My health patterns may look like the rollercoaster map of the Matterhorn at Disneyland, but I've had a massive amount of experience gaining and losing weight over the years. I've run many marathons, went through military basic training, and have experienced the weight gain that comes with being a father during viral panic lockdowns.
Below are the two most important things you could do for staying in shape, looking good, and keeping your bathroom scale happy.
1). Control your food intake
It really is as simple as that. If you want to lose weight, eat less than your body burns.
Simply estimating every 100 calories you eat and make sure the total is lower than your body uses. Using a BMR calculator will estimate your calorie burn, so burn more than you eat to lose weight. Eat more than you burn and you gain weight.
Doing the math is the easy part. Changing your habits is the hard part.
2). Be more active
Exercise is for muscle and tone. Cardio and HIIT aids in weight and fat loss, but don't stress over running a marathon or bench pressing a boat until your weight is under control. For every pound you lose, your muscles will begin to show and exercising will be noticeably easier.
That's really all there is to it. Here are some additional thoughts to keep you on the right track:
- Fad diets and "juice cleanses" are nonsense and can be incredibly unhealthy.
- Don't join a gym. They're expensive and typically more of a hassle than they're worth. Body weight exercises and simple cardio, like walking, is enough to get your metabolism moving.
- Get up and move around for a bit every day. Start at 30 minutes and work your way up. Any and all calorie burn is good.
- Hitting the weights hard and eating rice crackers on your first week will burn you out quick. It's a recipe for failure.
- Vitamins are bullshit. Don't waste your money. Simply eating greens and lean meats will give you all the nutrients your body needs. Avoid fast food and be smart when eating out.
- Being healthy doesn't mean running 15 miles a day or competing in an Iron Man. Be realistic. You're a normal person with a normal life. Sure you could eventually run the LA Marathon, but let's work on consistency first.
- Buy some sort of fitness tracker. Gamifying step counts have proven to be very successful. 10,000 steps is great, but aim for somewhere above 7,000 every day. Try not to feel bad if you miss.
- Grab yourself a weight scale and a home blood pressure device. Watch your trends over time and keep on top of things before they get out of control.
- Get a doctor. Listen to her / him. They will know best.
- Schedule a yearly checkup with your doc. Test everything.