Tuesday, December 5, 2017

How To Put Your Weight Loss Program on Autopilot

Let’s say you were the only pilot of a modern passenger plane with all the latest technologies, and your destination was Fiji.  You were looking forward to an easy flight and a nice time on the beach once you got there.  As soon as the plane took off, you realized that the autopilot was programmed by the previous pilot to fly you to Antarctica and not to Fiji.  What would make more sense, take the time and reprogram the autopilot so it can take you to Fiji, or just grab the yoke and steer the plane to the direction you want the plane to go and fight the autopilot and fatigue the whole way there?  

Obviously, the best thing to do is to reprogram the autopilot to take you to Fiji so you would be free to enjoy the trip more and only have to check the autopilot from time to time to make sure is working correctly and has not deviated from its course. Then, when you arrive in Fiji, you can relax on the beach. 

Well, we all have an autopilot, which is our subconscious mind.  According to cognitive neuroscience, 95% of your daily actions and thoughts are controlled by your subconscious mind.  In other words, 95% of your daily actions and thought are habitual behaviors.  Only around 5% of your daily actions and thoughts are controlled by your conscious mind.  This makes perfect sense because our subconscious mind has, almost, unlimited processing power, whereas our conscious mind is very limited.   

Getting our subconscious mind to run most of our daily tasks frees our conscious mind to focus on the important stuff, like enjoying life. Think of your subconscious mind as the autopilot and your conscious mind as the manual control.  The problem with the conscious mind (manual control) is that it requires a lot of mental energy and it can only do one thing at a time.  So if you are focusing on your diet or to make sure you get your workouts in, you are not focusing on enjoying life.

If you look at the typical weight loss and diet programs they don't help you train your subconscious mind (autopilot) to develop new habitual behaviors.  Instead, they rely on your conscious mind to take all the necessary actions (manual control).  As I explained earlier, this takes a lot of mental effort, which, in most cases, leads to burnout.  This is why 95% of the people who lose weight regain the weight back with the current methods of weight loss 

If you look at the healthy regions around the world, all the things that they do that keeps them in shape, are habitual behaviors.  Basically, their fitness program is on autopilot.  My kind of fitness program!

Best way to achieve sustainable weight loss is to make habitual all the healthy actions you need to take in order to lose the weight you want.

This is the way we approach weight loss with our Live Your Way Thin System with great sustainable results and this is the way we strongly recommend everyone to approach weight loss.

Stavros Mastrogiannis
18 Mill Plain Rd
Danbury, CT 06811
(203) 778-9545

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving Advice & Tips

Another Thanksgiving is upon us with all the food temptations.  It seems to me that Thanksgiving has become a holiday about food and not about giving thanks.  Dont get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with enjoying the food; what is wrong is that the food has become the main focus.

Here are few tips to help you get through Thanksgiving meal:
  1. Keep in mind, the more food you eat, it does not mean the more fun you have.  
  2. If at the Thanksgiving meal you are serving yourself, (buffet or family style) put on your plate half of the food that you think you can eat.  You can always get more.
  3. Remember to eat slowly and mindfully.  Always put your fork down between bites and chew your food well.  By eating slowly and mindfully you will get more satisfaction from eating and you will end up eating less.
  4. Go to the Thanksgiving meal hungry, but make sure you eat slowly when the meal comes. 
  5. If you are serving yourself, the first time you go up to get food, get salad only, and then after you eat the salad go back for the main course.
  6. Dont forget to leave room for dessert.
  7. Keep in mind the consequences of overeating and how uncomfortable you will feel after. Why do that to yourself?  You can have a great time at Thanksgiving without having to stuff yourself.  
  8. Whatever you do, DON'T GO LOW FAT.  If you go low fat you will simply just eat more.  So just enjoy your food and try to stop eating when you have satisfied your hunger.

The only thing that was meant to be stuffed on Thanksgiving is the turkey!

Have a Great Thanksgiving

Stavros Mastrogiannis is a 25 year veteran of the weight loss field and specializes in sustainable weight loss. He is the founder of Live Your Way Thin LLC in Danbury CT and the creator of The Live Your Way Thin System

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Root Cause of Your Weight Problem

The Live Your Way Thin System
A day does not go by without hearing or seeing an ad for a weight loss product or service.  Although there are thousands of weight loss programs on the market today, we are still gaining weight as a nation and our health is getting worse.  How come?

