MYST 166: One Step

“The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.”

You have just started a new weight loss plan! That is always exciting, and maybe a little daunting, but you are full of enthusiasm.

You went to CostCo bought drums of protein powder to refuel post-workout, as well as new shoes and a new yoga matt (okay, your first yoga matt). You bought a membership at an “Anytime Fitness Center” so you can exercise either before or after work. You saw some secret supplements on Dr. Oz that are guaranteed to boost your metabolism and burn fat, so you bought a monthly subscription for delivery. Amazon will deliver the exercise bike that is wifi-linked to Alexa. You found some excellent recipes on Pinterest, and bought a 50-pack storage container set for all the food prep and home-cooking that you will do. And you bought Premium LoseIt.

And for a few days, you actually follow your plan.

Then, on day four, you wake up late and skip the gym. You can’t go on your way home because you need to pick up the kids. You think protein powder tastes terrible. You were the only student in the yoga class, so the class was canceled. The supplements gave you heartburn and diarrhea, and Alexa yells at you because you are using your bike as an auxiliary closet. Cooking in real life is not like Food Network, and you needed to take the battery out of the smoke alarm. The kids—and your spouse—won’t eat the crappy low-calorie foods you make anyway. You don’t like logging all the food—who can remember everything?

Don’t do what I just described. Don’t try to change everything in your life. Weight management is a lifelong process. I don’t care what event is on your calendar, trying to tackle weight loss from every possible angle will not work.

Take a single step. Do one thing that is new on your weight loss journey. The first thing morning, the day of your “first step” weigh yourself. Write that number down. Now ignore the bathroom scale. Set a reasonable budget (for most, that will be 1 pound a week.) Eat those calories. Log the food. That’s it. Develop a new skill set—measure and log all your food. Do that for a month. Don’t worry about “special diet foods”. Make the food everyone loves, just make certain you portion your plates correctly and log it all. Do that for a full 30 days.

On day 31, weigh yourself again. Compare this number to the first number. You probably lost weight. Maybe you lost three pounds. Maybe six or more. That doesn’t really matter. What matters is you’ve taken the first step.

Now, take your next step. Find an activity you enjoy. Do it. Keep eating the foods you love, and logging everything you eat, but don’t eat your exercise calories. Whichever activity you’ve chosen, try to gradually increase your workouts, but only as possible and tolerated. Do that for 30 days.

On the next “day 31”, weigh yourself. You probably lost three to six pounds. You finished step two.

Now you will either reduce or eliminate one food, or make one other food change. Maybe stop drinking diet soda. Maybe drink more water. Maybe you want to stop eating foods with added sugar. Pick one food change. Focus on that new change (while continuing to log your food, good portion control, and increased activity) for 30 days.

On the next “day 31”, weigh yourself.

By now, you understand my plan. One change for 30 days, then a new change every 30 days. And you only weigh yourself the day of a new change. That concept is the most significant part of this. By making a single change and then measuring at set intervals, you can determine if the change you made had the effect you wanted. If you eliminated added sugar and that month only lost 1 pound, maybe that change isn’t worth the effort. But you cannot know if you change everything at once.

Will you lose weight as fast as the Biggest Loser? No, but as I said in part nine, the speed of loss is unimportant. Continued loss, or continued maintenance, is the goal of this entire journey.

Photos via Pixabay by 5132824

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Common Zero

MYST 157: Weight Loss is Wrong

First things first:

Calories In/ Calories Out (CI/CO) works and it works for everyone. It’s just that there are two problems with assuming that CI/CO is the be-all and end-all of weight loss.

  1. Measuring metabolic rate is much more complex than any calculator on the internet.
  2. There are other factors that affect weight loss and fat burning (which are very different and will be talked about later.)

What some people just don’t get is that it is all CI/CO. I don’t care if you believe that you are that special someone who has a metabolism that is half of the rest of the world. Your weight is still ruled by CI/CO (you just need much less CI, because you have such a low CO.) Or it might be that you use steroids or other enhancers in your quest for muscle-building. CI/CO is still the rule (except, in this case, your CO is so high that you need more CI.)

In both situations, CI/CO is what rules your weight loss potential. But the average online metabolism calculator will likely give you a calorie budget that is wildly inaccurate, which means you will not lose weight as you think you will. It’s the equation that is faulty, not CI/CO.

Photo via Pixabay.com by DCortexPhotography

And it is not the type of calories that you consume.

