, and really be successful at that one thing, before moving on.  We’ve changed our tune in the last couple years.

If you’re feeling super “motivated” at New Years, DO ALL FIVE.

Seriously, jump right in and do as many as you can.  Just don’t stress out of some of these are hard.  They are hard.  And they’re worth it.

If you really want to rock this January, do them all.  They’re the same 5 skills you’ll use to maintain your weight loss results for the rest of your life, so get as much practice as you can!

Just make sure to hold them lightly.  If you start to feel less “motivated” in February and March (most people do) you can dial it back to practicing 1-3 of the skills, and then slowly ramp up over time.

Why Do You Keep Putting “Motivation” in Quotes?

Well, mostly when people say they are “motivated,” what they mean is that they have a feeling or an emotion that they want to do something.  That feeling can be really useful for getting started.

The issue is what happens in February and March when you no longer “feel motivated”?

That’s when the game actually begins.  That’s when we play the game of how to fit these same skills into your life, at different levels, over a lifetime.

Ultimately, what will have you maintain the results you get is doing the food skills because they represent the kind of person you want to be.  

Generally, people are parents to their kids because it’s important for them to be parents to their kids, not because they feel “motivated.”  No one gets a four year degree in college because they were “motivated” the whole time — they did it because it was important to them, and they kept working at it when they didn’t feel “motivated.”  Weight loss and healthy eating works the same way — to keep going you have to get clear about the kind of person you want to be.  

Your weight loss results will last a lifetime if they are a combination of:

The kind of person you want to be

The most effective food skills

But it’s ok if you start with “motivation.”

Why Food Skills and Not Diets?

Most of our clients have failed at white knuckling diets at least 10 times before.  They find that food skills work where diets have failed.

It just makes sense — food skills are the actions of weight loss.

Why These Food Skills?

  1. Waiting until hungry to eat
  2. Eating 3-4 meals per day (no snacks)
  3. Eating mostly whole foods
  4. Plating meals ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrates, ½ vegetables, 1 tablespoon fat
  5. Eating just enough (stopping before too full)

We continuously pour over the research on which food skills have people lose the most weight and keep it off for the longest.  

We also look at the research on which food skills positively impact people’s relationships with their bodies, repair issues with emotional eating, and increase well being.  

We find that the One by One Nutrition food skills are the ones that work best for all of these, from weight loss to well being.

What if I Have Trouble with These Food Skills?

Well, the food skills are probably the opposite of how you’ve been eating all of your life.  So, we’re doing a full 180°.

It’s kind of like, the way most people eat is the way you would eat if you wanted to be hungry all of the time and gain weight.  We flip all of that completely backwards, so you’re satisfied all of the time and lose weight.  But that also means that we’re filling in a lot of skills-gaps that people have.  That can be tough.

Many of our food skills have subskills.  For example, if a person struggles with Eating Just Enough, we can take a look a some of the sub-skills that make up Eating Just Enough:

  1. Eating slowly
  2. Taking half time
  3. Boosting veggie intake
  4. Eating without screens
  5. Eating carbs last
  6. Eating protein
  7. Planning the next thing
  8. Sensing diminishing returns

We can work on any one of those sub-skills, and then come back and have Eating Just Enough be more successful.  The important thing to know is that we’ve got a complete system, and we have tools specifically designed for you to use whenever you are having a tough time.

Also, we don’t expect you to be able to read a list of skills and just implement them.  That would be silly.  That’s why we created free courses for each of the skills.

Also, many people need coaching.  That’s actually our business, and that’s why we can give all of the courses away for free — many people make use of a One by One Nutrition Coach to help guide them through to tough spots and set them up to be successful with a custom food skill plan.

But, in the meantime, you can start with one of the 25 free courses here:

Nov 20

Weight Loss and Thanksgiving – Are You Making This Mistake?

