About Fogdog's Weight Loss

Don't Focus on the Goal...

If you've followed this blog you know that I've struggled for many years with improving my health. I've finally reached a point where I've managed to maintain a small amount of success. Now it's time to take the next step, but I believe it requires a new way of thinking.

Instead of trying to get healthy, why not shift focus toward learning how to build healthy habits instead. Follow me as I try to teach myself how to Engineer healthy habits that will allow me to take my health to the next level. Let's see where this experiment goes!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weight Loss 101

Losing weight is such a hard thing to do, but the formula behind it is not very complicated. The formula to losing weight is quite simple... take in less calories than your body burns and you will lose weight.


The problem with the formula has to do with how many calories you expend each day. You can track fairly accurately how many calories you consume and you can control it pretty well, but how many did you burn each day? That is where it gets really tricky. There are so many things that affect how many calories you burn each day. The body is a very sophisticated system and it knows how to react. That's why starving yourself doesn't work. The body isn't getting enough fuel so it reacts by slowing down your metabolism so you burn less. The same works with exercise. Exercise once and your body burns a small amount of calories. Exercise regularly and the body reacts by burning more calories in anticipation of the coming workload. It's really quite cool.

So the big trick is to try to keep your metabolism revved up while eating slightly less than your body requires each day (also known as creating a calorie deficit). No simple task indeed, but it can be done. In order to do this you will need to focus on 3 things; healthy diet, adequate exercise, and proper mindset.

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet revolves around balance. You should be trying to eat a wide variety of fresh foods from all the food groups. Any diet that prevents you from eating from a particular group is doomed to fail because the body will react to the restriction. How much food and in what combinations are a subject for another post, but the takeaway here is that you shouldn't be denying yourself of anything.

Adequate Exercise

When people think of exercise, they think of treadmills and stair steppers, but exercise is a whole lot more. Any activity that increases your body's need for energy can be considered exercise whether it's playing golf, walking up a flight of stairs, or having sex with your partner (the next time your wife's not in the mood tell her you need to get your exercise in). The point is your body burns calories based on the amount of activity you do each day. The only way to increase that burn is by increasing your activity level regularly.

Proper Mindset

You could maintain a healthy diet and get adequate exercise and still not lose weight without the proper mindset. Stress and other mind forces will kill your weight loss goals as easy as anything else. What makes matters worse is that an improper mindset not only affects your body, but it also affects your ability to maintain your diet and exercise routine. One bad day in your mind can hurt your weight loss plans 3 times! No one can maintain the proper mindset all the time but you have to remain conscious of your thoughts if you want to lose weight. Did you ever start a weight loss journey and then skip a day of exercise? Did you feel guilty later in the day because you skipped your workout so you bought some ice cream to feel better? Did you wake up the next morning and decide to give up because you felt so worthless from the previous day? Mindset is the most powerful factor in determining your success and I would argue it's the only one that's an absolute requirement for getting control of your weight. There are people out there who have lost weight by just eating better and there are those who have lost weight by just increasing their activity levels, but I doubt there's anyone out there who lost a lot of weight (and kept it off) without the proper mindset.

One last consideration for any weight loss journey should be time. It took a long time to get heavy, and so it stands to reason that the journey to take the weight off will most likely take a long time as well. As a society we do not handle time well. We want everything to happen now. Books on losing weight fast and TV Shows like "The Biggest Loser" only add to our desire to change instantly. You will find that most people that are truly successful at taking weight off (and keeping it off) did it over a long period of time. Keep this nugget about time in your mindset toolbox and you will be better off. Give yourself time to do it right.

Also remember this, even though it will take a long time...

"The journey of a thousand mile starts with the first step" - Confucius

2 comments:

  1. Nice post, thanks for sharing this wonderful and useful information with us.

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  2. Glad you had a good trip. I will be putting that nugget in my toolbox!

    ReplyDelete