Thu, Aug 21, 2008
It’s another MizFit Man in the house, People!
And an organized one at that.
Big thanks to Tony for making the time for us & for saving me the time and writing his own introduction.
I write a blog called Emotions for Engineers. I am a male and an engineer by training. I have run into problems in my personal life and have gotten help through books and therapy to improve the balance in myself and my relationships. I have written about communication, the nature of love, vacation, and other issues dealing with emotions and relationships, but only recently have I delved into the physical side (here and here), specifically diet. These have proven to be my most popular writings since I started writing Emotions for Engineers.
I started my own journey of
weight loss fat loss in early 2007. Since then I have lost about 40 lbs, while losing very little strength. Importantly, it has not been a white-knuckle battle everyday with hunger fighting against my poor willpower. It has been practically automatic. I hope to lose another fifteen or so pounds to get down to fighting weight.
Why we want so much to “be thin” troubles me. Most of us have two competing emotions-love and fear-that drive our decisions. If we want to lose weight because we want to look good for our spouses, that’s love. If we think that he or she will leave us for that ditzy young secretary if we don’t lose weight, that’s fear. Eating right because you don’t want to die is fear. Eating right because you want to be active and live long to see your grandkids is love. It can only be good if eating right and being at a healthy weight helps you feel better about yourself.
Fear is a harmful emotion that is driven by unknowns and doubts. As such, when we feel out of control concerning weight and fitness, as many do, the lack of control leads to fear, which can lead to depression, anxiety, co-dependence, and other bad things (not to mention the dark side). At the foundation of all we are, is our physical health. If you can gain some degree of control over that, the world will be better. You will have less fear in your life and allow room for love and growth.
My advice is to look deep and be brutally honest with yourself. M. Scott Peck says that mental health is “Commitment to reality at any cost.” Find your motivations and if they are negative, try to recast them in a positive light.
Then take control…
Taking Control Has Two Parts:
1. Learn how to eat right
2. Eat right
Most people blow it at step one. Here are some facts:
1. You do not need carbohydrates to live and thrive.
2. Fat is an excellent fuel for low intensity activity (99.9% of the day for most of us).
3. Dietary protein and some fats (essential fatty acids or EFAs) are necessary for good health.
4. To lose weight you have to ingest fewer calories than you burn. (No surprise).
So there’s the education part. Now here’s what to do about it.
Now that you know what you need, you have a basis for acting on it.
- First, get plenty of protein (shoot for 1 gram per lb of desired bodyweight).
- Second, limit carbohydrates to less than 50 – 100 grams (200 – 400 calories) per day, mostly from low-starch vegetables.
- Third, don’t worry too much about fats, especially when it comes from meat or nuts. Stay away from trans fats.
- Fourth, eat only when you are hungry. Following this will limit the total calories you ingest, especially in conjunction with the low-carb recommendation.
- Fifth, keep an eye on the scale, your measurements (fit of clothes) or some other objective measure
- Sixth, do resistance exercises that challenge your muscles.
If you want to lose weight:
- Seventh, limit weight loss to what your body can support, based on your total body fat.
- Eighth and last, stick to the basics until you are on the right track. Many people go off track on this, so I’ll expand a little. There is no shortage of advice you can find about meal timing, spacing, high intensity exercise, fasting, etc. Some of the advice is good, some bad. Ignore this stuff for now. The marginal differences from those things are small.
You do not have to live every second of every day worrying about getting the right macronutrients. You can splurge from time to time. If you have a bad diet day, that’s ok. You’ll put on a few pounds of water weight, which will come right back off. Just move on and get back with the program the next day.
I put a lot more details about eating right in Emotions for Engineers. The main takeaway here is that most people can control their physical state. It is a question of positive motivation and the knowledge of how to do it. Removing health risks will allow you to focus on higher values. That can only be good. Happy trails.
Cross Fit – a combination of resistance and aerobic activity – if you dare
Ketogenic Diets – Comprehensive summary of advantages
Thanks so much, Tony. I loved this post for the same reason I enjoy your comments here: we come at this from such different perspectives (read: you are SO GREAT in conveying the science in an easy to grasp manner).
Got questions for Tony? Thoughts? Musings?
Please to hit him/us up on the comments.