Forget about the scale. Stop weighing (and sabotaging) yourself already!
I know a guy who wants to lose weight, but his situation is very challenging due to his job:
- No fridge: Nothing can be refrigerated.
- Limited time: 15 minutes, maybe 20 tops, to eat.
- Limited carrying space: Lunch box must carry 3 meals in the size of a milk jug
- VERY LONG work hours
- VERY physical work (factory)
- vending machines (milk, Gatorade) are emptied quickly.
Obviously he’s having a hell of a time preparing a healthy lunch box, and he’s also completely new to trying to eat healthy & lose the fat.
His work environment is a factory that’s very busy, very demanding, and tends to be very hot. They have a very high turn over rate.
My thoughts so far:
- Meal bars: They take up very little space and can still pack a lot of protein, fiber, & other nutrients.
- bagged protein powder, meal replacement powder, or even a recovery drink powder that he can mix into water, if necessary. To be used as the drink for the meal.
- Refried beans (particularly good if he has access to a microwave, but still edible otherwise)
- Bread & peanut butter? eh…
- Carrots and some dip to help with the taste
The food must be good at room temperature, must be eaten in 15 minutes, and needs to be healthy to help him reduce his weight. The job itself is very physical and burns tons of calories.
Fun ways to stay motivated!
That’s a really cool idea!
Not too shabby! StepnSteph earned 581 points for his workout.
P90X: Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps. I’ve rated this at maximum intensity because I increased the weights in two or three lifts in addition to increasing the intensity in some of the push-up routines. I could barely hit 7 reps in one of the lifts, pushed myself until I was unable to go beyond half way in some of the push-up routines, and did some (sloppy) one armed push-ups for the first time ever. Good times.
(edit: wow, Fitocracy’s new interface preview is still super buggy)
BUYER BEWARE: There is a potential ongoing Dymatize Whey Protein Scam - Elite Whey and ISO-100 Products are consistently FAILING lab tests in the EU!
Fitblr and active Tumblrs, you should read this and pass this one around. Make sure that people know to stop buying this stuff until more tests can be done. It seems to be very short on the protein and very high on the carbs, so it’s basically a rip off unless more tests show otherwise. Please share this link, thanks.
healthy-is-perfection gets a lot of questions, and sometimes I can’t help but want to respond.
I am not a doctor. This post is drawing from my own experience and from the information that I’ve read. This post is intended to help people get started on real fat loss, and it definitely is not a complete guide.
Look, people, I know that you want to lose weight. I also know that the messages you’re given is that you need to be SUPER INTENSE, and you frequently hear the phrase, “eat less, exercise more”.
As my about page mentions, my gut size when I first began to exercise was 47 inches (119 centimeters). That was pretty big. I’m a bit over six feet tall so the size didn’t look quite so big while I was standing, but I have photos… ugh. Let’s just say that those photos are not being shared.
Here’s the point.
- First and foremost: I’m being completely serious. Your goal is not actually “weight loss”. Your goal is to lose fat.
I strongly suggest engaging in a mental exercise that will help you A LOT in your progress. It’s a simple exercise, but it relieves you of stress, of obsessing over the scale, and it really focuses your thoughts. Each time that you think the phrase “weight loss”, try to remind yourself that what you’re actually after is “fat loss”.
Why do this? Because the scale is your enemy, not your friend. Your weight is going to bounce around like a fish out of water. It’s going to go up, stay up for a while, go back down, get stuck and not move for awhile, and so on. It’s completely maddening if you’re paying attention to it. Contrary to what you may be thinking that’s not actually a big deal. That’s perfectly natural. It’s a part of the process.
If you’re thinking “weight loss” and you see the scale not budge or even show an increase then guess what that does to your frustration levels? Yeah, it goes straight through the roof.
So what do you do? First, tell yourself that this is a process. You’re smoothing away years of neglect that slowly added up to whatever your present health situation is. You’re going to have to accept, not just know, that years of neglect are not going to be undone in a few short months.
If you can’t accept that then you’re not going to succeed. Yeah that’s discouraging on the surface but once you accept it, it actually becomes a very liberating thought. For example, if you’re stuck on the idea of losing a certain amount of weight by Summer (or by some other arbitrary date) then you’re going to seriously stress out as the date approaches. Get that train of thought of your head and suddenly you’re free of a lot of stress and self-hate that you may not even be fully aware of.
