Mario Tomic creates fitness and nutrition content on his YouTube channel based on his own experience of leaning down and maintaining 10 to 15 percent body fat for the last several years. These have included tips on walking for weight loss, and insights on how to overcome a muscle-building plateau. In one of his most recent videos, Tomic shares some of the mindful eating habits he has picked up over time which have helped him sustain his physique.
Practice purposeful eating
“Have you ever stopped and asked yourself ‘why am I eating right now?'” Says Tomic. “If we only ate when we’re hungry, the equation of getting lean would be pretty straightforward.” There are, of course, a whole host of other reasons why we eat that have nothing to do with hunger, ranging from stress to boredom, and Tomic believes it is important to interrogate our impulse to eat in order to satisfy an emotional need rather than a physical one.
In other words, ask yourself: “Am I really hungry, or am I looking for a state change?” Tomic recommends substituting other ways to achieve that state change, which could be anything from calling a friend, taking a walk, or watching a movie.
Choose foods based on ROI
“Too many times, we end up spending our calories on foods that we don’t even enjoy as much,” says Tomic. He cites examples like mindlessly eating while multi-tasking, or snacking just because something is there, where you’re not getting maximum enjoyment out of the food. “If the food is not a clear hell yeah in terms of either enjoyment or health, then it’s a clear no.”
Create eating templates
A lot of the time, it can be easier to stick to a diet plan during the week, but then it all goes out of the window by the time the weekend rolls around, especially if there are a lot of social engagements in your calendar. Tomic recommends going into those weekends with a strategy. For example, if you have a dinner coming up, he advises pre-allocating calories for that meal, including drinks, and adjusting the rest of the day so that your calories still fall within your “budget.”
Focus on second and third order of consequences
“Our bodies are complex systems… a diet change doesn’t just have a single effect,” says Tomic. “It has secondary and tertiary effects that most people never think about.” For instance, if you fall off your diet plan for a while, your instinct might be to get back on it as soon as possible, cutting calories and adding cardio to compensate for that slip. “The first order of consequence there is positive, you will catch up quicker,” says Tomic. “But the second order of consequence is that you made the whole process a lot more difficult. If version one of that is hard to stick with, how are you going to stick with the second version of it? Now you’re even more likely to fall off track again, and compensate even more.”
Rather than asking yourself how you can stick to your diet consistently, Tomic suggests flipping the question so that instead you’re asking: how do you ruin a diet? You will easily come up with plenty of reasons why a diet might fail. “Inverting is the perfect diagnostic tool that you can use to identify the exact things you need to fix to be more consistent with your diet,” he says.
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