This picture has absolutely nothing to do with today’s article. I just love Homer, and I wanted to get your attention…although you might be eating a doughnut right now as you read this. Let’s hope not.
Before I start, I want to let you know I’m not condoning zero exercise. In fact, exercise is freaking awesome and something you should try to do every day. However, I am here to tell you that if your primary concern is weight loss, exercise is merely the icing on the cake. 90% of your waistline battle is won or lost in the kitchen (or at the restaurant table, or at the drive-thru window, etc.)
Warning: this will ask you to possibly make some substantial changes to your diet – are you up for it?
Eat Real Food
I’m a huge fan of the food philosophy presented in books like The Paleo Diet, Good Calories Bad Calories, and sites like Mark’s Daily Apple. Why? Because they make this diet thing so simple and logical even a caveman could understand it. My apologies if you’re a caveman. If you’re new to the “Paleo Diet” concept, here it is in a nutshell. Rather than list what you can’t eat, here’s what you CAN eat:
REAL foods – veggies, lean meats, fish, eggs, fruit, and nuts.
Why does this work? Because you’re only eating foods that you’re genetically engineered to thrive on: high quality, high energy REAL foods. Not from a box, not from a bag, not from a window. Food from the earth. Yay nature.
Cut Way Back on the Rest
Bread, cereal, pasta, fried food, rice, bagels, doughnuts, waffles, chips, tortillas, candy etc. – these things are all loaded with carbs (and if they’re processed – refined carbs and sugar), and I’ll bet a million Monopoly dollars they’re the cause of 99% of the population’s weight problem. I’m not telling you to give all of this stuff up completely – I’m just telling you that this is probably the reason the weight isn’t coming off of your frame. Here’s why:
Most grains, refined carbs and sugar were nonexistent way back in the day, which means our bodies never quite adapted to properly process them. If you want to understand more why our bodies have such an issue with grains and carbs, this is the best article I’ve read. Here’s a great video to explain why refined carbs make you fat:
Today’s general recommended diet ratio of 50-60% carbs, 30% protein, 10-20% fat is so far off it’s ridiculous. I’m sorry, but it is. This ratio has been pushed on the public for decades, and new “low fat” items continue to pop up every day…and yet the country continues to get wider and bigger and fatter.
Something’s not right.
How I Know it Works
Although I’ve recently added some grains back into my diet to bulk up (oats, flaxseed bread, and brown rice), I can attest to the fact that the Paleo Diet absolutely works. In the four months that I switched to a Paleo diet (my ratio was probably 40% fat, 40% protein, and 20% carbs), my body fat percentage dropped from 12% down to 5%. Besides myself, many NF readers have lost quite a bit of weight from making this change as well.
If you’re interested in giving the Paleo Diet a shot, check out this GREAT resource. Pick a few things on the list, put together your meals, and you will lose weight. If you’re interested in learning more about ‘going paleo,’ Mark’s Primal Blueprint 101 is a great place to get your feet wet.
Cut Out Liquid Calories
Soda, beer, juice, margaritas Gatorade, vitamin water, cappuccinos, fruit coolatas – avoid them whenever possible (except for beer on St. Patty’s Day…come on.) These beverages are all loaded with sugar which immediately turn to fat in your system. And switching from a 12 pack of Coke to a 12 pack of Diet Coke might not solve your problems either. Read my article why Diet Coke might make you fat. My advice: chug water like it’s your job. It will curb your appetite, keep your insides running properly, and give you an excuse to get up and go for a walk to the bathroom every thirty minutes.
No Paleo? Eat Less Than Before!
Don’t want to change what you eat? Welp, you’re just going to count calories (using a site like DailyBurn). It’s a pain in the ass, but it works. Here are the three equations you need to know:
- Calories consumed > Calories burned = weight gain.
- Calories consumed < Calories burned = weight loss.
- 3500 less calories per week = 1 pound of fat weight loss.
As explained in the video above, the types of you food you eat is more important than these equations let on, but just creating a caloric deficit will still produce weight loss (although far less efficiently). Tyler over at 344pounds.com has had incredible results by continuing to eat his favorite foods in moderation. However, along with eating his favorite foods in moderation, Tyler also spends hours and hours in the gym burning off all of those calories, which is incredibly time consuming. I just don’t have that kind of free time and I guess that you don’t either, so why not work smarter instead of harder? Rather than eating bad foods and spending hours working it off, instead eat GOOD foods, put in only 20-30 minutes of solid exercise, and then enjoy the rest of your day. Life’s too short to spend it doing stuff that’s just not necessary.
The Choice Is Yours
I’m not going to yell at you and force you to only eat grilled chicken and steamed vegetables for every meal – I’m not your mom (phew, that would be weird). Besides, you’re a grown individual and you can make choices for yourself.
I AM, however, telling you that if you want to see results without spending hours upon hours in the gym, you need to get your diet under control, and this is the most efficient way for you to get there. The more you can change to what’s been listed above, the quicker you’ll get to your goal weight. Switching to a 100% Paleo Diet after years of eating bad carbs is a recipe for disaster. Instead, try finding a way to implement a change or two along the way until you start to see those results.
I realize this is much easier said than done, which means this isn’t really about your diet: it’s about your will power and finding a good balance of changes that you can successfully manage. Whenever somebody says “I can’t give up that food” or “I just don’t have time to prepare a healthy meal” all I hear is, “I don’t want it badly enough yet.”
I’m okay with that.
If you’re not at that point yet to take control of your life, I’ll do my best to inspire and motivate you to get there…but the desire to change has to come from within you. If you ARE at the point where you really want to make a change, I’m here to help, along with a community of people on our message boards who are there to support you.
Do we have any Paleo Dieters here? How did you successfully make the transition from a modern diet to a healthy one? Do you have concerns about giving up carbs and eating more fat? I’m only writing from experience and my own research, but would love to hear some stories on your weight loss successes or failures and I know others would too.
28 Day Challenge Update – On March 1st I put a call out for people to join me on a 28-challenge. Over fifty new people signed up for the Nerd Fitness Message Boards and about a dozen bloggers signed up to post their challenge results on their own websites. Sounds like a dedicated bunch of fools to me. You can follow my challenge here – I’ll be writing every day throughout. Join us!
photo: Greg Easton Photography