This acceptance is one of the two most difficult aspects of living a healthier life style. With modern technology we have come to expect easier methods to achieve our goals. Commercials take advantage of this expectation and shovel “lose weight quick!” messages at us. We see it so much that a lot of people assume that it’s possible.
It’s not. It’s not possible. If it were possible then we would not have over 30% of the adult population that’s obese. You know and I know that this number is getting bigger each year. Europe is also suffering the same fate.
If it were so easy to lose weight quickly then do you really think that this would be happening? No, of course it wouldn’t. We would have the obesity epidemic solved. You would not be reading this because being over weight would not be an issue.
So let’s try to refocus our thoughts on reality.
There is no way to “lose weight quick”, so what do you do? A lot of people will think that if they do some intense exercise every day for an hour, or two hours, or even three hours a day then that’s what will get them to their goals quickly.
That’s both correct and incorrect. First, let’s address something very important: The more that you exercise, the more that you need to eat.
Yes, you read that correctly. A lot of people are probably very confused right now. “Eat more, exercise more” is exactly what I’m saying. How does this make sense?
You can think of your body the same way that you think of your vehicle. Let’s say that you go out to your vehicle and you turn it on. You then leave your vehicle running and you go back into your house. You don’t go anywhere, you just leave the vehicle sitting there running all day.
Okay, don’t actually do that because someone could steal it. The point is this: What is going to happen to the gas in the tank? It’s going to get used. The gas tank will eventually hit empty, the vehicle will shut down, and then you’re stuck hauling in fuel in portable gas tanks to get your vehicle running again.
Your body is the same way. People don’t think about this, but you’re burning calories no matter what you’re doing: Sleeping, Sitting there at your computer reading, watching TV. It doesn’t matter, you’re burning calories no matter what.
"But!", you may say, "it’s not enough to matter."
You’re right in that this will not make you burn the fat away. However, that calorie burn absolutely does matter.
This calorie burn is called your “basal metabolic rate”. This is super important because it is the absolute minimun number of calories that you need in order for your body to continue functioning at your present “weight” and daily activity level (remember, we’re actually talking about fat loss and not “weight loss”).
In order to lose the fat at the rate of one pound per week you must cause your body to burn off an extra 3,500 calories per week. Thankfully this is a number that adds up, so an easy number to focus on is removing 500 calories per day, every day. However, that’s actually a lot of food, and if you do this “cold turkey” then you’re probably going to feel hungry all the time. That’s no good.
Back to the vehicle analogy. Let’s say that you’re driving the vehicle and you step down on the gas peddle. The vehicle goes faster, it burns the fuel faster, and the tank runs out faster.
That’s like exercise for your body. It’s like stepping on the gas peddle, making your body burn through its energy faster than usual. This is a good thing, but you don’t want to run the tank dry. This is called “bonking” (or “crashing”), and it’s a very uncomfortable - sometimes physically painful - experience.
What do you do when you’re going to go on a long trip? You prepare your vehicle by maxing the gas tank and you may even fill up one or two extra containers of gas, “just in case”. You also know that if you buy the really cheap fuel then you’re going to get less gas mileage and your vehicle may have performance problems.
You need to do the same thing with your body. You need to prepare for your exercise by fueling your body with good food, and yes, you absolutely need to eat food. If you use junk “food” to do this then your body is going to putter out, performance is going to be bad, and you’re basically not going to get anywhere with your fitness.
As such, you need to choose healthy foods. Ideally this means lean meats, good proteins, lots of green and other colorful vegetables, avoid sugar (this is super important), and avoiding highly processed foods.
In reality this doesn’t mean that you will never eat tasty foods again. You can have your cupcake or your pizza or whatever it is that you like and lose the fat, too. The trick is that you eat these foods only once a week. You can look forward to a slice of pizza or cake or some other “cheat meal” at the end of the week. This is strongly encouraged because it helps you to keep your sanity. So yes, have your cheat meal. It’s good for you.
The food that you eat is more important than the exercise that you do. It is technically possible to lose weight without exercising. It’s not recommended, but it’s possible. You only need to cut that 500 calories per day from your food intake. The problem with this is that you’ll get thin, but you won’t look good once the clothes come off. You’ll probably still end up hiding yourself under clothes, and that’s no good either.
Exercise helps to build muscle, and that muscle will “fill in” a lot of the space that is presently occupied by the extra fat. Muscle gives the sexy curves, the sexy butt, and that great figure.