By Josh Hillis | Uncategorised

When someone talks about how much they were able to restrict their eating on Thanksgiving:

  • It’s the most heartbreaking thing I can imagine in a person's relationship to food and their body.
  • It’s a profound misunderstanding about how long term (more than 5 year) weight loss and weight maintenance works.

Don't be that person.

You can have it so much better. You can have both a more effective weight loss journey and a more enjoyable Thanksgiving.

Someone who is able to both lose weight and maintain it for a lifetime has mastered one foundational skill: Picking their battles.

Because they pick their battles, they are able to get weight loss results at opportune times, and maintain in inopportune times.

People Who Fail At Weight Loss Do This:

People who fail at weight loss always get it in reverse — they miss the opportunities to mindfully and intentionally enjoy more food with friends and family.  Instead, they eat more mindlessly at times when it doesn’t really add much enjoyment to their lives:

  • When it’s date night, they restrict.
  • When it’s candy in the bowl at work, they eat it mindlessly.
  • When it’s Thanksgiving with their family, they restrict.
  • When they are watching TV, they snack mindlessly.

People Who Succeed At Weight Loss Do This:

In the flipside, someone who is successful at maintaining weight loss forever, knows that it’s the mindful eating with people they love that makes a difference:

  • When it’s date night, they enjoy it and have a glass of wine, maybe even desert if they feel like it.
  • When it’s candy in the bowl at work, they skip it, because really.
  • When it’s Thanksgiving with their family, eat and be with their family, and eat their favorite pumpkin pie that grandma makes once per year.
  • When they are watching TV, they skip the snacks and just watch TV, because you can’t watch TV and enjoy food at the same time.

It's About Picking Your Battles

Thanksgiving Day is not the day to restrict.  It’s not even a day to work on food skills in a really big way.  If you want to work on a food skill, pick ONE of these:

  • Eat slowly.  Eating slowly is cool because you get to enjoy your food more, and people typically eat less total food when they eat it slowly.  The combination of eating less calories AND enjoying it more works for special occasions.
  • Eat mindfully.  Take each bite and enjoy the five senses experience of it: Look at the food.  Take a second to taste each bite.  Notice how the food feels in your mouth.  Listen to biting into something crunchy.  Eat like you are on a cooking show, and you want to get every bit of enjoyment from the food as you can.  The more you experience the food, the better you remember the food, the less you end up being hungry or snacking later (a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h).  Again, less total calories AND more enjoyment.

It's Not About Thanksgiving Day

It’s about November and December. 

People fail because they eat all of the Christmas cookies that show up in the office.  People fail because they give up after Thanksgiving and say “I’ll start again in the new year.”  People fail because they have three holiday parties per week through all of December, and they drink at all of them.

People are successful when they choose.  They eat more than normal on Thanksgiving and really enjoy it with their family.  The next day, they go back to skills like eating just enough, portion sizing meals, eating 3-4 meals per day and no snacks. 

One day doesn’t matter.  A week or two, or a month, totally matters. 

What If You Do Want to Loosen Up for All of The Holidays?

That’s an option also.  GASP!  What!?!?!?  That’s crazy talk! 

It’s true.  You can actually dial it back. 

Lets say you are working on seven food skills right now:

  • Eating 3-4 meals per day (no snacks)
  • Eating slowly
  • Eating without screens
  • Eating just enough
  • Eating mostly whole foods
  • Real life treats
  • Boosting veggie intake

You could dial that back to two food skills for December:

  • Eating 3-4 meals per day (no snacks)
  • Boosting veggie intake

You wouldn’t be putting nearly as much energy into food skills as you were maybe the last few months (where you were losing weight consistently). 

Instead, you dial it back to just two.  There’s a huge difference between staying in the game with two food skills, and saying “Eff it!  I’m starting again in January!”

Maybe with two skills you maintain the weight you’ve lost.  Maybe you even continue to lose weight.  But you don’t have to put as much energy towards it. 

This ability to stay in the game at a lower level is another lifetime weight loss mastery skill. 

