Move more. Eat less.
The quintessential advice that purses the lips of all of our favorite celebrity trainers and fitness experts.
We see all of these greek gods and goddesses motivate us ( aka YELL AT US) in their infomercials as we sit eating an entire bag of chips on the couch with crumbs covering our laps. They come up with elaborate workout plans and intricate strategies to confuse the body into “burning fat” and “increasing metabolism”. They are so convicted in their beliefs and the selling of their programs that they make us believe that if we just perform this workout plan for 90 days, we will look just like them.
Ahh the fitness industry…
The truth is, working out to the max and exercise in general does not exactly lead to weight loss. In fact, it could get in the way of losing those unwanted pounds.
I’ve heard so many people state that the reason they work out is so they don’t have to worry about what they put in their mouth. They can drink a couple beers and eat dessert to their heart’s content. The fact of the matter is, your workout may have burned 700 calories, but that piece of cheesecake you just demolished has 1000 calories alone. You might workout for over an hour, but you can erase all of that hard work in minutes of eating.
This was my experience for years. I wanted to have my cake and eat it, too. I was willing to put the effort into the exercising area of my life, because it made me actively feel like I was doing something to lose the weight. I was working hard!
That kind of intense effort led me to becoming hungrier, giving me an excuse to indulge, and at the end of the day: gain weight.
In a recent article, Vox tears down the “exercise leads to weight loss” notion.
“Adding physical activity has a very modest effect on weight loss — ‘a lesser effect than you’d mathematically predict,’ says obesity researcher David Allison at the University of Alabama — Birmingham.”
The Unsexy Approach
So what do we do now? I thought going to crossfit every day and killing myself with burpees was going to help me lose weight?
It’s time to tackle the area where we love to indulge.
We must dial in our diet, create purposeful plates, and begin to honor the “you can’t outwork a bad diet” maxim. It isn’t sexy, it doesn’t sell a cardio machine, and it truly is foreign to most of us. If you want to lose weight, lose fat, build lean muscle, and create more energy for yourself and your loved ones; it’s the most direct path to take.
“Eat vegetables, clean forms of protein, and healthy fats!” I’ll try to pitch this to the next TV executive I see. For some reason I don’t think they’ll give me that 10am infomercial time slot.
When you ask someone who has lost 30, 50, 100 pounds how they did it, what do you usually hear?
“I completely changed my lifestyle”.
What the hell does that mean? It means different things to different people and that’s the problem.
The number one issue they conquered was their relationship with food and how they viewed and consumed their energy.
The most straightforward approach to creating a new relationship with your food? Create some non-negotiables and do a 14 day challenge.
You can do anything for 14 days. Two weeks. Start today, don’t wait for a Monday or a new month. You want to get lean? Take action now!
Give yourself simple rules and follow them with a discipline and drive to see the challenge through. Eat only vegetables, clean forms of protein, healthy fats, and small amounts of fruit. Eat nuts, seeds, and nut butters. Drink teas, coffee, and water. Maybe you want to become vegetarian? Follow that protocol. Paleo? Stick to those guidelines.
No matter the format you choose, don’t allow yourself to waver at all for those two weeks.
What About My Cravings?
Now will your urges and cravings die after 14 days? Hell no. Some say it takes up to six months to completely overhaul your tastebuds and create new cravings.
I am a testament to this cravings switch. Growing up, I needed ice cream after dinner. It was a family tradition. That need for a sweet treat followed me into adulthood. After my 14 day challenge and relationship to food overhaul, an apple with cashew butter is as sweet as I get. Oftentimes I might have a small piece of dark chocolate, or nothing at all because cravings aren’t something I deal with these days.
The True Benefits of the Challenge
“Adam, if it takes me up to six months to disrupt my cravings for [insert favorite comfort food that is making you salivate right now], why am I only doing a 14 day challenge? It doesn’t seem worth it.” Don’t lie, you’re saying this. My ears were ringing.
Those 14 days can seem like year when you start, but towards the end you get in a rhythm. You begin to prove to yourself that you can actually do this. You can create positive change in your life and it gives you a newfound sense of ownership over your habits and actions.
This ownership overflows into other areas of your life.
You have more energy to get after a good workout, play with your kids, or devote dedicated time to a significant other.
With discipline, dedication, and a great set of non-negotiables; you will drop some pounds and see changes in this short period of time. Creating the momentum is the hardest part. Once you see the ball start rolling, you want to keep it rolling down the hill.
The good news is, it gets easier and more enjoyable with time. The bad news is, the start is the hardest part. That’s why we sometimes need a hard rule 14 day challenge to get us moving in the right direction.
Physical activity will aide our weight and fat loss goals, to a degree. It’s only when we dial in our diets that we can really start seeing results.
Call To Action
Want a meal template that will help aide you during your 14 day challenge? Get it here.