How do I start to lose weight, but keep my strength?

Chapter4.image1I flatly believe dieting is a waste of time.

For 99+% of everyone, restrictive diet plans lead to either quitting before much happens or losing weight and gaining it right back. That yo-yo style is horrible for your health and longevity.

So how do you eat effectively to lose weight?

Well there’s actually much to that question, but for today we’ll talk about getting started. Building a healthy lifestyle that you can live with long term and leads you to the weight you want to be is not an overnight process. For many people this is a radical shift in how they do things. If you’re eating lots of fast food, not exercising and getting 7,000 calories of junk a day then jumping to three-hour workouts and nothing but two or three ounce portions of skinless chicken (which is a ridiculous food choice) and raw broccoli – yeah it will knock weight off you like a bull dozer, but will probably blow up just as fast.

There’s a reason most of the contestants on the TV show, “The Biggest Loser,” lost 100lbs in a few months and then almost universally regain that 100 pounds and more in the next year.  I’m not talking about the talk-show style, “Address the reasons you eat three pints of Chunky Monkey ice cream when you’re sad or you’ll get fat again,” psycho babble. What I’m saying is that almost all human beings don’t do well with super drastic change that is sudden. Sudden change that is deprivation-based and requires massive discipline generally fails, because the truth is it’s not something you want to do in the first place.

Studies have shown that people have limited amounts of free will-based applicable discipline. Most adults have at least a semi-real life that includes job, family, relationships, money issues and lots of commitment that requires effort and discipline to make work. Add in Nazi-type drastic diet or exercise changes and it’s generally way too much; people give up the things that take least priority or they like the least.

Health should be a high priority, but it takes time to see results or consequences. Nobody makes most people workout or make smart meal choices so they don’t feel as urgent about it. Conversely skip a few days at your job and you get an immediate effect/consequence. That usually forces people to keep going whether they want to or not. Also most people have accepted the need to have a job and over time built up an “automation,” for it. Most people don’t make a concerted effort of forcing themselves to go to work they just automatically go. This however takes time to build up.  It’s where you want to be with healthy food and exercise but you don’t get there immediately.

So how do you get there?

Start with this:  Change just one thing.

Pick something simple. For most people in regards to food one of the best things to start with is what you drink. Really pay attention to it and think about where you are with that. If you’re drinking lots of soda or massive amounts of energy drinks or high calorie juices or sweet tea or beer or anything of that sort it’s probably adding way more empty calories to your total consumption than you think. Many people easily drink 500-1000 calories of sugary non-nutrient dense liquids a day. You can’t out work that off and you can’t justify it from a health perspective. It’s just bad for you.

No one is suggesting to go all iron-monk about it the first day or even ever. It’s okay to have a soda once in a while; it’s not okay to have 1000 calories of it every day even if you’re rail thin with 5% body fat.

Within this change there are two styles you can use:  Slow or fast – decide which works best for you.

If you’re drinking a six pack a day then you can cut back a bit a time, weaning yourself off. This works for most people and they find it far less painful. Some however need to cold-turkey this change, because for them if you allow a little of something it almost always gives way to impulse, increasing the allotment over time, sabotaging your efforts. Both of these can be done, because you’re still only changing that one thing and not overtaxing your available level of discipline, work on getting this one thing right. Then you can start on something else.

Add lots of little changes up over time and you’ve built a healthy lifestyle that you can live with. Eventually changes like this “take.” You don’t miss or have a taste for most bad things (or it’s at least on a sparse controllable level). It becomes “automatic.” You drink water and not soda and actually like it. This becomes your lifestyle and effective and a real change, not short term, time wasting, radical modification that is easily discarded.

Just pick and change one thing.  Start today or tomorrow morning, but commit to it and don’t turn back.

How did I lose 120lbs and keep my strength levels?

Everyone always asks me how I managed to lose 120 pounds and still maintain my strength levels and they think I did it all with some magic pill or supplement and just woke up one morning thinner still doing world record level partial lifts in a squat rack.  It didn’t happen like that.  I changed one thing at a time over a period of time.

While I was losing weight, I continued to train at my max levels so my body learned how to adapt from the physical difference of having enough mass to push “x” weight.  Another incredible thing happened in that time too.  As my body lost mass, I begin having PRs in other lifts and fields of fitness, because my fitness levels and body were capable of doing it better.  I didn’t give up.  I just kept trying and pushing, committing myself to a longer, better life filled with strength, vitality, fun and health.  What one man can do, another can do (or woman as the case may be).  You can do this!

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Posted in Body & Mind, Bud Jeffries, Food & Nutrition, Life Skills, Lifestyle, Program Design, Weight Loss and tagged , , , , , , .