Wednesday, August 3, 2011

12 Thoughts about Weight Loss

12 Thoughts about Weight Loss

“If I want to lose weight, I just stop eating.” As I look up, I’m met with the gaze of 8 people who are interested in my take on the phrase just uttered. I decide that it’s not worth it. It’s a Saturday night, we’re all having a good time, and for me to sit there and argue with a bunch of people I’ve just met is not really how I’d like my evening to go. This is why I think I'm going to start telling people I’m a bank teller. It gets old sitting around and listening to people who got their education from Dr. Oz debate topics and relentlessly defend their positions. Inserting myself would only expose me to risk. Regardless of the fact that fitness is my job, there is about a 75% chance that I’ll be argued with and my position would be challenged and by the end of the night, the chances of making so much as a Facebook friend out of the whole thing would slowly diminish until even the people who were eavesdropping had a bone to pick.

So, I sit quietly and listened to two gals go at it for a short period before we all decide to move on to a new topic. One of the innocent bystanders appeared to take a genuine interest, and from some of her previous statements it seemed clear to me that she is lost when it comes to how to get in shape. “How many times a week should I do cardio? Carbs will make me fat, right? If I lift weights, won’t I get big muscles?” These and a whole host of others are the questions that I get virtually daily, and it seems everybody is looking for that one thing that will give them the body that they want. I have news for the world at large:

1.      If you don’t take getting into shape seriously, stop pretending it’s going to happen. We all have wants, but I realize that I'm never going to get my own secret crime fighting syndicate equipped with matching, ultra-tight latex uniforms and a hidden, underground, waterslide-access-only lair without a lot of hard work and dedication. It’s good to want things for your life, now you need to become one of those people who actually do what it takes.

2.      Neurosis is a problem. It is very important to be willing to make changes and pay attention to the amount of food you eat/exercise you perform, but obsessing about whether you should do the elliptical, the treadmill, or the stair mill, and/or debating for 20 minutes about purchasing white bread or wheat bread is NOT going to get you anywhere. All of these are well intentioned, but in the early phases probably insignificant. Major in the majors, and minor in the minors.

3.      There is not one single thing that will drastically change your physique. The right approach takes lots of factors into account. The 5 factors we consider at Fitness YOUniversity are:

a.      Food Intake- if you're trying to lose weight, eat less calories than you burn.

b.      Vitamins and Supplements- start by using supps to help you fill in the gaps in your nutrition, then worry about the sexier stuff like fat burners and appetite suppressants.

c.      Cardiovascular Exercise- burns calories. Interval training is best by far.

d.      Resistance training- burns calories and builds muscle which gets your metabolic rate up. Nothing replaces resistance training, and it MUST be performed unless you want your weight to continue to yo-yo.

e.      Rest/Recovery/Injury Prevention- you can’t work out if you’re always beat up or injured.

4.      There is a huge difference between losing weight, and losing weight for good. No doubt about it, you could just starve yourself, but it will come at a huge cost to your metabolism. If I’m wrong, than why do the people who take this approach have to diet every 3 weeks? Even if it seems like it’s working right now, it will catch up to you sooner or later.

5.      There is a difference between not being fat, and actually being fit: know your rank.

6.      Just because it works for Suzanne Somers, doesn’t mean it’ll work the same for you.

We all have our burdens in life, and if losing weight is one of yours, suck it up and work at it. I don’t care if “what’s her name” eats whatever she wants and stays skinny. You can’t and that’s just the way it is. You don’t need to be mad at God about it and cry every three days because it isn’t easy. There are people out there who have it a lot worse.   

7.      If I were you, I would be careful taking advice from someone who very easily changes his/her physique. Try to look for the people who struggle in the same areas as you, and who have overcome it. Chances are, they're going to tell you that you're going to have to work your ass off to get what you want. If not, try to figure out what they're selling.

8.      It will get easier as you go. The longer you wait to start taking control of your health and fitness, the harder it will be when/if you start, and the more diminished your initial returns might be. A lot of the functions of the body will get so deconditioned that the first several weeks or months of your workouts will need to be all about getting your body back to fully operational. That sucks and it’s discouraging, but it is your fault: get over it, and stick it out even if you don’t lose weight in the first 3 hours.

9.      It is possible to work out a lot and see very little return if you're doing it wrong. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS WORKING OUT WRONG!!! It doesn’t mean that you're destined to be fat. It means you need to make a correction. Almost always, you’ll need to do one or more of the things that you hate.  

10.   Take all the money you were going to use to buy a diet pill, and spend it on a good trainer (I happen to know a few) and an outfit that you love that’s 2 sizes too small. Do whatever it takes to get into that outfit (Please make sure you're actually small enough to fit your new outfit when you wear it in public. Just because you can cram your body into a size or two smaller doesn’t mean you should.)

11.   It’s your body. Do whatever you want to it, but stop justifying what terrible shape you’re in to yourself and everybody around you. I used to date a dental hygienist whose patients would give her the laundry list of why they couldn’t floss. The strangest thing happened: no matter what excuse her patients came up with, if they didn’t floss they got cavities. The lesson: there might be good reasons why you're finding it difficult to get your workouts in or watch your diet. You might be busy at work, and you might have kids that need rides to soccer practice and a house that’s a mess all the time, etc. Just understand that no matter what the reason is, if you don’t work out and you eat garbage, you’re going to be fat- period.

12.   Feeling sorry for yourself is a ridiculous waste of time. Ignoring a problem altogether is even more ridiculous. Neither are legitimate options. Address the issue, forgive yourself for letting it get so bad, and take corrective action.  

That’s it, I’m done for now. Thanks for reading, see you in the gym.

The information and discussions on this webstie/blog are intended for general information only. You should not rely on any of the statements made without consulting a medical professional of your choosing.

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