Many people think that to lose weight it’s as simple as just eat better and exercise more. While these things are very important, there is much more to it than that. Your body is complex, and it’s no where as simple as just calories in and calories out. With this theory, you just eat less, exercise more bringing you into a “caloric deficit” and the weight will just come off. This is neither true, nor sustainable. While it may have some impact when you first start doing this, ultimate this will bring you back, and sometimes make you worse overall.
Below I’ve made my top ten list of things you need to do to properly lose weight. I could easily write several chapters on each topic, but for the sake of keeping this article brief, I will simply highlight a few things with each section.
Everything you do is 80% psychology and 20% execution. There’s a reason why more than 90% of all weight loss new years resolutions fail within the first month. Most of us have a goal of just losing weight. If you do this you will kill yourself doing things that you view as painful, to reach an arbitrary goal of losing X number of pounds. Problem is, should you actually hit that goal you will cross your arbitrary finish line, then revert back to your old patterns as what you did was unsustainable.
If your goal is to be the healthiest version of yourself possible, that is always ongoing with no “finish line”, the natural side effect will be that you will lose a lot of weight. Why you do things is much more important than how. With the right mindset there’s nothing you can’t do. With the wrong mindset there’s nothing you can do. Without question the right mindset is the most important factor in losing weight, and I spend most of my time with my clients on this to ensure their success.
2. Breaking negative mental and emotional patterns
Before we can move forward, we need to understand what is holding us back. Many of us have negative mental and emotional patterns that send us into negative states such as anger, anxiety, sadness, and depression just to name a few. These states will always sabotage your efforts and prevent you from moving forward. If you are in one of these states you need to understand why you’re there in order to get you out. You can’t fight what you can’t see.
You cannot be healthy if your emotions are poor and are in a constant state of stress. If you are constantly stressed, you will negatively affect many systems in your body which will make it very challenging to lose weight and be at optimal health.
Without question one of the most important things you can physically do to keep optimal health is good sleep. Most of us are sleep deprived, or are getting very poor sleep. This will dramatically hinder your ability to rest and recover. If you can’t properly recover, your workouts will wear you down more than they will build you up. If you are not sleeping well, you will also sabotage a lot of your hormones which will further contribute to an inability to lose weight. Sleep or die! Make this your top physical priority.
You are what you eat, and most of us eat horribly. Firstly, I’ll say that most of us don’t even know what healthy eating is. I just recently really understood what healthy eating means and I’ve been in the health and fitness industry for 30 years! We have simply been duped by the food industry, and our food guide gave us nothing but obesity, diabetes, and several chronic diseases. I get that diet can be very complicated and can be difficult to understand. I also get that there is no one size fits all diet. For starters start with the basic 4 dietary don’ts: No sugar, wheat, dairy, or seed oils. Do this alone and you are more than 80% there.
5. Intermittent fasting
This is a game changer. Even if you decide to eat horribly, intermittent fasting can still offset the horribly things that you put in your body. If allows your body to recover, restore, and “clean house”! There is a lot to speak on with this topic alone. For starters, at the very least fast for a minimum of 12 hours per day. You can get into larger fasts of 16 hours per day, or a full day fast as well. Listen to your body as this can be difficult for some, and transition into it slowly. Women, pay attention even more. Fasting studies are largely on men, and how women react can be very different, especially depending on what life stage you’re at.
6. Hormone optimization
Your hormones are the main control panel of your body. If your hormones are out of wack, nothing you do will work well. Many of the things on this list can positively influence your hormones and are ways to optimize them as well. However, test, don’t guess! Get your hormone levels checked. Start there first and see what’s going on, and how we can optimize your levels. You will not be able to lose weight with imbalanced hormones.
7. Chemical and heavy metal detox
Most people are completely unaware of how toxic our world is, and how many toxins you are carrying in your body. These are the big silent killers that all of us have, and can cause many illnesses and chronic diseases in your body. It can also disrupt many systems in your body, disrupt your hormones, and prevent you from losing weight. There are many things I do to continually detox, but the first thing is keep your body as clean as possible. Examples are, all organic food, reverse osmosis water, only all-natural cleaning and cosmetics, and watch out for and avoid foods with known metal toxins such as most seafood as an example.
8. Cryotherapy and Infrared sauna
I am a huge fan of this. We call these hormetic stresses. Challenging your body beyond it’s comfortable limits to invoke an adaptation which will make your body stronger in many ways. The benefits for both of these are numerous, and are game changers for me. I have an infrared sauna in my house and take cold showers every day. I also intentionally go into really hot and cold environments to always challenge myself. One of the big side effects of these stresses is fat loss. These alone can burn more fat than you think, much more than exercise alone!
9. Resistance training
OK, here we finally are, exercise now on the list! All forms or exercise are important, however when it comes to losing weight, resistance training is the most effective. This is because it increases and maintains your lean muscle mass. If your muscles decline, so does everything else. Your muscles also determine your metabolism, and how much your body burns even at rest. As we all know, there are several other benefits of higher muscle mass as well. As the saying goes, use it or lose it. Don’t let your muscles decline as you age.
10. Cardiovascular training (HIIT NOT endurance)
I stress HIIT (High intensity interval training) over long distance endurance. To be frank, I don’t do any long endurance exercise and will make a strong argument that excessive long endurance exercise (I will define as more than 30 mins, for more than 3 days a week) actually long term make you more fat, and contribute to many other negative effects such as decrease in muscle mass, negative impact on hormones, increased inflammation, and much more. Cardio is still very important, but instead sprint, don’t jog. The major benefit is if you sprint it’s much quicker! I’m usually done after 15 mins of sprinting. Saves time, and way better for you.
I hope this list shows you that the conventional way of thinking on how to lose weight is simply incorrect. Exercise is at the bottom of my top 10 list, and I think exercise is extremely important. The other things on this list, are just that much more important! If all you do is decide to jog more to lose weight (which most people do), you are not only not helping, but making things worse. You really need to be on a mission to be the healthiest version of yourself possible, not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally as well. You can’t compartmentalize aspects of your body and health, they all go up and down together.
I have spent a lot of time on this, and my body fat percentage is now in the single digits, and has remained there for over a year. I don’t try to lose weight, I don’t even care to be this lean. It’s just a natural side effect of me being healthy.
If you want to join me on this journey, start with going through this list top down. I coach a lot of people with weight loss and health optimization and can properly take your through all of these 10 steps.
If you have any questions, feel free to put them in the comment section below.
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