On New Year’s Day many of us make some type of resolution to lose weight. We begin to go to (or back to the gym) and sweat off the extra pounds.
We want this to be the year we finally shed those pounds and get back to that weight we always tell people we “used” to look like.
However it is generally around this time of year, the end of February, that most of us get fed up or angry that the pounds just aren’t coming off. We have been faithful to the gym, put in the work, yet the pounds remain. So we slowly start to give up.
Around this time of year it becomes easier to make excuses. “It’s too cold out,” or “I’m too tired today” or my favorite, “I’m just not feeling it today, I’ll go tomorrow.”
I’m going to be a bit blunt here…There is no tomorrow.
Once we start making and accepting these excuses, it becomes easier to continue making them. One day away from the gym turns to two days away which eventually leads to throwing in the towel (no pun intended) on the resolution.
I am against New Years resolutions for that reason but that’s another story all-together. The cold hard truth is that the excuses don’t even matter.
We were not losing the weight because of lack of exercise and gym time, we were failing to lose the weight because we were unable to make certain lifestyle changes.
I’ve been a gym rat my whole life. I played competitive high level sports all the way from peewee levels up through the collegiate ranks, and while that doesn’t necessarily make me an expert on such notions, I do know a thing or two about weight management and muscle building.
I have had stretches of working out every without a rest day for months at a time. I would not necessarily lift weights every day, I might jog five miles or walk ten. Even in doing this, sometimes my weight and appearance would stay the same, regardless of the countless hours I put in to my physical health and appearance.
The facts are simple. According to Ace Fitness, working out or exercising is only accounts for about one-third of the weight we hope to lose. They are just one of many sources that place the percentage of weight loss to diet at or around this percentage.
What is arguably more important than that is diet and lifestyle. That makes about around 70% of our weight management.
Here’s a case study I witnessed and partly took place in: Two people, both men about roughly the same height and weight attempted to lose weight. One of them decided to take my general approach.
This person hit the gym hard every day with sessions lasting between one to two hours a day, alternating muscle groups on certain days so parts of his body had time to rest while he worked other muscle groups.
The other person decided to make serious lifestyle changes instead. He cleaned out his diet and ate cleaner food. He did exercise, but only brisk walking three times a week.
While the first person was slaving and laboring away at the gym, spending countless hours trying to trim down and gain muscle mass, the other person was taking it easier and implementing a different approach.
At the end of three months, the person who changed his diet and moderated light workouts looked much leaner. This man lost twenty more pounds than the other man who busted his rear, literally and figuratively, at the gym every day.
So what did I learn from all of this? If we truly want to lose weight and keep it off, there is an easier approach, one that requires and will lead to less excuses. Change or alter your diet and lifestyle.
Dedicating ourselves to constantly working out places an enormous amount of pressure on ourselves. For the work we put in, the results never come fast enough. This stresses us out. When we become stressed, we hang on to extra fat cells. Our metabolism slows down and our weight remains a constant.
Also consider by working out vigorously, we are adding muscle. Muscle in turn is extra pounds. I must add that the person who worked out every day did have more muscle tone and definition, but overall was heavier and still looked a bit bloated.
If we want that lean look; that look that when we look in the mirror we look and feel 18 again, try a different method. One that places less stress on your mind, body and spirit.
Try making the lifestyle changes. Try eating healthier. Try having one less cocktail at a happy hour. Try giving up smoking or eating late at night. Try limiting the sweets we eat, and finally, try eating more organic food that has less preservatives in them.
While weight loss certain is a science, in my opinion it’s best not to get over scientific about it. The simple truth is we can lose weight without the 8 Minute Abs and P-90 X’s of the world. Sometimes the simplest solution is always the best. We may just fail to see it because we feel the need for a complex answer to a complex question/problem.
Finally, even with all that said, don’t discount working out. However, don’t let that stress you out. Work out to feel good and maintain your health, not to look good.
Author: Adam Wilkinson
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