The Cheat System Diet: Eat the Foods You Crave and Lose Weight Even Faster---Cheat to Lose Up to 12 Pounds in 3 Weeks!

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9781250068095: The Cheat System Diet: Eat the Foods You Crave and Lose Weight Even Faster---Cheat to Lose Up to 12 Pounds in 3 Weeks!
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Do you know a great deal about losing weight and staying fit, but are having a hard time following through? Do you feel like you are doing everything right, but not losing the weight you want? The Cheat System Diet works because it acknowledges that a certain amount of "cheating" when you eat is normal, and gives you a plan do to this the RIGHT way.

The Cheat System Diet helps you feel better quickly, because it removes the stress and the guilt around traditional diet and exercise.

For nearly a decade, PEERtrainer -- a wildly successful online "weight-loss lab" -- has provided its members with the best information on how to be successful at losing weight. Now The Cheat System Diet, tested and proven by hundreds of thousands of PEERtrainer members, brings this expertise to you.

The Cheat System Diet is based on a simple list that divides foods into two categories: Cheats and Eats. Cheats are the foods we all crave (cookie, anyone?) and Eats are nutrient-dense foods. You can eat as many Eats as you like. And you start with a certain number of Cheats every day, then earn more by making especially healthy choices, like having a big salad before dinner.

With The Cheat System Diet, PEERtrainer founder Jackie Wicks takes all the information you know about dieting and gives you a proven framework to make eating work for you. Follow Jackie's smart three-week program and you'll find:

*Nothing is restricted -- eat any food you like.
*Eats are unlimited -- eat as many Eats as you want.
*Exercise is reasonable - no more spending hours every day at the gym.
*No need to count calories, fat, fiber, or sugar -- just focus on eating your Eats!

With three weeks of comprehensive meal plans, an easy-to-follow exercise schedule, and more than 100 delicious recipes, The Cheat System Diet will revolutionize your approach to food and shrink your waistline at the same time. This supportive, easy-to-follow program allows you to eat well and lose weight, while still enjoying your favorite guilty pleasures.

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About the Author:

JACKIE WICKS founded PEERtrainer, the leading online weight loss community, in 2005, after struggling to lose the 60 pounds she gained during pregnancy. PEERtrainer now reaches over 250,000 active subscribers a week and nearly a million unique visitors a month. US News & World Report calls PEERtrainer one of the best sites to lose weight, and it's been featured on Good Morning America, and in People, the New York Times, WSJ, USA Today, O Magazine, and Good Housekeeping.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

CHAPTER 1

 

How Cheating Will Help You Finally Succeed

Why You’re Doing Everything “Right” but Nothing Is Working

Accept what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.

—SONIA RICOTTI

If you’re like most people, you’ve read all the books, you know what you should be eating and doing, and you have a great deal of knowledge about diet and fitness, but you have a tough time following through. The diet and fitness world “helps” by giving us contradictory solutions, ridiculous gimmicks, and impossible standards—all of which are completely frustrating, counterproductive, and unsuccessful. What I hear from PEERtrainer members all the time is that they’ve tried a bunch of different diets but nothing works—or nothing works for long. Succeeding at weight loss involves a lot of factors, both physiological and psychological. If a diet doesn’t take into consideration both—and most do not—that diet has set you up to fail. Period.

The Cheat System Diet helps you tackle all that has stopped you from losing weight in the past, and will help you at every level—food and exercise, your body and your brain—so you will succeed. We’ve done it with our PEERtrainer members and I’ve done it for myself.

Welcome to what works.

YOU HAVEN’T FAILED DIETS, DIETS HAVE FAILED YOU

There are a million fads out there: go clean, do Paleo, go vegan, go gluten-free, go whole foods, do whatever your best friend’s sister is doing or what you see Jennifer Aniston talking about in a magazine—but then you don’t have time to shop and cook and produce the latest braised fennel, blah blah blah …

Or you hear about a certain kind of yoga that Giada De Laurentiis does, and you think, “Maybe that’s it!” But you are so stressed out about getting to that magical yoga class that it doesn’t even seem worth it to you anymore.

Exercise programs that gain massive popularity in a flash like P90X or CrossFit are basically the same as trendy diets like Paleo: supposed magic-bullet solutions that in reality don’t work for most of us. Could you succeed in the short term using them? Sure, but these programs are tough and restrictive, which most people can’t maintain over the long term.

This is why so many people quit these fad diets and exercise programs over and over again. I did, too. I quit when it gets too rough on the treadmill. I quit sometimes when I’m just sick of eating healthy food and really want a slice of pizza. I’m sure you’ve done the same.

There is a biological reason we quit, why we give up when something we’re trying to do becomes too hard. It’s called homeostasis, and it applies to both your body and your mind. Your body wants to be in balance, and when it knows it’s not—say, because you’re killing yourself doing two CrossFit workouts a day, or spending the day at your desk starving on a calorie-restriction diet—it will do whatever it can to get back into homeostasis, the place it feels balanced.

“One of those days where I wake up and go, ‘It would be so cool to be a vegan. Gonna start today!’ Then I fry bacon.”

