As we enter the new year, I’m sure that many of you have decided to make a change when it comes to your health. Weight loss is usually on most people’s new years resolution list. It’s no surprise given that the leanest state in the country is Colorado at 21% and the worst at 34% is Mississippi! 1 in 3 adults are not just overweight, but obese! These are alarming statistics. I applaud you for making a stand to reverse the frightening trend of obesity.
Why should you listen to me on this subject? Because I used to be in the obese category and decided that I needed to make a change. Is the change easy? Not at all. Is it worth it? I can’t describe the difference it makes in every area of your life. You better believe that it’s worth it! Hopefully I can give you a shorter path to a healthy life than I took myself. You are already off to a better start because you’re seeking help from someone who has done it. I searched for the short cut. Fad diets and magic pills don’t work. They’ll extend the journey and make it much more difficult. Because of things like those, it took me nearly 3 years to lose 85lbs when it should have only taken me 1. Just remember, there are no short cuts to success in weight loss (or anything for that matter).
So what’s the first step? Resolve to drop all excuses. You will NOT get your weight loss goals if you cop out by making excuses like, “I don’t have time to work out,” or “I just can’t lose weight,” “I don’t know what I’m doing,” etc. If time is your excuse, throw out your TV or at least get rid of cable. This will be a double whammy when it comes to weight loss; you’ll get off your butt and if you are an average American, you’ll save an average of 20-30 hours of time per week. You can lose weight. The only way to figure out what you’re doing is to start doing it and seek help from those that know what they’re doing. It only takes ONE excuse to keep you from your fitness goals.
For those of you that are serious about weight loss and resolve to not make any excuses can move on to the next step: setting a real goal. Just saying, “I want to lose weight” is not good enough. Goals need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Specific. Tim Marks does a great job diving into the goal setting process. Exactly how much weight do you want to lose? A realistic weight loss goal should be somewhere in the realm of 2-4lbs a week. When do you want to reach your goal by? Do you want a certain toned look? If so, you may need to get even more specific and take into consideration your body composition, not just weight. My fitness goal for 2012 is to be 165lbs at 8% body fat by December 2012.
Now that you have the vision of where you want to be clear in your mind (and hopefully on paper), we can begin what Orrin Woodward calls PDCA or the Plan, Do, Check and Adjust process. Remember a mediocre plan acted upon is infinitely better than a perfect plan that remains unimplemented. To help out, here are a few tips that should start you on your journey.
1. Cut out refined carbohydrates (sugar, starches, etc).
2. Replace at least one meal per day with a higher protein meal replacement shake (there is very strong evidence showing the link between meal replacements and long term weight loss)
3. Start a weight training regimen. Don’t even start to make excuses – this is a must for both women and men for long term health. Don’t worry women, you won’t get big and muscular.
4. Eat most of your carbs towards the beginning of the day, tapering them off throughout the day.
5. Eat 4-6 SMALL meals per day. This is where meal replacements can come in handy.
6. Don’t make drastic changes all at once. You will probably end up quitting. Ease into these suggestions. Set little goals along the way.
7. Find someone to encourage you and hold you accountable.
8. Reward yourself along the way! Wayne MacNamara, who competed in competitive body building, tells us that we need to reward ourselves to motivate ourselves. Make sure to check out his blog on fitness!
These are some simple tips that should get you started on your weight loss journey. As you go along, you may need a more specific plan which can be provided by a professional (not a doctor…they usually don’t know jack about nutrition) or someone who has done what you’re trying to accomplish. If you live in Colorado Springs, here are a few great personal trainers:
24 hour fitness: Jerod Langness – he trained me after a car accident and did a great job getting me back into working order.
Gold’s Gym: Benito Juvera – Great if you want a hardcore, no excuses trainer. Definitely knows what he’s doing and will get you results!
Lifetime Fitness: Rachael Smith – Awesome trainer with some physical therapy training. Ladies, she is your go to gal!
If you’re not seeing results, or not getting the results you want, it’s time to check if you’re doing the steps of your plan correctly. If so, adjust and start the PDCA process over again.
Your weight loss journey will be rewarding. It will boost your confidence, self-image and help you function better at work, as a wife/husband, father/mother, etc. It will make every part of your life better! Now that you have the basics – GET INTO ACTION!
Physical fitness isn’t all that counts, however. Make sure you’re also working on your Mental Fitness as well. The best program I’ve seen for getting rid of flabby thinking is the Mental Fitness Challenge. It’s kinda like P90X for your brain.
As always, let me know your thoughts down below!
Happy New Year!