You Can Do It!

As everyone knows, New Years is right around the corner and that means everyone is making their resolutions.  A lot of people are hoping to lose weight and keep it off.  I want to tell you that you can do it!

I do cardio almost everyday on the elliptical, sometimes the treadmill, and it gets really boring so I got a large tablet and watch shows on Hulu and Netflix while I do it.  My new favorite show is My 600 Pound Life.  I guess I like it because I got into fitness and weight lifting a few years ago, and when people want to transform their bodies I get excited.  I just want to run around the gym and tell people, “You’re going to do it this year, brother!” – like Hulk Hogan-

You know, a lot of people think they’re going to lose their weight by hitting the weights and running on the treadmill.  You’re very very wrong.  I would say 90% of the journey is what you eat.  If your only goal is to lose weight and keep it off, food is your enemy.  Sure, exercise can speed up the process, but only a little bit.  It’s almost all going to come down to your diet.

So how much weight could one lose if they simply changed what they eat?  Well, watch My 600 Lb Life and think about what you’re watching.  You’ll witness people who are bed-ridden, 700+ lbs, barely able to move, slim down into the 200’s, all in one year’s time.  Outside of some walking, most of them do very little exercise.  They lose 400~500 lbs in a year’s time and their lives are transformed.  But how?  Food.  That’s it.  Food.  They’re changing both what they eat and how much they eat.  They go from eating fast-food to eating low-carb, lean-protein.  They also eat much much less.  That’s the key to weight loss.

I do a lot of power-lifting, so sometimes I’ll “bulk” over the course of a year, putting on at times 20 extra lbs or so.  Family members of mine are amazed when summer will roll around and I lose all that weight in say six to eight weeks time.  Many people have been struggling for so long they think it’s impossible.  It’s not.

You want to get away from carbs and instead eat lean protein.  Then you want to be very careful how much you’re eating.  I can recommend the most strict diet I can think of which will really shed the pounds.  Go to the store and buy a few tubs of protein powder along with some skim milk and a shaker.   Drink one protein shake (two scoops) in the morning and one protein shake in the afternoon.  Eat nothing else.  That’ll be like 800 calories or something like that per day, mostly lean protein, but a few carbs too.  The weight will drop off of you so fast.

On the show, that’s essentially the diet Dr. Now gets his obese patients to do.  He also gives them that bypass surgery, but the only purpose of that is to keep them from eating such large portions.  It’s all about food.  He’s always trying to get them eating grilled chicken, vegetables, lentils, and other healthy things after that.  It’s crazy, but the weight flies off these people.  They lose 50~60 lbs a month.  I’m assuming most of you are not that big, but even someone at a normal weight (I was 195 lbs at the start of last summer), I lost 40 lbs in two months doing this.  You’ll take off 4~5 lbs a week.  I went from having a slight double-chin and power-belly to six-pack abs and totally ripped.  I watch people on that show do it, I do it, and I know it can be done.  I actually cut too much.  40 lbs was too much and I regretted it.  My weight loss was so fast that I lost a lot of the muscle mass I had worked so hard to put on.  For most people however, losing 10% of their muscle mass is nothing if they could drop all the fat off their body.  For me, I’m like, agh, my max bench-press went down!  -shakes fist-

You have to live in a state of hunger.  You have to feel that burning feeling.  That’s what you want.  It’s pretty miserable, but just do it.  Stick with it.  When you feel that burning feeling, that’s when you’re losing weight.

I have all kinds of pro-tips from years in the gym and working to transform my body.  First off, don’t go solely off your weight.  Buy a measuring tape and measure different parts of your body, and see if you’re shrinking in the areas you want to shrink.  For us guys, it’s probably the mid-section.  Measure it everyday.  That’s more reliable than your weight, though if you keep your diet you will (on average) drop several pounds a week.

If you’re really serious, eat the same thing every single day.  This might be grilled chicken and brown rice, protein shakes, etc.  Eat the same few things and portion it all out in advance.  This makes it all easier to track properly.  Cook up a week’s worth of grilled chicken and brown rice, and put a week’s worth of it tupperware containers in your fridge.  Have a set time when you eat, and don’t eat until then.  If you get really hungry, well, burn baby burn!  Measure the rice and amount of chicken in each meal, and put it all into an app like My Fitness Pal.  Keep track of exactly the number of calories you’re getting, number of carbs, amount of fat, grams of protein, etc.  Get like 1 gram of protein for every lb you weigh, and then keep dropping your carbs (possible down to zero carbs (no brown rice)) until you lose 4~5 lbs a week, every week.

You say, “I don’t want to do that.”  Well, I’m just sharing one incredible way to get it done.  If you also hit up the cardio and lift weights, well now we’re talking!  But even if you just sit around gaming all day, you’ll still drop all the weight if you eat like this.  That’s all it is.  Eating.  Your food.

In our society everything is super-sized, fried, greasy, loaded with sugar.  This is the main strip where I live, in Rolla, Missouri, USA.

You might not see it all that well, but there’s Dairy Queen, Hardees, and Taco Bell.  You go a little ways down the road, there’s McDonalds, Arbys, Long John Silvers, and all that garbage that you must leave behind.  It’s lunch-time and you’re hungry at work; the thought arises, “I think I’ll go out to eat!”  NO!  Never!  Not there!  No cheating, ever.  That food is garbage.  Garbage!  Never again.  “I have to enjoy myself sometimes.”  No.  That’s not real joy.  It’s killing you.