—Tyra Banks

Because of that, I would argue that quitting is not always a bad thing. It means you have taken on too much, and your whole mind and body is shouting, “This is not going to work.” And your body and mind are right.

Designed for people who have quit before, the Cheat System promotes homeostasis. It makes your body happy, and it’s doable. The trick is to keep your body in homeostasis. If it isn’t in biological balance, your body and your mind rebel.

“The Cheat System is better than strict Paleo, where I could not eat beans or sweet potatoes.”

—Jessica, Gahanna, Ohio

When we make a drastic change, it’s hard for our body and mind to stay with that change, so most of the time it wants to overcompensate for what’s missing. This is the reason why when you think, “Okay, today I’m giving up chocolate completely,” all you can think about is having ten large chocolate bars. You might not have even thought about chocolate if you didn’t declare such a drastic change. The Cheat System helps you make gradual, subtle changes so your body doesn’t rebel. It makes small, good “deals” with your mind, so your body can get used to a new homeostasis. The Cheat System presents a new way of shedding pounds; your body says I can deal with this and you actually follow through.

I’m solely focused on what works. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been obsessed—for eight years—with one question: What will you actually do? What will you follow through on? And the answer is the Cheat System. I wanted my plan to work whether you are an eighty-hour-workweek investment banker or a full-time wife and mother.

Just This Once …

The problem with restrictive diets is that it’s really easy to fall off the wagon. And the second most people go the slightest bit off track, they use it as an excuse to go crazy for the rest of the day or even the rest of the week. You wake up on Monday morning and you want a fresh start … but then someone brings donuts to the office, or your car tire is flat, or your daughter forgot a permission slip. So you think, “Just this one morning I’m going to go to Starbucks and get my usual low-fat latte and an apple fritter, one last time.” But by doing that, you set yourself up for a terrible lunch and dinner. You go out for Chinese with your coworkers for lunch and by dinner you figure it doesn’t really matter, so Monday is a total loss. So then you decide, “I’m going to start Tuesday.” And then Tuesday might go okay, but when you weigh yourself on Wednesday it still isn’t be better and you’ve been doing this all week and you decide that it doesn’t matter what you do. And you give up once again.

You’re probably very successful at other areas of your life. Why has weight loss been such a struggle? Here’s why: in other areas of your life, you probably don’t set unrealistic goals. In other areas of your life, when surprises happen that you don’t expect, you probably roll with it, or at least handle it as best you can. When you slip up or do something wrong, you might chastise yourself for a moment and then let it go. When life happens, you don’t beat yourself up.

But when it comes to dieting … you do all of those things. You set unrealistic goals of sticking to a restrictive diet. When a surprise is tossed your way—like donuts in the office—you freak out. When you eat a donut and slip up, you beat yourself up and decide that all your previous effort was a waste. This thought process is one of the biggest reasons other diets have failed you.

The fact is, diets stress people out. Workouts stress people out. Life stresses people out. And all of those things are keeping you from losing the weight. We did the science, we did the research, we did the trial and error with our members on PEERtrainer. And what we’ve found, overwhelmingly, is that the pounds come off when the plan is easy, when it’s doable, and when it doesn’t stress out the body.

So many things go into your body being healthy, and what most people don’t understand that is the stress it takes to get to the grocery store to shop for a restrictive diet (much less to eat on it) and to work out for hours a day counteracts all the work you are doing because the stress biologically gets in the way of your weight loss!

Stress Belly

Have you ever experienced a day when you were ravenous all day? You get up hungry, eat your “normal” breakfast, and feel like in order to be full, you literally need to eat three more. Perhaps you’ve eaten two eggs, spinach, and fruit, but you could eat another two plates of food and you’re wanting a donut or something more than usual?

That’s cortisol, and it may be one of the reasons you haven’t been able to lose the weight. A snacky, can’t-get-full feeling is almost always cortisol out of balance. It’s obvious why this is bad: if you’re never full, then you’re always eating, and that will definitely not help you lose weight. I have those days, and before I knew what they were all about, I was beyond frustrated.

A huge part of why you haven’t been able to lose the weight is because of a cortisol imbalance, a hormone activated when you are stressed (which for most of us is pretty constant). If you have a belly, that’s cortisol. If you feel like screaming because you’re always frustrated, that’s cortisol. If you can’t concentrate on healthy food or finding a way to exercise because you feel like you’re being pulled from all sides, that’s cortisol. A lot of people write off being stressed all the time as something that’s just part of life or getting older or having kids—but it’s not. Constant stress is often the result of a cortisol imbalance, and a cortisol imbalance can cause constant stress.

Cortisol can have an effect on your testosterone and estrogen levels, as well as on your entire body chemistry. If your cortisol is out of balance, it can have a domino effect on the rest of your hormones. Unfortunately, cortisol can be the catalyst for thyroid, estrogen, and an entire host of other hormonal issues.

I learned a lot about cortisol from Dr. Sara Gottfried, a Harvard-trained physician and bestselling author of The Hormone Cure. When cortisol is at high levels, it increases insulin resistance, which causes your body to store fat. Unfortunately for us, cortisol is also released when you feel psychologically stressed—like when you have to turn down a happy hour invitation because you’ve decided to start a new diet, for example.