I don’t know how many calories you burn on a daily average, but let’s assume you burn 3250 calories a day. If you ate 5000 calories of meat (just meat, you pick the animal) you will gain weight. The excess 1750 calories of meat will cause a ½ pound (approximate) gain of fat.

If you ate 5000 calories of veggies and fruit, you’d gain approximately the same ½ pound of fat.

If you ate 5000 calories of table sugar (6.5 cups), you’d still gain approximately the same ½ pound of fat.

Photo via Pixabay.com by SkyAngel

I’ve never seen any proof that suggests otherwise. Yes, my religion is science. Show me the data—peer-reviewed, double-blinded, control groups, and a large population tested—and I’ll believe it. Tell me your gym coach told you so, and I’ll smile politely.

But there is another factor that clouds the issue. People here talk about CI/CO and weight gain/loss when it would be much more accurate to equate CI/CO with FAT gain/loss.

Weight changes can be fat, but more commonly—and especially with large and rapid changes—that weight is mostly water. Water retention and expulsion is different from CI/CO. When you consider water weight, that brings in many other factors—and everyone out there who thinks that they are completely uncontrolled by CI/CO might be completely controlled by those factors.

  1. Natural hormones fluctuations in bothmen and women. Hormone changes greatly influence water retention.
  2. Stress levels (which also alter the hormone levels)
  3. High (or low) sodium diets
  4. Alcohol (This affects the liver, which pulls in water to dilute and break down the alcohol.)
  5. Medications
  6. Health conditions, especially any that involve the heart, kidneys or liver
  7. Allergies, especially sensitivity to carbohydrates.

All of those factors change a person’s hydration status, which is another way of saying it changes their weight. More water within the tissues means more weight. But none of those change a person’s fat stores, which is what people really want to reduce.

Let’s talk briefly about carbs. It is not that carbs necessarily make you gain more fat stores, but they can make you gain weight. This is why some people say that when they stop eating carbs they are able to lose weight faster. Carb metabolism requires extra water in the biochemical process.

When you consume carbohydrates, your body converts them to glycogen, which is then stored in the muscles for energy. For every gram of glycogen stored, you gain approximately 2.7 grams of water (that is about ½ teaspoon). This water retention occurs because your kidneys hold on to sodium in response to carbohydrate consumption. Your body reacts to the higher sodium levels by storing more water to keep the sodium-blood concentration at a healthy level. Eat fewer carbs and your body excretes the extra water. But that is a WEIGHT loss, not a FAT loss, and that is where people are confused.

It’s relatively easy to drop a lot of weight fast. Eat mostly protein and fat which require less water to break down. This explains why those members of what I call the keto-cult experience rapid weight loss. Their body is dumping extra water that is no longer needed. That makes the scale move, but it is not necessarily fat loss. There are other methods to reduce the body’s water level. Both wrestlers and boxers will take specific actions to dump weight a couple days before the meet. They will drop 10-15 pounds in less than 2 days so that when they weigh in, they are in a lower weight class (and yet have all the muscle of the larger weight class.) Then after they weigh in, they try to rehydrate.

DO NOT DO THAT. THIS IS VERY UNSAFE. I AM NOT GOING TO GIVE YOU ANY IDEAS ON HOW TO DO THAT.

Let’s look at marathon runners. They are the exact opposite. What do marathoners do the night before the race? They gorge on pasta the night before the race. Pasta = carbs = more water retention for metabolism (and the sauce will be sodium-heavy, too), which will increase their running endurance. During the race, their body will use up all the stored water as the muscles work hard, and their skin sweats to keep them as cool as possible.

If people could change their mindset from “I’m going to lose weight” to “I’m going to lose fat” then maybe—slowly—the idea of CI/CO would be more accepted as the reality. But even if people have that way of thinking, most do not have the proper method of measuring fat content. Those scales that measure fat are grossly inaccurate, as they are dependent upon the correct hydration status. If a person is even a little dehydrated (as they are in the morning, when their body weight is the lowest) the sensors notice poor electrical conduction and determine the person has a high body fat percentage (fat is a poor electrical conductor.) If they get on the scale at night, when they are fully hydrated from eating and drinking all day, the scale will sense good electrical conduction, and therefore a lower body fat percentage. But the scale will also show a huge increase in weight (overall weight, not increased fat stores) and no one wants to see a number like that. If you really want to determine body fat, you can purchase calipers to measure fat stores (but that takes training and practice.)

 

Body Fat Caliper

Note: Image Above is found on Amazon here. The image belongs to PURENJOY, and I do not receive any compensation for sharing this link (it is not an affiliate link.)

