Something to think about from one of my favorite fitness blogs…
People talk about losing weight as the benchmark for success in getting healthy/fit. “I lost 2 pounds last week.” implies you’re healthier than you were last week (It also implies those 2 pounds less are from fat loss). But what about those weeks when you eat 3 healthy meals a day all week and workout consistently but end up weighing more when you hit your weekly weigh in? You’re a slave to the scale-mentality of fitness. You’re weight doesn’t dictate how healthy you are.
Let’s take a step off the scale and see what we’re actually working with here. We have a device that measures the total mass of our body as it relates to the gravitational pull of the Earth. That’s all it is. It doesn’t differential between bone, muscle, fat, water, etc. It is a very blunt tool when you’re looking for something more precise.
What you’re really looking for is a way to measure how much body fat you have or how much muscle you’ve gained. Or if you’re vain like me, how much better looking you are than the day before.
So we need a tool that actually measures what we want to track to show our success.
A couple alternatives to the scale:
1) Body Fat Percentage — This goes right to the point of tracking body fat percentage. Get some calipers to measure your body fat. Be consistent with the method and the points you measure, otherwise you’re data won’t be accurate and may show regression when there’s actually progression.
2) Measure total inches — In my opinion, this is the best way to track success and the cheapest. Plus, it works both ways for tracking fat loss or muscle gain. All you need is a flexible tape measure like a seamstress or tailor would use. Measure the places you’re looking to tone up: bicep/upper arm, waist, hips, etc. I use centimeters so I don’t have to mess with fractions of inches. Write down the numbers or get fancy and put them in a spreadsheet to track them. Add them up to find the total inches because you might see an increase in one area and a decrease in another, so you want to see if there is a net-gain or net-loss. If you use a spreadsheet to track the data you can even make a fancy chart to visualize your successful track record. And who doesn’t like pretty pictures? Which brings us to number 3…
3) Before/After Photos — Pictures… I know. Everyone LOOOVES to have photographic evidence of what they look like in their birthday or swimsuit (Or unmentionables (and we know why they don’t get mentioned)). But it’s a way you can track the changes your body is going through. Heck, you can even have a little fun with it. Hire a photographer and do a little photo shoot for the before and after pictures (probably not in your birthday suit, maybe just swimsuit). Then you can send the pictures to your significant other (or insignificant other if that’s how you roll) with a little note that says, “Remember how good it was when I looked like this? [Before photo] Think about how good it will be now that I look like this! [After photo]” You can really SEE the success you’re having with this method (pardon the obviously bad pun).
You can still hop on the scale from time to time to see where you’re at, but if you’re looking to avoid the Stockholm syndrome that characterizes your relationship with the scale you’d be well served to adopt another method for tracking success. Don’t let the gravitational pull of the Earth hold you back from achieving your health and fitness goals.
Belly fat is the last place most people lose weight because it requires dropping your overall body fat percentage. I’ve still got a beer belly I’m working on despite gaining some muscle definition in my arms and legs.
What does eating healthy mean to you?
If you’re losing weight it will eventually come off, since there won’t be any more fat storage for the body to use.
To keep the motivation going expand your tracking beyond the scale, so take measurements. If the scale doesn’t move, but you’ve down in Total Inches, then you know you’ve replaced fat with muscle. So measure both arms mid-bicep, belly at navel level, hips at widest point, and both thighs at mid-point. Add them up and you have your total inches. Or just measure your belly at navel level and watch it shrink. There’s also the photos option to track progress. You can do this in private if you’re not up for a photoshoot. Whichever method you use, keep it consistent so the results are meaningful data points.
Also, I’ve been told spot reduction exercises don’t really work and I haven’t had much luck with them either. I do about 100 crunches a day. And like I said, I still have a bit of a beer belly.
Rock on rock star! You’re trying which means you’ll make it to the big time eventually!
Good news is I can feel when I haven’t been drinking enough water and I’m under-hydrated. Bad news is I still need to kick my caffeine addiction cause I can’t drink that much water to compensate.
