Want to Lose Weight, but tired of all those Diet Failures?

Option 1: The Diet Way

1.  Choose a popular diet (Jenny Craig, Nutri-Systems, South Beach, Weight Watchers, etc.) Or a “lifestyle” program (Gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw foods, juicing.) Either way, you dive in happy to have found a “solution” and begin to follow the program religiously.
2.  Lose weight quickly and get excited.
3.  Feel encouraged that you’re losing and decide you can bend the rules just a bit… Mostly because at this point, you’re dying for a cheeseburguer or a cupcake or a Mojito.
4.  Begin to regain because that’s what 95% of peole do. Worse, you may regain more than you’ve lost… (One step forward, two steps back.)

5.  Get back on the diet and swear you’ll stay on it this time until the day you die… Because that is the only way! 

Option 2: The 80Bites Way

1.  Begin counting bites to see where your mouth and stomach stand, and know you’re eating way more than 80 bites per day… (Unless you’re drinking those calories.)
2.  Begin gradually reducing down and taking time chewing each bite.
3.  Develop a “sixth sense” for quantity awareness… You notice that your restaurant plate is easily 45 bites.
4.  You reduce the frequency of eating events. You quit grazing so your body can detox naturally.
5.  You realize that you are less hungry. Your stomach had begun to shrink to its natural (smaller) size.
6.  You pace yourself so that you don’t lose more than 2lbs. a month giving your digestive hormones time to adapt. YOU can beat the regain odds!
7.  You begin to feel uncomfortable when you overeat; your body is now working for you. There is no “diet” to follow, so you simply continue eating what you wish but always knowing that less is more.

Let’s Hear It for 50 Years of Weight Watching?

“Trimming the Fat,” an article by Norine Dworkin-McDaniel in a recent issue of Weight Watchers’® eponymous magazine recalls that first propitious meeting 50 years ago. It’s 1963 – obesity is minimal and Americans ate just three meals daily and about 2000 fewer calories EVERY week! Since then, the diet business has grown to a $61 billion industry, Weight Watchers alone does almost $2billion a year[1], and we have an obesity epidemic. What happened??

Early Weight Watchers was about portions using actual scales to weigh and measure food. Soon someone realized that this approach was too simple and basic so the focus shifted to calorie counting. The reasoning, apparently, was that quantity could be sized up once you knew the calorie counts for everything you ate. Take zucchini. If you ate it steamed and bland, you could down 78 bites and the damage was only 188 calories while if you ate the delicious fried version you had to close your mouth at single digits! It took a couple of decades of low fat nutrient manipulations, but eventually we had unfixed our previously “fixed” stomachs. As our insides grew so did businesses selling food, diet, fitness, seat belt extenders, plus size clothing, coffins etc.

New York University Professor of Nutrition Marion Nestle, author of “Food Politics” (also the co-author of “Why Calories Count”), explains that this shift from less to more was in keeping with the needs of our consumer economy. Since advocating less is practically unpatriotic, the focus shifted to “better” which translates to LOTS of healthy (low calorie) foods. Of course, food marketers like Nestle, General Foods, Kraft, Kellogg’s, etc actually benefit from the eat “healthy” advice since they understand that a stretched, desensitized stomach always wants more. The result is that after you’ve eaten the “better/healthy” version you will also consume what they sell and what you like. The egg white omelet with steamed kale and a green tea is the “better” breakfast nutritionists advocate. Forget that you really want a cappuccino and 8 bites of a croissant with strawberry jam. Today when people eat every two hours they can’t imagine a cappuccino and croissant at 8AM and not being hungry until maybe 1PM because they are hungry since their leptin/ghrelin hormones are out in their oversized stomachs.

Perhaps it was all just an honest mistake and no one could foresee the fallout from obsessing about calories rather than just eating less food. But now there is more miscalculation about the other half of the weight loss formula: exercise more or “burn up those extra calories.”[2] Recent research shows that when thin people exercise vigorously they get leaner; but when fat people do the same exercise losing becomes harder! Yes, exercise is good for your heart and lungs and coordination and balance, but it is NOT a weight loss tool.

If you are one of the 150 million adult Americans who have been fed faulty diet/exercise advice, you probably feel angry—but also relieved!! Now you can relax and learn how to eat less food, less often — the easiest and cheapest way to get back to normal. And you can learn it at www.80bites.com. We’ve only been around half as long as Weight Watchers, but in 25 years we have never wavered from this message: Less is More!

[1] According to Bloomberg Businessweek estimates found here.

[2] A recent study looking specifically at contestants on The Biggest Loser found that they experienced a significant drop in resting metabolic rate, burning 504 fewer calories on average, thanks to an effect known as “metabolic adaptation.” And perhaps as many as 90 percent of the contestants on the show regain all their lost weight, according to US News.” – by Cameron English.

