Originally posted March 5, 2013 – edited
I’m feeling all kinds of feisty today, so please indulge me.
It’s day 64 in My Year of Sweat journey, and my body is changing in amazing and beautiful ways. I’ve lost fat, added muscle and feel so much …happier. Not because I look better, but because I feel better. What I feel is healthy. And that’s the best feeling in the world. To me, at least.
I am making good food choices
most some of the time. But, regardless of how healthy (or un-) my food choices are, I am working hard every single day to ensure that I’m burning more calories than I consume.
This process is really simple. In order to lose 1 pound of fat, a caloric deficit of 3,500 kcals has to be achieved. There is no shortcut to this process. I’ll repeat that: there is no shortcut to this process.
Now that I’ve figured this out, I know that I can actually eat what I want and still lose weight if I work hard to burn more calories than I consume.
In January I invested in a fitness armband by Body Media; the same one you see the contestants wearing on The Biggest Loser, one that tracks your daily calorie burn, as well as # of steps taken, # of minutes of moderate and vigorous exercise. This is, by far, the best investment I’ve made in my health and wellness journey.
I no longer need to guess if I’ve gotten my “daily burn” in. I know, with precision, exactly how much I’ve burned, and whether there is a deficit or surplus of calories to go. To say this has made my journey easier would be a gross understatement. Without my armband I was flying blind. With it, I have a clear plan; one that I’m able to execute each day.
Now, back to the source of my feisty demeanor. The other day, I saw a post on Facebook that sent me over the edge. She is a friend of a friend, who started a FB page all about her fitness journey. I liked her page a lot as she [to that point] had posted some great inspirational quotes, along with some useful diet and exercise tips. That all changed Saturday, when she added a post about summer fast approaching, how she needed to get beach-body ready, and the fact that she had just done a “crash diet” and lost 8 lbs. I bristled as I read the post, wondering, how could this seemingly smart girl:
- actually do a crash diet to get at her weight loss goals [especially given the way she has structured her page to be all about health and wellness], and
- actually tell the world about it, and offering to share her “crash diet”, which she had paid a trainer for, but was willing to share for free.
No, how about you keep that little nugget of wisdom to yourself, sister, since no good has ever, or will ever, come from crash dieting. In fact, the polar opposite.
According to our friends at Wikipedia:
“A crash diet is a diet which is extreme in its nutritional deprivations, typically severely restricting calorie intake. It is not meant to last for long periods of time, at most a few weeks. Crash diets are also known as “fad diets” and are often seen as quick fix solutions. Contrary to the belief of many who start this sort of diet, this form of dieting is neither healthy nor largely successful in achieving long term weight loss as it provokes a slow down of the body’s basal metabolic rate – the body seeks to conserve every calorie and so weight loss becomes increasingly difficult.”
They go on to say:
“While some initial weight is often lost, the weight is usually regained quickly in the weeks that follow, as the individual reverts to their original pre-crash diet. It often becomes a vicious circle in which the weight that is regained is often more than the starting weight, causing the dieter to revert to the crash diet, lose weight, regain the weight, and so on.”
Google it folks, crash diets don’t work. Period. Burning more calories than you put in your mouth does work. It takes time, sure. But the results are irrefutable.
And the best part is, you don’t get skinny, you get strong!
And strong is beautiful.
Healthy is beautiful.
On a recent trip to San Francisco, a friend tweeted at me, jokingly telling me to stay away from the Ghirardelli chocolates.
I responded, “Dude, why do you think I workout like a maniac? …Because I don’t want to stay away from chocolate!” [Ghirardelli, or otherwise.]
Life really is too short to deprive yourself of the things that make you happy.
Sometimes chocolate makes me happy. Sometimes salad does, too.
My point being, as long as I continue to put in the WORK required to work off those meals, I’ll be just fine.
It took me 46 years to figure this out, people. Forgive me if I feel the need to shout it from the tree tops.