These 8 ways to lose weight are the foundation of the “Jack Gets Fit” program. Each tip is helpful on its own but combined they are unstoppable.
8 Ways to lose weight and get fit
Frustratingly enough, losing weight isn’t just a matter of eating less and exercising more. You’d think it would be because the idea is that eating too much and not exercising enough got me into this situation of being overweight.
But I’m learning that the whole process goes deeper and is more complicated. It’s not just eating less, it’s also eating right. When I choose to exercise then it is important what kind of exercise I’m doing. Water, and how much I drink, is a critical factor in losing weight and staying healthy.
Finally, who’d have thought your mindset and how much sleep you get would have such a profound effect on weight loss efforts? Yet, they do.
There are many ways to lose weight. I have built a strategy focusing on 8 ways to lose weight, get fit, and stay healthy:
- Eat for a calorie deficit
- Cut out sugar
- Dump refined starches
- Consume more fiber
- Be smart about exercising
- Get more sleep
Despite all my strategies and program plans, the basic physiology is that I need to take in fewer calories than I burn if I want to lose weight. The choice of what types of calories is important because I tend to eat a lot of “empty” calories devoid of nutritional benefit.
Cutting calories is a tricky prospect. As soon as I cut calories my body then starts burning calories more slowly. It pumps up cravings for sugar, white carbs, and other empty fuels. I tire out faster and feel my energy (and with it my motivation) seep away.
As I kick out the “bad” calories and reduce the amount I’m taking in I also need to refocus on filling my diet with nutrient-dense, low-carb foods that give me great value for the caloric load.
I have a sugar addiction. I have spent evenings fidgeting and obsessed with sneaking contraband morsels of sweets.
One of the 8 ways to lose weight I am focusing on is cutting out all forms of sugar that I can. I have avoided fruit as well. Processed sugar is the worst because it is like gasoline to your body. It burns fast a quick and after a while, you feel like you cannot run without it. I have to exclude sugar as much as possible to even stand a chance of losing weight.
My hope is that my calorie-craving body will dig into the stores of fat around my waist and burn away the layers. I always start out with great confidence that I can just kick sugar. But the chemical effect wrought on my brain’s chemistry means I can never take its powerful grip for granted. And I may never be quite free of its influence.
White is not right
In the empty carbohydrates category come the white starches such as potatoes, rice, and pasta/bread. While these international dietary staples may have great benefits to others, to me and my propensity to over-indulge they have been yet another source of weight gain.
There’s very little to be gained from them compared to other food sources, including yams, whole grains, and nutrient-dense foods. Their primary function is to make a person feel full. Right now I’m conditioning myself to feel full on very little.
I ‘m not ready for a life devoid of mashed potatoes or linguine with a great sauce yet. But I need to deny my body the easy forms of calories it has been using for at least 4 months.
Maybe we came up from eating mastodons, antelopes, and fish. Maybe meat was the ingredient that tipped us from apes to men. But before and after human diets have been dependent on and benefited from dark leafy greens and other nutrient-dense vegetables.
Vegetables make up far too little a proportion of the modern diet, and certainly was lacking from mine. My meat portions were up to 2X the size of my vegetables. Dark greens were less present than white starches.
Fiber-rich foods help scrub the body and digestive tract including the colon. They help me feel fuller on less food. They move my bowels and improve my health. Fiber is a key recommendation for lowering blood glucose. Most high-fiber food is also alkaline. And a high alkaline diet is considered healthier for the body.
Fortunately for me, I enjoy most high-fiber and dark, leafy green foods. I enjoy kale, spinach, and broccoli. Brussels sprouts are on my love list. Kimchi is made with cabbage. Simple salads present a limitless opportunity to easily add more roughage to my diet.
I am avoiding some high-fiber foods such as beans and lentils. They don’t currently digest well for me.
Weight-lifting, cardio, HIIT, and yoga
Waiting for my body to burn excess calories on its own is all well and good. But adding in a strategic plan for exercise is like putting a blowtorch to butter.
Exercise is one of my 8 ways to lose weight and improve fitness is very important. It burns calories beyond what my resting metabolism can do on its own. It boosts my energy level and I feel more productive and motivated. Exercise increases my bone-density and makes my joints more flexible. I increase in strength, endurance, and overall health when I exercise.
Water, water, all the time
A person can live for days or even weeks without food. But a person will suffer and die within a week without water.
Water not only nourishes every cell in the body, but it also helps keep the brain working. It also cuts back on hunger signals by making the stomach full. Often we are automatically eating when what we are really feeling is the effects of dehydration.
Hydration is very important, and never more so than when dieting. I am looking to drink upwards of 64 to 96 ounces of water every day while I’m dieting.
I can set myself up for success in this by always having lots of water available and by having a means of accurately recording how much I drink.
What a man thinketh
The brain is a powerful organ in our bodies. When it is healthy we are healthy. When it is sick, we suffer both physically and psychologically.
That is why regular, mindful meditation is so helpful while making such a drastic lifestyle change. It is inarguable that most of what we fear, feel, and stress about is created not in reality, but in our minds.
Likewise, our brains can convince us of very positive things. It can keep up motivated with a sense of purpose, mitigate failure by finding value in the experience or alter our stress hormones by giving us something to laugh about.
I never thought there would be such a significant connection between sleep and weight loss. Several articles mention it and say that without proper amounts of sleep it can be twice as hard to lose weight.
Of course, we need sleep to recover from exercise, and much of the same principles apply in regard to weight loss. When we sleep our bodies spend time and energy repairing ourselves, releasing chemicals like insulin and cortisol which dictate how our bodies burn fat and maintain our hunger states.
Not enough sleep means not enough of the proper chemical balances and repair work being done to keep our bodies in balance. Poor sleep habits can increase weight gain rather than decrease it.
Sleep has always been a weak spot for me. I am loathed to end the day and often loathe to start it. I generally get between 5 and 6 hours a night of decent sleep and I need to up that by an average of two hours per night.
Fortunately, my mediation routine has in the past made it easier for me to relax and slip into a state more conducive to getting to sleep faster.
By working hard and paying attention to not just 1 way, but 8 ways to lose weight, I believe I improve my chances for success.