Tuesday, July 22, 2014

3 Small Changes to Aide Weight Loss

Here's a quick update on my weight loss goals, for those that actually care about that sort of thing.

First off, a little self-congratulation. I weigh less now than I have in 2 decades. I am feeling incredible! I'm weighing in at 257 lbs these days. It's a total of 63 lbs. lost. I've still got a bit to go, but I'm over the halfway point.

I am not a yo-yo dieter, so for those of you that are, I don't have any real advice for you. I have been either losing steadily or at a full stop.

Ok, enough about that. What you guys want to know is HOW. Well, surprisingly, my changes were not huge.

1) More out than in.
This is statin' the obvious in a big way. There isn't a human being on the face of the planet that doesn't understand this. And yet, we find a hundred different things to focus on when we're trying to lose weight. I did it for a while. You start worrying about the percentage of carbs or how fast you ran or increasing the number of times you chew each bite of food. I am not saying there isn't a place for these worries. But it confuses things, makes them more difficult.

You may have heard of decision fatigue. Decision fatigue is the cause of many irrational trade-offs. Judges in court have been shown to make less favorable decisions later in the day than early in the day. The more decisions you need to make, the harder it is to make good ones later.

Jay walking, eh? Well, based on...Wait...it's 4:56??? Hang him! 

By eliminating the concern for how much protein I was eating, I have been able to concentrate on the one important rule: Burn more calories than I take in. You can be healthier, but you should be building one habit at a time.

2) Document
It's been proven that people who write down all of their food are more effective at losing weight. This was very true for me. I don't know the reasons why it works for others, but for me, it keeps me in the right frame of mind. On the days where I don't write something down it's because I'm feeling sneaky. And sneaky leads to eating that 3 pound chocolate Easter Bunny and not admitting to it. But, if you write down everything you eat, you are keeping yourself accountable.

I think she's re-enacting a scene from the Inglourious Basterds. .

I also track my activity with a Fitbit. It couldn't get any simpler. And, this goes back to Rule #1. I know how many calories I'm burning throughout the day. Makes it easy to know how much food I can eat.  Which leads to my biggest rule...

3) Don't eat it if you haven't earned it
I know a lot of people who want to lose weight who eat badly during the day and then say, "Oh boy, I am going to have to run about 5 miles tonight!"

Of course, they do not. Why don't they? Who knows: Kids, work, a new Joss Whedon TV show. Whatever the reason, it doesn't get done. I used to do it, too. I spent a lot of nights running at 11pm thanks to cheesecake at dinner. However, I don't do that anymore. Instead, I check my Fitbit and if I haven't burned the calories then I don't get the cake. Run first!

This isn't a crazy thought. Personal finances are the same. We all have that friend who burns through their credit card and swears they will pay it off immediately. In most cases, that friend is borrowing food out of your fridge within a few months.

The best personal financiers use credit when they don't really need it. They pay off their cards immediately because they always had the money, anyway. They aren't robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Your eating is exactly the same. If you make a habit of spending your calories only when you have the deficit to spare you will never be caught off guard. You won't have to force yourself to come home after that party and do 3 Jillian Michael's DVDs back-to-back.

Have you got some simple tips that would help our fellow adventurers out? Throw them in the comments. We'd love to hear!

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