So ladies, yes, you want to put on muscle. Yes, it’s okay for women to lift heavy weights. Check around Tumblr for other fitblrs and you will see amazing photo evidence that, contrary to popular belief, lifting weights make women very sexy, very curvy, and not all bulky or freaky looking.
Okay, so what about those exercises?
You are not going to “go hard”. You are not going to be intense. You will definitely want to avoid “High intensity interval training” (aka HIIT). You are not going to exercise for hours at a time. This is not necessary to lose the fat, and as a beginner if you do try these things then you’re going to burn yourself out real quick.
- Do your strength training first
- Do your cardio (eg; aerobics) after your strength training
If you’re trying to burn fat - and that’s going to be the goal of nearly everyone who’s reading this - then you need to do your weight lifting before you do your cardio. Read the article “Do Cardio After Weight Training" for more information. Another option is to do your weight lifting on one day and your cardio on a different day and just alternate back and forth. This may be better for those who are on a tighter time schedule.
How much should you exercise?
If you’re eating healthy and you’ve set an achievable calorie deficit for yourself then it’s probably safe to say that 30 minutes of cardio per day, five or six days per week, is enough to achieve your goals. For example, you may have decided that you’re going to cut 300 calories from your total food intake every day. You then only need to exercise off 200 calories that day, and that’s completely doable in 30 minutes of moderate aerobics.
Remember that the goal is to hit that magic 3,500 calories deficit in a period of 7 days. Mixing exercise into the equation is going to make your life a lot easier and a lot healthier.
How much should you eat?
The amount of food that you eat will depend on your sex, your age, your height, your current weight and your activity level. It’s impossible for me to give a number that will fit everyone. Use these calorie calculators to get a number that’s right for you.
As I mentioned, the more that you exercise the more that you’re going to need to eat so that you can fuel your exercises. This is how it works, as contradictory as it seems at first. You need to use good fuel for your body (lean meats, etc) to avoid bonking.
On counting calories:
You do not need to obsess over the number of calories that you eat every day. That’s actually not a good idea to do, and some people may develop symptoms that are reminiscent of OCD if they get into the habit of micro-managing their calories.
A good way to get started is to get rid of the unhealthy food in your house. I don’t like the idea of throwing food away, so you may want to donate your food or give it to friends or family. You could also have a “friends night” where you have dinner and a movie at your place. That’s a solid way to use up the food since more than one person will be eating.
When you go shopping you replace the unhealthy food with the healthier options. If you do not have the unhealthy food in your house then you’re not going to eat it.
From there it’s a good idea to start out by managing your meals. You plan ahead a day or two with questions like, What will be breakfast? What will be lunch? You can fix the meals and put them in the fridge, or you can write it down. Or both. Whichever is easiest.
The calorie counting comes in during the preparation. This process will last a week or two, and by that time you’ll probably a good “feel” for how many calories you’re eating per day. You don’t need to continue counting every meal, but you may want check on the numbers every now and then (say, once a month) to make sure that you’re still where you need to be.
Most importantly, eat when you’re hungry.
Calorie counting be damned. Do not starve yourself. If you’re feeling really hungry then go eat. At this point you have healthy food in the house and your body is telling you that it needs more fuel. Don’t eat when you’re bored, but do eat when you’re hungry.
From here I suggest that you search for other fitblr blogs. You’ll see that nobody is perfect and that several other people are doing what you’re doing. It’s not just you and I. . this will get you started: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/fitblr.
You really can do this. Remember that it’s not a “diet”, it’s not a temporary thing, and it’s not something that will be done in 3 to 5 months. You simply have to remember that it’s a lifestyle change. Remain consistent and you will achieve that better image of yourself that you’ve so frequently imagined.
EAT TO EXERCISE…DON’T EXERCISE TO EAT! Fuel your body for your activity. Don’t use exercise as ‘punishment’ for what you’ve eaten.
^ This so much. Eat more, exercise more. That’s the crazy secret to fat loss and a healthy life.
I earned 873 points for my workout on Fitocracy!
General P90X +873 pts
- 0:51:00 || Intense! (+464 pts)
- 0:45:00 || Intense! (+409 pts)
- P90X: Back & Biceps + Les Mills Combat: Combat 45 “Power Kata”. This would have been yesterday’s workout, which I skipped due to back pain.
Thoughts & Comments:
My lower back is still sore, but I chose to not skip my workout today. I went in knowing that I could easily decrease the intensity where I needed to do so, and I did so at a few places in Combat 45: Power Kata.
The over all workout was still pretty intense and even included the jumping side kicks that I had assumed I would need to skip this evening. Hopefully my back doesn’t take issues with this evening’s exercise. It’s fine at the moment, but we’ll see by tomorrow morning.
The good news from this evening’s P90X workout is that I was able to begin my pre-pull-up exercises again. The problem in my pect muscle appears to have healed and I experienced no pain. I also noticed that I have more arm strength and I was able to lift myself a bit easier than before. I still can’t do a proper pull-up, but I’m getting there.
I also increased the amount of weight in a couple of dumbbell exercises. I don’t know if that’s permanent or if tonight’s lift simply went better than usual.
During the day I could swear that nothing’s changing as a result of all of this exercise. I need to keep reminding myself that this is only the first round, and that I don’t actually expect a significant change by the end of this 90 days. Mid-December is my true goal to take my “After” photos.
Noticing these small improvements, increasing my weight by five pounds, noticing that I need to drink significantly less water during a workout, reminding myself that I am doing the Les Mills routines at a MUCH higher intensity level than I was in the beginning, etc. These are all important observations to remind myself that I am making progress.
I’m also getting bored of doing the same workouts. If I can manage to actually do this “Beginner’s 5K” training program from RunKeeper then that should add some much needed variance to my daily workouts. I’m actually getting a little excited to try. I need to remind myself to be realistic about it; I do have mild asthma, I have experienced shin pain when jogging in the past, I may not actually be able to do it. Summer is coming up, too, which will mean 90+ degrees (32 Celsius) when it hits.
Crossing fingers. Hopefully I can.
See you all tomorrow.
Fitness and exercise is a heck of a life style, isn’t it? Another week, another moment of me feeling that it just doesn’t feel like I’ve been going about it for a little over six weeks now.
My Exercise & Fitness Report is where I own up to any days that I missed, why I missed the workout on that day, and share some of my feelings or concerns about the previous week of exercise.
Each day’s exercise has a “Thoughts & Comments” where I talk about the day’s workout or share related thoughts on the exercise that was done on that particular day. There’s also the usual Fitocracy report on the day’s exercise:
Tuesday had some powerful storms roll through, so I didn’t feel comfortable exercising that day. Thursday was my grandmother’s memorial service, who we had lost a few days or so before.
That’s still getting me… so anyway.
Week 6 of my exercise and fitness journey saw a cheat day, a bad calorie bonk that resulted from the cheat day, and some other, minor issues. Over all, however, it wasn’t bad. Clearly the week could have gone smoother for my fitness activities, but effort made is progress earned.
The biggest disappointment thus far is that the size of my gut isn’t reducing nearly as quickly as I would have liked. Thankfully I’ve accepted that weight loss is a journey. Hopefully I’ll be at where I want to be come December, but we’ll see where life takes me between now and then.
My diet did suffer in Week 6 and a bit over the past couple of days. Partially because money is a bit short, so I’ve had to take what I can get. Mac & Cheese isn’t the end of the world though, and at least it provides tons of carbs to fuel the workout. Too bad that it doesn’t taste as good to me as it used to.
Conversely, I’ve had potato soup, corn, and other healthy bits, so my diet has been very hit-and-miss. Unfortunately a healthier life style is a little more expensive in some ways, in the short run.
Week six also saw the introduction of Combat 60 LIVE from the Les Mills Combat workout program (which I repeated again today, April 15th). I talk in detail about it in my April 13th post-exercise post so I won’t repeat everything here, but I will say that I’m definitely going to sweat and struggle with this one for awhile.
As always, you can read my workout Thoughts & Comments for each exercise (linked above), or view my current exercise schedule. My exercise schedule also lists all of the supplements that I use in addition to listing which exercises I’m doing on which days.
Enya is great music to listen to at the end of the day. :) Good night, everyone, and remember: Stay with the fight!
If you are in the fitness and bodybuilding world for some time, you’ve probably seen there is a ton of information about training, nutrition and supplements on the internet, magazines, television… Some of it is very useful, but unfortunately, most of it is very misleading. Often, when people find themselves overflown with information, they can pick bad advice, or even fail to act, mainly because they get confused and don’t know what is good and what is bad for them.
These are quick and simple tips, but it’s good information if you’re just starting out.