More and more, people ask me questions like:
My answer is simple.
Hard Work and Dedication
Hard Work and Dedication go like this:
It takes a lot of WORK to lose weight, and to keep it off.
Most of the time, that work is HARD.
Often it is hard to convince myself to do the work
Because I usually don’t “feel like” doing it!
Doing it anyway, is where the DEDICATION comes in.
Beyond that, if you want to know more specifics I’ll tell you what I do.
I count my calories and I exercise. It is really just that simple.
It is a simple formula for success which is foolproof if followed precisely. But it requires a change of lifestyle, a different mindset, and commitment to a different approach to living.
I am not on a diet. There is no program or weight loss group that I’ve joined.
Math is the biggest tool that I use. Burn more calories than you take in on a regular basis and you lose weight. Balance the amount of calories you burn with the amount you take in, and you maintain the weight. I think the biggest challenge most people have to making this concept work is that they aren’t really keeping close track of calorie intake and calories burned. If you don’t know the numbers you have no way to know if you’re on track or not. Just because you feel like you cut back on what you ate, and you think you got some exercise does not guarantee the math will come out in your favor.
A good calorie counting tool is invaluable, I personally like to use www.caloriecount.about.com to log my calories and that is also where I log my activities so I can monitor my daily net calories.
Learning to live on a “Calorie Budget” is the first key to success.
Compare this to your personal financial budget. You bring home a certain amount of money, so you can only spend a certain amount or you go into debt. If you keep spending more than you have earned you go further and further in debt and it becomes harder and harder to get out of debt.
Same thing with calories. Each day you start out with a certain number of calories to use for the day, your “daily budget”. With each meal you make choices on how many calories to spend out of your budget, and what to spend them on. Once you’ve used up your budget, if you continue eating more calories you go into debt, so to speak, but that debt takes the form of fat on your body. And the more of it you accumulate, the harder it is to get rid of.
If you spend your calorie budget wisely, and “save” some of it each day – that savings is your calorie deficit and that is what creates your weight loss.
Taking this a step further is giving thought to how you want to spend your calories.
Compare this to making your money work harder for you:
Getting your body moving and burning calories is the second key to success.
Technically you can lose weight by cutting calories alone. It will take a lot longer to do, but it can be done. You can greatly accelerate this process by adding physical activity to your lifestyle.
You do not need a gym membership or a lot of fancy equipment or even a ton of extra time. But you do need to be willing to make an effort, exercise is hard work and it does take effort on your part.
For every calorie you can burn by exercising, you get to deduct this from your incoming calories and this makes it much easier to create that daily calorie deficit needed to lose weight. Once you’ve lost the weight you want to, continuing the exercise allows you to eat a well-balanced diet and still maintain the weight loss you’ve achieved.
Don’t let the word exercise scare you. This can take whatever form you most enjoy. You may end up trying several things before you even figure out what sort of activity you can do on a regular basis that you don’t end up dreading. This is important because you have to at least somewhat like or be able to tolerate the exercise or it becomes very difficult to stay dedicated to doing it.
Burning calories can come from walking, on a treadmill or outdoors, at the mall if the weather isn’t cooperating. You can do calisthenics in your living room, use an exercise DVD, go to a gym, participate in a sport you enjoy, ride a bike, go for a swim, the possibilities are truly endless!
You just have to pick something, and do it! And do it again the next day. And the day after that. By all means, give your body a rest a few days a week as needed, but you just have to keep finding ways to move your body and exert energy.
The great thing is that this can really become addictive, the more you work out the more you want to work out. So the process actually gets easier the longer you do it because it becomes less of a chore and more of something you really want to get done.
So, this is my roadmap in a nutshell folks. Eat less, eat better, exercise more, burn more calories than you take in. Rinse, repeat.