I’ve punished my body. I know I have. 40+ years of shoving god knows what in my mouth hole was certainly going to catch up with me at some point right? Weight loss was never an issue for me. Growing up I was pretty much a skinny kid with a mutant metabolism. I literally would burn more calories then I would consume just from the motion of eating. But just like anything with old age, that changes quickly when you get north of 40. Even then, I was never really that motivated to change my diet. Why should I? Sure my belly might look like I was a few months pregnant, but only in side view (note: don’t ever allow yourself to be photographed that way). Aside from that, you would never look at me and think “that dude is overweight”. So my shitty eating habits continued. I figured…hey…I’ll clean it up when my body gives me a reason to clean it up.
A few weeks ago my body gave me a reason to clean it up. Pre-diabetic. That wasn’t officially the diagnosis during my initial yearly check up, but the warning signs were fired. And that’s all I needed to finally get serious about cleaning things up. It’s one thing to not qualify for the cover of Men’s Health, it’s another thing altogether to be told you’re on the path to disease.
So I knew I had to do something, but I also knew about every failed attempt in my life previously at this sort of thing. I figured this was different though…my health was at stake, and I had to figure out a manageable way to deal with this.
I’ve never believed in fad diets. They’re all BS. Sure, you may lose weight, but in most cases you’ll never keep it off because none of them are sustainable. My plan was to just stick to the basics and understand that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. That it’s not about quick results and short term plans, but a way to make changes in my diet that I could live with the rest of my life.
It’s been a little over 2 weeks and I’m down roughly 10 lbs. and 3 inches on my gut…and that’s without any regular exercise (yet). Here’s the top 5 things I’ve done that have made it happen in my opinion.
- No more sugar. This was the big one. It’s my kryptonite. Always has been. I was easily drinking 4-5000 calories a week in sugary drinks alone. This has been tough, but I would bet that the majority of my weight loss results are probably just by cutting sugar out. I’ve had a few small treats here and there and some fruit, but that’s it. This is the #1 thing you can do to lose weight in my opinion. Our bodies do not need refined sugar period. It’s still a work in progress, but I believe this is the biggest thing I can do to be more healthy and reduce my health risks.
- Cut carbs by 75%. Carbs turn into sugar in your body, so it’s only natural that I needed to cut here too, but not completely. The key is to avoid carbs at dinner. You don’t need them then. I’m not crazy in this area…if I’m on the road, and I need to eat quick, I’ll eat a burrito or a cheeseburger. But I’m moving away from the carb heavy diet I’ve been accustomed to and trying to keep them earlier in the day so my body uses it as fuel vs. storing it.
- Eat less. Every study and research piece tells you that you need to eat breakfast every morning, and/or eat more often to boost your metabolism and trigger weight loss. Here’s the thing…it’s simple math. Eat less calories then your body burns and you lose weight…period. My appetite has inherently gone down since all of this, and I simply listen to my body. Often times I’ll only eat 2 meals a day, but more importantly, portion sizes are much smaller. I eat until I’m no longer hungry. I don’t eat until I’m full. That’s a huge difference in the way you think about food. Between cutting sugar and my calorie intake, it’s no wonder I’m able to lose consistently even without having worked exercise in yet.
- Do not drink calories. I can’t believe how many calories I was consuming just in liquid alone. Just cutting that is probably enough to get me to a better place. Lots of research about how artificial sweeteners are going to kill us. There’s no proof. Sure, maybe 30-40 years from now we learn it does, but shit…you can’t live your life with what ifs. And if using Splenda in my Iced Tea helps me lose weight, lower my diabetes risk, I’ll take that trade. It’s all about moderation. And lots of water.
- Don’t eat after 9pm. I just picture eating food late at night then going to bed and how it just sits there turning into fat. Sure, your body actually burns quite a bit during sleep, but there’s no nutritional need to eat late at night, so I don’t. If I get hungry, I just go to bed.
I know as guy it’s easier when it comes to weight loss, which certainly isn’t fair. I also know that week 1 losses are usually the most and can involve water weight loss. But regardless, I can tell how quickly and drastically the changes are taking place. My goal was to focus just on the diet part first, not overwhelm myself with too much change. Exercise is certainly next, but it’s about finding active things I enjoy doing that are sustainable, so that whatever I’m doing lasts.
What’s worked for you?