Diets are short-term solutions to a long-term problem. Changing your eating habits (caloric restriction) is only 50% of the weight loss equation. A diet will help you lose weight but diets alone won’t help you keep the weight off. How many people do you know who have lost weight only to put it all back on? Losing the first 30-40 pounds is really not that hard. Your friends and family will celebrate your weight loss and people tell you how great you look. That first 40 pounds is really exciting. You look and feel great. However after about a year or so that “new car smell” starts to wear off. Losing more weight or keeping the weight off that you’ve lost becomes tiresome. You begin to stop watching what you eat, just a day here and there, then a week here and there…the next thing you know you’ve been “out” for a month or more. You notice that the scale is going in the wrong direction. You gain back 10 pounds then 15. The rest is history. Losing weight is more than counting calories, it’s a state of mind…a lifestyle so to speak. To be healthy you have to live healthy. I’ve lost about 60 pounds and kept it off because I changed my lifestyle. I stay physically active by doing martial arts, lifting weights and cycling. Right now my physical training is focused on cycling. I average about 100 miles of road biking per week and I’m getting ready to do my first competitive bike race next month. I’ve surrounded myself with like-minded people. I don’t hang out in bars or stay out late at night partying because I’m usually too tired from training. I don’t want night life or ancillary social activities to interfere with training or my ability to improve as a cyclist. A hung over cyclist is an ineffective cyclist. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live the life of a Benedictine Monk. I drink beer but usually limit myself to two. On the 4’th of July I gorged on ribs, burgers, corn on the cob and deserts but the very next day I was back on my bike. I used to write many posts trying to motivate people to lose weight but found out it’s really a waste of time. People whip themselves into a frenzy and put posts up on Facebook about how they are “dieting” and are going to lose weight. After about a month they lose their resolve and slip back into their old unhealthy eating habits. Consistency is the key. Here is what worked for me:
- Download a “diet” app to your phone. My Fitness Pal is the one that I use. Plug in your data and set your weight loss goal. Be consistent you’ll be surprised how fast you begin to lose weight.
- As you lose weight start to ramp up your physical activities. Start doing 5K runs or any number of “obstacle races” like the Spartan Race, Tuff Mudder etc… I started by hiking then rock climbing and mountaineering which ultimately led me to cycling. As your fitness level increases so too should your physical activity.
- Find a physical challenge that gives meaning and purpose to your training. That is why I’m going to start competitive cycling. It gives purpose to the hundreds of miles that I spend on my bike.
- Don’t be a bucket lister. For instance don’t make your ultimate goal to do a triathlon. Make your goal to become a triathlete. If you are one and done you may lose motivation to train if you don’t have a challenge. I’ve known people whose goal was to do a century ride (a 100 mile bike ride usually for charity). They do one century ride then park their bike in the garage never to be used again.
- Stop making excuses. You either want to be fit or you don’t. Anything that stops you is nothing more than an excuse.