This is a themed post. What the hell is that? Basically it's a way for me to talk about something and ramble on with a long post. I think of my daily posts as little updates on my life and my adventures, and I would prefer not to make them too long. People get tired, haha. Anyway, this first themed post is about the basics of losing weight and what worked for me.
This post will be long. I do ask that if you decide you want to change something in yourself, then you should stick around. I know that this is something that has specifically worked for me, and that there will be naysayers. But knowledge is always something that is worth having, and I've done my own extensive researching on this subject, forcing my way through all of the bullshit that you see online. And there's no arguing the kind of results that I've had, if I had to be frank. But ultimately, it'll be up to you to do what you want. I just wanted to put out there what I found to be true for me because people kept asking. :)
What's The Secret?In the beginning of June, I was 205 lbs and had a 42 inch waist. By the beginning of August, I was 170 lbs, and had a 32 inch waist. That's about 30-40 lbs in the span of just over two months.
And as I've said before, it was EASY.
To clarify, I really should say that it was SIMPLE. It's hard to change your habits and keep your mind focused on a goal for a while, and I know that if I didn't have the motivations that I did, I would have had a lot of trouble staying on track. But losing weight is a really simple process and there's only one thing you have to keep in mind:
That's it. That's literally all you have to do. You don't have to exercise, run, lift, etc. All you have to do is eat less. Now, the specifics of eating less are a little less simple, but if you were to take away one lesson from this post, its that if you just eat less, then you will be on your way to having that flat stomach and cut body.
Going more in depth, we have to look at an important concept: Calories in vs. calories out. And even before that, what is a calorie? Basically it's a unit of energy (as you engineers and scientists should know) that is used to describe the amount of energy that is being put into, or exerted by, our bodies. Food gives you energy, working out makes you lose energy. OK, simple enough.
Going further in depth, everyone has a certain "maintenance" level of calories that they need to consume per day in order to stay at their weight. This depends on a number of factors such as your age, weight, height, sex, etc. If you want to lose weight, you have to eat less than that number, and if you want to gain weight, you have to eat more than that number. One pound of fat is about 3500 calories, so if you do a little math, if you eat 500 calories less than your maintenance for a week (7 days), then you should theoretically lose 1 pound by the end of that week. OK, not as simple, but still pretty simple.
I mentioned in my last post that its not that healthy to lose more than 2 lbs ish a week. If you go below 1000 calories (really 1200), then you'll start to feel some really negative effects, like headaches, weakness, and for me, I experienced serious insomnia. Not fun. So let's say that my maintenance level is 2400 calories, then that means that if the lowest I should ever go is 1200, I can only eat at a deficit of 1200 calories, which roughly translates to 2.4 lbs of fat a week (that's why I say 2 lbs ish). But if you take my friend whose maintenance is 1900, he can only eat at a deficit of 700 calories, which is roughly 1.4 lbs a week.
To add to that, whenever you work out, you burn calories. What does that mean? That means that if you decided to one day run for an ungodly amount of time and burn 1000 calories, you may be in danger of dropping below that 1200 calorie mark. If you burn calories, you have to MAKE IT UP to get back to your goal.
That's why I say that you don't have to work out. If you eat to your deficit goal every day, then working out is unnecessary and could actually be harmful.
Sample Person's DayOkay, let's go with a quick example to illustrate my point. Let's say we have an average person who has a maintenance of 2000 calories. She wants to lose weight, specifically about 10 pounds of fat. On this day, she did ate 1500 calories worth of food.
2000-1500 = 500 deficit
If she did that every day for a week, she would be down 1 pound of fat. After 10 weeks, she would be at her goal.
Now let's say that the next day, she also at 1500 calories worth of food, but then ran a 5k and burned 700 calories.
1500-700 = 800 total calories for the day
2000-800 = 1200 deficit
The 1200 calorie deficit sounds like it would be fun, but she only had 800 calories for the day. Yeah, if she did that for the whole week she'd lose 2.4 lbs, but she'd be in danger of suffering from malnutrition.
Now let's say the next day, she was feeling really pumped up, and did the Insanity workout, where she burned 1000 calories, and the she was feeling even more motivated and attempted to run a half marathon where another 1000 calories would be burned. If she had eaten the 1500 calories that day, she literally would not have enough energy to finish her half marathon. DON'T DO THIS.
I realized that this is pretty much why stuff like Insanity works for so many people. Most people don't want to change their eating habits, so if they're burning 1000 calories, then they don't have to worry about that. I think that's bullshit that you're putting that much effort into something, when all you have to do is just eat less.
Actions + LinksEven though it seemed to be complicated in theory, actually doing all this is really easy. Tracking your calories seems like a pain, but its really not that bad. You can log the information any time you want, and not let it interfere in your normal life. I would say max 10 minutes are spend logging my meals.
At first, I did everything by hand, but then I started to use one of the best website/apps:
The app is on iPhone and Android.
The great thing about these guys is that there are user submissions of meals and the framework has already been built. Let's say you ate a McDonald's Cheeseburger. All you'd have to do is search for that meal, and it should be there. Sodexo has all their information on there as well, so if you are going to a dining hall, it's there. Worst comes to worst, just look up the USDA values.
When you set up your account, I would say just follow all of their directions and prompts. They should give you pretty good estimates for your calorie amounts and goals for each day. If you wanted to get more specific about calorie amounts and macronutrient breakdowns (like I do), contact me and I'll direct you to those resources.
And that's pretty much all you have to do. It doesn't matter what the hell you eat (although, I do suggest stop drinking soda and eating candy/sweets, you'll lose up to 10lbs off the bat), as long as it fits within your daily limits. If you want to work out, feel free to do so. I know that I ran over the summer so that I could work on my cardiovascular system. But know that if you do that, you have to make up the calorie amounts that you just burned. MyFitnessPal actually has an exercise section that you can input different exercises into, and it calculates how much more you have to eat for that day. It makes EVERYTHING easy.
People will scoff at you and say that you are crazy for tracking calories and you shouldn't worry about calories at all and that it will consume your life. Take a look at them, judge them, and scoff right back at them. Diet and nutrition is at least 85-95% of what makes the difference in your body. Working doesn't BUILD anything, it acts as a catalyst for change. Honestly, I don't plan on tracking my calories forever, and I don't suggest you do either. However, I do plan on doing so for a while so that I can learn what my own personal limits are so that later on, I can eat healthily and smartly.
I hope that what I've told you makes sense, and that you can at least consider what I'm telling you guys. It's frustrating seeing these guys trying to sell programs that are unnecessary (I'll talk about that in another post), and it's a little sad when people ask me "Oh, what program are you on?" as if that was the only option in the world. No, just no. Just eat less, and that's all you have to do. You'll find yourself in a better place, not just in the short term, but in the long term. Diet and Nutrition should really be taught in depth, but I hope this has at least been helpful.
- Losing weight is easy and simple. Just EAT LESS.
- Make an account/download the app with MyFitnessPal .
- Eat to your goals, and if you work out, eat more to get back up to those goals.
- Workout programs are bullshit, and I'll talk about that later
- Diet and Nutrition are really important in life, and are 85-95% of the battle.
- If you want more specifics, let me know.
- Good luck, and I'm here as support! :)