I remember reading a book a while back and remember the line, “You’ve got to understand that your life, right now, is a direct reflection of your choices.” That was a hard pill for me to swallow back then. For whatever reason, I could point to a number of circumstances to counterpoint that reasoning. But the more I thought about it and read up on it, the more it made sense. I mentioned in an earlier post that there are literally THOUSANDS of books on how to become wealthy. And most of them are 100% accurate but obviously not everyone who reads them becomes wealthy. There are also hundreds of diets that absolutely will work and yet for the thousands of people that have bought the books or tapes, they still continue to struggle with their weight.
Have you ever noticed how many negative comments you’ll see on a post someone makes when they are simply trying to be encouraging or helpful? I bring this up after coming across a Facebook post by a fairly popular fitness celebrity. The post was nothing more than trying to encourage people to eat healthy and workout but what was shocking to me was how much negativity were in the comments! It ranged from basically body shaming the person for being too skinny or having too much muscle (which was definitely not the case) to bashing her for having the means to go work on herself while others cannot.
After a year of outdoor boot camps, I gave up. I didn’t like getting up before the birds, I didn’t like being so exhausted following a workout, I wasn’t losing weight and at times, it was painful! Those long, difficult cardio workouts, come to find out, can actually be bad for you. Not only do you run the risk of injury but you also, in many cases of doing too much cardio workouts, can lose muscle mass. According to Livestrong, “When you do too much cardio at once, you run the risk of increasing the amount of muscle you burn as the body struggles to keep up with the increased level of energy being used by the body. When you combine excess cardio with an improper diet, such as one that drops your total calorie intake below 1500 calories, the risk of burning significant muscle increases.”
Not too long ago, I posted about my two weeks into Intermittent Fasting. While preparing to write this post, I wanted to check back to see how long ago it was and I was shocked that it has been FOUR MONTHS! It seems like it has only been a couple months so I am very pleased I have been able to stick with it. Six things I’ve learned in these last four months:
- The hunger goes away – When I first began intermittent fasting, I would get hungry in the mornings and had to fight through. I do a 16/8 fast (stop eating at roughly 7 PM and don’t eat until 11 AM, sixteen hours later) and I was getting hungry at about 9:30. After a few weeks, that became much easier. There still are days I really want to eat but waiting makes the food so much more satisfying.
- You DO NOT lose muscle – I had heard people say this can cause muscle loss but I have seen none.
- Its okay to not be so strict – I decided on Sundays, I would not fast. I’ve been doing this for the last month and a half and have gained zero weight
- BCAA’s are GREAT – I discovered branch chain amino acids a while back after hearing it helped with muscle gain while fasting. Not only do they taste good but my workouts don’t suffer at all on a fasted state.
- Not sure bad foods make you gain weight – I have some people say you can eat WHATEVER you want while intermittent fasting but I’m not sure how true that is. However, there were a couple weeks that my workouts were limited (one week I did not work out at all) and I cheated with a couple meals. When it came time to weigh in, I was SHOCKED. I was pretty sure I was going to show a couple extra pounds added since that’s what has happened in the past. But I gained NO weight. So there MAY be some truth to the “eat whatever you want” rule but I still choose to eat clean for health reasons.
- Intermittent fasting can help break plateaus – I had been in a hold for quite a while in terms weight loss. I was doing everything the same but I could not get rid of some of the belly fat I was fighting. But as soon as I started intermittent fasting, I was able to break the plateau.
The 16/8 rule has worked great for me. My wife tries to keep with a 12/12 and has seen similar results. Obviously there are times a late dinner is necessary and in those cases I still break my fast at 11 AM. I think as long as you stay in that 16/8 mode for the majority of the time, you’ll be fine. I allow myself the 80/20 rule for the two years I have been Paleo (I eat all Paleo 80% of the time) and have applied the same with intermittent fasting. It can be VERY hard staying on track 100% of the time (as well as disappointing when you stray) so allowing the 80/20 has worked great and I’ve been able to keep the weight off for two years.
As I was preparing dinner for my twenty three year old daughter and her friends (a Monday night ritual when The Bachelorette is on), I was struck by the fact that ALL six girls were on some sort of diet. I decided to inquire as to why and was quickly informed that it was wedding season and they all had multiple weddings to attend and had to lose weight fast!
The diets ranged from Keto (my daughter), Paleo, Intermittent Fasting and another I’d never heard of. And what I found interesting is how they all were complaining about the foods they missed or that their diet made them SICK (Keto flu!). My first thought was that they would not be able to keep up with the “diets” and would be upset with themselves about failing. My second thought was they need stop dieting and make a few simple lifestyle changes.
It seems like every week I’ll see social media posts form people I know that are about my age and it really gets to me. Usually it’s something like, “Getting too old for this”, accompanying a photo of some kind of physical activity. Or it may be a comment meant to be funny in regards to the weight they’ve gained over the years and relate it to, “just getting old”. And I see this a LOT! And I think to myself how sad it is that they have CONVINCED themselves that it’s their age that’s influencing their lives, when in reality, it’s their MINDS. So how old is OLD?
I am a big believer in the power of the mind. I have seen how positive thinking can influence outcomes and likewise, how negative thinking can be attributed to negative results. Call it what you will, we are surrounded by books that try to explain this Secret of Success. I have read countless books on this subject and as you study them you come to realize, they are all very similar. As a Man Thinketh author, James Allen says, “A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.” And this quote, like many others in similar books, can also be attributed to the bible. For example, Galatians 6:7 states, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” And in Job 4:8, “As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.”
As I’ve mentioned many times before, I am a huge believer in the power of the mind. I have no doubt that our potential ends where our belief stops and that’s why so many people are stuck where they are. It’s not that they don’t WANT to lose weight, get rich, start a business or get out of debt. One, if not the biggest problems is that most people don’t HONESTLY BELIEVE it will happen. And there is a big difference between wishing something to happen and having FAITH something will happen.
Well, it happened. After a few weeks of running sprints at the local middle school, I ended up with a torn meniscus. While it’s not going to require surgery, I was told to take it easy for a few weeks which immediately made me a little nervous. After staying pretty active every week, I was VERY concerned about staying healthy while I was injured. I’ve seen it before. Guys get hurt, take some time off and gain some weight.
At first, I tried coming up with ways to exercise without working the knee. Of course, there were arm exercises, maybe some sit ups and a stationary bike (which was OK since I wasn’t pounding the knee). These seemed like a good idea, so I put my new work out routine into action. And while this kept my spirits up I finally realized something. It’s my EATING that has made such a difference in my weight loss and if I don’t want to gain weight, guess what? I just stay on my Paleo plan (with less deviation of course) and all should work out well!
I normally am not big on counting my calories since I already have a good idea of what I’m eating and the nutritional contents. I try to stay within my macros and eating at home ninety percent of the time makes it easy to have an idea of my calories in calories out. But this Sunday, I took my family to a burger restaurant across the street from church that day since we were going to be having Easter dinner later that afternoon and everyone was getting hungry.
When we got to the counter to order, I noticed they had the menu items and the calories in each item and I was SHOCKED at how many calories just about everything had. I was in the mood for a cheat meal cheese burger which would end up costing me about 1130 calories. Now, keep in mind, my daily caloric intake should be around 2200 so already, I am half way there. Of course, I now studied the menu, curious how many calories I would have consumed eating what I normally would have ordered. Had I not been counting, it would have looked like this: