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A little over a month ago, I sent out a survey to the BaGC email list to decide what the new exclusive mailing list bonus would be! The options were “Six Foods EVERYONE Should Be Eating,” “My Five Favorite Weight Loss Tricks,” “The Complete Abdominal Domination Workout,” and “The Ten Minute Total Body Workout.” The winners, with a straight tie, were the two workouts. Those will be sent out to the mailing list readers very soon!
In the meantime, the other two options will be published here on the blog for everyone to read! I covered “Six Foods EVERYONE Should Be Eating” back before we started our Scorpion coverage, so today we’ll be talking about My Five Favorite Weight Loss Tricks!
Now, in my life I’ve been both under and overweight for my height, though in my adult life I’d say I’ve probably spent more time in the “overweight” category. In the first year and a half of my son’s life I actually put on forty pounds. Talk about a dad bod! I was working three jobs at the time, with basically no time to work out, living on fast food and leftovers. I decided that enough was enough, and I started learning everything I could about nutrition.
That was back before I had this blog, before I knew anything about proper nutrition guidelines, and only the faintest idea of the secret to losing weight. I got my head in the game, started reading everything I could on the subject, and set up some guidelines and tricks. I lost those forty pounds (and a little more!) in less than a year, and learned some awesome tricks to help manage my weight! Here are my five favorite ones, ending with my favorite, most effective technique!
5: Track My Macros
This trick is pretty straightforward, but it’s still an important base. You can’t manage what you can’t measure, and if you don’t know what you’re eating, or how much you’re eating, you’re setting yourself up for failure from the start. Back when I lost those forty pounds I was just tracking the old fashioned way, with a notepad, writing down the nutrition facts on everything I ate. Nowadays, however, we’ve got fantastic technology to help us out! My favorite tool for this purpose is the MyFitnessPal app on my smartphone. It’s got a massive database of food, a barcode scanner, custom recipe input, and more!
Make sure you check out Macros and You so you have an idea of where to start with your target goals, but remember to log your food every day even if you aren’t managing to stick to your goals that day! There’s a lot of science that says just the act of logging your food helps you eat healthier, even if you aren’t thinking about it!
(Note: I’m no in any way sponsored by MFP, I just like the app a lot.)
4: Make Big Batches of Food
Remember how I mentioned I had basically no time because I was working three jobs? This saved my bacon. I got a slow cooker, and a healthy slow cooker cookbook to go with it (there’s a ton out there.) I’d set up the slow cooker with whatever ingredients the recipe called for, usually ten minutes of prep time or less. I’d let it go, and then in six hours I’d have a giant pot of healthy food that would last me all week! I’d divide it up into individually portioned meals in resealable containers, and I’d know exactly what the macros for that dish were since I filled them out in advance!
The cool thing about this is that you can freeze some of the meals, and if you make more than you need in one week, and keep making a new dish every week, soon you’ll have a good sized backlog in your freezer with a bunch of different dishes so you’ve got a variety to pick from!
3: Don’t Fear the Fat (or the Carbs)
One of the first fitness myths I confronted was the “low fat” diet craze. I thought that eating fat made you fat, so I cut out most of the fat in my diet. Surprisingly, I didn’t lose any weight! In fact, I managed to gain some weight! So, then I decided that carbs were the problem, and I cut them down instead. This time I lost a little weight, but then I gained back more, plus I was feeling tired and lethargic all the time!
Here’s the thing: Your body needs fat, and it needs carbohydrates. Fat helps you feel full, and it powers a bunch of metabolic functions and hormone creation in your body. If you don’t get enough fat in your diet, you will overeat, and you’ll probably be super moody. Carbohydrates are your body’s number one source of energy, they help to power your brain, and without them you’ll feel like crap most of the time.
When it comes to weight loss, it’s all about calories. The end. Eat less calories than you burn in a day, and you’ll lose weight. Don’t cut out one of the three pillars of your nutritional needs just to try to get in a quick weight loss fix.
2: Thirty Minutes of Activity, Every Day
We’re going back to my time crunch due to working three jobs with this one. As a new dad working his butt off, I found myself with literally zero time to exercise, or so I thought. I was a fitness nut, even back then, so in my mind working out was always an hour long affair involving weights, pull up bars, and all kinds of crazy exercises. When I couldn’t get that in, I wouldn’t really do anything.
When it comes to losing weight, however, you don’t have to go nuts with your workout. It’s way better to get in thirty minutes of activity every day, than it is to cram in a huge, heavy duty workout once or twice a week. With this in mind, my main fitness goal became getting in at least a half hour walk/jog, every day. Sometimes this would be on my lunch break at one of my jobs, other days it would be in the morning before I went to work, or after I got home. No matter what, I tried to get in that thirty minutes, every single day. In addition to helping with the weight loss, the de-stressing benefits of this were awesome! That half hour was “me” time, no matter what, and it was great to have that in a stressful, new parent life.
1: Plan My Day in Advance
This one is the single biggest help in hitting my nutritional goals, back then, now, and going into the future. Every night, before I go to bed, I go into MyFitnessPal and plug in the next day’s meals. I know what I have on hand from my big batches of food, what healthy snacks I’ve got available to me (Greek yogurt!) and what my schedule for the next day looks like. I plug it all into my app, make sure I hit all my macros (or at least get close,) and go to bed knowing exactly what I’m going to be doing the next day.
This makes it so much easier to stick to my meal plan because I know exactly what I’m eating, well in advance, which removes the issue of choice from my daily diet requirements. Our willpower depletes as we go through our day, and because of this we have a tendency to make worse food choices as the day goes on. Anyone who’s had a late-night binge in front of the TV should be familiar with this! By planning in advance, when you’re disconnected from the situation, you remove that temptation, and then you don’t have to use any willpower because the decision has already been made for you, by you.
In the end, weight loss comes down to persistence over consistency. Everyone screws up and crashes their plan every now and then, including me. The people who succeed in losing weight are the ones that get over it the next day and just go right back to their plan afterwards.
I hope these five tricks help you in your weight loss goals. They sure helped me!
Thanks for reading! Check back in Thursday for a cool new undertaking that I think you’re going to like a lot!
Live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace