At the start of the pandemic, there appeared to be a global conspiracy to keep everyone “fat, stupid and happy”. Otherwise why would there be a sudden surge in sourdough baking, and then when we started to think it might be time to get rid of our growing bums, the mysterious arrival of Bridgerton and WandaVision?
There was a moment last summer, after months of carbohydrate loading on homemade pretzels and the bing of Nordic Noir, when I finally brushed the cobwebs off my scale and in a moment between batches of baked goods thought that the world was slowly starting to open up again – Shock and horror – occur right at the beginning of the swimsuit season. And I decided to conspire a little on myself and get in shape.
For the record, I was already grumpy and shaky by the time I went into the pandemic, though I could count on my relatively wide, six-foot-tall frame to carry it passably under a boxy blazer. However, the number that stared at me from the scales on that fateful day made it clear that if I didn’t roll back, I was wooing some serious health problems. And they don’t make tent-sized blazers.
I did it that way …
Weight loss is a number beater. At least that’s what I would say if I were a daytime player in The Sopranos. Without numbers, all you have are hopes and dreams, and any adult can tell you how these will develop. You need metrics. You need an honest number to start with and a target number to know when to stop. (Pro tip: The second number should be smaller.)
“I understand, I was there, you want to weigh yourself, not your poop.”
So get a digital scale first. Why? Not only are digital scales more accurate than the old analog models, they also weigh you down to the ounce and you want to see every profit as it comes. Lose a tenth of a pound? Yay! These micro-wins add up quickly and you need positive reinforcement to keep going.
That said, don’t be too weird … like waiting for a bowel movement before weighing yourself. I understand, I was there, you want to weigh yourself, not your poop. But unless you’re literally full of shit, it won’t make much of a difference – especially if it bothers my next recommendation:
The weekly weighing.
Pick a day to commit to and make it your weekly weighing day. Hide your Libra from yourself for six days out of seven.
“I didn’t starve or overexert myself, I just ate less and moved more. To make sure I did both, I relied more on technology than technology.”
No, but seriously, you have to fight against weighing yourself daily. The normal weight fluctuations due to water retention and other factors (see above) have an irregular and stressful effect. The weekly weigh-in is kind of average, however, especially if you choose to go on a Wednesday (far from a more rampant weekend of eating).
Once you have a means of capturing those most basic metrics – your weight – you need to stick to this karate kid style maxim: “calories in, calories out.” I’m in no way a nutritionist, dietitian, or doctor, but I’m a guy who lost 30 pounds by burning a smidge more calories than he ate. I didn’t starve or overexert myself, I just ate less and moved more. To make sure I did both, I relied on tech more than tech.
You are what you app
Get a food tracker app. These come under the sun in every form. Choose one. Some are more convenient than others, e.g. B. those that scan barcodes on packaged goods and record the calorie and portion size data. I didn’t use an app called Lose It for any reason other than the name that coincided with what I wanted my mind to do after learning my true weight. It worked great – I even upgraded to a premium membership to feel more invested in the process.
Here’s a consideration: some foods, especially those you should be eating, that is, those that are neither processed nor packaged in consumer products, do not come with handy, scannable barcodes. The celery from the local farmer’s market is not part of the matrix known as the universal price code system. Add another technology to your app: digital kitchen scales. Like your new bathroom scale, it helps you get accurate totals, and accuracy equals accountability.
When you track your food, you track your calories. Your app will help you here by calculating the number of calories you should be eating in a day to reach your goal. This is usually a deficit of only a few hundred to 500 calories. When you consider that there are roughly 3500 calories in a pound, you can see that shaving 500 calories from your daily diet turns into a pound of weight loss per week. This is generally a safe weight loss rate, although your doctor will know the specific thresholds that are appropriate for you. If you want to learn more about the importance of smart calorie counting for weight loss, read our interview with Jillian Michaels. It defines what a calorie is, shares the scientific law of thermodynamics behind it and the simple math to keep track of calories for easy understanding.
Get yourself an indoor exercise machine that doesn’t require you to go outside or pay for a gym membership. Covid made me a germaphobe. At this point, I can’t imagine touching a device that someone else has looked at.
Fortunately, there has been a relative explosion of home exercise equipment in the market, which is a boon for an introverted madman like me. My requirements for my new home hamster wheel were minimal: it had to be discreet, durable and have a digital display of the calories burned. For my purposes this was the DeskCycle 2 Exercise Bike / Pedal Exerciser with adjustable height under the desk. It started aptly under his desk under his desk, but now it lives quite invisibly under a coffee table. I got it for two hundred dollars on Amazon. Although there were less expensive variants, this sturdy construction meant it could withstand the antics of my intermediate-aged boys that would inevitably turn them into some kind of kinetic sculpture.
What is German is the counter for burned calories. If I was eating more calories than a day, I’d just get on what I called the bike and pedal them while Wallander used Netflix to solve the crimes in Malmo.
It took the Karate Kid process a week to become a habit and about a month to become a lifestyle. Four months later, I was 30 pounds lighter from sticking to the most humble of metrics. While others can quantify every element of their physical existence like they were a lab rat (see our report here), this worked for me. And I still have the cheese.
Based on bio-authority
According to Jillian Michaels, counting calories is the only way to lose weight
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