Health and Fitness Series
Make it Simple
Creating a lifestyle change and sticking with it MUST be made simple. Drastic changes are proven to unsuccessful for years upon years. Last week I brought the Macro information to you and pushed the importance of calorie deficit. Above is a great picture that speaks volumes for describing "calorie deficit". Once you do the math and figure out your baseline for calories, then follow that up with macro and calorie counting you start to make the simple connections of how to lose weight if that is your goal. I hope many of the readers have experimented with this already, and found the WOW factor. I have yet to meet someone that truly counts their calories and isn't a little shocked with the amount of calories they consume in a day. We are bombarded with hidden calories everywhere and it's incredibly easy to pass right on by your calorie cutoff.
I would like to give you a little bit of perspective that will hopefully go a long way. These are everyday examples that I think a lot of you will relate to or know of someone almost instantly. One of my favorite examples is the "runner". There are so many "runners" that try so hard to lose weight and don't even shift the scale a single ounce. There are two huge reasons for this: they are still eating more calories then they are burning, and secondly, their body is not being challenged by the same ol' runs every day. I'll touch on this a lot more when we dive into workouts, but knowledge that our bodies are incredibly intelligent and will QUICKLY become adapted to repetitive workouts is a major key. We have the most intelligent systems on the planet. Our bodies learn quickly to try and become the most energy efficient they can be in the shortest amount of time. If you start running a mile today, that mile becomes easier to run a week from today, even more in a month, etc. When you get into the physiology of it all, our bodies learn to transport nutrients faster to the needed areas of our bodies to get the energy delivered. After a few weeks +, our heart isn't as stressed and works with more ease with its conditioning, which also decreased the amount of energy needed. There is not a significant decrease in energy needed, so we have to go back to the first point. Too many calories are still being consumed to not create a deficit. There is this false idea in many peoples minds that, "omg, I just ran 3 miles, I need to refuel and EAT." Yes, you do need to eat, obviously, but what and how much are you eating? The mentality of I can eat whatever I want because I ran or lifted weights hard, maybe did some crossfit, or all of it, is the WRONG mentality. The following picture is one of my favorites. How to view food:
I would love to see this plastered up everywhere you can buy food. Please read it daily as you begin this process of a lifestyle change. How often have you given up on an entire day because you didn't have the willpower to stop eating the cookies? Or maybe you feel like you just can't make any changes because you don't deserve to, so you'll just keep eating out of control and constantly convince yourself that you are happy with the way you are right now. Are you happy when climbing a flight of stairs makes you winded? I didn't think so, and nor should you be. You need to make the realization that food is not for pure comfort, a reward, or a punishment. Food does not need to control your life. Food is a necessary tool to our survival, but like being irresponsible with drugs, alcohol, sex, whatever, it can literally be lethally dangerous.
One of the coolest things I have learned about my own body is it's own response to eating healthier and working out. When you deliberately put workouts into your day, you start to make healthier choices for meals and snacks. After cleansing out the unhealthy foods from your diet and sticking to your workout plans, you'll easily notice your cravings starting to shift. The body starts to crave good fuels, you sleep better, your energy levels change increase. The subconscious connections of knowing that you need to stay below a certain amount of calories, plus your knowledge of healthy calories all starts to tie together. When you are coming down from your workout "high" and start to feel REALLY hungry, 4 ounces of grilled chicken breast and huge bundles of fresh veggies to fill your tummy sounds a whole lot better than a candy bar.
The pictures above represent vastly different portions of food. One key is learning to control portions and still living life, making this less drastic and able to be a lifestyle, you can still have treats! You just can't have them all day and every day. I'll be the first to admit, I LOVE donuts, I love caramel sticky rolls, I love chocolate, I don't eat these things regularly. Except maybe chocolate, but I keep my chocolate portion tiny so I can still enjoy it without over indulging. If I decide that I am going out for breakfast and going to have a caramel roll, then I know that I need to eat super clean and small the rest of the day, plus throw in a pretty good workout. I don't just throw in the towel for the day and say to heck with it all today. Keep things simple with the knowledge that you are gaining and know that this is a lifestyle not a crash diet.
Understanding the deficit. If you don't take the time to do the math for needed caloric intake you are going to struggle with the entire process. If you don't take the time to HONESTLY analyze what you eat in a day per your macros, you are going to struggle with the entire process. A little perspective here: 1 pound of fat is 3500 calories. If you simply ate 10 (TEN) extra calories every day for a year, you would put on a pound a year of fat. Over the course of 10 years, you have now gained 10 pounds. Maybe not significant to you, but lets look more into this math. One candy bar a day is roughly 215 calories. One candy bar a day for one month, and BOOM-that's 2 extra pounds of body fat. (3500 / 215 = 16 candy bars or one candy bar a day for 16 days) Same idea with soda, beer and other junk foods. Those calories add up quickly and get overlooked so easily. Those small snickers bars that you grab after lunch do add up over time and a shorty amount of time at that. It doesn't always have to be junk food either. Here's where that runner come back in that can't lose weight even though he/she eats healthy. The extra cheese stick, extra handful of healthy walnuts, extra banana etc, they can all still put you over your needed deficit number. I'm not going to tell you this will be straight out of the gate easy for anyone, it's a process. You might be breaking lifelong habits, it will be hard, but I do promise you this...it gets easier, you become more aware, you'll feel better, and above all is feeling happy/proud of yourself. This is not an intended battle or imprisonment. This is a step toward feeling better about yourself. Being able to keep up with friends and family on adventures like bike rides, swimming at the beach, running for a fun cause with a group.
Keeping it Simple
Truth! How many of you recognize this all to well. In the 1990 it was all about FAT being the main reason for weight gain and obesity. Then along came the Atkins era and carbs with the cause of all weight problems. This decade we are focused on sugar being the closest thing to a heroin addiction and making us all obese. Truth be told, fats, carbs, sugar, they aren't solely to blame. You can eat a package of gummy worms as your single meal for the day and lose weight if its below the calories you need. Now do I promote this, heck NO! I promote wholesome healthy foods that refuel us the way we are intended to use those fuels. A fun CHALLENGE (and I wholeheartedly mean challenge) is to eat only whole foods for a week straight. You will be VERY surprised how easily processed foods have slipped into our daily lives. Ultimately, eating only whole foods and staying in a caloric deficit is the picture-perfect method. Likely the hardest, but also the most beneficial. I'm not going to preach it at this moment, because right now our goal is to make attainable lifestyle changes, and to keep this simple.
Next week I plan on discussing Intermittent Fasting. This is an incredible tool to use not just for weight-loss, but also for your mindset. The key to next week is to learn that it is okay to feel hungry. Let yourself get hungry by not eating around the clock. I promise you that feeling hungry won't hurt you.
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Dr. MJ Wegmann,