Ever wonder if you will be fat in the future?
Read some “not so common” warning signs that may signal a growing waistline.
Yea it is the time of year to plan for a super 2015. Let me guess, you have some health and fitness goals on your list. Maybe something like:
OK some simple questions for you.
Did you have similar goals last year?
How did it work out for you?
Here’s the deal. You don’t need any more goals. You know what you want to do.
You need to write down how you are going to get it done.
What are you going to do day after day, week after week to reach your goals?
Eating fat is the not your problem. Not even close. Actually the low fat revolution has done more damage to your health than anything else in the last 50 years.
The saying “You are what you eat” came from the low-fat diet gurus. They meant that you’d get fat if you ate fat. Not true.
Now in a general way, like if you eat good food, you’ll be healthy or if you eat crap day after day, you’ll be sickly is roughly equivalent to “You are what you eat”
The real rule: “You are what your body does with what you eat”.
So if you eat in a way to fuel your body, take care of it, rebuild it and minimize fat storage, you’ll be healthy and fit.
If, on the other hand, you eat foods that promote fat storage, you’re gonna be fat.
Body weight is simply the wrong metric.
It can confuse you and lead you to erroneous decisions. What you really care about is your body fat percentage. How ?much of your total weight is fat and how much is lean muscle?
Now that is information you can do something with.
You know it’s possible to see your body weight go up and your body fat come down as you add muscle mass. And that is a good thing.
What you really care about is how you look, how much energy you have, how your pants fit and how strong you are.
Your weight really is a meaningless number.
On the plus side, however, stepping on a scale is a simple measurement technique and it can be an effective cue to start you off on the right foot in the morning.
Your morning ritual might be:
Now you’ve triggered your brain to think about how you’ll eat a healthy breakfast and hit the gym later in the day.
Get a body fat scale and let the power of effective triggers work in your favor.
The list goes on. The new fad workouts come and go year after year. Most of the stuff is crap but some programs can be effective.
Like P90X. Nothing wrong with it. It can work. It just doesn’t.
There is a saying in fitness: “Everything Works. For Awhile“.
You can do just about anything and get benefit from it. If you do it. But you won’t.
And that’s the problem with P90X. You’re just not going to do it consistently because it is kind of hard to get started on.
Your bad habit of ?pushing things off like “I’ll get a workout in tomorrow” will crush your P90X results. It’s too hard to do on your own. It will not become an ingrained habit.
The problem with canned, faddish programs is they don’t solve your core problems.
It’s too easy to justify putting stuff off.
“I don’t have time to work out today because I got stuck in traffic but I’ll do it tomorrow“.
Except you’ll miss tomorrow as well. And pretty soon three weeks have gone by without a workout.
“OK this is the last time I’m eating a doughnut for breakfast“.
Until tomorrow. And the next day.
Let’s keep it simple. Eating has to satisfy three things:
Counting calories is a bad strategy. This includes all form of counting like weighing stuff, partitioning your plate and any kind of measuring. Counting makes eating a chore. It takes the fun out of it. It over-complicates the process.
Counting calories literally ensures your new planned eating habit will go down in flames.
If you focus on what you are eating, the type and quality of your calories, you don’t have to count.
There are two kinds of salad eaters.
The first guy is the classic dieter. You can certainly make a great meal out of a salad. But eating salads day after day as a weight loss strategy? Good luck.
The second guy has another problem he doesn’t even realize. Your brain can play tricks on you.
Studies have shown that when people add a perceived healthy item to their meal choice, like the side salad, they end up ordering more calories of bad stuff than they otherwise would have gotten without the salad. So the good choice of a salad signals your brain that a reward is in order for your excellent deed.
And then you underestimate the total calories you end up eating. That’s call piling on.
In some cases this moral equivalency justification can be so distorted that you only have to think about getting something healthy to trigger it.
Have you ever walked into a fast food restaurant and while standing in line, scanning the menu, you see the chicken spinach salad on the menu and say to yourself “I’ll get that. It’s a smart choice.”
You’re thinking it is a really healthy selection. But as you continue to move through the line, unconsciously smelling the fries and grilled hamburgers, your parasympathetic brain, is making other plans. You get up to the register thinking your healthy food choice has been decided and suddenly blurt out “I’ll have the bacon cheeseburger, large fries and a coke!”
Sometimes the mere thought of doing the right thing (ordering the healthy option) gives you the satisfaction (in your brain) of actually doing it. Then you feel like you deserve a reward for being so good. No wonder this “eating right stuff” can be so challenging.
No surer way to get fat than being chronically stressed.
You are adapted (from evolution) for acute stress like “Is that a bear over there in my favorite blueberry patch?”
But the chronic stress of modern life is quite another thing.