I’d see people on My 600 Lb Life, saying things like that, pulling into the fast-food drive-through.  I have to cheat sometimes, it’s the only joy I get!  Otherwise I won’t be able to stay on my diet at all!  Then they step on the scale and get so angry.  “How could I not lose any weight?  I’ve been so good.”  Here’s the thing guys.  You have no idea how many calories are in that junk.  It’s insane.  You can eat good all week long and completely negate your weight loss with one single trip to McDonalds.

Those candy bars you’re snacking on, the ice cream, the soda, the beer, it all has to go.  You can be super-strict with your diet in your big meals, thinking you’re doing good, and then sabotage EVERYTHING with just snacks and nibbling.  There’s too much calories in that stuff.  You don’t think you’re eating much, but you are.  Like I said before, put all this stuff in the My Fitness Pal app.  See how much you’re consuming calorie wise.  Then go to a site like this, enter your age, weight, etc., and look at how many calories your body will burn on its own.  If you go above that number, like clockwork, you WILL gain weight.  I can pretty much guarantee you.  And if you consistently go below that number, you WILL lose weight, especially if you’re way under it.  I’ve found those calculators to be very accurate.

For me it’s 2600 calories a day.  That’s my break even number.  There’s roughly 3500 calories in a lb of fat.  So here’s the deal.  If I simply drink a protein shake in the morning (400 calories) then one in the afternoon (another 400 calories), and the only other thing I put in my body is water, guess how much weight I will lose?  I consumed +800 calories, and my body burned 2600 calories on its own (-2600), so that’s a -1800 calorie deficit.  Every two days I’m on that diet, I will lose a lb of fat.  Like clockwork.  I’m telling you, I’ve done this, again and again.  So that’s ~3 lbs a week.  Combine this with some work on the elliptical machine, and lo and behold, you’ve found my magic method for losing 4~5 lbs a week.  You see, I burn about 600 calories an hour on the elliptical each day, times six days a week, that’s 3600 extra calories burned, or an extra lb of weight loss.  But notice, even with an hour a day of cardio, which is rough for most people, 3/4 of the weight loss was happening simply by food intake!  Food!  It’s wwwwaaaayyyyyyy easier to limit your food intake than to burn those calories off in exercise.

Many people like to blame their metabolism and feel that now that they’re older, it’s all a hopeless cause.  When I change my age from 25 to 35 in that calculator, my daily maintain weight calories changes from like 2670 to 2588.  There’s only a 50~100 calorie a day difference (remember these are all estimates).  That’s only a ~4% difference.  Sure, the body slows down, but it isn’t as bad as most people make it out to be.

But, maybe you’re eating exactly what you always did when you were slim.  I suppose 100 calories a day is significant.  That means every 36 days, if you’re consuming, on average, the same calories you were before which maintained your weight at 25, you’ll now instead gain a pound each month.  So over the course of several years, that can add up to 20-30 lbs of weight gain as you get older.  That’s how it happens for normal people.  It’s 100 calories a day, over years and years, that slowly becomes a big problem.  “I used to eat this and it didn’t bother me.”  Eventually as you gain weight, your body burns more calories just because you’re now 40 pounds heavier, so that’s why many people lock in at some weight.  They’d be slim at 130 lbs, but due to all this, their eating sort of balances out at 170 lbs, or 180 lbs, or whatever.

It’s amazing, but just snacking on a tiny candy-bar (or something equivalent) once a day, over the course of several years can lead to 30-50 lbs pounds of excess weight for me!  Just a single can of soda is 140 calories, easily enough to make me fat.  Think about just what a can of soda does to you over time.  That’s all it takes.  That’s how sensitive all this is.  Do the math, think about it.  For you ladies, it takes even less.  I’m 175 lbs, pumping iron in the gym, doing all kinds of cardio, and a single can of soda can do me in.  Think about what a bowl of ice-cream can do to you?  Or trips to Hardees, or big plates of fried chicken?  Put it in My Fitness Pal.  Do some math.  For me personally, it’s easier to eat clean and not gain the weight to begin with, unless I’m ‘bulking’ to put on muscle mass.  I’ve found it near impossible to lean bulk, at least at my current size.

I didn’t write this to disparage anyone.  I hope it reminds people that permanent weight loss is possible if you watch what you eat.  Your sole obstacle will be food.  It’s going to be even harder if your family isn’t supporting your efforts.  When they’re eating fast food, pizza, and guzzling sodas, it’ll be tough to stick with your diet.  It’s best if you get all the chips, sugary things, high calorie drinks, and all the rest of it totally out of the house.  Open the fridge and none of it is there.  Ever.  Open the cabinets, none of it is there.  Eat your brown rice and chicken, and drink protein shakes.  Keep those calories down.  Lean protein, low carbs.   If you’re a normal person, keep a strict diet for maybe two or three months, and you can lose all the weight, even if you’re 40-50 lbs overweight.  And more importantly once you lose it, you can’t revert back to the old habits.  The weight will come right back.  Like I said, this is like a math equation.  You can calculate it all and predict exactly what will happen.

Good luck!

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