What’s your identity?

With the holiday season coming to an end and the new year approaching, this is the time all those weight loss resolutions start popping up out of the wood work. But the questions remains, are these resolution makers serious, or is it something they do at this time of year out of habit? What a lot of people don’t understand is: there is an IDENTITY that needs to be developed to make weight loss a lifestyle change and not a temporary resolution.

The fact that a lot of people have been overweight or lack physical fitness for most of their lives, this is now there identity. This is one reason why many are not successful with weight loss, for they feel like they would lose part of who they have been for so long, so they never really try hard enough. Change is hard and scary, so many just shy away from it. They may desire weight loss and to be healthier but losing one’s identity can be the biggest obstacle to overcome.

When people say things like, ” I am big boned and it runs in my family” or ” I will never be a certain size as (insert ethnic group) are not meant to be smaller”, clearly shows what one identifies with and changing that will be changing who they are. But nothing is further from the truth. The truth is, changing or improving your physical attributes does not change who you are, but it changes the perception and belief that weight loss can’t happen for everyone.

To be successful at weight loss and make it a lifestyle change, one must eat right and exercise on a consistent basis. This has to be your new IDENTITY, meaning it’s something you do consistently as part of your life. There is no way around it! So if your new years resolution is to lose weight and get into better shape as a lifestyle change, make sure your identity matches the process that will help you achieve those goals. Don’t hold on to an old identity and expect a new body!   




Is Breakfast overated?

It has been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but is it true? There is a common believe that eating breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and helps prevent overeating or binge eating throughout the day. For these reasons, people are often told to not skip breakfast and to eat within one hour of waking up as a weight loss recommendation.

The truth is, breakfast is no more special than any other meal of the day. At the end of the day it’s about total calories consumed. Breakfast is simply breaking your fast from a period of non eating, be it in the am or pm. What’s important is to stay within your calorie budget for the day if your goal is weight loss. Everyone is different, so some feel comfortable eating breakfast while others don’t. But it’s not necessary to force yourself to eat breakfast if you are not particularly hungry first thing in the morning.

Nutritionist Amanda Hamilton states, “The “breakfast boosts metabolism” myth is based on the ‘thermic effect of food’. Around 10% of our calorie burn comes from the energy that we use to digest, absorb and assimilate the nutrients in our meals. Roughly speaking, eat a 350-calorie breakfast and you will burn 35 calories in the process. But notice that you’ve eaten 350 extra calories to burn that 35 – a net gain of 315 calories. No matter what time of day you eat at, you’ll burn off around 10% of the calories in your food through the thermic effect of food. So, whether you eat your breakfast at 7am, 10am or never, if you eat roughly the same amount and types of food overall, its effect on your metabolism will be the same.” This shows that the metabolism argument is a very weak one in the grand scheme of weight loss.

One must challenge popular beliefs by putting them to the test to know what really works for them. The problem is, most people don’t do this, so they repeat what they hear or read as gospel. Listen to your body, it tells you everything you need to know.

Got abs?

I don’t do direct ab exercises. Most exercises we do involves the core and abs. So it’s worked indirectly to some extent. If you have been working out or involved in some sport or physical activity for several years, most likely you will have some degree of abdominal development. The problem is most of us can’t see that ab development because it’s hidden under a layer of fat. One must be lean enough to see what lies beneath. It’s when you’re lean enough you can then include more direct ab work to make the ab muscles more pronounced or bigger if that’s your desire.

The saying, “abs are made in the kitchen” simple means eating less or eating clean to reduce your body fat levels in order to reveal them. Doing endless crunches or sit ups in hope of burning off your belly fat is a waste of time and energy in my opinion. All that does is improve your endurance in those exercises with nothing to show for it if you don’t address the diet side of the equation.

Remember you can’t spot reduce. So if you want abs be prepared to lose body fat on other parts of your body also. The belly fat may be the last to go based on your fat distribution patterns. But don’t despair, you will be re-composing your entire body in the process and with a consistent and balanced fitness routine and diet, you will like the results.

Making time vs finding time.

Exercise is something I do at least four times a week and I have been doing it for several years. It is something I enjoy and look forward to doing hence the reason I make time to do it. I like to try out different approaches to exercise and the past three weeks I experimented with not scheduling my workouts and I figured I would just go with the flow of the day and exercise whenever some free time was available. After three weeks I got in  three workout sessions.

I am married with two young boys ages five and two, and everything that comes along with having a family takes up your time and energy. An average of one workout a week on a consistent basis, in my opinion is not enough when your goal is weight loss, muscle building or improving fitness. I can only imagine how hard it is for some to find time to exercise who have bigger families or more going on in their daily lives than I do. The problem is our approach.