The Biggest Predictor of Weight Loss Failure is Black and White Thinking

We know that the biggest predictor of weight loss failure is black and white thinking (i, j, k, l, m, n).  That’s thinking things like:

  • I’m off my diet.
  • I ate something that wasn’t clean.
  • I blew it, so I’ll start again (next week, next month, next year).
  • I ate something bad.
  • I ruined everything.

It’s normal to have those thoughts.  We’ve been conditioned by diet culture to think those thoughts.  I repeat it’s ok to have those thoughts.

But you don’t have to act on them.

The AND Method

Weight loss mastery is often about having those thoughts, and practicing your food skills anyway.

A really simple skill for working through black and white food thoughts is the AND Method:

“I’m having the thought that __________ [insert black and white food thought] AND what I’m going to do is ___________ [insert food skill you are going to practice].”

For example:

  • “I’m having the thought that ‘I’m off my diet’ AND I’m going to boost my veggie intake at the next meal.
  • “I’m having the theoguht that ‘I ate something that wasn’t clean,’ AND I’m going to eat slowly for the rest of the day.”
  • “I’m having the thought that ‘I blew it, so I’ll start again after new years,’ AND I’m going to eat 3-4 meals, no snacks, for the rest of the day.”
  • “I’m having the thought that ‘I ate something bad,’ AND I’m going to add in a real life treat.”
  • “I’m having the thought that ‘I ruined everything,’ AND I’m going to boost my protein intake at the next meal.”

This is based on a concept of fusion and defusion, from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (m, n, o, p, q, r).  Fusion is essentially the state of being bullied by our thoughts.  Instead, we take the perspective that it's normal to have these thoughts, and we can still take actions in line with our values in goals.

People Talk About Moderation Like It’s Impossible

Moderation is simple.  It just means practicing some of the skills and not all of them. 

It’s ok to practice some sometimes.  It’s ok to practice most of them other times.

If you can practice some of the skills, all of the time, you will win at weight loss.  The person who gets the most practice wins.  And the people who practice a little sometimes and a lot sometimes get more practice than people who practice all of them and then quit.

Remember, it's ok to have the "black and white diet thoughts," but you don't have to act on them.

Whoever gets the most practice (cumulative, not all at once) is the most successful with weight loss.

Thanksgiving is The Best Time To Practice Life Long Weight Loss Mastery:

Here is your four step plan for lifetime weight loss mastery:

  • On Thanksgiving Day, practice 1 or 0 of the skills.
  • After Thanksgiving Day, and in December, practice 1-3 food skills
  • In January, practice the Core 5 Food Skills
  • Notice when you have black and white food thoughts.  Practice your food skills anyway.


Impact of five senses experience and memory on food intake:

(a) Oldham-Cooper, R. E., Hardman, C. A., Nicoll, C. E., Rogers, P. J., & Brunstrom, J. M. (2011). Playing a computer game during lunch affects fullness, memory for lunch, and later snack intake. The American journal of clinical nutrition93(2), 308-313.

(b) Brunstrom, J. M., Burn, J. F., Sell, N. R., Collingwood, J. M., Rogers, P. J., Wilkinson, L. L., ... & Ferriday, D. (2012). Episodic memory and appetite regulation in humans. PloS one7(12), e50707.

(c) Ogden, J., Coop, N., Cousins, C., Crump, R., Field, L., Hughes, S., & Woodger, N. (2013). Distraction, the desire to eat and food intake. Towards an expanded model of mindless eating. Appetite, 62, 119–26. 

(d) Mittal, D., Stevenson, R. J., Oaten, M. J., & Miller, L. A. (2011). Snacking while watching TV impairs food recall and promotes food intake on a later TV free test meal. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 25(6), 871–877.

(e) Parent, M. B. (2016). Cognitive control of meal onset and meal size: Role of dorsal hippocampal-dependent episodic memory. Physiology & Behavior.

