As much as we all wish it wasn’t the case, the fact is that fixing your relationship with food isn’t something that’s going to be solved by a single ‘silver bullet’. Anything that requires a huge amount of effort on an ongoing basis is more likely to fail. The best you can do is figure out which approaches you can take and things you can change to make the effort as simple as possible to maximize your chance for success.
Think about what your average day is like. Try to see what you can change to make things easier (soylent being a great option, of course). Minimize times you need to exert willpower. Figure out the set of things you can do or change to help make your efforts as easy as possible. There’s no universal set of things that will work for everyone equally well. Try to take a scientific approach to it. Try different things for a few days, figure out what’s working and what isn’t, and make changes as needed.
Some recommendations from my experiences (but figure out what works for you!) includes:
- Forget exercise: it takes time, effort, often money, and drains your limited willpower.
- If you eat when you’re stressed or emotional, try to reduce your stress. I started using meditation, but find what works for you.
- If you eat late at night, either try going to bed earlier, or try getting food further away (stay upstairs if you have a downstairs kitchen, for instance).
- If you have a food addiction, try quitting it “cold turkey” by switching to a 100% soylent diet (potentially switching over the course of a week to ease into it)
- If you find that soylent doesn’t keep you as ‘full’ throughout the day, maybe try intermittent fasting. That means eating during a smaller time window through the day. Many people use noon to 8pm as their eating window. Since your willpower is stronger earlier in the day, it’s easier to not eat then. Some people find certain drinks to help with not eating in the morning, like carbonated diet sodas or “bulletproof coffee”.
- Some people find it easier if they have something else in their mouth. Certainly smoking is one approach many people take, although I would avoid that since our efforts are to improve your health, not trade one problem for another. I have personally found chewing gum to be effective for me.
- Drinking water between meals is a great way to help you feel more full and get your water intake up, but plain water might not be appealing enough by itself. If you find that’s the case, add some zero-calorie (or hopefully at least low-calorie) powder to it. I personally use the Fruit Punch flavor of the Great Value brand from Wal-Mart (sometimes the ‘Energy’ version that has caffeine added) but you can find lots of other options in the Amazon category Grocery & Gourmet Food : Coffee, Tea & Beverages : Powdered Drink Mixes : Soft Drink Mixes. Just make sure if you go to that category, choose to filter on the calories (0 calories checkbox, and maybe the less-than-40 calories too). Sugar-free Kool-Aid and the like would be good, too.
- Try to avoid situations you know are problematic for your food choices. For many people, that’s being alone, especially later in the day.
Remember, focus on figuring out what works for *you*. Think of your efforts like a scientific experiment. You’re going to have to try different things until you find the set of changes that are right for you. Don’t get discouraged when you find certain changes don’t work for you. That’s not a problem, it just means you need to try something different.
It goes for soylent too
Even if everything else is working great and you’ve switched to 100% soylent to treat your food addiction, you still want to make sure you figure out which soylent mix/option is best for you.
When I first started out as exclusively soylent, I started with the official Soylent brand from Rosa Labs. This was version 1.4 of their powder at the time, 2000 calories per day. I had previously acquired a scale that showed body fat percentage (and automatically uploaded it over wifi, which was nice) so I was ready to measure what percentage of my weight loss was from fat. During that initial period, I had lost around 35 pounds of weight, which was good, but only about 65% of it was fat. That wasn’t so good.
After doing a bunch of research into see what options there were for trying to preserve muscle mass during weight loss, I found some research that pointed to ketogenic diets doing a better job than ‘normal’ macro ratios for preserving muscle mass. So, I tried a bunch of different ketogenic soylent mixes (every commercial one that was available at the time) and found one that worked best for me (taste, cost, GI issues, ingredients, etc.). It let me adjust the daily calorie amount by varying the amount of MCT oil I added, so I made it 1200 calorie per day. After trying that for a few months, I had lost weight at a slightly faster rate than before (which wasn’t bad), but more importantly, about 95% of the weight I had lost was fat. Preserving muscle mass is a much more important metric than how fast you’re losing the weight.
I don’t know how applicable this kind of approach is for others, this is just what worked for me, but the important thing is to try things, be willing to try other things, figure out what’s working best for preserving muscle mass but still having you lose weight, then go for it!