≡ Menu

Here Are 5 Daily Habits To Help You Lose Your Next 10 Pounds & Double Your Energy (Without Willpower and Discipline)

My FREE guide & email course will show you how the psychology of HABITS can make you lose those 20-30 pounds, have more energy and a better life even if you’re a busy professional.

new big cover

I Recreated an Unprocessed Sandwich From Panera Bread. But Here’s What Mine Looked Like Instead…

unprocessed sandwich panera bread experiment

I got an email from a client last year that sounded desperate.

She told me that she was doing everything right based on my advice but wasn’t losing weight at all:

“I don’t get it… I eat all the right foods – lean meats, veggies, whole wheat bread – but I’m still gaining weight. I get a little bit of exercise, but my diet is literally perfect. What’s going on here?”

When I probed a bit further and asked specifically the kinds of foods she was eating, she dropped the bomb:

“Oh no, I go out to eat all of my meals. I have a traveling job so I don’t have the luxury of cooking my own food.”


As it turns out, even healthy food when you eat out (depending on where you eat) can be loaded with hidden calories. To prove it, I did a little experiment below:

Here’s What I Discovered 

The Home Experiment: You Can Eat “Healthy Food” And Still Gain Weight

I bought a sandwich at Panera Bread – one of their bestsellers – and here’s what happened next:

unprocessed sandwich panera bread experiment

Here’s What it Looked Like Opened:

unprocessed sandwich panera bread experiment

Here’s How Many Calories it Had:

unprocessed sandwich panera bread experiment

And I Became Curious…

If I made this sandwich at home, what would it look like, how many calories would it have, and would it be any more/less filling?

The way a food is prepared (e.g. processing/sugar added) dramatically changes how filling it is, as well as how many calories it has.

So it’s entirely possible for a food to be MORE filling with LESS calories if it’s LESS processed. Catch my drift?

So I Grabbed the Same Amount of Bread (In Weight):

unprocessed sandwich panera bread experiment

And Then I Grabbed The Same Amount of Turkey…

unprocessed sandwich panera bread experiment

Then I Added Some Cheese..

unprocessed sandwich panera bread experiment

Added Some Bacon…

unprocessed sandwich panera bread experiment

And Some Tomatoes…

unprocessed sandwich panera bread experiment

And Some Lettuce…

unprocessed sandwich panera bread experiment

And 90 Calories Worth of Mayo (Panera’s Sauce Was 90 Calories):

unprocessed sandwich panera bread experiment

And My Own Sandwich Came To Life, With One Problem…

unprocessed sandwich panera bread experiment

It Was TWICE The Size, But 150 Calories Less. What!?

unprocessed sandwich panera bread experiment

The Surprising Differences Here…

Let’s start with one observation: My sandwich was enormous. Much bigger Panera’s and presumably much more filling.

Total calories from Panera’s sandwich: 830

Total calories from my sandwich: 700.

#1 It’s a Heck of a lot Easier to Overeat (Without Realizing it) When You Eat Out.

That’s not just because food is more “unhealthy” – it’s sometimes the amount it’s processed, how it’s cooked, and the sauces and marinades that are used.

For example, look at the calorie count from wings at Buffalo Wild wings. We all know wings aren’t exactly a health food, but if you were to prepare them at home, you’d literally eat 1/3 the calories. If you ate  ONE SERVING of ribs & chicken tenders at buffalo wild wings, that’s literally the recommended daily calorie intake for a 6′ 2″ 170 pound male. Or for a 5′ 7″ 150 pound female.

Buffalo Wild Wings

I’ve already showed something very similar in another health experiment called “Shocking (In Pictures) Why We’re Fat.”

I also have shown previously how we’re going up against a massive business (the food industry) and how they’re keeping us addicted: How Big Business Makes Food As Addictive As Cocaine.

The scary thing is that Panera is actually on the “healthier” side of the spectrum. If you’re really eating out and letting yourself indulge (especially if you do it twice a day) you could easily be eating your entire recommended daily amount of calories in two meals.

#2 There’s a Heck of a lot More Sodium Than if You Made the Food Yourself.

Check out the sodium facts from the CDC:

Sodium CDCThe tolerable upper limit is 2,300 mg/day.

Just in this sandwich there was almost 3,000 mg.

In the version that I made, it totaled less than 1/2 that: 1,300 mg.

#3 Your Health Is NOT Just About Calories

300 calories of broccoli and 300 calories of soda aren’t the same. At all.

So maybe you’re eating the right amounts of food, you’re not dramatically over eating, so you’re drinking soda and eating some junk but not gaining weight.

Think you’re in the clear?

Sorry, you aren’t.

Despite the fact that you may not be gaining weight, broccoli is loaded with nutrients, anti-cancer compounds, and other protective vitamins and minerals.

Soda contains high fructose corn syrup, which we know contributes to liver fat deposits and in high amounts (like the amounts we’re consuming) causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. There are children coming down with liver disease before they’re teenage because they were raised on soda. (Source 1Source 2). Unfortunately, almost everything is packed with high fructose corn syrup now.

So yeah, you might not gain weight even though you’re drinking soda instead of eating broccoli. But inside it will show a different story.

In fact, skinny fat people are more likely to die from metabolic related diseases than overweight people.

So don’t envy your skinny little friend that eats crappy food at all. He/she is going to pay the price.

Your Tiny Habit For Today (And Maybe The Year)

You already know to just eat real food. That’s my mantra.

And you know to change your habits, instead of adopting another diet.

Those two things will change your life (and health) alone.

But there’s a third.

Something I want to help you achieve this year.

Cook your own food.

Cooking your own food is THE habit to develop to improve your health. We know food is the underlying poison/cure behind this obesity epidemic. And we know that most people simply aren’t treating it like that.

Leave a comment below and tell me if you cook – and why or why not. If not, what’s stopping you?

– Alex

Have You Read My New Book Yet?

  Read more about this in my book Master The Day. You’ll learn the nine daily success habits I learned interviewing people that lost 100+ pounds and kept it off in a healthy way – by changing their habits. Plus, you’ll get a free $100 bonus video course if you show me your receipt. You can get the audiobook here too.

4 comments… add one

  1. We are so hypnotized by advertising that it takes another compelling image to wake us up! This comparison is amazing! Panera isn’t bad in a pinch, but we are so deluding ourselves to think we can rely on food made outside the home to really take care of ourselves.

    1. Hey Sharon !

      Totally – I consider Panera one of my go-to spots when I need something healthier than usual, but it is also a wake up call. It’s not always easy to spot these things unless someone spells it out in plain english. Kinda crazy though!

  2. Hi, I want to cook my own food but its a challenge. I get frustrated with the cost and the amount of time it takes. I have 2 little kids and that leaves very little energy to put into cooking. Not sure how to make it any easier… But I want to be a healthy family & teach them good habits. I’m not as organized as I could be – again tired because of taking care of the kids and working full time – and I end up eating out more than I should.

    1. Hi Jennifer –

      One of the things that i’ve found to work extremely well is actually cooking in bulk, e.g. cooking on Monday night for 2-3 days worth of food. Have you tried that?


Leave a Comment