I just lost 40 pounds in the past 5 months. It started the day I bought our family tickets to Hawaii. I thought I would start swimming to get my body in shape for body boarding. The problem was I couldn’t get my board shorts on. Unbelievable. That was rock bottom. I knew I had been gaining weight as my clothes were getting tighter, I would get winded at the top of stairs and our mirror said I had two chins. At that moment, I resolved to destroy all the fat on my body.
A quick assessment of my life reminded me that I was barely getting any exercise, eating like crap and drinking too many White Chocolate mochas. So I came up with a simple plan.
Offense: Destroy all your fat
I was going to run for 30 minutes every other day until the end of time, no exceptions. I would gradually work on running faster and faster, so that I was running as many miles as I could cram into my 30 minutes. I would stretch for five minutes before hand, run/jog for 30 minutes, cool down walk for 5 minutes and finish by stretching for five more minutes. After this I would do 75 push-ups, some arm curls and I was done. Counting drive time there and back, the entire routine would take 1 hour of my day. I didn’t want to blow half my day, and I had read an article talking about how short, intense workouts would keep burning calories the entire day. Sounded good to me. Oh yeah, and I would do all this before I ate anything in the morning. Mens Health had told me years ago that the best way to burn fat was to exercise before you eat in the morning so your body is burning fat and not just the food you had just eaten. I’m pretty sure this really helped.
If you take one thing away from what I just said, you must be consistent. Settle it in your head that you are going to exercise for one hour, every other day, for the rest of your life. No excuses. Don’t get overzealous and start running 3 hours a day, as you will end up quiting just as quickly as you started. Pace yourself. Allow your body time to heal on your off days.
The first day, when you get on the treadmill to run (I think everyone should run, as it burns a lot of calories and will get you in shape the quickest) set the timer for 30 minutes and jog at a pace you can keep up for 29 minutes. The last minute, run as hard as you can until your on the edge of puking. Notice the distance you ran. Next time, try to beat that distance by a little bit, still running for only 30 minutes. When I started I could barely make it 30 minutes at a relatively slow pace. I’m now running 4 1/4 miles in 30 minutes without pushing myself at all. I’ve adopted this pace to be a maintenance pace as I don’t need to lose anymore weight. This summer I’m going to see how quickly I can run a mile. I’ll run one as fast as I can, and then try to beat the time by 20-30 seconds by the end of the summer. Set goals and try to reach those goals in a certain amount of time.
Defense: Stop dumping garbage into your body
I started with offense (running) for a reason. If you are not exercising every other day for the rest of your life, you might as well quit now. Why? Because even the most undisciplined person hates wasting hard work. It’s a lot easier to keep yourself from going to McDonalds after you killed yourself running four miles earlier that day. Who digs a hole and then kicks the dirt back in right afterward, just for fun? Offense comes first mainly because it helps make the wretched defense a little bit easier.
My defense started with Starbucks. I had been getting a White chocolate mocha almost every day for 3 years. I stopped cold turkey and had lost 10 pounds within two weeks. Cut out the liquid calories that you are drinking. Drink water and black coffee or tea. This should be your first thing that you change as it will immediately cause you to lose a decent amount of weight, which will help encourage you at the beginning.
Next, I stopped eating out as much. When I would go out it would be to healthier places like Chipolte (chicken burrito bowl) and iced tea w/lemon. I also frequent a Thai food cart near our house where I get the same Pad Thai with chicken every time. I stopped eating late at night, cut out a lot of deserts and started eating smaller portions.
For breakfast I started eating plain oatmeal with skim milk and a banana sliced into it. Lunch and dinner would also be healthy, but always change. I started eating healthier snacks. Wherever I went I have a case of water with me so as not to be tempted to drink other things throughout the day.
That’s it. Exercise consistently, stop drinking calories, eat healthier and eat smaller portions. I still eat out. I still have mocha’s (though only at local coffee shops) once or twice a week. I have deserts and eat unhealthy things every now and then. But my lifestyle and routines can now afford to do these types of things.
I feel absolutely incredible now. I’m down to 172 from 212. All because my board shorts wouldn’t fit. Watch for your crisis moment. When it comes, or has already come, use it to light a fire in you that changes your health for the rest of your life. Offense and defense. Let me know if you have any questions or you need some encouragement.