 

So, what is the bottom line?

Stop worrying about weight. Focus on fat reduction through the proper consumption of food. I don’t care what you eat—carbs, protein or fats—but I do care about how much you eat. Experiment with your calorie budget. Pick a budget that you think will work for you, and eat it for a month. If you lost the weight you predicted, you are set. If you lost too much, or not enough, now you have evidence that your budget needs to go up or down. But that evidence only applies to you, and it is still a demonstration and CI/CO.

It is all CI/CO.

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over

work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Commons Zero.

MYST 154: Nothing for Nothing

TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

You get what you pay for.

My phrase: You don’t get nothing for nothing.  (Yeah. I know it’s poor grammar.)

The bottom line is if you don’t take the right actions, you won’t get anything. That applies to school, on the job, at home, and certainly as you try to lose weight. Why do I say “try” to lose weight? Because many (most?) people aren’t willing to totally commit, to be fully engaged, or to put their money where their mouth is.

How many balls must be hit before a golfer becomes great? Can you skip that step in attaining greatness?

Photo via Pixabay.com by MadsLiebst

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over

work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Commons Zero.

MYST 150: Are You Strong Enough (Scott Wilson, part 1)

Achieving any goal takes strength. Losing weight is no different, but physical strength is not as important as emotional strength. In today’s episode, we talk with longtime friend of Make Your Someday Today, and fellow LoseIt Moderator Scott Wilson. We first talked with Scott in MYST Episode 20, back in June 2014. Today he rejoins us to bring us up to date on his journey through life, and what he feels is the most important strength a person needs to reach life-changing goals.

The strength of Superman is not necessary to succeed.

And no, you don’t need to be Superman to succeed.

Photo via Pixabay.com by NeuPaddy.

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over

work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Commons Zero.

MYST 148: Participation Trophies

Weight loss is an unforgiving foe. There are no participation trophies given out because you “tried hard” and “always showed up.” The trophy is only given when you reach your goal and can be taken away if you regain your weight. So how can we deal with that?

Self-reward mini-goals!

overcome-1403734_960_720

Photo via Pixabay.com by CRKMaga

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over

work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Commons Zero.

MYST 144: Affirmations

This episode will be a little different. I don’t have any new food tips to make your meals exciting. I am not going to talk about a new trick to help you lose weight. I don’t have a secret hack to make exercise more fun.

In fact, I am not going to talk about weight loss. Or rather, I’m not going to talk about it directly. Today, I want to talk about getting the right mindset for a successful long-term weight-loss journey. That journey is not just about losing weight, but also about how to keep it off once you’ve reached your weight loss promised land.

Our weight is tied to more than just our eating habits and our activity level. It is strongly affected by our mental state and daily attitude. Have you noticed that you make more poor choices on days when you are feeling sad, depressed, or anxious? Or probably even worse, when you are bored? Have you seen the correlation that when your life is busy and productive, and you are feeling confident about life in general that your food choices are better?

Weight loss MUST start in the mind first. Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can, or think you can’t, you are right.” That certainly applies to weight loss. If you go to a work party and say to yourself, “I just know I’m going to blow my budget” I’d bet the mortgage payment that you at the end of the night, you did blow your budget.  That is because our minds are powerful. When you thought that, your brain took that as a command, a request for action, and not a warning of a dangerous situation.

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So what can you do?

You need to start changing your internal monologue. Change the script that your brain reads. Stop focusing on negative worries and change the focus of success statements. These are called affirmations.

These are not goal statements. Goals are specific to an event, and affirmations are far more general. If you consider a marathon, a goal statement could be “I will finish this run in under 3 hours” or even just “I will finish this run.” A statement of affirmation about the marathon could be “I am successful because my training was efficient”.

When I sold vacuum cleaners door-to-door, my manager had us read affirmation statements in the car before every demonstration. But looking back, they were goal statements. One that I remember very well is “I will walk make a sale at this home.” That is a nice goal statement, very specific to that appointment. A better affirmation statement would have been “I am successful because I can solve my customer’s problems.” That is a better statement because it starts with a statement of fact (“I am” indicates something that already exists, whereas “I will walk” is a prediction of an action.)

You may have a weight loss goal statement of “I will get skinny before my wedding”. (As a side note, that really isn’t a good goal statement. It isn’t SMART. I discuss SMART goals in episode 67). That goal also will back-stab your progress, because as you focus on it, and as you fail to reach it, it will generate more anxiety. And anxiety itself can reverse your weight loss progress. I talk about anxiety in episode 102 .

