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 pandemic 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.
Don't bother with calorie tracker apps. If you simply estimate in your head every 100 calories you eat, make sure by the end of the day the total is low. If you want to get real nerdy with it, you can use a BMR calculator, but aim for less than ~1500 for fast weight loss or less than ~1800 for slower weight loss. Add in a few hundred calories if you're more active than the normal person.
2). Be more active
Exercise is for muscle and tone. It aids in weight loss, but don't stress over running a marathon or bench pressing a boat until your weight is under control. When you lose weight, your muscles will show themselves and exercising will be much easier.
That's really all there is to it. Here are some additional thoughts to keep you on the right track:
- Fad diets and cleanses are nonsense.
- Don't join a gym. They're expensive and typically more of a hassle than they're worth.
- Get up and walk 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 day will burn you out quick.
- Vitamins are bullshit. Don't waste your money. Avoid fast food and you'll get all the vitamins you need.
- 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 walking around the block first.
- You don't have gluten issues. You don't need organic. Just choose good food and avoid the drive through.
- Fitness video games are cute, but ultimately useless.
- 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.