You’re yelling at the kids but you don’t know why and your blood pressure is rising.
So is your?blood sugar (rising) which increases the likelihood you’ll be storing belly fat.
And stress drives you to craving sugar which further reinforces the fat storing cycle.
Did I mention your testosterone is falling as well? None of this is good.
Chronic stress is literally making you fat and killing you simultaneously.
Stress can’t be addressed directly. It is a symptom of your life being out of control. So take control where you can. Activities that will mitigate stress include:
Have you tried Weight Watchers or Nutrisystem or another popular diet program?
Do you know why you tried it?
They tell you it will be easy. Just follow the plan.
Drink the “craving crusher” shake. Lose 5 pounds in the first week.
The products may be dubious but these guys are very good marketers.
First, the only way you’ll ever lose weight permanently is by identifying and reprogramming your habits that trigger bad eating choices.
And that ain’t easy.
Second, craving crusher shakes are a bunch of bullshit. Can I be clearer?
The “allure of easy weight loss” triggers you to buy their product but what you really want is an effective plan. You’re hoping but not really confident.
The scam alert goes off in your head but you tell it to pipe down.
Is it Dan Marino promising you how easy it will be and how it worked so great for him? Maybe. So you give it a shot. Might as well, you think. What can it hurt? (maybe your wallet)
Food marketers are slick. They latch on to the latest buzz and exploit it.
Fat Free. This is for the “fat phobic” you. Do you still fear fat?
Low Calorie.?You know those prepackaged bags of cookies you buy and think “wow, only a 100 calories.” There still effing cookies!
And now Gluten Free. The new battle cry.
You may be eating gluten free and not even know what gluten is. That is the power of advertising.
The food companies could care less about your food sensitivities. They just want you to buy their shit.
Gluten is the general name for proteins found in wheat, rye and barley. And gluten is what gives bread dough its elasticity or stickiness. It makes that great chewy bread you crave.
Now you may really have a problem with gluten like Celiac disease or other intestinal issues. Or you may have mild sensitivity to gluten and not even know it. And you certainly may be well served to get it out of your diet.
But the big problem with blindly going gluten free is that it tricks you into believing you’ve made a healthy choice.
Understand what happens in your body when you eat different foods. Highly refined carbohydrates, gluten free included, stimulate a massive blood sugar spike followed by an infusion of insulin which ends up storing your excess calories as fat.
6 minutes, really? Ain’t gonna work.
Now the problem isn’t really the six minutes. You can crank up the intensity and get some serious work done in 6 ?minutes.
If you’re looking for a 6 Minute Miracle, you’re basically telling yourself you want easy. You want it to just somehow magically happen. You’ll give it minimal effort but hope for maximum results.
And the fact is, with this attitude, you won’t even do the 6 minutes. You’re on to something else after a couple of rounds.
Getting healthy and being fit is a lifestyle, not an activity you squeeze in from time to time.
Stop thinking of fitness as a chore. If you don’t like running, don’t be a runner. If you hate being at the gym with all the muscle heads, don’t go.
The best work out program is the one you’ll stick to because you actually like it.
Ah the ubiquitous diet.
It doesn’t matter which one you pick. They all do the same thing.
They may go about it in different ways, focusing on different things to eat and not to eat. Maybe they have some ridiculous timing factor like eat this food first and then that one. Or don’t eat after a certain time of day. Many sell their pre-packaged crap or have a point system. It doesn’t matter.
It is just hype to make their product seem unique and well thought out but, in fact, it is all made up bunk.
The thing that all diets do is force you to eat less than your body naturally desires.
So in the end, and it will end for you sooner than later, it is simply an exercise in willpower and self control. And these commodities, unfortunately, come in limited supply.
If I asked you about your diet you might tell me how many calories you consume a day. Or what you don’t eat like “I try to cut out bread and pasta but I love bread.” Or you might tell me how you eat like “I eat six small meals a day to smooth out my hunger pangs and I never eat after 8 pm.”
You view diet as a verb, as in “forcing myself to less than my body wants in order to keep my weight in check.” Diet is a dirty word to you. You hate your diet.
If you asked me about my diet I’d say “I eat real food. I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full.” That’s it.
To me diet is a noun. It’s what I eat. It is not an act of deprivation or self-torture.
Change your perspective. Think about what you will eat and how much you’ll enjoy it. Don’t focus on what you can’t have or how you are cutting back.
What do you think the most common mistake people make that ends up working against them?
Need personal help figuring out what mistakes you may be making?
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photo credit: lostinidaho.me
Mark aka The Old Spartan and Over-50 Fitness Savior is a 63 year old coffee guzzling father of five wandering the outdoors around Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mark helps Active Boomers get lean, healthy and strong so they live rewarding, fun lives using his signature Spartan Method training system.