Saturday, January 21, 2012

Take Your Life Back


I get asked all the time: "How can I lose weight like you did?  How do I find the motivation to lose X number of pounds?  Will you tell me what to eat?"

As well-intentioned as those questions are, they all miss the point completely.  Simply losing weight should never be the focus.  As a matter of fact, it's a counterproductive way to think.  Being overweight is a symptom of an unhealthy lifestyle, it is not the cause of it.

Before you start thinking about losing weight and trying to add years to your life and life to your years, you have to be in the proper frame of mind. You need to think about how you can make your lifestyle change permanent.  If all you're going to do is temporarily change what you do in order to lose 50 pounds for a wedding and then put it all back on, you may as well not bother.

No, dear reader, what you want is a total lifestyle change.  Nothing less will do.  That is the best chance you have at getting healthier, losing weight and keeping it off and staying out of the doctor's office.  So what are the steps that go into this?  First, you have to analyze your own behavior.  You know yourself better than anyone else, right?

Identify what your demons are and stay away from them....forever.  For me, one of my biggest demons is restaurants.  When I am being served food in a restaurant, I cannot control myself.  It is very much like an alcoholic in a bar.  So I stay far, far away.  For you, it might be something simple like mindless eating.  Whatever it is, identify it and don't do it!

For a successful lifestyle change, you need two things: proper nutrition and exercise.  This sounds like an impossible, huge task, but it's not.  I have had great success eating 5 or 6 small meals per day, totaling about 2,400 calories: fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low fat dairy and whole grains.  And lots and lots of water.  Keep a food journal.  Nothing goes into the hole in your head without writing it down.  Pack your lunch every day and eat what you pack.  No restaurants.  Never let someone else decide what you're going to eat and how much you're going to eat.  You're not a dog...you don't just eat what's in the bowl because your master put it there.

Now for the exercise.  Start where you are.  My first exercises were pushing a grocery cart around Walmart and walking to my mailbox at the end of my driveway.  I talk about it in my video on YouTube.  It was all I could do.  But the key to my success is consistency.  Exercise should NOT be painful.  ('No pain, no gain' is a lie.)  But what exercise should do is elevate your heart rate and build your strength and stamina.  Start out slowly.  The biggest mistake people make is going all-out and burning themselves out before they even get started.  Work out 3 times a week, with a day off in between and off the weekend.  You must allow your body time to recover.  Walking is the best exercise to start with.  Don't even bother with a gym membership at first.  Walk 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week.  Once you have that conquered, increase the time.  Then look for hills to climb, and so on.

Remember: slow and steady wins the race.  You are changing your life.  Oh, and one final tip: stay off the scale.  Weigh once at the start, then about once a month.  Being obsessed by the scale and weighing constantly will only fuel your disappointment.

You can do it.  You know you can and so do I.  Take your life back.  Take it back starting right now.

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