Every year, as New Years rolled around, so did another gimmick fad diet that was doomed to fail. As I mentioned in early blogs, I’ve lost weight before. This time, it’s much different than the others. I used to also have a lot of trepidation when it came to committing to these diets. The Atkins worked for me a few times, until it didn’t. Zone, fat free diets, etc. In my previous writing, I also went through the phases of the “death of the diet”. This is something else, entirely.
My life is different.
Much of my adult life, I’ve been juggling chainsaws with flaming batons while also trying to ride a unicycle over the grand canyon. Six years of grad school, long commutes, not planning out meals. I used to party a LOT in my 20s, and today I think I’ve had one drink in the past 4 months. I used to smoke, and that period of my life has been mostly over for a few years. I just couldn’t balance all that life was throwing at me. Stress took over, and the vices took their grip on me. While stress is still there, it’s to a much lesser extent, and I’ve now made ME a priority in my life. I’ve had to work hard. Damn hard. I was out of work one time for 15 months in my 20’s. Never again would someone take work from me, and my industry is fickle. I have had to work….HARD…for 15 years to get where I am. I’m proud of where I am now….and it’s time to take care of ME now, in the health sense.
It was chaos. And…it got to a point when I hit 40, that I really thought I might not live until 45. It’s also when I started writing this blog. I wanted to ensure that if my boy didn’t have his dad around as he grew up, that he’d be able to print off a bunch of my wacky writings and he’d have my thoughts and musings forever. It’s some powerful shit when you really think about it. I’m writing a blog so my son knows me as an adult. Really process that for a minute. The years of stress, partying, fun until 3AM…every last moment I’ll remember and not forget.
But, my life is different these days. I promised myself when I finished my MBA in August that I’d have a send off with the guys, and then my life will change. There’s no excuses left. There’s no time left. It needs to be now. And, it needs to be executed flawlessly. I’m in bed by 8 most nights. I drink 5 quarts of water a day. I meal prep like I’m about to be a hostage in Iran. I clock out of work now instead of stay on for hours later. I am no longer dependent on anyone else’s input as to what fuel goes into my body but me. I mysteriously have will power after I cut out the shit foods. I am able to have a “cheat” meal or two per week – BUT I do NOT go over my calories for the day. I can eat any food I want, but choose to put the highest octane in.
To prep for my lifestyle change, I watched a ton of vlogs. I still do. Every night. Often, these are inspirational to me – several of these vloggers lost well over 100 pounds. It seems like the same patterns, and usually the same success story:
- Consulting with experts rather than going it alone
- Using the youtube universe to see how others did it
- Prepping meals. For me, nutrition is 80% of my daily life now with this process.
- Doing the work – and being smart about it. In all cases I’ve seen, lifting and working out seems to be the “way to go”. If you do 90% cardio, apparently you also lose a lot of muscle weight which lowers your metabolism. Also being smart is not overdoing it. I injured my foot after running 3 miles and putting a total of about 25 miles on my feet in one week.
- Eating enough food. Like me, many of them failed time and time again on severe calorie restricted “diets” and did a ton of cardio. You drop 20-30 pounds, then stop losing for months, then the “diet” goes into the graveyard. I went to a professional to get my basal metabolic rate (BMR) and I have been faithfully hitting this number daily for 4 months, with a minor adjustment a few weeks ago. One of the guys who lost a ton called it something other than BMR, but the concept was to get a certain number, then subtract 300, and these are the calories you should eat in a day. The idea is to not dip too low and prevent your body from breaking down muscle into glycogen for energy. You want to build muscle to improve your metabolism, but still keep a deficit to burn fat stores. By doing this properly, you are essentially using the stored energy in fats to then give you energy for workouts where you are building muscle.
- Macros – almost to a fault, all of them had some form of plan in a MyFitnessPal type of system where they counted the calories, tracked their food, and tracked their macros. By doing this process, you learn that it is not evil to eat a slice of pizza. You just then see how much fats you took in and balance your other meals accordingly.
Here’s the type of youtube items I watch, nightly:
- Food prepping videos. Take your pic, there are thousands out there. Cook 20 meals in 2 hours instead of slaving over the stove every night for an hour when you have no damn time. Recently, I watched a “fit couple cooks” where they did Bison burgers. Jesus Christ they were good. I also used some of the “nature’s promise” BBQ sauce on them – this sauce is much lower in sugars than regular BBQ sauce. But the amount of videos are endless. I am trying overnight oatmeal tonight to eat tomorrow.
- Exercise videos – something like Athlean-X. While I am not buying the program, sometimes it’s good to get some tips from the pros on common gym mistakes, proper form, etc. There are lots of these out there. SixPackShortcuts also has some items worth checking out.
- Female fitness vlogs. I just don’t want the “pick things up and put them down” from over size 300 pound muscle-bound gorillas. Some of these are good because you can see some ideas on HIIT training. You also get some really good nutritional advice as well as tips on prepping. Check out Heidi Somers or Jen Heward.
- Nutritional videos – something like The Health Nerd might give you some good ideas on things like whey. It’s interesting to learn about a lot of nutrition, and common mistakes people make.
- Inspirational videos – This one guy has “Brix Fitness”. I think he lost 140 pounds? Our stories are somewhat similar, and it’s cool to connect with him and some others that have actually walked the path. I hope to be one of them someday.
- How to cook videos. While food prepping is above, it’s always kind of cool to learn how to make new things.
Below, I wanted to add some food porn, so you know that I’m eating pretty much whatever I want – but I’m smart about it. I’m down 37 pounds in about 4 months, and the weight I have lost I’m fairly confident is mostly fat and not muscle. I’ve been hitting the gym hard, swimming, walking, and doing everything I can to succeed. So, if you think you don’t want to “diet” again….don’t. Change your life and eat anything you want, just track that shit and adjust your macros accordingly.