Conquer Long-Term Weight Loss (8 Lifestyle Changes)
Failure is filled with excuses.
I don't like veggies. I don't like to cook. I don't have time to exercise.
I don't. I don't. I don't.
Let me ask you a question. Do you like going to work? Don't give me the answer you feel you should respond with; give me reality.
Related - The Best Workout for Weight Loss
I love my job. Truly. This is not BS. I really enjoy writing and editing. But given the choice between going to work and, say, heading out for an eight-mile hike I'd chose the hike 100% of the time.
Why then do I go to work? Consequences. Bills have to be paid. If I was independently wealthy I would still write, just when I felt like it. In this case, financial responsibility and hard work would create freedom.
Let me ask you another question. Do you like pizza and tortilla chips? I do. Why then don't I eat these foods each and every day? Because I know this habit yields consequences.
Eating junk food would steal my freedom; poor food choices will eventually lead to lack of energy, poor sleep, joint and back stress, bad health, and just an overall decrease in quality of life.
In this case, nutritional responsibility allows me to feel better and be more productive. I'm more efficient, which creates the freedom to live, play, and better enjoy the day.
One last question. Do you like to exercise? I do, but honestly, it feels better to sit on the couch and binge-watch a TV series.
Even though I enjoy exercise it's still more enjoyable to kick back, have a few drinks, and stare at the idiot box.
But what does adherence to exercise give me? More freedom. Freedom to move, act, and challenge myself.
Seeing a pattern here?
When we do the things we don't want to do we are rewarded with more freedom, possibilities, and options in life. When we abuse ourselves with food or inactivity there are consequences. These consequences steal our time, energy, and health.
They shorten our lives and our quality of living.
We go to work because being homeless would suck. Being without our phones and the Internet would suck. Being without hot water and electricity would suck.
You choose to ruin your health. You choose to ruin your organs. You choose to punish your joints. You choose to compromise your sleep. You choose to encourage added depression and anxiety. You choose to feel awful.
If the rest of your life was like your eating and exercise habits, you would be broke, homeless, without a car, alone, and with no way out.
Is this how you want to spend the rest of your life?
Here are eight lifestyle changes you must take seriously. If you fail to take them seriously prepare to face the consequences.
ChangeYour Life, Change Your Weight Loss Results
Change #1 - Remove Temptation From the House
An alcoholic doesn't keep alcohol in the house. The reasons are obvious. For some reason though those trying to lose weight feel that it's OK to keep temptation in the house.
It. All. Must. Go.
If you can't possibly toss these addictive options, you need to ask yourself why?
A cigarette smoker won't keep a pack next to him like some sick form of security blanket. Yet you feel it's OK to ice cream chips, and cookies in the house?
You do realize this is seriously messed up, right?
Toss it. Toss everything nasty and bad. Then, when temptation arises you are forced to leave the house and drive to get your fix.
Change #2 - Take Time to Cook
The excuses here are endless.
"I don't have time to cook." Not buying it. It takes more time to drive to Burger Bell each night then it would to cook. I guess now with Uber Eats that game has changed, but still...
In the time it takes to order and wait for your food, are you really sitting around in 100% productivity mode? I'm guessing not.
Cooking a healthy meal doesn't take that long. Put something in the oven, put something on the stove, and wait.
You're not exactly trying to cook up a Michelin star meal here. Let's be honest.
If you don't want to cook after work, then plop some meat and veggies into a crockpot and let it cook while you are at work. Is this really that difficult?
No, admit it.
"I don't know what to cook!"
This. Just. In! You have the internet. On your phone. It takes approximately 22.75 seconds to Google, "Fast and healthy ____ recipes."
Have chicken at home? Google, "Fast and healthy chicken recipes."
Have ground turkey at home? Google, "Fast and healthy ground turkey recipes."
You/re welcome. Now, go Google.
Change #3 - Plan Your Meals for the Week
When you create a plan you gain control over your eating. Having no plan will open the door to failure, food binges, snack attacks, and just bad choices.
The hardest part of planning is starting. It takes a little bit of time and math to create tasty options. After that, like gets easy.
I'll admit, it took me several weeks of trial and error to figure out a plan I actually liked. Sure, I ate healthy during that time but I wasn't always super-excited by my food choices.
But once you nail it, you nail it. Life, and losing weight, becomes much easier. You gain control over your daily food intake and shut the door on:
- Daily fast food lunches
- Vending machine sneak attacks
- Donut raids in the work lunch room
- Another vending machine sneak attack
- Breakfast from Starbucks
Control leads to consistent calorie intake. This is critical. Lack of control might feel manageable at times, but even a 200 calorie variance per day can contribute to a 20-pound weight gain per year.
Think about that for a second.
200 calories is nothing, right? Well, it can take you from 200 pounds up to three hundred in a fast five years.
Once breakfast, lunch, and snacks have been planned out it's time to think through dinner. Dinner can be the killer; the loose end that leads to binge eating and weight gain.
Eating the same thing for dinner can be boring. I keep four to five simple, staple recipes on hand. Options help. I can then eat what I want each evening while still knowing the calorie count.
Lunch is kind of the same way. I find options that work and meal prep what I want to eat for that given week.
Change #4 - Celebrations in Moderation
Everyone loves a good celebration. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Work parties. Friends are in town. You got a new dog. It's Thursday and the week is nearly done. It's Friday and the week is done. It's Saturday and why not celebrate, right?
