I’ll start by providing a little background on my life and how I gained some insight on true weight loss and the hundreds of fallacies out there. I grew up playing hockey at the age of three with the co-author of this blog. I played for around twelve years at a relatively high level and was constantly active. You’re probably thinking oh great the athlete is going to teach me how to lose weight, but there’s more to the story here.
My hockey days came to an end at the age of 15. I was a little over five feet and as a goalie I had practically no chance at playing at a high level anymore. Almost a year later I picked up boxing and fell in love with the sport.
I decided to compete in the amateur ranks and soon realized that weight maintenance would be a large part of doing well in the sport. I weighed 142 lbs at the time when I first decided to compete, my coach told me that my first competition would be at 132 pounds, ten below my weight at the time! I had to lose that weight in a week’s time in order to be allowed to compete. I found myself on the stationary bike for a week’s worth of training and starved myself and managed to make the weight.
I basically cut the weight by reducing water weight. I didn’t actually lose weight. I was back at my normal weight by the monday after my competition. The process I underwent is a microcosm of many people’s diet paths. Like many things, a long-term diet plan with strong principals will always be the best way to achieve your ideal weight.
I don’t believe in advocating for a specific diet but the principles I define below should be adapted into all diets.
Sugars have been hidden in our foods for decades now. Sugars are contributing to significant fat gain, lower life expectancy and increased cancer rates. This isn’t new information but we still continue to consume far too much sugar in our food.
Above we have a nutrition label for a healthy glass of morning orange juice, healthy!? Far from the truth, I try to consume a maximum of 25 grams of sugar per day. With this one glass of orange juice you are consuming 90% of a day’s sugar needs in one glass!
Sugars are hidden everywhere. They are addictive and destroy our bodies. Try your best to read all labels, especially package goods and beverages. If you are craving sugar try substituting the candy bar for fruit!
Establish and Track Your Nutrition
This is pretty crucial early on when starting to change your diet. I like to use an app called myfitnesspal it makes things really easy and even allows you to scan barcodes to automatically calculate nutrition info. The main focus at first should be your macronutrients and calorie intake. Macronutrients are your Fats, Protein, and Carbs. Myfitnesspal allows you to determine your total calorie intake, and lets you define macronutrient goals based on percentages.
Finding the proper percentages and calorie intake will vary person to person but I prefer to follow a ketogenic diet outlined here. It is really essential you know what is going into your body. Allowing you to tweak and adjust your nutritional intake to best fit your goals.
This is probably the most difficult for a lot of people, and to be honest properly measuring your progress can be difficult. I tend to lean on a couple tools to keep things more on the affordable side.
I use a basic weigh scale with my focus more on fluctuations and trends than the actual number on the scale. What you weigh doesn’t matter, it’s where your weight is going that will have the largest implications. I would recommend weighing yourself twice a week in the morning when you get up. It’s important to keep when you weigh yourself standard as your body weight can fluctuate throughout the day, giving you an inaccurate measurement of where you are going.
What you weigh doesn’t matter it’s where your weight is going that will have the largest implications
The second tool I use is simply how I feel. I am very conscious of my body’s reaction to food and beverage intake. If my body doesn’t react to something well I will document it and eliminate it from my diet. It is important to check in with yourself frequently. I find how feel to be the best indicator of nutrition quality and the overall balance of my diet.
The third tool is my appearance and can be self deprecating if not used properly. Everyone likes to focus on their belly or legs, areas that can carry a lot of fat. I like to focus on areas where I can spot differences easily such as the area around my eyes and my hands. When you pay close attention to specific areas they will give you a quick indicator of how your body is reacting to your diet. Not making you feel bad about how much work you have to do.
Sleep and water
The easiest to maintain but often neglected. These ones are simple, keep sleep consistent and take naps when necessary. If you have trouble falling asleep, try taking cold baths, described as the elephant tranquilizer by the great Tim Ferriss. His five tips to fall asleep faster can be found here.
For water intake I like to try to consumer 70 ounces of water a day. I accomplish this by bringing tea and water with me to work and between the two I usually can hit my quota.
These are simply but essential building blocks to proper nutrition and weight loss. It really isn’t about the specific diet or newest workout routine. The key is consistency and also properly educating yourself on what your body needs to be at it’s best.
Comment below on what helps you find your success with your diet or are currently struggling with. I love to chat nutrition and learn from others!