Say you burn, on average, 2100 calories everyday. And let’s say you eat, on average, 2200 calories everyday. That means you are eating 100 calories over your activity metabolic rate (find out your approximate metabolic rate by going to the link), which is how many calories you will burn throughout the day. No big deal right? It’s just 100 calories over. I agree, it’s not that big of deal, until you have done that consistently for 10 years.
Let me show you some math:
Let’s say you eat 100 calories over your activity metabolic rate 90% of the year. That’s 328 days in the year.
100 calories x 328 = 32,800 calories in a year
32,800 calories / 3500 calories (1 pound) = 9.3 pounds
9.3 pounds x 10 years = 93 pounds
Now you may have days over this 10 year span where you burn more calories than you take in or eat right at your average 2100 calories, so you may not just gain 93 pounds in 10 years. My point is that weight gain does not happen overnight. It can be a very small climb throughout the years that created the gradual weight gain.
Have you seen the movie, ‘The Santa Clause’ with Tim Allen? The part that I am using as a hypothetical example is when Tim Allen (who plays Santa Clause) wakes up one morning and he magically has the belly of Santa Clause and he has gained a tremendous amount of weight overnight. This does not happen in real life, thank goodness. (Though, after weekend eating binges, it can definitely feel that way)
Now just like we do not gain weight overnight, we will not lose the weight overnight. In order to increase your chances of success, you must build a long-term mindset. Lifestyle change is what you are after, that is if you want to sustain your results. If the goal is to lose 50 pounds, first ask yourself the question, “How long has this taken me to put on?” Usually your answer will be a few years. (If you are honest with yourself) The habits you have ingrained and the lifestyle you now live are in direct result of a consistent way of living. If you want true change and transformation, the goal would be to slowly move the “lifestyle” dial in the direction of a healthier way of life or a leaner body.
One of the worse mistakes people make when looking to “get in shape and/or lose weight” is completely overhauling their lifestyle. They go from sedentary living and eating high calorie processed foods to an extreme workout program and intense low-carb dieting and then they expect quick results. This is so far from the truth. What you will be doing with this approach is setting yourself up to fail. Your internal system will not be happy due to the night and day overhaul. You will try the diet, sort of follow through, and end up hating your lifestyle. Then go right back to your old habits.
Instead of a complete lifestyle overhaul, let’s do this a better way. Choose 2-3 action steps that are needed to improve your lifestyle. Then act and be consistent. I know, not much excitement with this approach but a much better system for you to actually change and attain your goals. And with this way, you are better off to sustain your new and improved lifestyle.
Here are a few examples:
· For the next 30 days, focus on water intake. Aim for 60-80 ounces of water everyday.
· Focus on vegetable and fruit intake. Aim for 3-5 servings daily.
· Exercise. Aim for 4 days in the week x 30-60 minutes
You are not “going on a diet” or starting some outrageous workout program. You are going to commit to changing your lifestyle one step at a time. The only way it happens is to start with the basic fundamentals and build them into habits. Once you have created the foundation, we then can move on to more complex components. When in doubt or if you are not sure where to start, begin with the 3 bullet points above.
True change is a slow and steady process. The only way you create this change that you are looking for is by consistently following through on specific daily rituals. Repetition is a needed component to instilling new and improved habits. You also need to change your way of thinking. Again, instead of thinking you are “going on a diet”, change that thinking into, “I am going to instill small changes to improve my lifestyle”. It’s a completely different approach to this thing we call fitness.
After putting in the years of work to cement the basic fundamentals, when it’s time to step up your performance or find a new level of fitness, you then follow the same system to change. Find what you need to do on a daily basis, work to make them natural habits and be consistent. This is the system and process that builds a healthy lifestyle, not just a quick fix program that is not sustainable.