How To Make Your Fat Loss Resolution Stick

 

 

Another year, another chance at a new you!

Except not really – every single day is a chance at a new you. In fact, you don’t even have to wait until you wake up. Start right now – stop eating sugar from this point forward. Start running right now, even if it’s only for a few blocks, then do it again tomorrow. Every meal is a choice, every bit of free time you have is a chance at creating something fantastic.

That said, this piece is about making a fat loss resolution stick, but still keep that first bit in mind; that first bit is gold. That mentality will be part of keeping you on track to making your goals a reality this year, that and these other things.

Part 1: Diet

And in this sense, I don’t mean diet as in some kind of fad where you eat in tune with your blood type, or you only eat certain colors of vegetables or when the moon is in a certain phase. That’s all woo-woo. I also don’t mean “diet” in a deprivation sense. You will need to cut calories to lose weight of course, that’s how it works, but I’m not talking about only eating plain potatoes and celery every day. I’m referring to everything you eat, what makes up your way of eating.

1 – Fat loss is about 20% exercise and 80% diet. There’s an old adage “bodies are made in the kitchen, not the gym”. That’s because you really can’t “earn” calories by exercising them off, and most machines or apps that estimate how many calories you burn doing any given activity are pretty bad at their job. So many things go into how many calories you expend and what fuel your body uses for that energy that saying “running for 1 hour burns X amount of calories if you weight Y” is pretty useless.

2 – Sugar is in everything AND it’s pretty bad for you, so cut it out. Modern nutritional research has pretty conclusive evidence that fat – demonized for years as the cause of heart disease and obesity-related diseases like diabetes and PCOS – is actually pretty healthy for you. It’s the sugar we were pushed to instead of fat that wreaks havoc on our hormones and bodies. In addition to restricting calories to lose fat, cutting out added sugar should be another primary concern.

3 – Choose a way of eating that works for you. For me, keto was the way of eating that stuck. It keeps you full, prevents blood sugar swings that cause ravenous hunger, and helps retain muscle when you’re losing weight. Other people though might not be able to swing bacon, cheese, and eggs all the time. The good news is you can still lose weight! Veganism, vegetarianism, paleo, etc – there’s a million ways to cut fat without compromising your way of eating or filling yourself with garbage food, or wasting money on stupid food gimmick shakes. The keys are cutting calories, cutting out/drastically reducing added sugar, and eating whole foods as much as possible. Following those guidelines, it’s pretty simple to lose fat.

Part 2: Exercise

1 – Pick a physical activity you love, and do that everyday. You want to be aiming for at least 30 minutes a day of activity above-and-beyond whatever your normal life is. Make sure this added activity is something you actually enjoy, otherwise it’s not going to stick. If you love hockey, practice drills or skating. If you like lifting weights, do that, but no matter what, don’t pick something you hate just because it’s supposed to be awesome or burn a ton of calories.

2 – That said, make sure you’re doing some strength-training. Studies show that weight training provides the best increase of insulin sensitivity of nearly all exercises. In addition, added muscle mass improves your metabolism, protects against injury, and makes you look better (ok, so that last one is subjective).

3 – Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see weight fly off. In fact, weight should be one of the last indicators of success you look at, though predictably it will probably be the first. Be sure to take measurements of your body: neck, chest, waist, hips, thighs, calf, bicep, and forearm. Measure these weekly. Take frequent pictures as well – these non-weight measurements might change far faster than the scale budges, due to a complex interaction of hormones, fluids, and other factors. Two weeks of dedicated healthy eating and exercise might not move the scale much but you could find clothes fitting better, inches gone from your waist, and a decrease in fluid retention.

Part 3: Mindset

1 – Don’t take on too much at once. Rigorous exercise plan, drastic dietary change, cutting caffeine, soda, cigarettes. People tend to see the new year as a time that they will turn into saints and give up their vices. Though this is a noble thought, doing it all at once will almost certainly fail, and worse yet, you’ll be miserable. Start with one thing, or small bites of several (changing your diet and adding in some simple, fun exercise is a great place to start for instance), and diligently stick to them until they’re habit. After that, look forward to your next goal to tackle.

2 – Recruit. Friends, family, strangers – it doesn’t matter. There is substantial evidence that making a goal vocal, even if it’s simply stating it to a close friend, makes you more likely to stick with it. Perhaps its the fear of public failure, or the desire to prove to yourself and others that you can succeed, but regardless, recruit people into your changes, even if it’s only as spectators. Join some weight loss Facebook groups, start tagging your progress pics on Instagram with trending hashtags, or start a blog about your journey and share it with anyone who will listen. Having a cheering section does wonders for your motivation.

3 – You only fail if you give up. Platitudes aside, this is one I’ve struggled with because of my binge eating. The number of times that I’d started a diet, or an exercise routine, and then went off target and then said “screw it” and binged is difficult to count. People derail all the time – parties, holidays, birthdays – all tempt us to eat bad food, drink booze to excess, or stop exercising. The worst thing we can do after this is to say “well, I’ve already screwed up, I’ll just screw up some more”. In these cases, you need to regain your senses, cut your losses, dust yourself off, and get back on the path. I mean, if we’re being literal and you are on a path and you go off the path, just, you know, get back on that path. It’s right there, just go back. Don’t go into the forest, no matter how many pizzas and beers are there.

