15 May The Ultimate Guide to Losing Weight in 4 Easy Steps (hint, stop lying to yourself)

I never thought I would write about this, but crazier things have happened (this is my most popular blog). It took me a while but I was inspired by this Maria Kang picture.

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The whole sensation with this fascinated me. Was the picture a little bit of a humblebrag? Yes. Ok, maybe it was a slap you in the face humblebrag, but so what? Did she not accomplish something pretty awesome through hard work and dedication? Isn’t that the type of things we should be praising instead of ridiculing? I mean I understand being annoyed when a trust fund kid shows off their riches, or someone with the natural athletic gifts brags about being so good at sports. These things annoy us because the person didn’t do anything to earn these things. But when someone works hard and does something that most people don’t, (not because they can’t but because it is not a priority to them) then it is worth at least a “good job”. You don’t have to like her, but don’t hate on the accomplishment. And please don’t then start saying things like “Yea I could do that too if I had 8 hours a day to train”, or “We aren’t all blessed with great genetics”, or “Some of us have thyroid problems, I have a doctors note to prove it”. Why do people feel the need to cut others down to make themselves feel better? Stop making excuses and be honest with yourself. Unless you’re the very small fraction of a percent of people who have some crazy medical condition that causes you to uncontrollably gain weight (for which there is no remedy), then you do not have an excuse. You simply have not made it a priority.

We all prioritize the things in our life, even if we don’t make a conscience decision to do so. The choices we make and how we spend our time shows our priorities. If we spend all our time working, then that is our number one priority. Maybe we do it because we have to in order to feed our family. Or maybe we do it to afford new cars, new houses, and all the “stuff” we think we need. Either way that is the priority. Then we watch TV, get on facebook/the internet, play games, go out to eat, etc to fill up our days. Whatever else we do, exercising and eating right is below those things on our priority list. Once you make something a priority it is amazing how you magically have time for it. What did we spend all our time doing before cell phones and the internet? There is still the same amount of hours in the day. The biggest fallacy is that it takes a lot of time to exercise, it really doesn’t. Only 20-30 minutes a day doing the RIGHT exercises will go a long way. More importantly how much and what you eat plays a much bigger role in your overall health. So do yourself a favor and become a student of nutrition. Figure out for yourself what to eat and what not to eat (hint, read your food labels and know what to avoid). Then just stop buying the bad foods altogether or buy very few as treats. You don’t have to stop eating unhealthy foods altogether, just stop making them your main options.

