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Thursday, December 13, 2012

What I have learned about losing weight

 I need to lose a few pounds. That is no secret. So, who am I to give advice about doing that? What qualifies me to start spewing on this subject?
Glad you asked.
Some of you may know this about me. Most of you don't. I have a Phys Ed. degree from University. So you are saying to yourself, "yah, so you can be a gym teacher, right?" 
True..I could have done that. Many of my classmates did end up doing that. I was never going to. First off,  I really don't like kids. Secondly, I am not partial to jail time. If I had taught a bunch of over-hormoned punks at the height of their sexual frustration on a daily basis, I am sure I would have killed enough of them to end up doing real hard time. So, No, I was never going to be a gym teacher.
Some of you also know I am a habitual junk food eater. French fries, potato chips, cookies, chocolate, gummi bears, ju jubes. The list is endless with me. I am like the doctor who is 40 pounds overweight and a chain smoker who tells you that you need to get your shit together and start living a healthier lifestyle.

"Do as I say, not as I do."

Anyway, taking Phys. Ed. in University is not all that it seems. In addition to dribbling basketballs and swimming laps, we didn't just weave baskets ya know. We took courses like Anatomy, Physiology, Bio-mechanics and all sorts of nutrition courses. It was a tough go. Many who took those courses who were not Phys. Ed. majors said we had the hardest course load of anyone at University.
Am I very qualified to tell you how to lose weight? Yes. Is that because I took lots of stuff that educated me to be a wannabe professional writer in the end? Partially. 
Most of what I know about weight loss is about common sense. And THAT is what I will be sharing with you in the next few paragraphs.

 "I know what I know. If you know what I mean."

-Edie Brickell

As we all know, the holiday season, which used to be something about praising a really skinny guy who died on the cross for your everlasting happiness, has become some sort of face stuffing, gift giving, party attending endeavor to excess. 

That usually ends up with a substantial balance on your Visa bill in January and a trip to the mall to buy new jeans that fit. Possibly followed by some lame resolution on January 1st that you will give up on by January 2nd (if you have extreme will power and make it longer than most of us) and then a futile, money wasting purchase of a health club membership which you will use two times before giving up on.
Here are my simple weight loss tips. I can't help you with the Visa bill. Okay, I could help you with that too, but you would have to pay me for that info, and since your Visa bill is already going to be maxed out, I know that is a waste of my time. 

1) Grocery shopping. Have a plan. Tell yourself what you need,  what you don't need, what you absolutely should not buy and then execute that plan. Just because it is on sale, doesn't mean you should buy it. Your body doesn't know anything about "on sale" only that if it has X calories, you will gain X amount of weight. This is usually where most slip up. It is always were I slip up. If I was smart, I would have others do my grocery shopping from a very set list of items, and never set foot in the Foodmart ever again. I think I gain 3 pounds just walking in the store every time.

2) Less calories/More working out. Seems so simple, doesn't it? Just eat less high calorie foods and do more work. Weight gain and weight loss are simple. Burn more than you take in, and you will lose. Do the opposite and you will gain. I don't need any degree to figure that out. I learned that at the University of Common Sense.

3) Eat lower calorie foods. Yes, I know. This is revolutionary advice. I should really write a book or something. Less calories equals less stored energy leads to less weight gain. You can eat an apple or you can eat an apple fritter. Your choice. Your body does what nature intended to.

4) Do diet pills work? Maybe, on some level, they can help. Do eating certain types of diets, low carbs, or low fats, low sugar, do they help? Sure, they do on some level. But your body is designed to store calories and burn when needed. That is how our ancestors survived the cold winters. But if they got too fat, they probably died in the summers in some sort of Darwinism nature check to bring the world back in harmony. Just eat what you need to burn. And if you need to burn more than you currently eat to bring that back into harmony, then just do that on a daily basis, and your body will readjust to the changes.

5) Does higher metabolism play a part? Sure it does. But so does stuffing your face full of twinkies and pizza and french fries. Stop blaming your DNA for your troubles. Lots of people lose the weight and their DNA has nothing to do with it. Stop eating too much and your DNA wont control your life.

6) Just keep it simple. If you can't go for a workout, or make your weekly pick up basketball game, then just go for a walk when you have time. Burn calories, in any way you can. You expend physical energy, you burn calories. You lose weight. It is that simple. Anybody can go for a walk, anytime. Don't make lame excuses. Excuses are for losers. But not weight losers.

7) Get a dog. Be forced to walk it. Volunteer so you have to interact with kids. Kids have lots of energy. They make you chase them. Chasing kids burns calories. 
Sitting on the couch watching TV with your dog or kids doesn't burn calories. I know, another shocking pearl of wisdom from the Phys. Ed. major.

8) Drink more water. Water has zero calories. Again, I know, I am really letting some major secrets to the healthy lifestyle out of the bag here. Drink beer, wine, soda pop and sugar enhanced fruity drinks will only make you gain weight, not lose it. Trust me, this has been my number two biggest enemy.

9) Do your own chores. Shovel your own driveway and walkway. Cut your own grass. (This is double advice. I said I wouldn't help with the Visa bill thing, but if you don't pay others to do the work you can do yourself, you save money.)

10) If you only need a few light things, walk back and forth the grocery store. Don't drive. Driving burns zero calories. And don't be eating on your way to and from the grocery store. If you are hungry eat before you leave. Otherwise, the purpose is to get the food and get to and from home, not to put more fuel in.

11) Ride the exercise bike while you watch that video you DVR'd. Kill two birds with one stone. (Note, does not work if you watch porn and need to use your hands.)

12) The occasional binge or slip up wont hurt you long term. You can only gain so much in any given day. Just get back on the plan. It is when you just give up because of it, that is where you fall and gain it all back. Setbacks will happen. Don't let them become habits. They aren't. Unless you let them. Then they are.

13) If you have grand plans to start on Jan 1 and you don't, then start on the 7th, or 14th. It doesn't have to be on some landmark day. The weight doesn't care. It will come off when you burn it off. It isn't huffy and defiant. It is a collection of stored calories. That is all it is. It will give it up like a 30 year old virgin at a Star Trek convention.

14) Eat before you go to the party. As soon as you get to the party, all the negative vices are there and if you walk in hungry and relaxed and not paying attention, you are going off the bandwagon in a big way. And you likely stay off it long enough to lose all the gain. Like grocery shopping you need to have a plan and execute that plan.

15) Don't eat late at night, unless you are starving. You can always go get up and get something. Let hunger guide you. And if you do have to get up and get something, make sure something healthy and low calorie is waiting for you. You are not very alert and your defenses are weakened. You could have 3 donuts and a high calorie soft drink down in 5 minutes and the whole days gains are wiped out.

The bottom line:

If you are not hungry,  don't eat. Sounds so simple, but it is very hard to grasp for those of us who were raised to eat more than we need and not think twice about that.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog, Mark. You are right, none of this is new information and much is common sense, but I love your presentation.


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