While the photo above may depict me as being down, I am far from that. It's now 14 months into my transformation which has actually been more of a mental make-over than a physical one. If you've been following along since 1/01/2016, you have probably witnessed both. I get more questions on how I accomplished the physical changes though this is truly just the cherry on top. And really, the physical part I can easily teach you: I could chronicle every workout that I did, exercise-by-exercise, rep-by-rep, with weight adjustments, routine tweaks, cardio sessions (not many) and so on. I know that some do want to know these things and for my own purposes, I do keep track though I find it boring to share on a regular basis. While I get super thrilled knowing that 4 45 lb. plates on the incline leg press at this time last year were a challenge but that in today's session, I used 12 45 lb. plates for a total of 6 damn fine reps, most everyone else will start to yawn. And, not everyone wants to mimic my routine and even if you did, your results may be vastly different. The greatest variable is diet and I am still learning my way around how to get the lean, muscular look without losing too much size. Following a diet is never easy and as we are in the middle of the first month into New Year's resolutions, I decided to do some statistic-checking. Here are the dismal results:
Out of the current 325,412,323 people in the United States, over 60% included losing weight and starting a regular exercise program as their #1 resolution for the new year. Within two weeks of uttering this vow, nearly 1/4 of resolutions are already broken, within three weeks, 1/3 of resolutions will be broken and within one month, nearly 1/2 of resolutions will also be broken.
The statistics also say that about $68 billion will be spent on weight-loss related products in 2017 in the pursuit of these lofty aspirations. Based on the numbers, that means about 195,000,000 people will spend several hundred dollars on products that won't work for them. At any given time in the United States, 70% of Americans are overweight while 50% are on a diet. Eighty percent that go on a diet will try to go it alone and out of those that do lose the weight, 90-95% that lose 20-100 lbs., or MORE, will gain it ALL back within 3-5 years. I told you-dismal, right?
I've done plenty of posts on why diets don't work, why they never will and why people continue to follow bad advice though now is probably a good time to expand on a few common misconceptions. If you are trying to lose any amount of weight, remember first to think of it in terms of FAT loss and then, keep this in mind:
1. It is virtually impossible to banish fat cells. The size of your cells can shrink but the amount you possess will not. Studies have shown that even in the case of bariatric surgery patients, where a set of drastic procedures that shrink the stomach with staples and bands, or bypass it altogether, is performed as an extreme approach to weight loss, the number of fat cells remained the same one year later, though the size was about 1/3 less. When you lose weight, it is fat loss you should be aiming for and the goal is to shrink the size of fat cells and then keep them shrunken size for life!
2. The nutritional value of food is not what will cause you to gain or lose fat. Excess calories in your diet is truly what makes the difference. Think of it this way-what weighs more: 20 lbs. of lard or 20 lbs. of avocados? Well, obviously they weigh the same though one is a nutritionally better choice. Ingesting them in a calorie-appropriate manner is where the difference between fat-gain, fat-loss or fat-maintenance comes into effect. It's important to truly get this because this means you don't have to deprive yourself of food you love when you go on a diet, just eat the right amount. I'm not advocating the continuance of a crappy diet (if that's what you have) administered in proper portion sizes, but the fact is that you can truly eat whatever you want and lose fat as long as you don't eat excess calories. This may not lead to the highest levels of vitality and energy but it will accomplish the goal of losing fat when portion-size is practiced. Revisit the 'Twinkie Diet' study from 2010: http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/
3. Exercise alone has almost no affect on weight when caloric intake is not modified in some way. I am not talking about weight training for the purpose of putting on muscle, which could cause weight to go up. The increased energy demand of exercise typically causes a corresponding increase in caloric intake, cancelling out the fat-loss benefits of exercise and instead resulting in status quo.
There is a process to eliminating the need to diet-FOREVER-from your life. It came to me over the last 14 months and started with my resolution to: Stop negotiating with myself on goals I set and the refusal to accept mediocrity in the attainment of those goals. Granted, while those goals all had to do with getting my diet healthy, after 30+ years of struggling with bulimia and BED (Binge Eating Disorder) and having set the same goal every year, multiple times throughout the year(s), then suffering failed-attempt-after-failed-attempt, I knew I had my work cut out. But now that I've done it? I have a road-map for you to follow and I am going to break it down into very easy steps that you can use to succeed as well! Just know this: It is a PROCESS and you MUST work the process.
I have been asked "How did you succeed at kicking BED/bulimia to the curb this time, after over 30 years of trying?' Fair question but let me start by saying that I do not assume I am home-free and will never ever again even entertain thoughts of binge behavior. And BTW-this is not behavior that is reserved for the eating disorder inclined. Probably most every person can relate to episodes of binge eating though most likely, women can relate to a greater degree. And, as statistics show that diet issues are prevalent in a large segment of society, not just the United States, there is obviously a need for effective methodology to combat this undesirable activity. I am not referring to the occasional indulgence but rather to the regular participation in binge-fests. The methodology has everything to do with your thought process so even if you are not experiencing diet struggles, perhaps procrastination is something you'd like to overcome. This will work for you too.
In my next post, I'll share the details of the rock-bottom moment (AKA TKO #999) that catapulted me from complacency and despair to an attitude of non-negotiation for choosing to live life as the best I can be. I'll also break it down for you so you can do the same in your life. Be prepared to be shaken up as the process will require you to be completely honest and do some up-close examination of your thought process.