I’m 5′ 10″ tall and at my prime I weighed 221 lbs. Today I weighed myself and I now weigh 190 lbs.
I have a gym membership. I barely go though. Sometimes I go just to get out of the house, but really I like staying at home and avoiding as much social contact as possible.
I’ve wanted a toned stomach for a long time, but I never really took any action on it. When I was younger (in my teens), I had a bit of fat on my stomach – it was more than average in my mind, but it became much worse later on.
As the years went by, it got to a point where my doctor told me that I would have to do something about it otherwise I would have tons of health problems later on in life.
So hopefully it wasn’t too late. Is is ever too late? Maybe. But maybe not.
Anything you can do for your health theoretically should cause less problems as you grow older right?
I wasn’t so concerned about my health – I mean, if you’re doing okay and nothing is wrong then what’s there to be concerned about? I only get concerned when it is too late and I’m getting shipped off to the hospital.
I wanted to get in shape. I needed to get in shape.
But not just that, I wanted a flat, toned stomach with rock hard abs. For both my image and my confidence.
It didn’t have to be hard core abs like these two:
If you want to be like that, you can. I just didn’t need to be that hard core.
I just wanted to be healthier, slimmer, and show some definition. Maybe like this couple:
People say that you can get abs by doing ab workouts, but your abs won’t show if you have fat on top of them.
That makes sense.
You could do a billion sit-ups, but if you have some fat on your stomach, your abs won’t show.
That means to get abs, not only do you have to do ab workouts, you also have to burn the fat on top of the abs which is basically double the work (if not more).
When you want abs and you need to work hard for them and then you find out that its actually twice as hard as you thought, it acts as another barrier – another excuse to put it off until “tomorrow”, or better yet until January 1st so that it can be official as a new years resolution.
I can’t tell you how many years have gone by with my new years resolutions being weight loss related.
What about for you? How many new years resolutions have you had where you wanted to get healthier in some way?
Screw new years resolutions. At some point you will come to realize that you need to start RIGHT FRICKIN NOW.
I haven’t wanted it bad enough. Not until now.
You have to want it if you’re going to get it.
If you don’t want it bad enough, you won’t be motivated.
Do you think those olympic athletes just sit there thinking about getting the gold medal?
Do you think that they tell themselves that they’ve had a rough day and they will start training tomorrow or next week or in the new year?
Fine, we can agree that we are probably not olympic athletes (unless you actually are, then let me know please).
But we need to have the olympic gold medalists mindset.
Even if we could have a fraction of their motivation, we could reach our goals with ease.
One day when you tell me that you’ve reached your goal, that will be the equivalent of getting a gold medal in my eyes.
Find your motivation.
Why do you want to be healthier? Are you scared of an earlier death? Do you want to look better for a certain someone? Do you want to win a gold medal?
Why do you want it?
Cooking up a storm
If you eat out a lot – at restaurants or fast food places, cut it out right now.
If you can’t cut it out completely because it would be a shock to your system, then you should make less frequent trips eating out.
This means fried chicken every week should turn into once a month. Or if you have it every month, it should only happen on special occasions such as on a birthday (max 4 times a year, so once every 3 months).
That way you can get your cravings out of your system and not over indulge all the time.
When you are ready to step it up, you will need to cut it out completely – or maybe have it once a year.
I’ve cut down on eating out in general. Not just that, but no more frozen prepackaged foods which are high in cholesterol, preservatives, salt, and who knows what else.
I don’t need that. You don’t need that.
Instead, I’ve started cooking my own recipes with fresh meat, vegetables, and spices.
You can make some pretty tasty stuff and have fun while doing it!
Cooking doesn’t have to be a chore or have to take hours of your time.
Don’t have time?
Invest in a slow cooker.
Or if you want something fast, try the stove top with a pan or wok (like a stir-fry).
If I find a recipe that I don’t like (maybe I don’t like some of the ingredients), I modify it by adding less of that ingredient and perhaps more of another – or by removing the unwanted ingredient altogether – such as salt. I don’t like that much salt in my food.
Most time it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But that’s what experimentation is all about.
When it does work, you’ll stumble upon an improved healthy tasty recipe which you will like even better than the original and you can look forward to eating every time.
Cook in bulk and store it (if you can freeze it, even better) so that you’re not having to cook every time you want to eat.
A carb a day keeps the hunger at bay
I love carbs. All carbs – I don’t discriminate. I love eating bread – a nice chunk in the morning buttered up nicely with an egg or one with a hole in it with cream cheese (a bagel).
I have cut out bread completely from my diet. It was hard. I got withdrawals from it as well.
I’ve also been trying to go gluten free because gluten doesn’t settle well with me. I guess that helped.
Gluten is found in anything bread related including bagels, pastries, pizza dough, etc. Basically anything made with wheat.
All of those things pack on the pounds as I’m sure you know. Sometimes, you just can’t help it though.
Instead of substituting with gluten-free breads, I just cut out anything bread or bread-related completely.