This one made me laugh, but in a good way.
One of my favourite running quotes <3
So thanks to the recommendations in the Four Hour Body and my lack of desire for beans, I found out after reading Robb Wolf’s book The Paleo Solution that I have accidentally implemented a paleolithic based food diet.
Best part is, since I hit the 100 pounds lost mark I’ve lost another 3.6 pounds without even thinking about it.
Give you body what it needs to run efficiently and properly and it will surprise you.
Conclusion: You Are A Radical (And So Am I)
Simply by eating a paleo diet, we have made ourselves enemies of the establishment, and will be treated henceforth as dangerous radicals.
This is not a conspiracy theory. By eschewing commodity crops and advocating the consumption of grass-fed meat, pastured eggs, and local produce, we are making several very, very powerful enemies.
- The medical and nutritional establishments hate paleo, because we’re exposing the fact that they’ve been wrong for decades and have killed millions of people with their bad advice.
- The agribusinesses and industrial food processors hate paleo, because we’re hurting their business by not buying their highly profitable grain- and soy-based products.
- The mainstream media hates paleo, because they profit handsomely from advertising those grain- and soy-based products.
- The government hates paleo, because they’re the enforcement arm of big agribusinesses, industrial food processors, and mainstream media—and because their subsidy programs create mountains of surplus grain that must be consumed somehow.
Grains (even “holier than thou” whole grains) are like transvestites when you’re in a bar looking to get laid. She/he looks like someone who can meet your needs (those are amino acids in there, right?), but in the end it will do more damage than good.
Why do I say this? Grains are the con-artists of protein. You think they’re just trying to help get you some more amino acids, but how they go about doing it is less than scrupulous.
The amino acids come in to the body as a Trojan horse and you don’t realize there are 30 Greek soldiers hiding inside waiting to open the gates to destroy your city/digestive system (it’s not a perfect metaphor, but you get the point). Yes, you get amino acids from grains, but not the kind you want (read: transvestite one night stands).
This boils down to the fact that grains are not designed to be consumed by humans in a symbiotic relationship, unlike, for example, blueberries. Grains contain chemicals which are designed to wreck havoc on your body in a similar way that poison ivy or poison oak use chemicals as a self-defense mechanism. Blueberries, on the other hand, trade some carbohydrates for the ability to move their seed down the road and be encased in natural fertilizer (read: feces). It’s a relationship that benefits both parties. The relationship with grains is more like the abusive partner who beats the person because they love them so much. It’s not healthy and it’s not what it claims to be.
Note: Not that I have anything against transvestites (To each their own…), but it’s a metaphor I hope will open some people’s eyes and maybe they will think about the grains their beer was made with next time they’re out looking to cruise the bars for some “action.”
Started reading The Paleo Solution last night and I am about 95 pages in so far. Great book. I highly recommend it, if only to understand the current health crisis that our country faces and why it’s on us to solve it (hint: the government is part of the problem, not the solution).
A couple quick take-aways so far:
1) Health is a science and should be pursued with scientific rigor which most nutrition today is not pursued in such a manner.
2) Most of what people think they know about healthy eating is wrong and based on incorrect information, even if it comes from a doctor or someone with a PhD.
3) There is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. However, there are essential proteins and fats that your body needs.
4) Grains (even whole grains) are part of the problem, not the solution.
5) The best thing you can do is to try it for yourself.
It’s a line from one of my favorite musicians (Corey Smith) that has really resonated with me lately. It appeals to me a little more than the traditional motivational phrase “To get what you’ve never had before you have to do what you’ve never done before” or something like that (it sounds like fluff to me, honestly).
Well, let me tell you. I struggled and I have grown because of it. Got another item checked off the benchmark success list: a sub-30 minute 5K time (29:38 to be exact).
So in closing, fitness success is like BDSM: it may hurt along the way, but it’s the good kind of pain.