Well, the reason is because most weight loss programs don't address the root cause of your weight problem.

You see, the one thing you need to realize is that you don't have a weight problem in the first place.  What you have is a behavioral problem.  Your current shape is the sum of all your past and current habitual behaviors.  If you are overweight and out of shape that is because you have more unhealthy habitual behaviors than healthy ones.  If you want to lose weight and get in shape, and more importantly maintain those results, you must first identify the unhealthy behaviors you engage in. (keep in mind, some unhealthy behaviors you might not be aware of them at all, so you might need to ask your friends and family for help).  In addition, you want to identify healthy behaviors you should engage in, on a daily basis.

Once you have done that start working on changing or developing one behavior at a time.  The problem with changing behaviors is that you can't change more than one behavior at a time.  If you don't believe me, just check all the popular weight loss programs on the market today that try to help people change all thier unhealthy behaviors all at once.  Over 95% of the people who lose weight with those methods, regain the weight back. 

If you want sustainable results, you must focus on changing one behavior at a time.   This is the way I help my clients lose weight with great success and I recommend everyone approaches weight loss the same way.

Stavros Mastrogiannis

Simple, Sustainable Weight Loss, Without fuss.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

How Not To Give In To Cravings

We all get cravings from time to time, the question is how to best deal with them.  The advice I keep hearing from many weight loss experts is to remove the bad foods that you crave, from your home or office.  Sounds like good advice but in actuality is not and here is why.  Let say you love chocolate and you removed all chocolate from your house so you will not see it.  What happens though, when you go to a friend's house who keeps chocolate on the counter?  Usually, most people give in because they have not learned to control themselves.  

The answer to cravings in not to remove the bad foods that we crave from our environment because we don't always have control of our environment. The answer is to learn to control ourselves.  How can you do that?  It is easier than you think.

Learning to control yourself.
Did you know that cravings get their power from you?  Yes, cravings get their power from you when you are contemplating whether you will give in or not.  Once you start contemplating whether or not you will have the bad food, you've lost the battle already and here is why.  Do you know what happens in your head when you are contemplating?  Subconsciously you are asking yourself this question:  “What excuse can I come up with so I can have the chocolate?”  Once you ask that question, your brain will come up with an answer.  You see, the brain is like a search engine.  You put in a question, it comes up with the answer, it can't reject the question.  So since you asked yourself, what excuse can I come up with so I can have my chocolate,  It won't  tell you that you are not supposed to have the chocolate but instead, it will come up with very creative excuses as to why is OK to eat the chocolate today and I am sure you know what excuses I am talking about.

You see the problem with humans is that we can rationalize everything, even things that are bad for us.   By the way, some junk food on occasion,  is fine. Too much junk food is bad for your health.  So what should you do when you are having a craving?  Simple, change the question.  Keep in mind that most of the times we crave junk food when we are stressed or bored.  If you are familiar with my weight loss program, The Live Your Way Thin System, I teach my clients to make junk food special so they can have it on the weekends only.  

So, if you are having a craving for chocolate during the week the question you should be asking yourself is this:  “Today is a weekday and I don't have junk food on weekdays, what else can I do instead that does not involve food?”  You might not come up with an answer right away but keep asking the question every time you have a craving.  Sooner or later your brain will start coming up with an answer that will take your mind off the chocolate and you will find, over time, easier and easier to resist the cravings and eventaully you will not be having any cravings at all.  I am speaking from personal experience and the experience of many of my clients.  Also remind yourself, what is the point of having the chocolate now, when you are going to feel guilty for having it.  How long will you actually enjoy the chocolate, before the guilt kicks in?  Wouldn't you rather wait until the weekend and have your chocolate guilt free?   The key to resisting cravings is not to give yourself a choice.  A craving goes away as soon as you decide you will not be giving in.  With practice, this pattern of thinking will become second nature and cravings will lose their power over you. 


Monday, November 6, 2017

Do You Want Fast Weight Loss or Permanent Weight Loss?

I am sure by now you know that the vast majority of people who lose weight end up regaining the weight back.  How much more money do we need to spend on the current methods of weight loss before we wake up and realize that there is something seriously wrong with the way we approach weight loss?  

