Are you fat? I am. A little at least. I’m a little like the fattish chick with big boobs in that I have good size muscles and definition that distract a little from the pudge around my midsection, but that only takes you so far. And I’m not happy with my spare tire and I have a beach vacation in a month, time to get crackin.
I’m not above fat shaming. My post “Skinny Husbands, Fat Wives” is very popular and in a tongue and cheek way pokes fun at people (women especially) who let themselves go and backhandedly promotes health. Recent Joe Rogan #WhoIsFat podcasts (Episodes 894 and 895) with comedians Tom Segura and Bert Kreischer (The Machine!) was all about the final weigh-in at the end of a 30 day weight loss challenge that started out as total fat shame taunting of each other. Funny episode where they shit on each other and you see how far they’ve come in a short time. The point was that fat shaming, though mean spirited, can actually be a catalyst for change.
People don’t change or make those hard decisions unless the PAIN is more than the pleasure they receive from said activity
Take drinking for instance. People won’t stop unless the pain of continuing is greater than the numbing pleasure they feel, for an addict, that may not happen til rock bottom, but you don’t need to let the pain build up so much. Multiple people tried to get my brother to stop drinking, or at least slow his roll, but until he nearly died he didn’t want to change. For me, a few years ago I was self-medicating with booze every day, getting way too out of control, and despite wanting to stop my rationalization each day allowed me to continue bad habits. It wasn’t until I was called out by my wife that embarrassment was high enough so that I finally had enough. Then a switch was flipped (I talk about it here). I dumped out all the booze and addressed the situation to get it under control, not by running away, but addressing it head on – taking a substance abuse class, even going to a few AA meetings. In the end, I developed healthier habits around alcohol and now enjoy it in moderation.
This approach is not too different for having bad food habits. You have to feel the pain of being a fat ass and finally get sick of being that way before you’ll finally change. Being fat is way more about your eating habits than it is about exercise. Exercise has tons of benefits, but the calories burned during even a 90-minute long-run as you train for a marathon may only be 900-1000. This is basically the amount in a Cinnabon Classic.
One of the problems with exercising is it provides fuel for the rationalization hamster in your brain.
“I deserve this extra slice of pie after I rehydrate with Gatorade and have my recovery shake.”
In reality, this food/beverage combo is higher than what you burned, so instead of losing weight, the exerciser at best maintains, and at worst gains, weight.
So the point of this post is you need to stop stuffing your face with bad shit. I’ve weighed between 167-170 or so for the last five years, which is a very tight window. But I would also say I have a perpetual 5-10 pounds of fat that I’d like to not be there. Getting older is a motherfucker. When I was 25 I could tighten up my diet for a week and lose 8 pounds, but it takes much more effort to get the needle to move these days. I haven’t drink soda (diet or otherwise) for years. I mostly eat healthy, but still overindulge in food. There’s always work donuts, or a family barbeque, or wedding, or party and it is hard to say no. I do a pretty good job, but when I do say yes that’s the difference between a flat stomach and a fat stomach for me. But that is where things begin.
Starting to think about how each food decision impacts your long-term happiness is a way stop that rationalization cycle. “Is the immediate and short-term pleasure of eating this [croissant, donut, extra slice of pizza] worth it? Or is future-me going to want to kick today-me’s ass?” Usually the short-term pleasure is NOT worth what your goals are, but that is for you to decide. I listened to Tom Segura’s podcast with his wife (http://www.yourmomshousepodcast.com/ which is a fun podcast on life as parents with two comedians, though a few too many inside jokes IMO) where he talked about this and the weight loss challenge. He was actually slowly losing weight since August (2016) and the challenge simply ramped it up. Basically, he was using a more sustainable diet with smaller portions and some exercise to slowly start to lose the extra weight he had gained over a long period of time. Weight that slowly just accumulates and Bam! You find yourself with 30 or 40 extra pounds to lose. He came to the conclusion that he’d rather forgo sugar/that chocolate croissant so that he could slowly start looking and feeling the way he wanted. It’s not easy to put off that pleasure, but I guarantee that when you get rid of your spare tire (be it a bicycle variety like mine, or a tractor version) all those small sacrifices will be worth it as you feel and look better and sexier. Don’t underestimate the driving force of vanity – we all want to look good naked!
For me, I’ve found low carb or Tim Ferriss’s slow carb diet (from the The 4 Hour Body) to be the easiest way to drop fat. I did the slow-carb diet before Thanksgiving pretty strict for two weeks and lost about 5 pounds, but then the holidays happened. But I’m back on it, eating spinach, tuna, eggs, and leanish meats pretty strictly trying to drop a little more fat before we head on a beach vacation next month. And don’t let age be a deterrant. Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple and author of (highly recommended) The Primal Blueprint is 63, and looks better than 99% of us, but manages his diet, stress, and exercise better than most of us as well.
If you’re just starting out on a fat loss journey, these will always be my tips (just food now, exercise is another topic I just don’t want to go down the rabbit hole on today):
- Cut out ALL soda! That means diet too. And no fruit juices either which is just nature’s sugar.
- Drink more water. If you like the bubbly stuff as a soda replacement (like me), I highly recommend Soda Stream for making your own club soda, and getting a lime or lemon juice concentrate if you want a little bit of flavor. It is pretty cheap, and if you drink a lot of volume (like me) here’s a hack by Frugal Woods I like to get a large CO2 container that costs about the same as a small one you get at Target:
- Eliminate bread, pasta, sugar cereal, and processed shit food. Your body may take a little to adjust, but you’ll eliminate a lot of the sugar peaks/valleys that compel our hunger drive to eat.
- Cut way back or eliminate drinking – so many empty calories there and while it doesn’t burn like sugar, alcohol still is an energy source that replaces fat burning, so is not conducive to our goals. Plus Dry January is a cool idea for most people, and one I’ve done before.
- Track your calories using something like MyFitnessPal, and try to have a calorie deficit. I find when I’m eating a lot veggies, lean meat or fish, drinking water, and getting enough fat (avocado, whole eggs) I’m satiated and don’t take in very many calories.
That’s really it. That leaves dairy (if you can handle it – and go full fat if you can. We LOVE Fage full fat Greek yogurt with some berries as a sweet treat instead of ice cream), meat, vegetables, nuts (which are super calorie dense and while Paleo-friendly, are not losing weight friendly, I avoid nuts when trying to drop fat), fruits (keep fruits in moderation as well unless after a workout, exception is berries which are great), and whole grains that you may manage like steel cut oats (we don’t eat many grains, especially not wheat, usually). If you really want to go crazy you can try to induce ketosis by going ultra-low carb, but I find it difficult to be so strict, so end up with something more akin to Ferris’s slow-carb diet which to many is much more manageable. Bert Kreischer (comedian from Rogan’s podcast that I noted at the start) would do pulled pork and veggies as a regular meal, cut down to something like 1,000 calories a day, walk or run every day creating a large calorie deficit, and lost 30+ pounds in a month. That’s pretty extreme, but goes to show where there is a will, there’s a way.
So if you’re tired of being a fat piece of shit, get mad. Say Fuck This Shit! And for once, do something about it. Make changes, throw away or give away (to a neighbor, a food bank, work lunch room) the processed crap, don’t buy any of that stuff to tempt yourself, and start a new path in 2017.