Trick your brain into giving you Abs: the story of the Evil Shrimp
Yesterday I was asked if deep fried shrimp fits a healthy diet. After looking up the nutrition facts of fried shrimp, I found that it has 1000% more calories than baked shrimp.
This means that if you deep fried 100 calories of shrimp you would add 900 calories to it - or the equivalent of a quarter pound of body fat. Wow.
I followed by explaining why this 1000% difference is relevant and how to apply it to become lean and lose fat. If you want to learn how to trick your brain into giving you Abs, with no willpower, then please keep reading.
Your brain is making you fat
Let's take a step back from the evil shrimp for a second and understand why this is important. The research has shown that an overweight person's brain and a lean person's brain both believe that they are eating the same amount of calories - when they clearly are not. This is really concerning since fat loss is determined by how much you eat vs how much you burn.
How much you eat is largely determined by your brain. It demands food and you feed it. No one is able to resist hunger for long - as every crash dieter knows.
Since your brain determines how much you must eat then the key for fat loss is to make your brain think you are eating the same or an appropriate level of calories while cutting back.
Change your brain, change your waist size
The difference in brains isn't genetic. Instead, it's been found a product of environmental factors - most importantly the kind of food you eat. Some foods make your brain eat more calories, while others eat less. So the key to losing weight and revealing your abs is to reduce your calories while making your brain think you are eating just as much - or more.
This is accomplished by eating more low density (light) foods and eating less high density (heavy) foods. We are of course talking about calorie density here.
Our evil fried shrimp is a perfect example of high density (heavy) foods. Each shrimp contains 1000% more calories than their baked siblings.
The reason it's critical to eat Light Foods is because while Heavy Foods contain up to 10x as many calories, they are nowhere near 10x as filling.
If you ate 30 baked shrimps instead of 10 fried ones, you would instantly reduce your calories by 70%. To get calorie equivalent of 10 fried shrimp, you would need to eat 1.2lbs of baked shrimp.
Why some are lean and others are not
This concept is exactly how thin and lean people stay that way. They are able to maintain a proper calorie balance without feeling deprived, hungry, or experiencing strong cravings. They stay thin by tricking their brains into thinking it's eating just as many calories as an overweight person.
3 Ways to Trick your Brain into becoming thin
- Eat vegetables with every meal — vegetables are nature's diet pill. They are loaded with nutrients, minerals, fibre, and water - all things that signal "lots of food is coming through!". They add a lot of bulk to your diet while adding virtually no calories. This tricks the nerves in your digestive tract into thinking you are eating way more calories than you are. a. The vegetables I eat: Lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, artichokes, broccoli. b. Don't like vegetables? Here's how I taught myself to love vegetables.
- Drink more water — water is the most essential nutrient in your diet. Without water, the average person would die in a matter of days. So your brain constantly craves water. If it doesn't get water from liquid sources, it will just eat more food to get the water from that. Water also adds bulk and volume, which signals fullness and shuts down hunger. a. My recommendation: Fill up a water container and keep it at your desk all day. Refill it as needed.
- Eat Fruits — also adds bulk to your diet while not adding a lot of calories. Rich in nutrients and water as well. Fruits are a great source of carbs and sweetness, which our brains naturally crave. a. My favorite fruits are navel oranges, mangos, and berries of all kind
- Eat Baked, Grilled, or Broiled meats and avoid creamy/sugary sauces — this applies to all natural proteins, from eggs to seafood to protein rich starches. The most important factor is how you cook it. As you saw, deep frying adds 1000% more calories! Be wary of heavy sauces as those too add a lot of density to foods
How to Get Started
Add Vegetables to 1 Meal
- What's the easiest meal you can add a vegetable to?
- Can you get a salad at lunch?
- Chop up some cucumbers and lettuce for breakfast? Make some oven roasted vegetables with dinner?
Eat a Fruit
- Do you have fruit at home? If not, add some to your next shopping list.
- What fruits do you like? No idea? Pick some from this list.
- Add fruit to 1 meal, the easiest is breakfast. A great combination is greek yogurt + berries.
Drink More Water
- Do you have a water container at your desk? If not, get up and go drink some water!
- Before you leave to work or school, put a water container next to your keys, so you take it with you on your way out.
- Add a sticky note reminder if you have to.
Eat 1 Healthy Protein a day
- Can you make eggs in the morning? How about an omelette?
- Cook chicken or beef in the oven or slow cooker?
- Make a turkey sandwich?
Your new thin brain
Losing weight isn't a matter of discipline or hard work. We all have tried really hard in the past only to fail. While at the same time, we saw people around us who seemed to not have a care in the world and somehow stayed fit.
The key is tricking your brain by creating a habit of eating a lot of low density foods, balanced meals, and lots of water!
I hope you enjoyed this article. I'll share more tips and answer questions in the comments below.