Cortisol is natural and can be good for our body in many ways, but it is also a major factor to why people can’t lose weight (and also why some of us carry more fat in our belly than anywhere else). If you feel like you’re doing everything right but you’re not losing weight, that’s an indication that your cortisol is out of balance.

High levels of cortisol makes you look older, it’s what’s keeping the fat on your belly, and it’s keeping you from being able to do what you used to be able to do when you felt like you had it together. It’s keeping you from making the healthy decisions you need to make in order to lose weight.

When I discovered that cortisol was a huge factor in weight, I felt like I had uncovered a huge secret. I knew from my own experience that stress was a big presence in my life—not only did I feel stressed out by my life in general but also by just choosing to be on a diet!

So how do you know if your cortisol is out of balance? You can get a saliva test at your physician’s office, and I highly encourage to you to do this. But we all know how much time and effort it can take just to schedule an appointment. So I have something easy for you to do right now. I want you to ask yourself a question—and really answer honestly.

Do you ever feel like you can’t deal? Like you’re so overwhelmed that anything you have to do makes you think, “How am I going to get this done?”

If you identified with this statement, you’re not alone. As Dr. Sara has said in her book, many of us have issues with cortisol, and “All roads lead back to cortisol.” So if you’re stressed, overly emotional, or feel like your life is spiraling out of control, pay very close attention to your cortisol.

So what can you do about it? Often when I tell people about the effect cortisol has on their body and their weight, I often get a response like, “I’ll deal with my cortisol when I have a minute, thanks!” And I get that—you are busy, life is full, and cortisol is an invisible problem that isn’t calling for your attention, dinner, or a clean soccer uniform right now.

But cortisol is probably one of the major reasons diet hasn’t worked for you in the past. Since a cortisol imbalance is responsible for a lot of that extra weight, we designed the Cheat System so it reduced cortisol at every level: in the food you eat, when you work out, when and how often you feel stressed. (You could have low cortisol issues as well, and cortisol levels are different depending on the time of day. The only way to be certain is to go to your phyisican, but for many of us, we have high cortisol at the wrong times and this keeps the weight on.)

This is one of the major ways the Cheat System is different from any other diet you’ve tried: it takes care of balancing your cortisol levels and the other things that are holding you back without you having to even think about it.

If you’re on the Cheat System, the diet and exercise plan will stabilize your cortisol and reverse its effects on your body, mind, and your feeling of crazy stress—all at once.

It’s Not About the Discipline

You might think the reason you haven’t succeeded thus far is because you don’t have willpower or the discipline to “do” a diet. But that’s not true. For instance, let’s say you are on a portion-control diet. Your family orders a pizza for dinner and you promise yourself you’ll just eat one slice, but you end up eating three.

Most people blame not being able to control their portions on a lack of discipline, but that’s not really true. The reason you can’t resist that third piece of pizza is physiological. It has nothing to do with your mental discipline and everything to do with biology (more on that later). It’s confusing because the majority of us have plenty of discipline elsewhere in our lives: we go to work on time, we keep to a household financial budget, we play by rules set before us. But we don’t remember any of that discipline when we slip up on our diets. We are too busy blaming ourselves. We just end up thinking, “I want to lose weight so badly, what’s wrong with me that I can’t resist this slice of pizza?”

And that’s a faulty question, because your willpower or discipline has very little to do with the fact that you ate the extra two slices of pizza—that was a physiological response to hunger. Your body needs micronutrients for fuel. It’s really that simple. Pizza has an extremely low micronutrient profile. You’re eating the pizza and your body is screaming out, saying, “Where are my micronutrients? I need selenium. I need manganese!” (Just to name a few.) So your body’s response is, “If I eat more, I’ll get my micronutrients,” which leads you to continue to eat and eat while your body is actually starving for the type of fuel it needs to go.

But here’s the worst part: you eat and eat and think, “Where is my discipline? I want to lose weight so badly but I just can’t do it. Here I go again.” But your brain translates “Where is my discipline?” and “I want to lose weight so badly” into “What’s wrong with me?”

And your brain responds: “You’re right. What is wrong with you?” Our brains are primed to solve problems, not to understand the nuance and context of every situation. So when it hears a question, it doesn’t necessarily fill in the appropriate response (because your body was still hungry for micronutrients). Instead, it tries to “fix” what went wrong in the situation. But because your brain can’t turn back time and stop you from eating the extra slices of pizza, it tries to “teach” you. It makes you feel guilty because it thinks that will make you stronger next time. (Which it won’t, but as we discussed before, the brain is just doing what it thinks will solve the problem.)

Worse yet, as you continue asking your brain the question “What is wrong with me?” a psychological “stack” of problems begins to build up in your emotions. We start to stack all of our negative thoughts together. As psychologist Martin Seligman describes in his book Learned Optimism, the question “What’s wrong with you that you ate three slices of pi...

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9781250044693: The Cheat System Diet: Eat the Foods You Crave and Lose Weight Even Faster -- Cheat to Lose 12 Pounds in 3 Weeks!

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