So going gluten-free is almost like going without carbs. Cutting out bread really does make a difference.
If you stop eating carbs, you WILL get withdrawals.
I’ve never done drugs before, so I don’t know how bad it is when you get withdrawals from that, but its probably not as bad with carbs (based on what I’ve seen in the movies), but if you’ve never had withdrawals before, it will be tough.
I sure had a hard time.
Every time you go to the grocery store and pass by the bakery, the smell of bread is more intense.
Every time you walk by a pizza joint or McDonalds, food smells WILL be stronger. You will want to cave in and just have one bite. One bite turns into one meal. One meal turns into one bad day. And before you know it, you’re back on your old habits again.
Don’t get into that trap.
I also love potatoes. Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew like Samwise (from Lord of the Rings). Baked, fried, buttered up, with sour cream, as a chip, fries, on a stick, whatever way you can think of – I love potatoes.
I still lost weight despite eating potatoes as part of my diet.
I could have cut potatoes too and I probably would have lost weight faster, but I just couldn’t.
So I’m not going to tell you what all the other dieticians and nutritionists tell you.
They say to cut out carbs from your diet. I say cut out SOME carbs from your diet. Maybe even most carbs. If you can cut out bread, that would be best.
Since potato is a straight up vegetable it should be kind of okay right?
Eventually you may want to cut out carbs completely. The path I’ve taken is to ween myself off of them.
So potatoes will stay for now.
But I can cut down the number of potatoes or potato products I eat though. I just need to satisfy a craving.
Instead of buying those two huge bags of chips from Costco, I buy a case of small bags of chips (16 g each).
Here is the nutritional information listed on the small bag:
Fat: 6 g
Saturated: 0.5 g
Trans: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 80 mg
Carbohydrate: 9 g
Fibre: 0 g
Sugars: 0 g
Protein: 1 g
Vitamin A: 0 %
Vitamin C: 6 %
Calcium: 0 %
Iron: 0 %
Not bad I suppose because that enforces portion control. When you get a big bag of chips, it gets out of control. I bet you can’t eat just one.
Instead of deep frying fries in oil, I prefer to use fresh potatoes and cut them up myself and sometimes shallow fry them (in a pan with only a couple of tablespoons of oil).
I also enjoy microwaving potatoes (which is essentially like a baked potato) and using margarine instead of butter or sour cream. #taking baby steps.
These small changes in my diet have had a major impact on my body.
Small changes for you will also have a major impact on your body.
Carbs are filling as well and they do provide energy. When I feel like I need to binge on carbs a bit more, I offset the extra calories by first doing some kind of workout.
I don’t calculate how many calories I will intake vs. how many calories a workout burns. But doing a workout before eating carbs is infinitely better than doing no workout and eating carbs.
For example, I may go for a 30 minute walk or do 100 jumping jacks and then eat some chips. Sure the chips might have more calories than what I just burned, but the point is to start offsetting your caloric intake by pre-empting it with some type of physical activity.
Sweet but deadly
Cut down on sugars.
I have a sweet tooth. That’s a major problem. A box of chocolates is dangerous for me because I wouldn’t just eat one.
Although desserts and sweets taste great, they rarely have much nutritional value.
Why can’t all tasty foods be healthy?
If I have a chocolate craving, I try to eat dark chocolate. Or at least darker chocolate than milk chocolate. It’s supposed to be better for you.
That curbs the craving if you have one. It doesn’t taste as sweet though – but we aren’t going for sweetness, we are going for fitness and health.
There are many alternatives to sugar. I prefer not to use sugar substitutes, but if you must have sugar in your coffee or something else, try stevia, splenda, or even honey.
Instead of drinking soda, change it up to juice (the real 100% fruit juice, not ones with added sugar).
I’ve been trying to cut out sugar completely.
The best way to cut down on sugary stuff is to not buy sugary stuff when you’re at the grocery store.
One way to do that is to have a meal before going grocery shopping.
That way, you won’t be so tempted to buy everything when you are there.
Then when you do get a craving at home, you won’t have anything with added sugar to snack on and you’ll be forced to eat a fruit (make sure to buy fruits).
Less efficient means more efficient
I like to be efficient and cut down the number of trips I need to take around the house.
If I need to get something from downstairs then I would wait until I need a few things or if I need to take something down.
That way, if I just wait a bit longer, I can get more done with less trips up and down the stairs.
Makes sense right?
Now I’ve changed the way I do things.
I go up and down the stairs for individual things that I need to get done.
So if I’m in the bedroom upstairs and I forgot my phone downstairs, I’m going to go get it – and not wait until I need to get something else from downstairs.
5 minutes later.
I am feeling a bit thirsty and I need to fill up some water in my water bottle. I will go back to the kitchen downstairs, fill up my water bottle, and come back upstairs to continue whatever I was doing.
Although all these extra walking trips are less efficient on my time, they are more efficient on my health.
Anything you can invest in your health right now will return dividends for years to come.
