Thursday, July 21, 2011

Want to Lose Weight?

                I’m still being asked how I lost weight.  Some people have wondered if I had gotten sick or divorced.  Months after reading Tim Ferriss' The Four Hour Body and following the program, I’m maintaining my target weight.  Not only has it been successful for me but several friends have had excellent results.  I’ve made notes throughout the process that will hopefully be of benefit to others.
                The first thing to understand is that most “diets” are intended to make one drop excess weight and are not designed for long-term sustenance.  Tim Ferriss’ program is no different, but it does make after-care simpler by helping understand where your excess pounds came from.  Nothing in his program is new.  It is simply a combination of other systems that worked perfectly for me.  It involved cutting things from my diet rather than adding new foods.  It fit my life perfectly.  It may not be for everyone but it has worked for me and several people around me. 
                Next, make the decision to drop the weight now.  Don’t look for excuses, wait until after your trip or until your spouse is ready to go on the same program.  DO IT NOW!  It’s possible to maintain this program anytime, anywhere.  I’ve stuck to it while hiking in the back country, on motorcycle trips, vacation in foreign countries, a week in Vegas, etc.  I’ve stuck to it while my wife is on an entirely different regimen.  There is no reason to not get started NOW!
                BUY THE BOOK!  Yes, part with some actual U.S. currency and buy the book.  Trust me on this.  You’ll spend more on your next trip to the movies and this will pay off.  Don’t try to shortcut and find the highlights of the diet online.  You won’t have to read the entire book.  There are some minute details and explanations that you won’t find anywhere else.  I bought it on Kindle and would flip through it in my spare time in order to keep fresh on the details.  It will explain the expected results, tips and tricks you won’t find on blogs.  It’s an easy, common-sense system but you still need all the information.
                Understand that you are changing habits.  You may be breaking some addictions.  I had to give up sugar in my coffee.  I mainline the stuff every morning but the additives had to go.  I still get my morning caffeine shock but it’s black these days.  If you’re not willing to take these measures, you’ll have no success.  If you can’t live without pasta, you’re screwed.  The first thing I learned was that our lust for carbs in the form of pasta, bread, beer and tortillas is the biggest source of love handles.  Get ready to miss your starch fix.  The good news is that you can pound all you want on your cheat days.   I re-introduced reasonable carbs after I hit my target weight to boost energy before endurance training.  We take in an enormous amount of calories in liquids.  You’ll be down to water, unsweet tea or coffee, one Diet Coke per day and a couple of glasses of red wine for a nightcap. 
                While the diet claims do drop 30 pounds in 30 days with no exercise, I still worked out.  Others did no exercise and still dropped.  I have severe exercise ADD.  Fencing is the only exercise I do with regularity.  Everything else comes and goes.  I hate running or cycling year-round and I won’t keep a strength regimen for more than a couple of months.  I have to rotate training to keep interest.  I’d suggest some sort of light exercise along the way.  My main purpose was to get as light as possible for fencing.  It was exciting to see my athletic abilities climb as I dropped about 20 pounds.  Even with a reasonable diet and high exercise before, I was still able to lean out that much on this plan.   There are several strength programs mentioned in the book.  Try the abdominal and kettlebell workouts.   I also added some medicine ball drills that worked pretty well.  They’re quick and beneficial.  I’m prone to back problems and found these exercises to be perfect for keeping the back in line. 
                When I hit my target weight of 195#, I stayed close to the diet for about another month.   Afterward I managed to maintain as mentioned earlier.  I drift within a few pounds of my target weight but will lean out quickly before a tournament, long hike, SWAT PT test day, etc.  I still don’t eat out much and keep the program in mind when I do.  I learned that white carbs are my biggest enemy and I’m very mindful of my intake. 
                You will drop weight if you stick to this program.  Your greatest chance of success will be had if you read the book.  Don’t be cheap and don’t be half-assed.  Read and follow the program and you’ll get there.  Remember that your current diet and exercise regimen dictates your current weight.  Once your target weight is reached, you’ll have to create a program to maintain.  Good luck!

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