Where do I start with this topic? Possibly the most talked about thing in our industry is how do I lose fat. Well it may come as a shock to you, but exercise alone will not work for you. Yes, you read that correctly. There is absolutely no way around it, you have to control/change/modify what you eat/drink. Exercise on its own is fantastic for your health, even if you don't lose very much weight, but in order to successfully lose fat and keep it off you need to combine consistent exercise with a realistic and manageable eating plan.
A couple of friends of mine (who will remain unnamed) have challenged each other in the race to 210 lbs. One of them is starting around 235 and the other 240. Now there is nothing wrong with this challenge as competition is a huge motivator and the $200 bet will provide that. Naturally they have asked me for some advice and I thought I would share some of it with all of you.
Firstly I told them that they simply won't be able to just exercise those lbs away. Research shows that most people who start an exercise program actually start to eat a little more, this of course doesn't help with weight loss. My buddies obviously have some poor eating/drinking habits which resulted in the weight gain to begin with. After attempting to convince them of the crucial role diet plays in weight loss the following are two of the excuses they gave me preventing them from eating well:
1. Excuse: I have kids and therefore we have a lot of snacks in the house, which I eat. Response: Really, you feed your kids that junk food? Think about that for a moment. What kind of habits are you instilling into them? Step number one to losing fat is to remove the bad food/temptation from you house. Throw out the junk food with your excuses. I have kids too. Have lots of fruit at home, nuts, dried fruit, veggie sticks, cheese. Real food for snacks. Make them homemade treats, they love to help and you can control what goes into them.
2. Excuse 2: I'm too busy with work to cook. Response: Nothing worth having is easy. You have to decide what is important to you. There is no way around it, you have to work harder in the kitchen then you do in the gym if you want to successfully lose fat long term. If you don't want to do the work then don't set the goal.
What you really need to remember is to have some perspective. Did you realize that even small amounts of fat loss are really healthy and associated with significantly improved health? You don't have to lose it all so don't panic. Small gains are fine. Be consistent and realistic in your goals. Recognize that the only thing holding you back is yourself. You make your excuses and allow them to control you. You set your limits so learn to be happy with your choices. Don't make things difficult and unattainable. Start small and go from there. Consistency is key. At the end of the day for most of us the goal should be to optimize health. You can be a little overweight and still fit. Try your best to cook food at home. Eat as much real food as possible - real food has only one ingredient not 20. Don't get caught up with having the 'ideal' body. When you are fit you will be healthy, and funny enough when you are healthy and happy people always perceive that you are more attractive.
Any of us at Groundwork Athletics would be more that happy to meet with you if you have diet and exercise questions. We offer free consultations so feel free to take us up on that.