It’s time. I’ve packed on the winter insulation for yet another winter season and it is time to start shedding the pounds (body fat) and getting the beach body back. For the past 10 years I have been following this pattern of gain in the winter and lose in the spring and I have succeeded at the weight loss every year. I thought I would share some of the techniques and tools I use. Each year I try to mix it up a little by adding or removing a workout or an eating habit or an online tool or a phone app. I find that adding or removing new things keeps things fresh and new and provides much needed encouragement to continue. Above all, the tools I look for make the weight loss thing a game that I want to play. I like to mentally go through a process that will get me on the right track.
#1. The Shallow Motivation: I want to look good.
I am 40 years old and will be 41 this summer. I start by taking a look around me at people that are 10 years older than me. Bodies change as we get older. Skin loosens up a little more and weight is harder to shed. There will be a time that I will hit this weight-loss time of the season and the weight will not come off or my body will not look like a fit person’s body any longer. It will look like a 40 – 50 – 60 year-old’s body. To be clear, these thoughts could be depressing to some. Don’t let them be! Let them be motivating. Let them make you believe that this is one of the last years that you’ll be able to take off your shirt at the beach or the pool or in your yard and be proud of all your hard work. If you don’t, you will be sitting in that beach chair in June with your shirt on thinking to yourself, “Dammit. Why the hell can’t I commit to this shit!” And as we all know, starting a weight loss routine in mid- June is simply too late. With our summers, you’ll be at your goal weight just as we are packing up the beach chairs and pulling out the wool sweaters. Today is a good day to start.
#2. The Non-Shallow Motivation: I want to feel good.
I think back to my 20’s or even back to that summer that everything came into play perfectly and I was in great shape on June 1. I think it was 2006. I am a summer fanatic. I wear flip flops, short shorts, and a tank top solely because I feel that the less clothes the better. I love the feeling of the sun on my skin. It just makes me happy and knowing that my stomach isn’t slightly hanging over my belt or that my back doesn’t have that extra crease of skin, only makes me happier. I am married with three kids and I adore my wife. I am not out there to impress anyone (except her). I just feel better and am happier knowing that my body looks OK. I am not going to win any fitness model competitions and young girls aren’t going to stop in their tracks on the beach to have another look at me. I just want to look good to my wife and look good when I look at myself in the mirror. I think of all of those happy feelings as well of the bummed out feelings of starting too late and use them to influence my decisions every time I put food in my mouth and every time I go to the gym. I also put a little extra far-reaching goal out there. For me it is jogging with my shirt off. As I mentioned, I am 40 years old. There are simply too many square inches of bouncing skin to jog with my shirt off. I did it that year in 2006 and it was wonderful. My body was just thin and tight enough for me to be comfortable doing it, but I have not gotten back to that state since. It is my ultimate goal that I will not be crushed if I do not reach. Today is a good day to start.
#3. The Tools: Get over your fear of technology because it makes life easier
There are 2 aspects to my goal. One is losing weight and the other is getting fit. As I discussed in the blog “Fat Sailor,” I have used Weight Watchers and Loose it to lose weight. They are excellent and they teach you life-long eating lessons. The trick is to use them EVERY DAY. Make it a game. Set goals for yourself. Open up your eyes to what you are opening up your mouth to. If you are new to online dieting tools, use Weight Watchers. They simply have more resources to dig into. You don’t need to go to meetings or anything like that. Just track your food and exercise online and it will explain to you what is happening with your body. As my daughter Maggie says, “Easy peasy lemon squeezy.”
The second piece of this is getting fit. I will tell you what I have done in the past and what I am planning on this season.
My kids game console:
- I started out with Wii Fit and I did not like it much. It required the use of the controller and nunchuck (two controllers with a wire between them). It was annoying. It worked because it was new and fun to me, but it was also annoying.
- I then moved to Wii EA Sports Active. Again, the controller and nunchuck, but the nunchuck was placed in a strap on the leg. It was a little better and the workouts were more intense. I enjoyed using this for a season and the results were very evident. It looks like they have resolved the nunchuck/controller problem with EA Sports Active 2 which is why I am thinking of adding it to the routine this season.
- Finally, Wii My Fitness Coach. This program allowed me to put the controller down and simply follow the exercises on the screen. The workout is decent getting at getting the heart rate up and the interface was simple. I used My Fitness Coach for a good 2 seasons. If you do not have a Wii, simply go on Amazon and search for a fitness program with the game console that you have. The customer reviews are very accurate when it comes to these things. The beauty of all of these games is just that…they are games. The monitor your results and they actually make you want to come back each day.
- Email me if you have any questions about any of them at email@example.com.
- I have not had a ton of luck with phone fitness apps except for the push up ones. I hate push ups, but I am aware that they are the perfect upper body exercise. Get a push up app for your phone. They are all pretty much the same. You basically do as many push ups as you can in one try on the first day and it customizes a routine for you. Talk about results. I started only being able to do 20 pushups at once. At the end of 30 days, I was doing 50.
Home fitness equipment:
- I know, this is a tough one. I read a recent statistic that 75% these machines end up as laundry hangers after the first 90 days. In my house we have 2 pieces of equipment. They have gone through laundry hanger phases, but the still get consistent use.
- The first is a Sole F65 treadmill. We have had this machine for 5 years. I have put countless walking and running miles on it and zero maintenance. It still runs perfectly. I did a TON of research on treadmills and Sole was definitely the one. Don’t skimp on a treadmill. Cheaper treadmills don’t feel stable and will break. Spend the money and put the treadmill near a TV. You will need the TV not to get bored. My recommendation is to DVR a 30 minute show that you really want to see and don’t let yourself watch it unless you are on the treadmill. I also find a DVR recording of the Victoria’s Secret fashion show very motivating. All of those ridiculously beautiful and thin people make you want to be thin too.
- The second is a Total Gym. Now you do not need to fluff up Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley’s wallets buying a $2000 Total Gym. The fitness company Weider makes a reasonably priced and really well made copy. It is called the Weider Ultimate Body Works and it is $149. If you look at it on Amazon, it has 101 reviews and it is over 4.5 stars. Very impressive and in my opinion, well founded. I have one of these in my basement and I use it often. It is something that you can set the timer for 10 minutes every day and really start noticing a difference after 30 days.
This Season’s Plans
Here is what I plan on doing this season to shed the weight and to finally be comfortable jogging with my shirt off.
- Lose it to track my calorie intake and exercise. It also makes me accountable since a number of friends can see my profile
- Gym 3+ days/week. I am lucky enough to have a gym in my office building and I will mix jogging, elliptical machine, and stationary bike for cardio
- Total Gym: I am going to work out on the Total Gym 5 days/week for 10 minutes. After I put the kids down, I will go down and set the timer for 10 minutes and tough it out. Hell, everyone can spar 10 minutes right? I also ordered a Total Gym workout DVD to give me a little more structure and to mix it up a little.
- Game Console: There are some weeks at work that I am simply too busy to make it to the gym. I may mix in EA Active 2 for Wii for those weeks. That may be my new fun puzzle piece to mix in.
The bottom line here is that you don’t just make a resolution to lose weight this year without first having a plan to do so. I am currently 224 lbs and my goal by June is 210lbs but more importantly to look and feel good about the way my body looks to me in the mirror. I want to shed the fat, but add a bit of lean muscle. As you can see, my plan is detailed above. Please comment with what has worked for you and if you are brave, your goals for this season.
Thank you for reading!