Have a seat… if you want to die
I have a great job – I get to sit in a chair all day and work on a computer and get paid for it. Sometimes I’m super productive and get a lot done. Sometimes I just sit there and wait out the clock until the end of the day.
Sometimes I stay late because I care about finishing what I started that day. Sometimes I leave early because I have other things to do outside of work.
Nice story – so what?
Just in case you missed it, the important part of the story was that I sit in a chair all day.
I got a Garmin Vivosmart watch which tells me when I have been inactive for too long and to MOVE IT. It vibrates about every 2 hours if I am not moving.
For the first for weeks, I would get up and walk around the building and then go back to my desk. It takes about 2 minutes of movement for the watch to reset.
The idea behind this is that it gets you to move at regular intervals instead of sitting for 8 hours straight.
After a while, I would tell myself I would go in a minute or two after I finished what I was working on or maybe I’d go the next time it told me to move.
A while after that, I would just ignore it.
The novelty wears off, especially if you can find an easy excuse not to move from your desk.
Did I also mention that sitting in a chair can kill you? Don’t believe me? Read this Killer Chairs: How Desk Jobs Ruin Your Health
The human body is not meant to sit in a chair for 8+ hours a day. Keep it moving.
Take a break
Most office jobs will give you two 15 minute breaks and at least 30 minutes for lunch. I’m not sure how it works in every industry, but by law you do get some breaks when you work greater than a certain number of hours.
It is up to you to decide how you want to use your breaks.
You can eat a snack, chat with a friend, or go for a smoke.
I prefer to eat lunch at my desk while doing work. If you have a job where you need to be hands on or with customers or patients, then you may not be able to do this.
But for everyone with an office job, consider multitasking.
During my lunch break, I have started to go out on walks on the trails beside my work place.
Okay, if you are already conjuring a list of excuses in your head, then you need to stop these thoughts right now.
You won’t get ahead if you are mentally blocking yourself.
But for arguments sake, lets address some of your excuses:
It’s too cold to go outside. How about you take a walk inside the building?
My building is too small to walk around in. How about you take a walk to the water cooler, kitchen, washroom, or to the end of the hall and back?
There aren’t any trails around my workplace, where will I walk?. How about you just walk on the sidewalk, grass, or side of the road? Maybe to a nearby store and back?
I can combat your excuses all day long. Why? Because I used to make excuses as well.
For every excuse, there is a counter-excuse.
Listen, excuses are not going to get you abs. Excuses are not going to lose you weight.
If you’re still trying to come up with more excuses, then you’re only defeating yourself.
Also, in the time it takes to argue about your excuses, you could have done a single ab workout and you would have been one workout closer to abs than you are right now.
Are you sitting in a chair right now? If so, stand up, walk to the end of the hall or room or somewhere quick and then walk back and continue reading this.
Don’t worry, I’ll wait. Go ahead.
Are you on a train or bus? Give that seat to someone else who needs it. Stand up and brace yourself.
If you did one of those things, then there’s hope for you yet.
If you didn’t and said to yourself maybe later or I’m too tired to stand and you want to continue reading, then you just made an excuse and you lose.
It doesn’t matter to me, I didn’t win anything. But you lost.
Wouldn’t you rather be losing weight or losing that belly fat rather than losing to your lack of willpower?
Shortcuts to Success
In pictures, do you always try to suck your stomach in? I sure used to.
I always bought baggy clothes. Baggy sweaters and baggy work shirts to hide my curves.
Why? I was embarrassed of my body image.
This went on for a really long time. At one point, I wanted to change – I had high hopes and dreams.
Everyone has hopes and dreams.
Sometimes I feel lazy. Let me be brutally honest – most times I feel lazy.
Actually, let us reframe that – I’m not lazy, I’m “energy efficient”.
If you feel lazy or unmotivated, just like me, you need to find the best way of reaching your goals.
There are hundreds of different workouts, guides, tips, YouTube videos, blogs, etc that you can follow to reach your fitness goals, but wouldn’t you want to do the most efficient ones?
Otherwise you’re just wasting your time and energy.
You’ll always be reading about the next best thing and never be doing anything about it.
You might think most efficient means fastest right? Fastest means taking shortcuts right?
The best way to shortcut your health and weight loss is to use weight loss pills right? Wrong.
I don’t believe in shortcuts and I forbid you to use weight loss pills or miracle medication of any kind that claims to help you lose weight or shape your body.
Also, don’t starve yourself. That’s not healthy either because you won’t get the nutrients you need.
Who here buys lottery tickets? Who here has won the lottery? (let me know, I’d like to be your friend)
But seriously, who here goes to work during the day to pay the bills?
Are there any shortcuts to paying your bills? That lottery thing sounds like a shortcut, but I’m betting that it hasn’t worked out for you yet.
And let’s say you do win it, there is another whole set of problems which come with that which I won’t get into.
Some shortcuts will get you there but wont keep you there.
There are no shortcuts in life – only hard work.
I want to hear from you
In the comments below, tell me one thing that you are doing right now that you could change to improve your health.