The problem is that the vast majority of weight loss programs have focused on what people want because it is easier to sell a program that delivers what people want.  People want fast results!  For the most part, most weight loss programs are able to deliver on their promise.  The problem is that the fast results that they deliver are also temporary results, but I guess, that is not their
problem.  Besides, that is good for business; repeat customers.  The fact is that fast results are almost impossible to maintain because in order to get fast results you need to make big changes in your eating and activity behaviors all at once, and big changes all at once almost always lead to burnout.  This is why most weight loss programs fail to help people keep the weight off long term.

The fact is, the only way to lose weight and keep it off is through permanent changes in your habitual behaviors and the only way you can do that is by changing one behavior at a time.

I understand that people want fast results, but sometimes in life, what we want and what we need are two different things.  I don't know about other weight loss experts, but I did not get into the weight loss field to help people lose weight temporarily, I got into the weight loss field to help people lose the weight for the rest of their lives.  So my focus is on telling people what they need to do in order to achieve sustainable results and if that means fewer people join my weight loss program because that is not what they want to hear, I am fine with it.  I can sleep well at night because I know that people who I am helping to lose weight, they have the best chance of keeping the weight off for life.  I also know that sooner or later the people who want fast results at any cost will get tired of losing weight, only to regain the weight back.   When they do and they are ready to lose weight the sustainable way, I will be there to help them.

I call my approach to weight loss, The Live Your Way Thin System, and it is a very simple system.  The fact is, losing weight and getting in shape does not have to be hard or complicated.  The fitness industry has brainwashed people into thinking that in order to lose weight you must workout hard, you must eat certain foods, you must count every calorie, basically, that the whole weight loss process is a hard and complicated process.  

The fact is the only reason the weight loss process is complicated is because the fitness industry has made it that way so they can sell more DVDs, and to make people more dependent upon fitness trainers and nutritionists.   It does not have to be that way.  To lose weight and improve your health is a very simple process but it takes patience which, unfortunately, many people don't have. 

The only way you will achieve sustainable weight loss is by making permanent changes in your daily habitual behaviors.  Your current habitual behaviors got you to the shape you are in today and the only way you are going to change permanently your current shape is by changing the habitual behaviors that got you here!

The best way to develop new habits is through repetition.  In other words, an action must be repeated many times before it becomes habitual and the best way to ensure you keep repeating an action long enough to make it a habit is to keep the action simple.  That is why when I help people lose weight, I try to keep the whole process very simple and very easy to follow.   The question I always ask people who want to lose weight fast at any cost is this:  “What is the point of losing weight fast if you are going to regaining the weight back? Wouldn't you rather take a little extra time to lose weight the sustainable way by developing the right habitual behaviors and never have to worry about your weight again?

Stavros Mastrogiannis

Monday, October 30, 2017

Let's Start a Family Walking Tradition

I was talking to a client of mine the other day, and she was telling me about a German colleague of hers and how the city he was from had a very interesting walking tradition.  Every Sunday, the whole family would go out for a walk around the neighborhood.  My thought was, what a great way to get some exercise for the whole family, and get to know your neighbors at the same time.   Another great benefit of taking family walks is that you will get to strengthen the bond with your kids.  Studies have shown that kids tend to talk to their parents more when they take long walks together.   You see, when the family just sits at home, the kids usually are playing video games or watch their iPads, and they are not talking as much.  So walking is not just good for the health of the family, but also a great way to talk with your kids and bond with them. 

This story reminded me how in Greece, we have a similar tradition.  Whenever we would go out to a restaurant for dinner, we wouldn't just go to the restaurant, sit, and eat.  We would first walk back and forth at the paralia (Every city or town next to the ocean has a paralia.  Paralia is what Greek people call the street next to the ocean and that is where most of the restaurants are).  It was a casual, slow walk and we would talk about all different subjects.  Usually, the whole family would be participating in the conversation.  Because almost everyone in my city would take that walk at the paralia, it was a great way to stay in touch with people.  Back when I lived in Greece, not everyone had a telephone in their home.  Many times we would also take a walk after dinner.