So what are affirmations and how do they work?

They are statements of positive thoughts and self-empowerment. Affirmation statements work best when you read them aloud several times a day, ideally in the morning and right before going to bed. Focus on one or two affirmation statements for a full month, then choose another one or two. Keep changing your statements monthly. This will help implant these positive thoughts deep within your mind, so that act as the foundation of your day. And when you read them aloud, you active multiple sensory data streams into your brain–not just sight and sound, but the act of speaking them is another. Speaking them and hearing someone else say them have different effects—listening is less effective because it is someone else telling you what you are. Speaking it is telling yourself what YOU think you are.

Is this magical thinking? No, because no matter what affirmation statement you make, and no matter how many times you say it, you still need to do the work. If your statement is “I am thin” and you continue to eat 1000 calories a day over budget, you are not going to see any changes. But if you choose good statements, they will help you make the decisions that will lead to success.

Another way of using these statements is to write them on 3×5 cards and post them around your home and maybe the office. Please hand write them. Don’t use a computer to print them. The act of hand writing is another data stream into the brain. When you hand write “I am…” your brain recognizes the hand movements that create the I, the A, the M, and so on. When you type on a key board, the same neural linkage to memory is not created.

Put those cards in places that you will see them on a regular basis. Your bathroom mirror is good, as is the door of the refrigerator. The dashboard of your car is good (but please remove it while driving.) Looking at these, even passively, will remind you of your statements. But this is not a replacement for reading one or two every morning and evening. The cards add to the effect but are not a good substitute.

12 Affirmation Statements (not goal statements!)

  1. I am successful when I make a good decision to eat the right foods, in the right amounts.
  2. I am successful when I decide to walk that one flight of stairs instead of taking the elevator.
  3. I am successful when I log everything I ate, even if I ate too much.
  4. I am successful when I forgive myself after an unplanned cheat.
  5. I am successful when I no longer feel the need to forgive myself for a planned cheat.
  6. I am successful when I post on a LoseIt group and help someone else who is struggling.
  7. I am successful because I made the tough decision to take control of my life.
  8. I am successful because I am learning how to control food, and not let food control me.
  9. I am successful because I am no longer comparing my progress to anyone else’s.
  10. I am successful because I am a little better today than I was yesterday.
  11. I am successful because I am worth the effort.
  12. I am successful because I will not quit.

I recommend that you focus on the last two statements for the first month. They are the foundation of success.

(I used a phrase that I think should be removed from our vocabulary (cheat). I talk “cheat meals” in episode 140.  I’m not using it because I like it, but because it is a “shorthand” method of describing an event.)

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Did you notice that there is no mention of a weight loss, or a specific weight, or a goal date? That is because when you approach this life-changing and lifelong journey with the right attitude, the losses will happen. It’s almost never as fast as people want, but it happens. However, worrying about a scale or a calendar will change your focus and add anxiety and doubt. Those attitudes can poison your progress.

You have my permission to copy this list in its entirety, and use it how you need. (If you make it a Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter post, I would appreciate if you linked it back to this show, but that is not mandatory.)

Photos via Pixabay, by JohnHain and Geralt.

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Commons Zero.

MYST 129: Are You Tripolar?

You all know about “bipolar” but what do you know about “tripolar”? This is not a mental illness, but it is a mental condition, a state of mind, which can prevent you from achieving any of your goals.

Listen for more!

Don't be a Try-polar!
Don’t be tripolar!

Photo via Pixabay by bykst.

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Commons Zero.

 

 

MYST 115: Holiday Tips

It’s almost the holiday season here in the United States of America and that means food! Lots of food! And most will be decadently rich and calorie-laden. It is very common to add a few pounds during the holidays. However, that can be avoided. This episode will give a few simple tips to keep you focused and successful, and still allow you to enjoy yourself!

Delicious Pistachio Dessert
Delicious Pistachio Dessert

Photos via Pixabay.com by xBertrand1.

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

MYST 110 Overwhelming–How to Survive That Feeling

Do you feel overwhelmed? On the job? At home? On your weight loss journey? I have three steps to break that crushing feeling of impotence.

  1. Create bite-sized goals
  2. Prioritize a list
  3. Ask for help!

Listen for more details!

Overwhelmed by your goals?
Overwhelmed by your goals?

MYST 100: Trevor’s Team

Finally! The time has come to actually help you directly, not just by creating these episodes!

Do you want to look like this?            Me, at 265 pou

Or would you rather look like this?