Went to a festival in town this past weekend and ran into some folks I hadn’t seen since embarking on my weight loss journey. Surprisingly, a couple of them didn’t recognize me at first. Once we established who I was, the consensus reaction was, “Wow, you look great! How did you do it?!?” My standard answer is, “Eating less, and exercising more”. That’s pretty much it. Short and to the point, yet even at that most folks’ eyes glaze over. So I wondered, am I letting folks down by not having a more “complete” list of what it takes to lose weight? Is all of my hard work going down in flames like a North Korean missile, just because I don’t have a fancy explanation? It just can’t be. There must be more to it. Well, my friends, there is…
In order to lose weight, you need to do the following things:
1) Expend more energy than you consume or, alternatively, consume less energy than you expend.
2) Exercise at least 3 times per week.
3) Eat your vegetables.
4) Stop eating at 6pm. Eating late at night makes you gain fat.
5) Never mix carbs and fat together in the same meal.
6) Turn the lights on and off 20 times each time you enter and leave the room. This alters your circadian clock to boost your metabolism.
7) Never drink diet soda. It makes you fat.
8) Eat protein with each meal. Protein helps keep you full and will likely cause you to eat fewer calories.
9) Avoid sugar! It causes all your stomach enzymes to go into overdrive which causes blood loss from non vital organs and so your private parts get all shriveled.
10) Consider tracking your food in a food diary or an application like Myfitnesspal. It will help you monitor your diet.
(Thanks to Patrick Umphrey at Eat, Train, Progress for this awesome list! And thanks to Sandy for turning me on to this great group!)
So, let’s talk about this list. Better? More believable? Of course if I wanted some real bang, I could add items like:
11) Take “Next Generation Super Horny Goat Extract” twice a day (If that’s a real product, someone please let me know. I can’t afford copyright issues)
12) Fart 12-15 times daily
Ok, granted some of these have some credence, and for the most part none of them are harmful (except for #11, that shit is just scary! and #12…worthless, unless of course you are referring to the weight of the relationship you will be losing). Ok, so I am being a little silly, but my point is that of the items listed above, only ONE of them is required to lose weight. As our friend Patrick so eloquently puts it, “Truth is, the first item on this list is the only non-negotiable one as far as it being a fundamental requirement for weight loss. In other words, you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight.” Remember that “eating less, and exercising more” thing I mentioned earlier? I know, I know… not enough flair. But when it all boils down, that’s it! Yes, you could do everything on this list and be successful at losing weight, but why muddy the water?
So if none of those things are harmful, does it matter? I think Patrick says it well, “Yes, it absolutely does matter. Someone could very easily take their personal experience based on this list, and tell people all kinds of total bullshit using their personal experience to justify it when they have the root cause incorrect.” Case in point, If you spend much time on the internet I’ll assume you have been bombarded with the inspirational success stories of all those using the latest fad supplement. Claims of “a better you”, “a healthier gut”, “more energy”, and of course “AMAZING WEIGHT LOSS” are common. And yes, people may be using these products and losing weight, but is the supplement the root cause of their success? I’ll wager not! The problem is, in our “sell me a dream” culture we are quick to jump to the conclusion that it’s all on account of the supplement, the easy way out. Truth be known, the successful ones are also including old #1 in their program.
Here’s something else to think about. “KISS” (keep it simple stupid), applies significantly when you are speaking of changing habits. Make a plan that has too many elements, and you are setting yourself up for failure. This is the main reason I am opposed to diet plans that restrict one type of food, or a group of foods. We are making lifelong changes of habit here. Can you really commit to never eating bread again? Ever? In your life? No effing way! This is the same reason fad supplements or crash diets may have an immediate effect (especially if that “super cleanse” causes you to puke your guts out!) but will not help long term, because they aren’t maintainable (for numerous reasons) over a long period of time.
So, my (not-so) secret to weight loss? To lose weight you have to eat less than you burn. End of story. Don’t let fads and extraneous things get in the way of you doing the things that get results.
As always… get out there and kick some ass!