2012 marks ten years since I lost the weight…
…and I’ve kept it off!
I started my successful weight loss journey over ten years ago, and since one is rarely “done” with improving their body and health, I had to pick something as a goal other than just being done. Every milestone seemed pretty arbitrary (pant size? weight?), so I picked something arbitrary to me and you, but “meaningful” to a doctor’s medical chart …and what could be more arbitrary than the ol’ BMI scale?
You can’t spell BMI without BM
I won’t say BMI (or Body Mass Index) is total crap, since it is useful for scientists when studying large populations, but for individuals, it’s not a great measure. It tells us nothing about body fat levels, how much muscle someone has, how their clothes fit, or how they look in a mirror. It also tells doctors “nothing.”
About five years ago, my doctor came in to the examination room to check me out, he looked at me as if he was going to say something important. Instead, he said “Never mind. By your chart I thought I’d have to have the ‘diet talk.’ “
My BMI was 27.0 back then (205lbs), because I was trying to gain some muscle, but I was still leaner than when my BMI was 24.9, ten years ago, when I hit “Healthy Weight.” The BMI said I was fat, but my 34″ waist jeans fit just fine.
The only thing more meaningless than BMI, is your weight on the scale, which is why I recommend progress pictures, measuring tapes, and the fit of your clothes to see how well you’re doing on your fat loss journey.
Yes, October 27th is a date to remember, but my actual accomplishment is losing the weight and then keeping it off for all this time. My friend Lou Schuler has pointed out that I’m one of the mere 5% of people to lose any significant amount of weight (or body fat) and keep it off for any serious length of time.
Yep, 95% of dieters seem to gain it all back (or more). A sad statistic, to be sure. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Our book, Man on Top is in it’s final phase before we publish. Early in the book we wanted to ensure our readers that they wouldn’t be in that 95% who regained the weight. Here’s a short and abridged excerpt from our book that I hope you enjoy.
Success at your fingertips – How other people lost weight & kept it off
If you were climbing a mountain, it would help to know you are not the first one to even venture there. If you looked in the mirror and thought you could lose some weight, know that you are not alone. The fact is it’s easy to gain weight and not that easy to lose it. Yet, there are people who wanted to lose weight and made it happen. To be successful at fat loss, you need to know where you stand and what needs to be done to get to your goal.
When Galya and I started writing this book, we wanted to give you no option of failure, so we interviewed many people who successfully lost weight and kept it off, and we found the following common denominators of success:
Five common denominators of weight loss success
1. The time is never always right
There’s never going to be a perfect time to start changing your body. When you look at it, the body you have today is the result of months and years of choices. It just so happens they were choices that took you away from your goal.
We each only have so much energy to change, and sometimes we imagine that it’s going to take huge amounts of effort to get fit and healthy. Shows like The Biggest Loser don’t help, either. No one needs to workout all day and starve to lose weight, and as we see from their lack of long term success, it’s not a great system.
There’s also a misconception that we can start “on Monday,” even when we realize (down deep) that our own personal Monday never gets here. Just know that every day that we don’t change confirms that huge misconception, because we don’t really feel different as days pass. But, one more day being your old self isn’t just another day in a body you aren’t happy with; you continue to move farther away from your goal, adding pounds and inches, Pounds and inches that you have to make up for, later.
There are no perfect circumstances that need to come together in order to succeed. There’s no perfect day to start. You eat every day, and you might as well eat the right things. You move every day, and you might as well do the best exercise for your body.
Every extra pound added before you start is an extra pound that has to come off later. You might feel like the time is never right to start, but because it will get harder if you don’t, it’s always the right time to start.
Hey, if you’re one of those people who has to start on a Monday, just practice until Monday. Start now, but count these next few days as a warmup. When Monday comes, you’ll have hit the ground running, and you’ll be a step ahead of even your own expectations!
2. Have a plan
Many of the people we interviewed tried many things before they found what works best. Doing what works best for your weight loss goal equals results, and results equal motivation to keep going. Many people waste a golden chance at permanent weight loss by making the wrong choice in a diet, and making efforts that only temporarily improve their body.
It is common dietary mythology that fad diets lead to even greater rebound weight. While we don’t advocate fad diets, I will say that it’s not the diet that led to the extra fat down the road, but the lack of education that the diet provided. Sure, the weight was lost, but without knowing the whys and hows, and without learning the ongoing practices of weight maintenance, keeping the fat off was unlikely to happen; fad dieters just don’t know how. They were not taught what it takes to keep the weight off.
This book will both educate you on the types of habits to change so you can eat a more sensible diet and move enough, plus it will teach you how to troubleshoot when things aren’t going so great. We are going to teach you to lose weight, and how you can easily maintain your new body.
3. Have a next plan
People who successfully lost fat sometimes got it right the first time, but most times their success followed failures. Knowing that you failed the last time is a primary reason why people don’t try again; instead, they wait for the perfect plan or to hit rock bottom (sometimes it’s rock bottom again).
One of the things that the people we interviewed had in common was channeling their voracious appetites for food into a voracious appetite for fitness or nutrition. They read books, visited blogs, listened to podcasts, and watched videos, all to learn more about methods that would insure their success before they had a chance to fail! The always had a next plan.
What if you find that your current method is making you miserable? What if it’s simply not working? Take a lesson from successful people, and never stop. …and never stop learning. Because the successful people we studied already had a next plan, they never strayed from their path. They had educated themselves on their options, and had a next one ready to go.
4. Every meal counts & every meal stands alone
At some point, you will realize that each meal counts and empowers you to change the way you look. You will not change if you keep eating the diet that got you to be bigger, the diet that feels convenient, or too many Thanksgiving sized meals.
You will change when you look at your plate and know that your good choices will get you there. Don’t worry if one meal isn’t perfect, but make sure at least 90% of your choices are in line with your goals.
If you fall off the bandwagon, get right back on it. Don’t fail at one meal, then follow it with another bad choice. …and another. …and another. Pretty soon you will see yourself battling pounds that you shouldn’t have had to battle in the first place.
“Every meal stands alone” – Man on Top
The people we interviewed did not give up after one bad meal. They got back on plan. They kept going. To them, every meal stands alone.
5. Permanent fat loss is the ultimate goal
You can achieve the fat loss you are looking for, but the key to continued healthy weight is to maintain the habits that got you there. This is why it’s so important to internalize habits that make you happy, and allow you to maintain them long term. Those are habits that are designed to counteract the everyday negative effects of lifestyle: work, stress, bad nutrition, lack of exercise. Give yourself time to see which habits really work for you, and make those the base of your new lifestyle.
One of the things that we love about our system is that it allows you to find the methods that work for you, rather than shove our choices down your throat. Sure, we’ll guide you and advise you, but in the end, you’ll learn what works for you, where you need help, and what comes naturally.
Maintaining your new lifestyle should be fun and easy, especially after you get into the swing of things.
The people we interviewed lead different lives today, but none of them left their old selves behind. They still have their friends, and their families haven’t shunned them because of weird dietary habits. In fact, their dietary and lifestyle habits are now probably pretty close to those of their naturally slimmer and fitter friends and family.
At this point you’re probably wondering “what do these successful people know that I’ve missed all this time?” For one thing, they really wanted it. After discovering that you want it, it’s important to plan, do your “research,” always know your potential next move, be willing to learn from your mistakes, and never let those mistakes destroy your progress and momentum!
The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll succeed, and the sooner you’ll have your own anniversary!