The issue of finding time is a faulty concept. One must make time. It’s a faulty concept because finding time requires little to no sacrifice. You allow things to get in the way or take precedence over what you intended to do, a road that leads to no progress. To succeed at anything in life there needs to be some measure of sacrifice. When you make time to do something, you do it no matter what. For me to get my workouts in I need to either sacrifice some sleep and do it first thing in the morning or sacrifice going to bed at a decent hour and do it the last thing at night. Each person’s situation is different so their sacrifices will be different as well.

We can all make time for exercise if we really want to, but are we willing to sacrifice the simple pleasures in life to make it happen? We make time for everything else, so why not exercise?

It is what it is.

A man should look for “what is” and not for what he thinks “should be”. Every few years there tend to be a fitness craze that sweeps the nation that people will move towards. Many in today’s society are desperate for the next new thing or workout program that can finally make them lose the weight they struggled with getting off for so long. As nothing in life is free, they fork out their hard earned money and get on the latest fitness wagon.

Over the years I have heard a constant sentiment from people who partake in these fitness activities. When I ask about their satisfaction and results from their workout programs, they often say, they did not get the results they expected but “it’s fun and easy”. The human body improves by forcing it to change through challenging physical exercise along with proper nutrition and fun and easy don’t create that change most of the time.  You look at the shape and health they are in after years of doing the same fun workout programs, and it’s obvious that it’s not working for them, as they look the same as when they first started.  Why do the same things in regards to getting in shape and losing weight year in and year out and expect different results?

There is a belief by many that losing weight and getting in shape through diet and exercise should be fun and easy. Although making exercise fun is necessary for some when it comes to consistency, everything that is fun may not give you the results you are looking for. Losing weight and getting in shape is a simple concept, but is it easy? The truth is, it’s not easy. It takes hard work. Losing weight is about being in a calorie deficit. How many of us are willing to eat less for any length of time until we see our body fat percentage decrease? Shaping the body and improving overall fitness is about resistance training with a mix of cardiovascular work. How many of us are willing to add resistance training to the fun cardiovascular workouts  we already do? How many of us are willing to do more challenging cardiovascular work?

I often hear many complain that resistance training is boring and it’s hard, hence most travel the path of least resistance.  Anything worth having or accomplishing in life takes effort , hard work, and getting in shape and being healthy is no exception. True results exist outside your comfort zone. Do you want results you can see and feel or do you want to get better at doing fun fitness activities? You decide.

The Golden Ratio

When we talk about losing weight or getting into shape, most of us have an ideal image of what that look is like. A little over a year ago I did an Adonis Index contest. It’s basically a men’s physique contest. The nice thing about that contest was the fact it was about the average guy trying to get into the best shape he can. We were not bodybuilders or athletes but just regular gym goers and fitness enthusiasts. I placed second in that contest.

While most of us have that ideal image we want for ourselves, often times we are not sure how to get there. We think maybe it’s just a matter of losing weight, or simply adding muscle. Although we maybe able to achieve these goals over time we may still be dissatisfied with our look. The truth of the matter is, these goals were not defined target goals to begin with. What we are after is actually the Golden Ratio. It is the shoulder to waist ratio of 1:1.618 for men. The same ratio applies to women, except they also have a height to waist and a waist to hip ratio to take into consideration.

The Golden Ratio is what most humans perceive as attractive. It’s like noticing someone in a crowd who just stands out simple because they look good. We may not be able to pin point what it is that makes that person stand out, but the truth is our eyes have a natural ability to recognize attractive bodies, objects, art and abstract elements. There in lies the Golden Ratio.

Although I was not the biggest guy in the contest, my ratio was approximately 1: 1.58 in those photos, which was good enough for a 2nd place finish. I am still a work in progress and hopefully one day I will hit my true Golden Ratio or get as close to it as possible. So the end game is about body proportions and not just bigger muscles, bigger size or extreme leanness. It’s a look that is just right.

Why do you want to lose weight?

I often hear people claim that they want to lose weight because they want to get healthy. While this is a commendable reason I know this is not the true reason most of us want to achieve this goal. I believe first and foremost most of us want to lose weight and get into better shape simply because we want to look good.

One of the benefits of getting into shape and looking your best is good health. So good health in most cases is actually a by-product of being in shape and looking good. I once heard someone say that if you are losing weight to look good instead of being healthy then you are shallow and full of vanity. Does the reason or motivation even matter? Is a successful weight loss transformation to be discredited because it was not done for health reasons?  All that matter is, you are making progress and getting the results you want, be it for health, fitness or vanity reasons.

When people lose weight they rarely show you their medical reports, they show their picture. They are often proud of their achievement and some suddenly become in love with the camera. You see this dynamic play out a lot on social media like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  People are constantly posting images of themselves daily simply because THEY LIKE THE WAY THEY LOOK. When you look good, you feel good and that could be a legitimate reason to lose weight all by itself. Can the end goal of looking good be enough of motivating factor for you to lose weight?