Wednesday, January 3, 2018

It's the New Year. You want to lose weight. Here's how you start in seven steps

It’s the New Year, meaning we put one chapter behind us and try to start fresh in some way or another.

The tradition is for all of us to have New Year’s Resolutions. Each year, weight loss or getting into shape is usually a top three resolution.

That’s the case in 2018 as well.

I have started writing an eBook about the first steps you should take for weight loss. I maintain, as I did in my first eBook, that you can do it however you want to when it comes to diet, exercise, whatever.

(You can buy my first book here. )

But I do think you need to start a foundation in the first month of any weight loss journey, one that will hopefully last the rest of your life.

Here are your first seven steps:

1. Realize you have a problem and motivate yourself to fix it. You cannot fix a problem if you don’t realize it exists. It is not my role to tell you if you a have a problem, but if you feel like you do, I can help. This first step is entirely up to you. I had a problem. About 320 lost pounds later, that problem is smaller. But as I said in my first book, I will never be the guy who goes up to a man or woman and tells them to lose weight. I’m not judgmental and the decision to lose weight must be made in your heart and your mind.

2. Make a list and check it twice. Write down a list of reasons you want to lose weight. It doesn’t have to be in one sitting. It can be as long as you want, though I’d recommend at least four or five good reasons. It can be meaningful reasons. It can be silly reasons. One recommendation: It's my long belief that this is more of a mental battle than a physical battle. You need mental strength to exercise. You need a great "head game" to cut down on bad habits. With that in mind, let me introduce this idea to you: Don't just include "I need to get healthy" reasons. Centralizing a list around health reasons will only put more pressure on you. Part of this whole battle is to avoid pressure and MAKE IT FUN. Obviously you want to get healthy. Who doesn't? Find reasons - and they could be political incorrect reasons - if you get my hint.

3. Download an app that will help you keep track of calories. I did MyFitnessApp. If you go the low carb route right away - search for an app that counts carbs. The Atkins app is good, though I prefer MyFitness for various reasons.

4. For one week, keep track of what you eat without too many changes. Details matter here. You need to find out what you are doing wrong - and if you are overweight - you're doing at least one thing wrong. For me, I realized that each day, I consumed 600-750 calories worth of liquid items. Beer. Regular pop. Gatorade. Tea with sugar in it. This was a huge problem for me. It may not be your problem, but hopefully this step will open your eyes. Usually it’s one or two simple changes that can make an impact right away. For me, I dumped regular pop for a diet pop that was OK. Diet pops aren’t great. I will never argue they are, but you can’t deprive yourself of everything right away or even down the road. I call it the 80/20 rule - if you do a great job 80 percent of the time, you can afford 20 percent of fun. Keep an eye on wasteful calories - those calories that you can deal without. This is a bit of Jedi mind-trick, admittedly, but try to teach yourself that you don’t need that donut. You would rather have smaller clothes and more confidence.

5. Try to find a light workout you can do for three straight weeks. I emphasize the word “light” here as much as possible. You cannot go too hard, too fast. If you do, the burnout factor will kick in. Don’t jump into Insanity. Don’t jump into P-90 or any of those workouts. Light could be mean jogging. For me, it was walking one mile a day, sometimes two. It’s been my experience that once you do something for three weeks, it becomes a habit.

6. Go back to step four and look at that list of items you ate that week. Look to see where your calories come from. If you find a glaring issue - too many sweets, too much alcohol, too many sugary drinks or other wasted calories, address that first. If you attack your biggest weakness first, your results will come faster. More on these strategies during the year.

7. Buy a scale and start weighing yourself. I HATED doing this....but I NEEDED to do this. And if you want to lose weight, you need to as well. This helps with step one. If you are overweight, you're not hiding that from anyone. You cannot camouflage fat. When you avoid the scale, the only person you're hiding the problem from is you. Buy a scale. It can be a $19.99 scale from Target or JC Penny. And while it may start as a mental hurdle, it will help you down the road. Once you start seeing the fact you're losing weight, it will motivate you even more to do more.

Those are far from the only steps you need to take for a life journey of losing weight, but if you do those seven in the first month of 2018, you have put yourself in good position to lose weight.

I wrote about the lessons I learned while losing weight.

It's only $3. What do you have to lose?