(f) Higgs, S., Williamson, A. C., Rotshtein, P., & Humphreys, G. W. (2008). Sensory-specific satiety is intact in amnesics who eat multiple meals. Psychological Science, 19(7), 623-628.

(g) Scheibehenne, B., Todd, P. M., & Wansink, B. (2010). Dining in the dark. The importance of visual cues for food consumption and satiety. Appetite, 55(3), 710-713.

(h) Robinson, E., Aveyard, P., Daley, A., Jolly, K., Lewis, A., Lycett, D., & Higgs, S. (2013). Eating attentively: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of food intake memory and awareness on eating. The American journal of clinical nutrition, ajcn-045245.

Black and white food relationship and weight loss failure:

(i) Palascha, A., van Kleef, E., & van Trijp, H. C. (2015). How does thinking in Black and White terms relate to eating behavior and weight regain?. Journal of health psychology, 20(5), 638-648.

(j) Blomquist, K. K., & Grilo, C. M. (2011). Predictive significance of changes in dietary restraint in obese patients with binge eating disorder during treatment. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 44(6), 515-523.

(k) Sairanen, E., Lappalainen, R., Lapveteläinen, A., Tolvanen, A., & Karhunen, L. (2014). Flexibility in weight management. Eating behaviors, 15(2), 218-224.

(l) Byrne, S. M., Cooper, Z., & Fairburn, C. G. (2004). Psychological predictors of weight regain in obesity. Behaviour research and therapy, 42(11), 1341-1356.

(m) Meule, A., Westenhöfer, J., & Kübler, A. (2011). Food cravings mediate the relationship between rigid, but not flexible control of eating behavior and dieting success. Appetite, 57(3), 582-584.

(n) Smith, C. F., Williamson, D. A., Bray, G. A., & Ryan, D. H. (1999). Flexible vs. Rigid dieting strategies: relationship with adverse behavioral outcomes. Appetite, 32(3), 295-305.

Defusion and valued action:

(m) Hayes, S. C., Levin, M. E., Plumb-Vilardaga, J., Villatte, J. L., & Pistorello, J. (2013). Acceptance and commitment therapy and contextual behavioral science: Examining the progress of a distinctive model of behavioral and cognitive therapy. Behavior therapy44(2), 180-198.

(n) Kishita, N., Muto, T., Ohtsuki, T., & Barnes-Holmes, D. (2014). Measuring the effect of cognitive defusion using the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure: An experimental analysis with a highly socially anxious sample. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science3(1), 8-15.

(o) Forman, E. M., Butryn, M. L., Juarascio, A. S., Bradley, L. E., Lowe, M. R., Herbert, J. D., & Shaw, J. A. (2013). The mind your health project: a randomized controlled trial of an innovative behavioral treatment for obesity. Obesity21(6), 1119-1126.

(p) Forman, E. M., Butryn, M. L., Manasse, S. M., Crosby, R. D., Goldstein, S. P., Wyckoff, E. P., & Thomas, J. G. (2016). Acceptance‐based versus standard behavioral treatment for obesity: Results from the mind your health randomized controlled trial. Obesity24(10), 2050-2056.

(q) Harris, R. The happiness trap: how to stop struggling and start living. 2008. Trumpeter, Boston.

(r) Harris, R. (2009). ACT made simple. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

Oct 01

Eating Just Enough with Pizza — It CAN Be Done

By Josh Hillis | Uncategorised

The skill of “Eating Just Enough” might be the crown jewel of eating skills.  It can take the most practice, but it is by far the most worth it.  We know that people that have the skill of eating just enough have the best weight loss and weight loss maintenance, the highest well being, and the best and most resilient body image.

There Are Two Opposite Poles of Eating Just Enough (EJE)

Lets say that you were looking at two opposites: On one end, you were doing EJE with pizza.  On the other end, you were doing EJE with chicken, rice, and broccoli (the hardest dying stereotype of what you would eat to lose weight).  In reality, neither one of those is going to make up the majority of your meals, but they’re really useful to illustrate the spectrum of EJE skill practice.

