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Confessions of a Squataholic 7.9.13

Confessions of a Squataholic is Mike K.’s contribution to our blog.  You can look for it on a fairly regular basis.

There is more than one way to skin a cat (and the fat)…

If you’re like the majority of our gym, you need to lose 5-10 lbs, tops, if any at all.  This article is not really for you.  Some of you reading may need or want to lose considerably more.  Consider this one up your alley.

When I started at CFWJ I was tipping the scale at 275 lbs of lean fat.  I say lean fat because I wasn’t messing around with any of that muscle stuff.  My fat was pure and unrefined. 

2 years in, with an out of control diet and adding constant heavy weight training to the mix, I had packed on nearly another 20 lbs.  Staring 300 lbs. in the face, I had to take a long look in the mirror and take some real, substantive steps to getting to a healthier weight. 

I began walking a road that I am still on today, filled with peaks and valleys, potholes and smooth turns.  As I’m writing this article I’m creeping up on the first long term goal I set for myself, 225 lbs…70 total lbs lost.  I hope to hit it this week.  Then comes the new goal, and the new long term.

But that’s not what I want to talk about.  I want to talk about the reality of what it takes to lose weight.  The stuff that most “advice givers” don’t tell you, likely because they’ve never actually been through the process that they’re advising you on.  To a person who’s been fit all their life, losing weight is as simple as shutting your pie hole and going for a walk. 

Wrong.  So wrong, in fact.

From my personal experience, the first and by far most important step in a weight loss process is preparing yourself mentally.  I’d go as far as to say that if you have not yet mentally prepared and committed yourself to the proper attitude towards the process, you may as well not even start. 

Preparing mentally means accepting that:

  • Your health and weight are YOUR responsibility and yours alone:  Don’t blame others or make excuses.  Take responsibility and own your health.
  • It will not be easy and will absolutely not happen overnight:  It took time to put it on, it’ll take time to take it off.  Patience is a virtue, especially in the first few weeks of any diet regiment.
  • The better your attitude is towards what you’re trying to accomplish, the more you will accomplish:  Positivity breeds success.  I’m using a lot of clichés here but they’re clichés for a reason.  Trust me when I say that your attitude will determine how happy you are throughout. Listen, misery loves company.  Misery also loves French fries. 
  • Failure is not acceptable and is not an option:  It’s very easy to let yourself slide.  A cheat is not a huge problem IF you treat it as such and return to the diet immediately.  A bad meal is not a reason to throw away a whole day or weekend or week, etc.  I am as guilty as any of this and it is senseless.  You can easily limit the damage you do with a cheat by hopping back on board quickly, and the very occasional cheat may even help boost your metabolism.*
  • Interim goals are as necessary as long term goals:  If you have a lot of weight to lose, your long term goal is likely to seem very daunting.  Set smaller interim goals in the meantime.  5-10 lbs lost, 1 inch of your waist, doing an unassisted pull-up, etc.  Work towards these goals and you will begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Obsession will sap your energy:  don’t obsess over diet.  You are unlikely to keep that religious fervor to your given diet for any extended period of time.  You’re better off accepting that diet as a tool for nutrition and to get you where you want to be.  No diet is infallible, none is perfect.  The right diet for you is one that is healthy, one that you can stick to and that works for you.  That may take some experimentation.  It helps if you think of this as a lifestyle change rather than a lose weight quick plan.
  • Preparation is key:  Anytime, literally ANY time I’ve had success with diet it was in large part due to preparation.  Don’t miss your weekly grocery shopping window.  Spend a couple of hours each week prepping food.  Have a plan.  You’re infinitely less likely to divert from your path if you come to the table prepared.

OK, now that you’re mentally prepared, just a couple more tools that may help along the way. 

  • Log your food: at least until you have a firm grip on what you’re ingesting, and be extremely honest.  You may be very surprised, shocked even, at how many calories, carbs, sugars, how little protein, fiber, etc. that you are consuming.  I was. 
  • Find a friend: preferably one who has gone or is going through the same thing…someone that you can talk to, exchange ideas and get any diet and exercise related stresses off your chest.  It may help to have someone to identify with your struggle.  Don’t know anyone?  I’ll be your Huckleberry.
  • Weighing and measuring yourself:  the rule of thumb, to me, is only weigh and measure as much as your psyche can handle.  I weigh every day, but my weight fluctuation is pretty tumultuous, and I’ve accepted that it will be up and down from day to day.  I pick one morning of the week to serve as my “official” weigh in for the week.  Some may choose to weigh every other week or even once a month.  I would not advise measuring more often than once a month.  If you can’t handle seeing the occasional rise or the tiny dip in weight, stay away from the scale until enough time has passed to make a real difference.

So there’s the real deal on what it takes to lose weight.  Above all, it takes hard work and dedication.  But, believe me, you have it within you to accomplish what you want.  Do it to it.

*this statement has not been evaluated by the FDA nor the CFWJ staff


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