On how to actually lose weight…

I feel slightly uncomfortable talking about this topic. I’m not a personal trainer or a doctor. I am however, really good and working out and eating well (thanks Celiac disease – NOT). And I don’t want to add fodder to body image issues that millions of people face.

However, in the last month I’ve gotten asked about weight loss by a few different folks. I do understand what it is like to be overweight. The year I graduated college I was pushing 200 pounds. Thankfully, for the last eight years I’ve maintained a consistent healthy weight. Without further ado… 5 things you can do to actually lose weight.

  • Recognize your patterns

Diets fail. Yes, nearly ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL of them. AAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL of them.

By diet, I mean those crazy, gimmicky food plans where they tell you “just cut out X” or “only eat Y.”

They fail because they don’t fix long term unhealthy patterns of behavior.

Adkins – BULLSHIT.

Slim fast – BULLSHIT.

Clean Eating – WTF? Why is your food dirty?

Weight watchers – actually – they have a decent plan. I can get on board with Weight Watchers.

Yeah, I’m guessing you know one or two people that lost a few pounds five years ago. But are they still a healthy weight today? Highly unlikely.

People hate hearing this, but most people have a pattern. You likely wake up, skip breakfast, eat a massive lunch (you think you can because you skipped breakfast), scarf a massive dinner, and maybe mow down a late night snack.

And what do you do for exercise? Are you walking a mile or two? Or doing some push ups? Anything? Bueller…. Bueller…

You can’t break a pattern until you know what is it.

  • You need to set up for the LONG game plan

Let me guess – you just want to lose 60 pounds in three months. Sorry dude, that ain’t going to happen.

Diets fail because people only stick to them for a few weeks, lose a few pounds, and then return back to previous behaviors.

If you want to win, you need to set up to change your behaviors for better…. for the rest of your life. Yes, seriously. But is that so bad? Changing how you live so you’re healthy to age 80?

If you don’t change your mindset to a life change, you’re probably going to fail at losing weight.

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Frustrating. Isn’t it?
  • Eat Less

What we eat is the majority of losing weight.

But diets are bullshit and don’t work. So what do you do?

In a perfect world, you’d eat about 2,000-ish calories a day and get the proper proportion of veggies, fruit, carbs, and protein. But you’re probably not going to do that (although it would be good to).

After you’ve done step #1, and know your pattern of eating what you need to do is… just eat less.

What you put in your face is eat is ENTIRELY IN YOUR CONTROL. No one else is making you eat.

If you’re eating 3,000 calories a day, cut back to 2,800. Most people (present blogger included) can’t handle turning away food temptation after food temptation. Rather than giving in all the way and eating an entire cake – just eat a small slice. You’re not going to cut out ice cream – so just get less ice cream (1 scoop instead of 2).

(Side bar: If you have deep emotional issues causing you to eat, I’m sorry to hear that. I’d recommend seeking professional help to break that pattern.)

  • Exercise more

Most Americans do jack shit for exercise. 150 years ago when the population was bailing hay for a living not hitting the treadmill wasn’t a very big deal. But you should exercise because if you don’t your muscles, lungs, and heart are secretly wanting to kill you.

Most exercise plans fail.

P-90X – fail.

30 day shred – fail.

Sweating to the Oldies – fun, but fail.

They fail because people go all out crazy on day one thinking they’re Olympians, they sprain their back, and then stop exercising because they’re injured.

Instead of dropping $200 on some DVDs  and sacrificing your body to the sadist gods – just try exercising a little bit more. If you are doing nothing, walk one mile. If you were doing one mile- do two.

The five exercises most people can do are:

  1. Walk a mile (or two) a day
  2. Do some crunches/sits ups
  3. Try some push up (from your knees or whatever)
    • Or planks, try 10 seconds, then 20…
  4. Do some squats (google how to do these correctly or you’ll jack your knees)
    • Split squats may be a healthier alternative
  5. Do some arm curls with weights (just lift what you can do)

And no. There is no magic formula for this. Just try them for a bit, alternate – whatever.

If you get bored exercising, try putting on some music or putting on a tv show. While I’m on the elliptical I watch crappy tv (yes, the Kardashians), and when I’m lifting weights I listen to show tunes on Pandora.

  • Set realistic expectations

1% of the WORLD has the physique of Heidi Klum. The odds of you looking like her are slim (pun not intended) to none. Stop thinking you’re going to look like a model, and simply hope for a fit version of yourself. I bet the fit version of yourself is fucking awesome.

Losing five pounds a week is SUPER UNHEALTHY. I once saw a diet that advocated eating 1,200 calories a day. That diet is bullshit people – unless you’re a toddler.

Realistically, you should probably shoot for 2 to 5 pounds a month. If you shoot for more and don’t make it you’re going to beat yourself up.

Good luck. You can do this.

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