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Health and Fitness Self-Help

3 Keys to Sustainable Weight Loss

 

Discipline 

Now this might sound obvious but I listed this first on purpose because I believe this is the primary differentiating factor among the past weight loss journeys I have taken in my life. I have detailed my discipline strategies on this blog post: 4 Keys to Bulletproof Discipline

Let me explain. I’ve tried several approaches in trying to lose weight. Calorie counting, daily exercise, avoiding rice and other carbs, taking fiber supplement like psyllium fiber, among other techniques. I am not saying that these do not work, because they all do help in weight loss. The point, however, is sustainability. Keeping the lost weight for good and avoiding relapse. Without discipline, any weight loss plan or hack we set for ourselves could be so perfect and beautiful in theory but if we don’t have the right mental strategies to keep doing them, then they will be ultimately useless. 

My dream was to discover a sustainable lifestyle and not have to think about weight problems anymore. I may have discovered just that through the 3 keys discussed on this blog post. Or at least something that works for me, and I believe this could work for others too. 

 

Formula 

Without a formula, it is difficult to see what works and what doesn’t. Sticking to a formula allows you to adjust your strategy and to know exactly what to adjust.  For example, a consistent exercise and diet routine will have a consistent effect on your weight. This can be measured by weighing yourself regularly. Since you have a formula, and you are measuring the relevant metric: your weight, you’d know if the formula is working or not. If it’s working, then just keep doing it. If it’s not working, adjust a parameter – maybe exercise more, or eat lesser food. 

My formula is exercising consistently 5 days a week on weekdays. Then taking the weekend as recovery day to let my muscles rebuild. I do weight training MWF, then cardio on TTh. Weight trainings are alternating trainings of different body parts: chest and biceps, shoulders, back and triceps. Cardio could be running but since the pandemic struck, this became a routine which can easily be done outside the gym with basic dumbells and weights: Men’s Health’s Spartacus workout. I exercised a minimum of 30 mins per day. Scientific studies have shown that around 30 minutes of exercise is the minimum daily exercise required to achieve optimal health. (Source: www.hsph.harvard.edu). I eat the same meals on weekdays: 2 meals a day and fruit dinner with yogurt at night. On MWF, I eat 2 eggs for breakfast served as omelet with broccoli, tomatoes, onions, garlic, tuna or salmon. This defaulted to tuna during the pandemic because of accessibility issues. All other meals are salad or coleslaw with any protein. I try to eat more protein to help build muscles, and thus make my metabolism rate faster. Or at least that’s what the science says (Source: www.healthline.com). Another key aspect of my formula is following a “cheat meal” schedule on weekends. The key here is just having one “cheat meal”(because it can easily devolve as a “cheat day”, and you don’t want that). I still drink alcohol on Fridays. Another key aspect is my fasting days twice a week. I only eat breakfasts on Mondays and Thursdays. Details on the wonderful effects of fasting on the brain and body, backed by science, on this Ted Talk

I started measuring my weight on October 2019 and began at around 175 lbs. By around March 2020, I was at 155 lbs and that even got to 147 lbs, and since I knew what formula works for me and how, I had the confidence to increase my weight and settled at 157 lbs, the suggested weight for my height and age. Receipt:

 

Consistency

Consistency is related to both discipline and formula. If discipline is having the right mental tools to will yourself to action(or inaction), consistency is about actually using those mental tools to execute your formula consistently. It’s the marrying of the two concepts. I specifically wanted this as a separate item to stress the importance of the first two. Discipline and formula build consistency. 

 

 

Conclusion

Holistic approach is the key. A weight loss formula without discipline would probably not get too far. Discipline without formula would probably also churn-out results but would be hard to reproduce. 

As the title suggests: these are “keys” – high-level and strategic approaches to weight loss, and could fit into specific “diet plans” as well. The formula I mentioned above is also primarily about my personal journey and other formulas could work better for other people depending on their personal health profiles. This is also by no means a stringent statistical and scientific study, so proceed with caution and do your own research as well. I am also not a health professional and my goal is to provide a specific perspective about weight loss. Do consult your doctor before implementing any process. Also, this is not about promoting a good body sculpting formula since I am by no means ripped or have six-pack abs. This article focuses on weight loss and not in any way about body building or getting ripped. 

I’d be happy to hear your thoughts and your weight loss techniques and journeys. Share your  stories in the Comments section below! 

Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash

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