With Pizza: you probably want to portion it out ahead of time, because you might not be able to trust your stomach to tell you when to stop.  You probably have to wait a certain amount of time after eating to be able to see how full and satisfied you are.

With chicken, rice, and broccoli: You can very reliably trust your stomach with when to stop, during the meal.

In between those two poles, you have a million shades of grey.  Hopefully many of your meals are some combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, with a generous helping of vegetables, and some amazing seasoning or delicious sauce to make it taste wonderful.  What’s really great to notice, is that you can set yourself up for any kind of food, at any time, and trust yourself.

With pizza, you might know that you can trust yourself 20-30 minutes after eating, but not during eating.  So you portion out a healthy amount, eat it, and then go do something else, until after that time. 

How To Eat A Healthy Amount of Pizza

Would someone really have two or three slices of pizza, with a salad, and then stop?  They will if they build the skill to.  

Part of it is just accepting that, with a food like pizza, you are going to want far more than you need.  The amazing thing, is that if you give yourself a normal, healthy, one person portion, you can eat that and stop.  Stopping requires three and a half simple skills:

  • Accept that when you finish that normal size portion, all humans will still want to eat more.
  • Talking yourself through that you know that it’s enough, you know that in twenty minutes you’ll feel totally happy and satisfied, and feel good that you had the right amount.
  • Immediately go do something else for that twenty minutes.  You could go do something fun.  Or, since everyone is busy, you could go check something off of your to-do list, and have a double win.  Or, if people you love are around, you could talk to them.  Those are three options that are 100x more nourishing to your life than white knuckling staring at an empty plate or an open pizza box.
  • Notice 20 minutes later that you actually feel totally full and satisfied, and how happy you feel that you ate the right amount.  Notice how much better it feels to have had the right amount, vs. that gross over-stuffed feeling people have when they kill half of a pizza.  Be stoked that you can have pizza and still hit your goals.

Twin Skills: Portion Size and Eating Just Enough

Georgie came up with the best analogy for how portion size and eating just enough work together — that it’s like buying shoes.  When you buy shoes you don’t try on every shoe, you have a pretty good idea of what the right size is going to be, and you start there.  You make your adjustments (a higher size up or down) starting from what’s usually a pretty good place.  With food it’s the same way — you want to pay attention to your stomach, but you want to set yourself up with what’s probably pretty good right from go.  You can get a little more later if it was too little, or you can stop early if it was too much.

Most things you eat won’t be pizza and they won’t be chicken, rice and broccoli.  Most things will be in the middle somewhere.  

That means that for most things, you want to use some blend of EJE and portion size.  Adjust the blend depending on your situation:

  • Lets say you ate the meal way too fast — that’s a good time to rely on portion size over EJE.
  • Lets say you eat really slow — You can probably rely on EJE instead of portion size.
  • If you cook something remarkably delicious — Set yourself up with pretty healthy portions, then use EJE as your guide.
  • Lets say your meal is under-seasoned and not delicious — Add more seasoning LOL!

You Have More Options Than You Think

Most diet based food philosophies will tell you that certain foods are “clean” and certain foods are “dirty.”  Fortunately, research tells us that not only is that not true, but the level to which you believe in clean and dirty is an extremely effective predictor of weight loss failure.

Let me repeat that: Most people who tell themselves that foods are “clean” and “dirty” will fail at weight maintenance.  

Because you are interested in maintaining weight loss for the rest of your life, you practice telling yourself that foods are simply more or less calorically dense, and more or less tasty.  

Unbalanced, hyper-delicious, calorically dense foods can totally be part of your weight loss program, but you want to apply a certain amount of portion sizing to them.

On the other hand, foods that are less calorically dense, high fiber, and have a balanced amount of proteins carbohydrates and fats make it much easier to just trust your stomach and eat just enough.

But isn’t it nice knowing you can eat whatever you want and still get results?

You’ve got choices.

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