It is a new year and those “lose weight in 3 weeks” diets are out in front of you in full force. One I saw this week promised 14 pounds lost in 24 days by eating nothing but boiled eggs, vegetables, fruit and water. Said diet hawker proclaimed that this combination would trigger fat burning and “detoxification”. He/She/It left out the part about how that weight would be mostly water, stored glycogen and muscle; that this is a low calorie diet that would trigger weight loss not because of the magic combination but because it is low in calories; that the body doesn’t burn stored fat first when you subject it to a low calorie diet; that your body will down-regulate it’s metabolism; that the muscle you’d certainly lose would cause your body to need LESS energy/calories which means you will end up with a higher bodyfat % at the end of said diet and you will end up fatter when you stop said diet and eat something more; that your bone density will suffer; your skeletal muscle will suffer; your functional strength will suffer; your energy & joie de vivre will suffer; and you will deem yourself a “failure” when said diet fails you – AGAIN.
Losing fat is different than losing weight. Our weight is water, muscle, bone, stored energy (glycogen), fat, undigested food and our hair. When we weigh ourselves, all that is getting calculated. Out of all that, the only thing I want to lose is the excess fat unless my hair is shaggy and I need a trim and my gastrointestinal tract will take care of that undigested food eventually.
I truly care about all of you or I wouldn’t be writing this, so forgive me when I say: I don’t care about how you physically look. Your beauty (your full package YOU) has nothing to do with how your body looks. I do care about how healthy you are now and for the rest of your life. I wholeheartedly believe that if you have vibrant health and energy you WILL look awesome. See how that works? I also believe that if you focus only on how much you weigh and how quickly you think you can change your scale number that your health will suffer and you may not look or feel so awesome. But here is the thing: You will need to change up some things for the rest of your life, not just 24 days or 30 days or 120 days. Here is the other thing: those changes don’t need to be drastic, all at once and certainly don’t need to be ones that just don’t fit in your life. Don’t do anything to lose weight that you won’t do for the rest of your life. Consistency with healthier food and exercise choices is what you need for the rest of your life, not random food restrictions and excessive exercise for a short period.
If you are reading this and thinking where do I start making these lifestyle changes –
Do this, consistently:
- Drink more water every day. Get yourself a 32-oz. insulated tumbler (stainless steel pretty much rocks!) and keep that tumbler with you. Take it with you in the car, to work, to the gym, keep it at your desk. Drink water with your meals. Don’t leave home without it. Aim to drink 2 of those a day.
- Put a filter such as PUR on your faucet at home
- If traveling, fill it up at a gas station using the “water” button @ the soda fountain. If asked (I’ve never been) – say I’m filling up with water – just filled up my fuel tank.
- Eat a large salad with a variety of vegetables, some protein and healthy fat (olives, nuts, avocado, olive or avocado oil, egg yolk) every single day. Make that salad large, filling, satisfying and delicious.
- Salad is WAY more than iceberg or any other kind of lettuce. In fact, it should be. It can be a chopped salad or a slaw salad. Mix up your greens and vegetables. Throw in some fruit. Protein. Healthy fat.
- Be mindful of what you use for dressing. The purpose is to dress your salad, not drown it. Read labels. Better yet, make your own. Consider using cottage cheese to dress it (if you like cottage cheese). Consider a dollop of olive oil or avocado oil mayo with a bit of sea salt. Consider a squeeze of citrus and some olive oil. Dress it.
- Get 30 minutes of moderately vigorous exercise each day. Take a walk. Ride your bike. Dance & do bodyweight exercises to music – standing or sitting. Jump on a mini trampoline. Walk around Lowe’s warehouse. Play tennis. Rake your leaves. Rake your neighbor’s leaves.
- Turn off the TV, get off the couch.
- Go outside and play basketball with your children
- After 30 minutes – you will feel great! Our bodies are not meant to be sedentary.
Work on those new habits. Do them consistently. Once those habits are established, then add something else. BAM!
Stay Healthy. Be STRONG. Get After It!