Talking to another client of mine, who had lived in Italy, told me that the Italians have similar walking traditions.
The interesting part is that people did not walk because it was good for their health, but because it was something nice to do and also a great way to meet and talk to your neighbors and friends.  The health benefits were just the side effect, not the goal. If you look at other European nations, you will find that most of them have some type of walking tradition.

This got me thinking.  Why can't we start our own walking traditions, something that we can pass down to our kids just like many healthy European regions have done?  I am not talking about walking clubs.   I am talking about families starting a tradition of taking a walk together in their neighborhood every Saturday or Sunday, or both days when the whole family is together.  I think is a great tradition to start.  It is good for our health, a great way to bond with our kids and a great way to meet our neighbors.  Keep in mind, I am not talking about power walks or speed walks, I am talking about strolls.  Don't worry about your heart rate, or if you are breaking a sweat or not, just walk.   You will get benefits from walking whether you get your heart rate up or not.  Another great benefit of walking slowing is that it is very relaxing for the mind.  I personally like slow walks and find them very relaxing.

My family and I have started doing these walks every weekend.  Yes, there are weekends that we skip but we always try to get out and walk together as a family as often as we can.

At Live Your Way Thin, we want to start a family walking tradition.  We ask all the families who read this article to make it a point every weekend to take a walk together in your neighborhood. Please don't let a little rain or snow stop you.  I think is a great tradition that every family in America should start.  As a side benefit, you will also finally get to meet your neighbors.  If you live in an area that you can't safely walk in your neighborhood, see if you can find a park nearby that you can go with the family and walk.  I think this is a tradition worth developing as a family and as a country.

I would love to hear from all the families who started this new walking tradition.  Let’s make it a Connecticut family walking tradition and, hopefully, other states will also adopt this great tradition.   Also, if you have any suggestions as to how we can help spread the word about this tradition so it can take root, I would love to hear them!  Please share this article with your neighbors, family and friends.

You can email me at Stavros@liveyourwaythin.com.   Looking forward to suggestions of how we can build on this tradition.

The Live Your Way Thin System
"A completely New approach to weight loss for people who have no time for exercising or complicated diets"

Monday, October 23, 2017

Do You Need to Workout Hard to Get Results?

Don't Believe The Myths
In my 25 years in the fitness field, I have found that one of the main reasons why people avoid working out is because they have the false belief that in order to get benefits from your workouts, you must push hard and every set must go to failure.  They also believe that you must feel sore the next day after the workout to indicate that you got benefits from the workout.  None of these things are actually true, and the sad part is that many fitness professionals still promote this kind of mentality. 

The fact is that if you want to tone your body, lose weight and improve your health, all you have to do is a workout that challenges all your main muscles a little bit more than they are used to.  You don't have to bring every set to failure, and, by the way, one set will do the job.  Around 90% of the benefits of weight training, come from the first set if done right and another 10% from the second set. In my opinion, the third set is a complete waste of time for the average person who is trying to get in shape.  Also, you don't need to run or jog; walking will do the job.  Obviously, if you enjoying running or jogging that is fine but that is something you don't need to do to get health benefits and lose weight.  Also, keep in mind that too much running or jogging is bad for your body.

Of course, if you are looking to compete in the next Olympics, then you do have to push hard in every workout. Maybe you will need to do the third set, even though you only get, maybe an extra 1% of benefits because, as you know, in a sports competition there isn't a big difference between winners and losers. In that case, 1% of benefits may be the difference between winning and losing.
So, are you joining the next Olympics, or are you trying to lose weight, get in shape and lower your risk of developing heart disease and other lifestyle-related conditions?  If you are not joining the next Olympics, you do not need to train that hard to get the results you want.  

One of the main benefits of working out lightly is that you have a much better chance of sticking with your workouts long-term and remember, consistency is the key to results and also presents a much lower risk of injury.  I know many personal trainers like to push their clients hard so they can get the best results as quickly as possible.  However, the best results in the world will not keep you motivated to keep going, if you start hating the process of working out, or even worse, get injured.

So the bottom line is this:  The best workout is the one you will do and do consistently.  Remember, consistency is the key to sustainable results and another thing to keep in mind is that diet plays the biggest role when it comes to weight loss.

The Live Your Way Thin System
"A weight loss approach for people who want results but prefer not to exercise or diet"