[Author’s note: Yet another blog entry about weight loss. Skip it if you want — but for those of you who want to know how I’ve lost 40 lbs. in three months, maybe you’ll find this interesting.]
I’ve had several people in my everyday life (and some folks on Facebook and Twitter, even) ask how I’m losing weight. “Tell me your secret!” They say. I know they mean well, but I’m not sure I should tell you my real secret.
But I can’t hold it in anymore, so here it goes:
They say you are what you eat, right? So I’m hunting down skinny people and eating them.
Works every time.
If you’re still paying attention, I’ll tell you what’s really working for me. I monitor everything I eat. If I want something, I don’t deny myself — but I recognize that I’ll have to pay the price at the gym the next day. I work out between four to six times a week at varying levels of intensity.
There are no shortcuts. Let me put that in single syllables for you: There. Is. No. Easy. Way. To. Weight. Loss. It’s hard work, and you have to be committed to it. Programs like Insanity, P90X, or Jillian Michaels’ 30-day shred are short-term solutions to the long-term problems of fitness and weight loss.
So the keys to my weight loss have been simple. And boring. Drink water. Stop eating out all the time. Eat healthy — lots of colorful veggies. Consume fewer calories than I burn. Work out hard, several days a week. Get off the couch as much as possible. Those are the rules, so let’s look at them in a little more detail.
Drink water. I consume at least eight glasses of water a day (often more). With few exceptions, I’ve cut out coffee, tea, sodas, beer, wine and liquor. I’ll make exceptions, but for the most part I’m drinking only water. When I choose to drink something else, I try to drink an extra glass of water, too.
Cut out restaurants. Going to a restaurant used to be a treat. It’s easier to make good choices if you cook at home. Plus it’s easier on your wallet. One of the hardest things for me to do is to choose to eat something from home on nights that I work, and I’ll admit I’m still working on that. But when I can do it, I feel much happier and more in control of my weight loss.
Eat healthy. Lots and lots of colorful veggies. This ought to be a no-brainer, but I’ll spell it out for you. A serving of meat should be about four ounces. That’s four. Quatro. Your veggies in a meal ought to outnumber your meat three-to-one. Since I have gout, and animal protein can trigger an acute attack, my wife and I have begun eating some vegetarian meals.
Consume fewer calories that you burn. Come on. This is the heart of all weight loss. But don’t go overboard. If you eat too few calories, you’ll send your body into starvation mode. I’m consuming more than 2,500 calories most days and still losing weight. You can do it too.
Work out hard. This one is a little complicated, I’ll admit. A difficult workout to me might be an easy one for you. I’m going to give you three examples of workouts that I’m doing this week. You’ll note that I’m varying things up a good bit — but each of these workouts burns more than 1,000 calories.
1-hr, elliptical machine, set at level 10 resistance (1,100 cals)
1-hr swimming laps, light- to moderate-activity (746 cals)
10 minutes, walking at 2.0 miles per hour (44 calories)
Total calories burned: 1,890
30 minutes, weight training (160 cals)
6 minutes, elliptical trainer (100 cals)
1-hr, swimming laps, light-to moderate activity (746 cals)
10 minutes, walking 2.0 mph (44 cals)
For a grand total of 1,050 calories burned
Ab workout (no idea how to count those calories burned, so … yeah)
1-hr swimming laps, moderate- to vigorous activity (1,066 cals)
Get off the couch. Another part of fitness is, IMO, being able to go do stuff. My wife loves to take walks with my son. She often invites me to go, but I find excuses not to join them. It’s been easier to say yes since I’ve begun losing weight. Close Facebook. Shut off Twitter. Get out and live your life.
The last thing I’ll tell you is this: The MyFitnessPal app (available for iPhone or Droid) is a huge help for counting calories (burned and consumed), as well as creating a community for yourself where you can be accountable for your weight loss — where you can share your successes and your failures. I highly recommend using it.
I’m hoping to lose about 70 more pounds, so I’ve got my work cut out for me. If you’re in the same boat, I wish you luck getting there. I know it’s hard, but it doesn’t get any easier if you put it off.