Life is to be celebrated. But turning every small celebration in life into an opportunity to binge eat food is abuse.
It is very common for a healthy percentage of steady "weight gainers" to turn every event in life into a celebration that involves a little too much food and/or alcohol.
These types of dieters will do great for four to five days and then plan a meal out with friends to celebrate a job promotion, adoption of a dog, etc.
It's not the "celebrating" that's the issue; it's learning to celebrate in moderation.
A celebration does not have to involve excess. In fact, if you want to maintain a healthy weight then celebrations must be approached with a determination to minimize the damage. What does this mean?
At a company picnic? You don't need to eat a hamburger or bratwurst bun. Enjoy the meat and forego the useless calories.
You also don't need to load up your plate with all the various side dishes and desserts. Have a small try of each, but don't consume food to the point where you are unable to function normally the next day.
Time for a date night? Choose something romantic that doesn't revolve around food and alcohol temptation. A nice, planned picnic and a long romantic walk aren't the worst options. Neither is the ballet and a steak house. At least you can opt for protein an veggies.
One final thought.
There are periods in your life that need to dedicated to self-care. It's OK to tell folks, "I'm really trying to spend the next four months dropping a few pounds." It's your life and your goals. Reasonable folks will understand. Hopefully, your spouse will understand that longterm health is more important than having an ice cream date.
It's OK to take care of yourself and temporarily pull back a little.
You don't need to turn celebrations into an excuse to abuse. In fact, this is a sure sign you will eventually gain weight.
A few major celebrations each year is normal. A few each week or month is not.
Change #5 - Treat Exercise Like Work
Everyone is so obsessed with enjoying exercise. That's great if you do - all the time - but most of us are human. We have bad days and off days.
We don't always feel like working out.
That's OK, though. But guess what? You still have to do the work.
How many times in the past year has the alarm gone off and you thought to yourself, "WTF? Where am I? UGH; I don't want to go to work today."
You still went to work.
Exercise is like work. The only time you skip exercise is when you're sick.
Let that last sentence resonate for a while.
If you look for an excuse to avoiding moving, everything will turn into an excuse. Plus, we all know the following to be true (most of the time).
No matter how tired you are or how crappy you feel, nine times out of 10 you'll feel much better after your workout is done. You're glad you went in and made the effort.
Change #6 - Take Sleep Seriously
There's plenty of time to sleep when you're dead. I've been known to say this from time to time.
It feels really hardcore to fight sleep. Work! Work! Work! Grind! Grind! Grind!
But sometimes sleep deprivation isn't just about the grind. Sometimes we limit rest to watch TV, play video games, or enjoy the nightlife.
Lack of sleep is not something to be joked about. Over the long haul, it wears us down in ways we are still trying to understand. In the short term, it steals our focus, drive, and energy.
More than this, lack of sleep can lead to extra food intake. Not only do you tend to lose the ability to fend off temptations, but you just flat out are hormonally challenged.
Sleep deprivation officially begins when we fail to reach seven hours of sleep. At that point, the release and timing of appetite-controlling hormones are changed.
Ghrelin is secreted by the stomach, signaling the need for food. when you are sleep deprived, ghrelin is released in larger amounts.
So really, if you fail to take sleep seriously you are forcing your body to resist a greater degree of hunger when you physiologically have a lessened degree of willpower.
Change #7 - Eat Your Veggies (Food Volume)
You don't like veggies? I don't care.
Not only do vegetables provide micronutrient density (vitamins and minerals), but they also add food volume. What do I mean by this? One pound of broccoli contains 153 calories. One pound of Doritos contains 2,265 calories.
It would take you nearly 10 pounds of broccoli to reach 1,500 calories. Obviously, no one eats this much broccoli, but the point is an important one.
It's easier to feel full by adding food volume. Veggies are the best way to add food volume to your daily diet.
Don't like them? Then I'm guessing you're eating them plain. Life doesn't have to be this boring.
- Try adding a veggie medley to meat in the crockpot with your favorite seasoning.
- Dump some cauliflower rice in as well.
- Search for healthy recipes that involve a veggie you enjoy. The available recipe options might shock you.
- Stop thinking in terms of broccoli and cauliflower. There are plenty of veggie choices. Red peppers. Yellow peppers. Jalapeno peppers. Onions. Green onions. Spinach. Etc.
- Dice up some spinach and toss it into your favorite hot dish. It wilts down to virtually nothing and hides well.
Change #8 - Stop Waiting for Motivation
Everyone's waiting for motivation to show up on their doorstep. Guess what? It's busy trying to find the motivation to do so.
Stop waiting. Just stop.
Movement will create motivation. You have the choice to move and to eat better. Start attacking each choice.
The concept of motivation is garbage. If you wait for the day where you wake up and feel super-motivated you'll die fat and miserable.
Instead, make a plan and follow through. Doing the work will forge the results. It's willpower you need. You are not helpless. You do have a choice.
Start right now. Ignore the mistakes. And when you make a mistake don't tell yourself, "Well, crap. I'll just start over again next month."
Start over with the next choice.
Fighting will help you change and grow. You are working to rewire the brain. If you do not fight there is no hope.
Do the work required to reach your goal, even when you feel tired, lazy and hopeless.
You feel tired, lazy and hopeless because you aren't doing the work.