Did You know?
25% of Gym subscriptions go un-utilized!
And globally, Weight Loss is the most popular New Year Resolution! It also has the highest abandonment rates…
Because overall there are definitely more failures than success stories and weight loss seems like a daunting task, approached with sense of trepidation.
And as a veteran of this journey, I will say – it’s tough no doubt, but not impossible!I personally think that most resolutions fail because we do not plan well enough before taking the plunge. Sustainable Weight loss is not about crash diets and burning treadmill rubber – It is a life altering decision – that will have a far-reaching impact on what you eat, how you exercise and how you live.
Planning for & taking time to adjust to that new lifestyle is a good idea before signing that hugely expensive Gym subscription cheque. It will not only save you some precious money, but also avoid the stress and guilt of yet one more failure.
My Moment of Truth…
My moment of truth came when I was 104 kgs with a BMI of >32. I had a waist size of 44 inches and over 30% body fat percentage.It wasn’t that I was not aware of the problem. I had, in the past, tried many diets, joined many Gyms but nothing had ever lasted for more than three weeks. But for some strange reason this time, I was determined to do things and decided to take about a month to make myself ready.It was in reality, like a long warm up session but it really helped me a lot.
So, here are the Basic Steps to Getting Started:
1. Develop Knowledge
To develop the right knowledge base for this attempt, I did the following:
- Went off Face book for about a month
- Spent that time reading about Weight loss and Fitness
- Subscribed to Men’s Health (which really helped)
2.Correct Wrong Habits
During this period, I also worked on correcting some classic mistakes like
- Changing from a Light breakfast & Heavy/Late Dinner to vice versa
- Followed a simple portion-control rule of cutting my Lunch & Dinner Quantity by Half (Because if you’re overweight then the chances are very high that you are eating twice the amount of what is required)
- Green Tea & Apples became my best friends to combat hunger pangs
- Clean the Refrigerator of Sodas, Colas and Sweetened high fructose liquids (namely Fruit Juices & Squashes)
This is because you won’t have much of a chance to fight sugar cravings if your cupboard is not cleaned of all junk food and its not replenished by your shopping list. Someone very rightly said that Cocaine, Salaries & Carbohydrates are three biggest addictions, so you have to really brace up.
3.See your Doctor
In between all this preparation, it’s a great idea to have a comprehensive medical check-up, since it will give you a chance to assess your physical condition and have a talk with your physician. This is critical if you have not exercised for more than three months and are overweight/obese because it’s risky to embark on an exercise regime without medical advice. Especially keep your eye on your Thyroid & Sugar levels and get a Liver function test also done because any medical issue that crops up here is going to really set back all your attempts to lose weight.
4.Start with Small Steps (Do Not OverDo)
It’s well known fact that human beings can control only a few urges at one time. Trying to do too many things at one time will not work out. If you have been a carb lover all your life, then just controlling your intake of carbs uses a lot of your energy and depletes your reserves of self-control reserves fast.
And unintended consequences can be disastrous, so go slow and take your time.The Battle of bulge is as much mental as it is physical and right ratio of diets and exercise has to be balanced and thought of during this time.One without the other will not give desired benefits and you will lose interest.
5.Be Aware Of Stress
Our normal reaction if someone asks us how stressed we are, is just a shrug of our shoulders. Obviously all of us are supermen and exactly know how to handle stress! It is critical to deeply introspect at this preparatory stage and get all our negative thoughts under control. This is not easy & requires a great deal of courage and a resolute attitude.
Let me share what I heard about a Stressful Experiment…
I remember reading about a remarkable experiment – 10 people were asked to remember a 3 digit number and 10 people were given an 8 digit number. They were then asked to go to the next room and speak out that number. Between the two rooms they had to pass a corridor which had different types of food – fruits, veggies, proteins, pizzas, chocolates et all. Everyone also had to pick up his choice of food as a part of experiment.
All people who were asked to remember 8 digit number picked up pizzas and un-healthy food stuff as they were under stress while the other group picked up fruits! So, understand that there is a strong co-relation between being stressed & eating. Recognize situations and people that cause stress and consciously control your food intake around these.
It really helps to watch your breathing – Just 15 minutes of breathing exercises (Pranayama) in the mornings will go a long way in bringing your stress levels down, so try & incorporate this in your daily routine.
6.Start Exercising at the End of the Month of Preparation
Most people will advise you to maintain a 70:30 Ratio of Dieting & Exercise for weight loss. My personal experience is that it should be around 60: 40 because if you do the right exercises then it pushes up your metabolic rate & helps you to lose calories even when you are at rest.
Exercise for me started after about 3-4 weeks of basic Diet control. And it started with just walking because all my reading had taught me that it is always wise to build distance first and not to worry about the time. So, start modestly and gradually increase the distance to your liking.Once you reach your ideal distance, get the watch on and work on reducing the time progressively.
Walking is not the only thing, you can give your car keys a miss for small errands.You can give your luggage wheels a rest and carry your bags if you are a frequent flier. You will be surprised at how many calories you can burn if you don’t keep your over-nighter on ground and hold on to it during check-ins. In fact, I religiously climbed the 160 stairs to my 4th floor office for almost a year and spent about 90 minutes in office standing during meetings.
If you think about it, you will discover many more new ways of silently killing calories.
7.Find a Partner
Another great investment during this time is to find a training partner as it helps to build confidence and you don’t feel out of place in the Gym. You may not even want to join a Gym if both of you are enterprising and can discover exercises and plan a functional regime. Gym-ming can come later if you get into weights and other specialized equipment.
I started alone and joined a small functional gym because for me, personal attention initially was very important. Today I go to a big gym but that’s a story for another time but I would suggest that you do not bother with hiring a Personal Trainer at this stage as it is important to understand your body rhythm first and nobody understands your body more than you.
In conclusion, in the first 30-35 days
- Manage your stress
- Reduce whatever you eat to half (in the context explained above)
- Pay a visit to your doctor and show him your reports
- Start walking
- Clean up your refrigerator and cupboards and align your family to your new goal
- Remember you will have occasional bad days and eating a pizza slice one day does not give you a license to eat it next day as well and postpone your resolution to next week.
And Now The Results…
I only lost 3 kgs in the first 40 days but I gained a lot of knowledge & focus during this phase which holds me in good stead even today.
From 104 Kgs to 79 Kgs now…With 8 inches off my waist…And with my Body Fat % down 12% to an overall 18% now, I continue to grow stronger because I made sure that my beginning was right!
So follow the steps as above for a month, and then make a bold statement on Facebook informing every one of your Weight Loss Target & invest in a new pairs of Sneakers or Smart gym wear as you are now prepared & ready for that long haul.