Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fat Loss Made Easy

I wrote a long post a while back about why I generally think that eating low carbohydrate diets is effective for fat loss, and I stand by that. More than that, though, I think the challenge of dieting is not picking the most effective one, but rather, it's sticking to the one you pick.

It's the same issue with exercise--the challenge isn't necessarily picking the most effective workout program, it's sticking to the program that you pick. This doesn't obviate the need for intensity or progressively more difficult workouts, but it does point out that it doesn't matter how good your plan is if you're not executing.

One important caveat--if you're not used to working out every day, don't start with weight training or interval training every day. Start with weight training or intervals a few times a week and then fill in your sessions with walking or yoga. Don't kill yourself--the point is to build the habit of being active.

So here's my three point fat loss plan. I'm giving it away for free. You ready?

1. Figure out something that you really want. This can be anything but food, and it should be something that you can afford but you usually wouldn't buy for yourself. More fitness equipment is great, clothes are great, going to see a movie, a new video game or video game system, music or a movie that you wouldn't normally buy, a book, whatever. You know what you want more than me. I am using an Xbox 360 to motivate myself.

Figure out how much it would cost to buy it at the end of 30 days if you broke your savings amounts down to a daily cost. So, I'm budgeting $300, say, for an Xbox and games, there are 30 days, $10 a day. I can afford this, so I'm good to go. If your rewards are smaller, you can give yourself more of them and do a reward bi-weekly or weekly.

2. Eat according to your diet plan and keep a detailed journal including what and how much, then punch it into a site like fitday.com. Fitday is much better than keeping a food journal by hand, something I did when I was coming down from my all time high of 273 lbs. If you're interested in why food journals work, check this out.

If you keep a food journal, and you are in the guidelines for whatever diet you have chosen, congrats, you get to put $8 (about 80% of the total) in the kitty towards whatever you want. (IOUs work just as well as cash, but cash is uniquely satisfying, don't ask me why.)

3. Exercise according to your exercise plan every day. For each day that you exercise, throw $2 in the kitty (about 20% of the total).

That's it!

So this post doesn't tell you much about how to get motivated or pick the correct program, but I do think it speaks a lot for maintaining your motivation. I've certainly felt a pick up with my motivation since I've instituted it. It is simple to implement, and easy to do, but will have profound effects given the compound interest of time. It will also help you build habits by creating things that you do every day the same way.

The final note--if you slip up during the 30 days, that's okay. Add whatever money you got for that day, but you may want to pick another reward (maybe one that's about 1/2 as much) and start working towards that. Feel free to go again if you found it useful--there's nothing to stop you from using it all the time, though my hope is that eventually, you will no longer need it.

Try this out whenever you find your habits slipping.

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