I apologize for the ridiculous cliche title, it may end up being very misleading. This is not a get skinny quick blog. However, it does contain the only REAL way to lose weight and keep it off which is supported by science. It really is not very difficult scientifically to lose weight. Most of the real issues are psychological, financial, and/or cultural. We learn how to eat and what to eat from our family and friends. If they overeat and/or have poor dietary habits there is a good chance we will as well. Children don’t really have a choice, they eat what their parents give them. No wonder we have such a child obesity/diabetes problem in America. The heavily subsidized and thus cheaper foods also happen to be the worst for us nutritionally. We have been brainwashed into thinking “Lite”, “Fat Free”, “Diet”, etc are good words without actually knowing what they really mean for our nutrition. Our bodies were designed to eat fats, carbs, and proteins in certain amounts. Avoiding any of these areas is not good for your overall health, even if it provides short term weight loss effects.
The key to losing weight is not finding the right fad diet, its a deliberate and specific change in the way you eat and how much you eat. Just because your plate is full does not mean you have to eat all the food. Remember this at restaurants and take some home. Besides the added benefit of having a second meal for the same price, you split those calories up over two meals instead of one. The portion sizes in America are insane, don’t conform. There is a very simple tip when eating, eat slower, drink water with your meal, and when you start to feel full stop eating. Yes it is common sense but most of us do not follow these simple cues from our body. By the time you feel full you have probably already eaten too much. Just in case anyone thinks this blog is “fat shaming”, seriously just go away. I have a problem with that phrase, it assumes fat is some state of being that should just be accepted. Nobody should ever be put down or treated bad for the way they look, regardless of why they look that way. I know some people do this and that is wrong, but to me that is where fat shaming ends. Anyone who is trying to provide information or motivation to live a healthier lifestyle is not fat shaming. If it were possible to be obese and healthy, then by all means be proud of the way you look if that’s how you want to be. The truth is it’s not, see this article in case you want proof. Being overweight increases your chances of EVERY disease. You are at a higher risk for everything, our bodies simply are not designed to carry that much extra weight long term. They will break down faster and you will have a overall lower quality of life. If this is ok with you then disregard any attempts to help you live a healthier lifestyle. But if you have people who rely on you please at least do it for them. There’s nothing worse than a 40 year old dad dying of heart problems (or anything else) that could have been completely prevented had he eaten better/less etc. My main point is I am not judging people for the way they look or the decisions they make. I understand it, especially with how our culture has promoted fast food, soda, chips, etc. But, for those that want to live healthier, read on.
The 4 easy steps!
Step 1: Write down EVERYTHING!
It’s not feasible to do this indefinitely, but when you first decide to get serious about living a healthier lifestyle it is imperative. Write down everything you eat for the entire day. Remember write down everything! That bowl of candy you steal from at work 3 (or 10) times a day, that counts. Total up your calorie, fat, carbs, and protein numbers and see how they stack up against your recommended amounts for your target weight. Also, your target weight doesn’t have to be the perfect ideal weight so you look like that ripped up person at the gym, just a healthy weight that will get you out of danger territory. Then worry about becoming the next Oliver Queen (Arrow reference, anyone?). I recently found the Livestrong app for keeping track of calories, carbs, proteins, and fat intake. It is awesome!
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You start by determining your goal and it comes up with a daily caloric intake for you. Then you simply put all the foods you eat and keep track. You can put in your exercise as well which will take away from your consumed amount as pictured above. Very helpful and will make you think twice about eating that chocolate muffin for 500 calories.
Step 2: Follow recommended levels of calories, fat, protein, carbs
As mentioned above this is of the utmost importance. See this if you don’t believe me. While that study doesn’t prove Mcdonalds should be used for a healthy lifestyle change (the professor even states this), it does indicate the importance of watching how much you eat. Eventually you get used to the portion sizes you need and the different types of foods you need to eat and you don’t necessarily have to keep counting for the rest of your life.
Step 3: Exercise, even if that just means walking around the block
Some level of activity is helpful if you want to be as healthy as you can be. I recently heard a study of people over 90 and exercise was an overwhelming common denominator. Preferably something that involves some free weights but to get started at least go for a walk around the block (or around your work building on a break or lunch). This will be a decent start if you’re going from no activity at all. Build yourself to a small workout routine. Even the pretty tough workout I am trying out now takes around a half hour. If you don’t have half an hour to do something then you must be working 16 hour days (or you are lying to yourself!).
Step 4: Drink water, not soda
Making this one change for some people can drop pounds and make a dramatic change in your overall health. If you are a diet soda drinker it is even more important. Just do your own research on why diet soda is so bad. In general the high sugar content is just extremely damaging to anyone’s attempt at healthy eating. Scientifically it also causes spikes in blood sugar and other things. I have not totally given up soda (it just tastes so good right?), but I pretty much never have it in my house. If I do we buy cans we ration them carefully, when we do drink one we share it. For the most part I just drink soda when I go out to eat, and even then I always drink water as well. Don’t worry about 8 cups a day, just drink water when you are thirsty instead of soda and you will be ok.
This should not be new information to everyone, but it is the only information you really need. Losing weight scientifically is not complicated, you need to eat less calories, exercise, and eat better food. It may be harder for some individuals due to differing metabolisms, thyroids, etc but the formula is the same. If you are not losing weight, I promise there is a reason. You are eating too much and not exercising enough. Plain and simple. I fall into this category as well so this is not me putting everyone down, but in order to accomplish a goal you have to come to grips with the reality of the challenges and obstacles. In this case the obstacle is you. If you do one thing, download that app or keep track of everything on paper. I promise it will change your thinking on what you are putting into your body. You will look at that chicken fried steak skillet at Village Inn and see 1900 calories and say “maybe I don’t want to use up my entire days worth of calories at breakfast”.
Apparently I can eat that and go live in the wilderness for 2 days.

Apparently I can eat that and go live in the wilderness for 2 days.