4 – Plan. Exercise routines, meal plans, grocery lists, and contingencies for hiccups. If you start a low carb diet and you’ve got a beautiful meal plan worked out, but your daughter suddenly has banjo practice, are you going to hit a drive thru? No! Have some chicken or burgers cooked up. Wake up late and no time to exercise? Have a quick, 10 minute routine worked out for those occasions and skip the coffee shop that morning. Always have a back-up plan because life is full of detours and side quests.

Make 2017 your year for sure, but make tonight your night, and make tomorrow morning your morning. Stick to your resolutions because life isn’t about the broad strokes until you’ve passed those moments by and can look back at the painting. Life is about the little choices, the nuances of colors made up by your decisions with your time. Every meal is a choice, every second of leisure time unspent until you choose to allocate them someplace, and choice is the keyword here. Go, you crazy chooser. Go choose good things.

 

16 Comments

  • Renee Reply

    Hey, have you continued to use Healthy Wage? Did they actually pay you? How long did it take to get paid? I’m on the ketogenic diet also.

    • Monechetti Reply

      I used it again around Christmas to help keep me on the healthy track (holidays are a pretty common pitfall for me). I won about $800 total between my original bet and my second Christmas bet. I’m considering doing another – it’s pretty great. You can choose to get paid via check, which takes a few weeks to get in the mail, or by Paypal (which is what I chose) and it came in a few days, maybe even the next day, I can’t quite remember. That said, Paypal takes like 3%, so if you win a substantial sum, you could be getting a sizeable chunk taken out.

      Yay keto! I love it. How long have you been doing keto?

  • Eldora Reply

    That hits the target pefecrtly. Thanks!

    • Monechetti Reply

      Thanks! I basically went through a list of what used to derail me and what I do to counter those things.

  • Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond Reply

    We are definitely talking the same language here! We don’t have to wait for a New Year to start making positive and healthy changes to our lifestyle. Fad diets aren’t the answer. We need a holistic approach – as you say Healthy Eating, Exercise and Mindset. Great post.

    • Monechetti Reply

      Thank you!

  • Molly Stevens Reply

    You are so right about eliminating sugar. It is the biggest reason obesity is a pandemic today. And it is in 70% of processed food, disguised by multiple names and causing hormonal imbalance. The human body was never meant to eat over 20 teaspoons of sugar a day and that is the average for majority. And it is addictive. Don’t get me started! I am so glad you are doing well on your changes. You can reverse your own potential health problems and be an example for your children and you don’t have to wait until New Year’s. Good work!

    • Monechetti Reply

      Amen. I look back at being an overweight kid and I can CLEARLY see it was because I drank juice ALL the time, ate cookies and bread and sugar at every meal, and was told that fat and protein weren’t healthy. We need a major paradigm shift in this country in regards to nutrition.

  • Margaretha Montagu Reply

    Excellent advice all round. I give sugar a wide berth too. It upsets my metabolism completely. I do not avoid carbohydrates, I just eat everything in moderation.

    • Monechetti Reply

      Agreed. I stay clear of most refined carbs right now because I have a reasonable amount of fat to lose still (~50 pounds). After that though, gimme beans. I LOVE black and kidney beans, and honestly I’d like to edge towards vegetarianism, so opening up to healthy carbs is the direction I want to go.

  • Silly Mummy Reply

    Have to admit that I don’t really buy into the evils of sugar anymore than the evils of fats. Sugar is a natural substance and many things that are good for us are sugary. I do believe in prioritising complex carbs over simple sugars due to the longer lasting energy. However, I believe the rise in obesity really is as simple as eating too much, doing too little. We lead much less active lives than people used to, but we don’t eat less, so we are getting bigger. I think if your calorie intake and output are balanced, and you eat fairly healthy and balanced food, there is no need to worry too much about either sugar or fat. Aside from that though, I agree with your approach. I think it is all about finding a balance of healthy eating and doing some exercise that works for you, and you can stick to. Salt is my one big thing – I’m not a fan of added salt at all. But that’s really because I don’t like it! It just happens to also be healthy!

    • Monechetti Reply

      You’re quite right, I think. Sugar acts as an addictive substance in high quantities, and since food manufacturers (at least in the US) put it in EVERYTHING, it’s very easy to overeat. Judging by your domain, I am assuming you live in Britain? Do you have a daily recommended allowance/limit on sugar there? Like on your nutritional packaging? We don’t here, but I’ve heard a lot of the rest of the world does.

      Most people overeat, though, and yeah, most are too sedentary – being aware of it is the first step towards fixing it, I believe.

      • Silly Mummy Reply

        Yes, we do. We have nutritional labels on food, which shows energy, fat (& amount saturates), carbohydrate (and amount sugars), fibre, protein and salt per 100g and per portion, along with adult recommended daily intake for energy, fat, sugars and salt, and the percentage of RI the product has. That’s on the back. Most products now also have a summary label on front that is colour coded in red, green, and orange to show if the product is high or low for fat, sugar and salt.

        • Maria Millburg Baker Reply

          OOoo I wish that we had the “per serving AND per 100g” in the nutritional facts. That would make it so much easier to compare!

  • Carol A Cassara Reply

    I’m an expert at this and can attest to this being excellent and effective counsel! Day 71 of the Whole 30…..

    • Monechetti Reply

      Thanks! So you’ve found the Whole30 works for you? I know a couple people for whom it’s been incredibly helpful in breaking their sugar addiction. I think the key is cutting sugar and getting back to REAL food, no matter what your dietary preferences are. I mean, I know vegans who are overweight and eat nothing but sweets and fries, so each diet is only as healthy as you make it, I think haha.

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