It crept up gradually, a pound here, a pound there. I made excuses, well it was the holidays, everyone gains weight over the holidays, right? Boy, these clothes are getting old and must have shrunk in the dryer, maybe it's time I refresh my wardrobe. The years tick by, and gradually the needle on the scale moves, then one day someone says something that makes me really look in the mirror. I don't like what I see. No, me? I couldn't be fat! I've always been healthy! I go online, and look up my weight on the Ideal Weight Calculator. Oh my…I can't be bordering on obese!!! It's time to kick things in high gear and take care of this now before it gets any worse.
This is the situation I found myself in a number of years ago. I started jogging, and found I couldn't even make it to the end of the block before I was wheezing. Wow, how did it get that bad? I kept it up, and soon I was getting better and better. I completed my first 5k. Then on a dare I went all out, and completed a Tough Mudder, a 12 mile mud obstacle run designed to do nothing but torture a person for 3 hours. After completing that, I was burnt out. I stopped running. I sat on the couch. The weight gradually started coming back. I signed up again, and completed two more Tough Mudders, each time getting the weight back under control. But each time I repeated the same cycle. So how do I get this under control? Here's how I did it in 4 simple? steps.
1. Admit There is a Problem
This is maybe the simplest step, but is one of the most critical ones. You have a health problem if you are overweight. Use this calculator Ideal Weight Calculator. If it registers anything outside of the healthy range, you've got a problem!
Being underweight is also a problem, so if you have that issue get your calories up, but I'm going to focus on the overweight side in this article. Obesity is reported by the Federal National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to be the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States! 300,000 people die prematurely every year from diseases linked to obesity in the US, and the costs of treating those are estimated around $150 Billion Dollars! That's 100 times more deaths EVERY YEAR than the world trade center bombing caused!!!
Not only is being overweight usually seen as unattractive, it's for a good reason. You're more likely to die or have health issues if you are overweight! There is no time like the present to solve this problem, but you first have to admit there is a problem, and figure out why you want to get this under control. Once you've done that, then you're ready to tackle the issue.
2. Show Up
Once you have admitted you have a problem, it's time to start showing up. Woody Allen once said 80% of success is showing up. That's true with weight loss as well. Show up each day to a professional weight loss center, or show up each day with the following two suggestions. Do not skip more than one day in a row or you'll lose the habit!
First, commit to yourself a specific time each day that you can do a little exercise. Walking is an awesome start, walk around the block for 10 minutes first thing in the morning, over lunch, or at the end of the day. The key here is to build the habit of exercising. Do NOT go all out, you will burn out! Make the exercise so simple that you would be silly not to do it. Do this with a friend if possible, then you'll build a relationship at the same time you are getting healthy, and you'll be more likely to go when one of you doesn't feel like it.
Second, start logging your food and your weight. Log your diet at MyFitnessPal, which is a free service for those looking to get a handle on their diet. Don't change anything yet, just log it, but be careful to log the right portion sizes and don't forget those add-ons like ranch dressing (spoonful is 73 calories of pure fat). Look back over the week, and pick one or two things to reduce that have a ton of calories. Reduce your intake of those items. Repeat that for a few weeks and you'll be able to get into your desired calorie range without really feeling like you're missing a lot (MyFitnessPal will suggest a calorie target for you). Don't try to lose more than a couple pounds a week, that isn't healthy!!! Just make sure you keep heading in the right direction and are not gaining any.
3. Power Up
Read up on healthy habits, again www.myfitnesspal.com is a great way to connect to other people who have gone through or are going through exactly what you are going through. There are a wealth of resources on the web as well. Eventually it boils down to diet and exercise though, don't believe the hype of pills, those can work short term to reduce your appetite, but longer term you have to develop better habits or you'll go right back to where you were.
4. Step Up
If you've done the other 3 steps, you are well on your way to being healthy. Once you establish the habits and get down the path a little, you may want to step it up a bit. Pick an event to shoot for, maybe a local 5k. If you're in the US, here is a good link for finding one of those to try. Running in the USA Try the free couch to 5k training app, you can find it in your app store if you have a smart phone.
Get some friends involved, and then go run or walk it! Completing a few of these challenges will boost your confidence, and allow you to continue on your journey.
Doing these things regularly will also add to your friends list, you'll find new ones who are interested in the same things you are now, and they will challenge you to do more. Hang out with people who are interested in being healthy, and you'll find yourself getting healthy as well, as Jim Rohn once said, you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
Congrats! If you follow these 4 simple steps, you are well on your way to a healthier life! Comment below to let me know if you found this helpful or if you have suggestions of your own! If you liked this article, sign up for my newsletter and I'll send you new ones as they come out!
Struggling to get into an exercise routine? Try starting with this 5 minute habit!