The Myth of “Unlimited” Foods

The term “All You Can Eat” probably conjures up images of a cheap roadside diner with fluorescent lighting However, the “All You Can Eat” concept has been somewhat sneakily hijacked by just about every mainstream diet in the game!

For example… Weight Watchers assigns point limitations to most foods, except fruits and veggies, which are “Unlimited”. Atkins requires a strictly no-carb diet… except for proteins, which you can go hog wild with. The Fat Smash Diet encourages you to drink an unlimited amount of water.

Look at any diet more closely, and you’ll see that there’s a “freebie” in there somewhere. At some point during America’s long history with dieting, we all became afraid of not having enough to eat.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: losing weight (and keeping it off) can ONLY happen if:

1)  Quantity is reduced (i.e. you don’t fill your stomach past a certain point – ideally 25 bites – of ANY food)

2)  Frequency is reduced (i.e. you eat 4 times a day at generally the same time, and eliminate grazing).

Sounds simple, and it is. But if you believe what these diets are telling you, it’s pretty easy to get caught up in the “good food/bad food” trap and forget about Quantity.

Truth is, if you’re eating truly satisfying foods that you enjoy, you WILL have enough. If you master the very simple concepts of Quantity and Frequency, the other stuff simply doesn’t matter as much.

And the next time you see that “All You Can Eat” sign on the road, you’ll just smile and keep on driving.

Myth: “All You Can Eat” Restaurants Are a Good Value

It’s been said that inexpensive foods are actually quite costly – in terms of what they do to our bodies. But believe it or not, they actually empty our wallets as well! The best example? All-American, all you can eat buffet. Obviously, if you can eat a day’s worth of calories for $6.95, you’re getting a bargain, right? Not exactly!

As long as you take the “all you can eat” art seriously when visiting a buffet, the meal will cost you more than the menu price. Add in the cost of all the over the counter digestive aids like acid reflux pills, heart burn liquids, gas relievers and laxatives…
never mind the pricey prescription drugs you eventually require! Similarly, even if you manage to endure digestive issues without the medicine, you’re still building a bigger holding tank by stretching your stomach. As a result, you’re no longer able to sense fullness and you need to shovel in increasingly large amounts of food to feel sated. Up goes your grocery bill along with your health care premiums, chances for diabetes, stroke, heart disease, sleep apnea, memory loss, food allergies and a whole host of other issues linked to obesity. So much for cheap eats!

The Big Three

How to use 80Bites to figure out everything you need to know about losing weight! Here are the 3 big questions, and how to answer them:

1. Are you overweight?  

Use the dietician’s HAMWI Formula (not the BMI!) to determine your ideal weight:

Women: If you’re 5’ tall, the target weight is 100 lbs. For each additional inch, add 5 lbs. (10% less if you are small boned; 10% more if you are big boned). Example: an average 5’4” female = 120 lbs.

Men: If you’re 5’ tall, the target weight is 106 lbs. Add 6 lbs. for each additional inch (10% swing either way). Example: 5’10” male = 172 lbs.

Every body is different, but the HAMWI formula will give you a sense of where you stand. If you’re unsure if you’re at a healthy weight, talk to your doctor.

2.  Are you eating too much (or too often)? 

The 80Bites app does this for you! The target is 80 bites total per day, broken down into 4 “eating events” (or meals.

If you don’t have access to the app, that’s ok. You can still count manually and record data (a good old fashioned pen and paper is perfect). You’ll be amazed by what just a few days of tracking can reveal!

3.  Did you answer “Yes” to questions 1 and 2? 

If you are both overweight and above the 80/4 measure, the 12-week 80Bites Plan is for you. What to eat (everything) and what to drink (fewer ounces and fewer calories) are included. Calories, fat, processed food – all of this matters, but it comes second to stomach size. And getting you and your stomach on happy terms is exactly what 80Bites is here to do.

Myth: Breakfast Like a King?

We’ve all heard the old saying: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. This statement was true… a few generations ago. Back in the days when Americans woke up at 4am to work the farms, breakfast served a very different purpose. After four hours in the fields, already exhausted from hard labor and in need of energetic replenishment, we came in from the farm and sat down to a big, satisfying meal sometime around 10am. Then we went back out to work.

Of course, the vast majority of us are no longer out on the farm. But somehow, we’re still told it’s healthy – and wise – to stuff ourselves full first thing in the morning. Breakfast, after all, is “the most important meal of the day”! But is that true any longer? Do you really need to stockpile calories to sit in front of a computer all day?

