There are just two “secrets” to an effective weight loss:
– eat less
– move more
Guess, which one is more important? With today’s obsession about fitness you may believe that exercises are doing the most of job… but it is not true. Fitness industry, personal trainers and gym owners are trying very hard to convince us, that physical activity is a big part of the equation.
But it’s not.
1. You may not exercise and lose weight.
I know people who did little to none exercises and lost a significant amount of weight. One of them is my wife, so I know it’s not some urban myth neither the story was made by dietary industry to draw away people from exercises.
2. You may exercise and gain weight.
I have been doing an intensive and short workout every day for about 4 years. I topped it in the last year with 15-minute Weider series.
I got some impressive results as far as my strength was considered. For example doing more than 100 consecutive pushups.
But all this time I was steady gaining weight. Several pounds one year, a couple pounds another year… Exercises didn’t save me from fat.
3. Ten minutes a day is enough.
I can envision fitness fanatics replying to the previous point: “With that ridiculously short amount of time you were spending on your workout, have you expected any better results?! Of course you exercised too short. You need at least an hour every second day to see the results.”
(Or 3 hours every 3rd day, it depends on personal beliefs)
Bull shit. I didn’t change my routine and I lost 15% of my body weight. I did 15 minutes of Weider series, which felt like a warm-up for me. It’s hard to even call it a workout. For me it’s relaxing like cycling with kids.
And I did a few ultra-intensive workouts in ultra-short intervals. One minute of pull-ups, 2 minutes of dips, 3 minutes of legs-elevated pushups. No more than ten minutes a day.
I lost weight that way and I kept it stable that way. What is more I crush a fitness record after record with this simple routine. 42 chin-ups, 56 dips, 107 legs-elevated pushups…
Exercises are not necessary to lose weight and keep you fit. They are welcome, but not so important.
Weight loss Pareto rule
You know the 80/20 rule? There is always a factor which brings the most results or the best results. In my opinion when it comes to weight loss it is 95/5 rule. 95% percent of your results come from your diet, 5% from exercises.
I had nothing against exercises per se. In fact I love them. You must love them to do 40 pull-ups. But I am all for results. In the realm of weight loss the results come from the change in your diet.
Sticking to 80/20 rule, do you know which change in your diet gives you the best results?
You don’t have to go vegan or to eat a hefty breakfast and then just crumbs for the whole day. You don’t have to eat 8 meals a day or have proteins within 30 minutes of waking up.
Any of those tactics may be helpful, but only if you eat less overall.
If you eat junk food I’m fine with it.
Just. Eat. Less. Of. It.
I have a sweet tooth. I can eat two or three pounds of the cake in a single afternoon. And I do from time to time. On 7th of May my wife bought a cake for our anniversary and I ate half of it within 4 hours. It was well over a pound of a sweet poison consisted of delicious carbs and sugar.
My weight didn’t move that week a bit. I just made sure to eat less afterwards.
Face it. You are a food addict. All of us are. It’s how our brains work. Brain worships the feeling of fullness or the delicious tastes. Gluttony is your brain’s shortcut to heaven. You eat well and you feel great. For a while at least, but it’s all your brain cares about.
A healthy human can live without food for a week. It’s not a big deal. At the end of the last year I was fasting for 94 hours in a row, and then I ate a bowl of chicken soup and kept my fast for another 24 hours.
All of this time my brain was whining for food. I caught myself multiple times subconsciously reaching out for the crumbs on the table. I caught myself multiple times at the attempts to lick my fingers when I was preparing meals for my kids.
We love to eat. It’s just the way we are wired. But it is possible to eat less. You won’t starve, you will just tone.
I’m not encouraging you to go for 120 hour fast to lose weight. It won’t be sustainable in the long run and when you consider your body “long-term” is the only horizon you should be interested in. All in all it will be accompanying you for the rest of your life!
Just don’t let the false fears of starvation affect your attitude toward this fundamental weight loss rule.
How to eat less?
Some points to consider when looking for decreasing your calorie intake:
1. White carbs.
Bread, rice and so on. Switching from the “white” version to the whole meal version will immediately decrease your calorie intake from this type of food for about 10%.
No comments. Sweets are the icon of empty calories foods. The sole reason for eating them is how blissfully that makes you feel.
3. Junk food.
Greasy and tasty.
This is another way to deliver empty calories into your body.
Crisps, chips and so on. Tiny and delicious, but even small amount of them provide a huge number of calories.
6. Raw veggies and fruits.
Usually we don’t eat them enough. And when you stuff yourself with them, there is no place for the more caloric food to fit in 😉
7. Water intake.
As a society we also don’t drink enough. Water has zero calories, is necessary for you to function and fills your stomach.
Eating less also help to max out fitness performance. It’s easier to do more pushups when you have fewer pounds to push around.
If you want more tips, here is a great post about downsizing your foods portions: http://www.developgoodhabits.com/portion-control-tips/
Common sense advice
You don’t need professional equipment, the stack of pills or the hours on the treadmill to lose weight. You already have all you need. I managed to lose weight without it and the same did hundreds of common folks.
I included my weight loss story and the lessons I learned along the way (that you can use) in my book The Fitness Expert Next Door