The word breakfast can be broken down into two words – break and fast – and biology alone tells us you don’t break a fast with a massive meal. When you rise in the morning, having fasted for eight hours (longer if you don’t eat right up until bedtime), your bio-rhythms are low. What you really need is a pick me up – as in caffeine with some sugar! Add a simple carb with a health fat, and you’re in good shape. That’s right, coffee and a croissant. Tea with toast and jam. Humans are an adaptable species… why should breakfast be an exception?

Eight Is Enough… Or Too Much?

“Eight glasses a day” has become the mantra for drinking water in the past few years. We’re not sure who exactly came up with this number, but most of us took it to heart… and we have the extra-large water bottles and  countless packets of Crystal Light to show for it!

But what if all that water was actually doing our bodies (and the environment) more harm than good? MSN Health makes a great case against chugging H20 that you can check out here.

Don’t get us wrong, water is a wonderful thing, and essential to life. In fact, it might be time we start viewing water as the precious planetary resource it is, rather than a weight loss tool. Those plastic bottles have to go somewhere, folks!

Bottom line: drink when you’re thirsty. Which means far less than 64 oz. per day (unless you spend your days hiking through the Sahara).


Let Your Stomach Do The Thinking

Halloween night is the highlight the year for any candy-loving kid. Many of us have memories of returning home with our bounty, emptying a tidal wave of mini chocolate bars onto the living room floor, and diving in. Of course, an hour later, you were curled up with a tummy ache. Your mother might have shaken her head and said “your eyes are bigger than your stomach”.

Well, Mom was onto something, because this type of visual over-eating is a very real phenomenon. Though most of us have grown out of the pillowcase-full-of-candy phase, you may be familiar with the shock of polishing off an entire bag of potato chips… when you intended to have just a handful.

In his brilliant book, How We Decide, Jonah Lehrer offers an example of this type of behavior, using M&M’s:

“One day (psychologists) left out a bowl of the chocolate candies and a small scoop. The next day they refilled the bowl with M&M’s but placed a much larger scoop beside it. The result would not surprise anyone who has ever finished a Big Gulp soda or a supersize serving of McDonald’s fries: when the scoop size was increased, people took 66% more M&M’s.

How many is “just a few”?

In short, this means that we tend to let our eyes do the thinking – not our stomachs. A big part of the 80Bites program is learning to listen to your stomach. It’s about more just counting daily bites. It’s about training your whole body to assess a food situation before digging in. When faced with a buffet of tasty treats, you’re able to step back and ask yourself some questions: “How hungry am I? Based on how much I know my stomach needs to feel satisfied, how much food do I really need to take?” More often than not, your stomach is less excited than your eyes at the prospect of stuffing yourself silly.

So the next time you’re faced with food that’s a feast for the eyes, let it be just that.

Snacking: The Rule of Two

We have some refreshing food news for you. When is comes to snacking, most of you should actually be eating more.

In this day and age of snacking, the Single Food has become king. Individually wrapped granola bars, single servings of potato chips, a quick piece of fruit…  these foods are designed to be grabbed and gobbled on the go. The foods themselves aren’t the problem, though – it’s eating them by themselves that’s trouble.

If you’re going to go to the trouble of “waking up” your stomach and putting your digestive system to work, you may as well get some mileage out of it! A snack should leave your taste buds satisfied and your stomach sustained. A single food item can rarely accomplish this, so we abide the simple Rule of Two:


We realize the “Something Else” may not be the most scientific explanation, but it’s easy to remember! The reason for the Rule of Two is that snacking becomes worth your while when you treat it like a Mini Meal. Just like at breakfast, lunch or dinner, the goal is to combine flavors and textures to excite your taste buds. Adding protein to the mix ensures that you’ll feel satisfied and energized.

So what does the Rule of Two look like in practice? Just look at what you’re already eating, and fill in the missing part of the equation. So if you’re grabbing an apple in the afternoon, add a handful of almonds. Half a bagel? Try a slice of cheese. A piece of dark chocolate goes beautifully with a banana for a sweet treat. Cottage cheese and fresh veggies are a great combo.

Fruit and Nuts: a match made in 80Bites snacking heaven.

With a bit of planning and practice, it’s quite simple to adopt the Rule of Two and create on-the-go snacks that fit in with your busy lifestyle. And by making sure your snack foods are never lonely, you’re ensuring that you’ll have the energy to keep up with it all.

To Cleanse Or Not To Cleanse?

Whether it’s the colorful packaging, celebrity endorsements or the appeal of shedding pounds in a just a few days, the current popularity of juice cleanses is tough to deny. But are they really good for you? Are they worth the money? And will they support (or hinder) long term weight loss?

Our resident dietician and 80Bites co-creator, Meredith Luce, checked in with Everyday Health about the downside of juice cleanses. Check out the article here.