It seems I am not able to swing even a single day without involvement in a conversation/debate/argument/or related talk on the topic of fat loss. I have simply put myself in too many overlapping circles to be able to escape it.
Naturally it is a hot topic at the gym…I have 4 gym memberships. It doesn’t matter if I am at Movement, if I am at the JCC, Vertical Endeavors, or the Academy…someone wants to talk fat loss.
Then of course there is facebook, twitter, emails, text messages, phone calls, that girl in line at Chipotle, the waiter at the steak house, a neighbor in my complex, the list goes on and on.
For the record I am changing some stuff around to break this cycle…I would’t want to complain and do nothing about it. Ya know.
So we as a society are absolutely obsessed with this topic, but how much do we really know about it? On every magazine stand dozens of publications promise the newest thing you haven’t heard of to blast the flab. The web is infested with thousands of articles demonizing various elements of life style in an effort to “help” all while contributing to the confusion because the web articles do not mesh with the magazine articles…
I feel pretty confident saying most people don’t know what they are doing. I think people used to know, but the factors involved became far more complicated over the past 30 years. The things that didn’t matter then are of far greater weight. More on that later.
I do not write this article to fix, cure, contribute, help, sabotage, motivate, inspire, humiliate, offend, or educate any person or group. I write this for my own amusement and as an exercise for me to get more and more of what is in my head out of my head. I’m sure you will recognize most if not all the elements found here, rather than contact me offering your opinion I recommend you go do your own thing with it.
From the top: Does it matter how fat someone is?
There is an over-whelming abundance of medical evidence that suggests being leaner is healthier. Why talk much about that when it seems everyone knows the health risks and benefits? Particularly as this is the lowest leverage point to get most people moving again. Don’t believe so? Contact a weight loss surgeon and ask them.
The real issue worth talking about is how you feel. How do you feel about yourself? How do you feel about your appearance? How do you feel about how you feel?
Think about something for a minute- when do you feel best? Is it when you are thinking about your body? What hurts, what is sore, what looks “bad”? How about when you don’t even think about it? How much better do you feel when your mind is completely engaged in the external environment around you?
I can speak for myself, everything is groovy when my mind is completely centered on the reality in front of me.
When I lift in a competition, I think only of the apparatus and the task to be done. When I roll and grapple at Jiu Jitsu my mind is completely blank, and I simply move. I am happiest when my mind is externally focused.
For me, appearance is not part of my process. I don’t care much, those of you who know me can attest to this by my distinct fashion sense and choices.
For many people how they look really matters. That is cool. I would like to ask a question if this is you- if it matters how you look, are you doing everything you know to do to maximize it? If you are, what are the results?
I currently believe the majority of American’s will not act upon a fitness program until they have a moment when they look at their body and recoil with self hatred. Society in the USA has labored for 50 years to achieve this single feeling, they want you to hate yourself.
When you do that you are more likely to spend your money. Feeling low? Get some ice cream. Get your hair cut. Get a new car. Buy a new purse. The bed rock of the middle class is a strong desire to keep up with the Jones. They have something, you don’t. What makes you act? Feeling shitty.
Am I wrong? Maybe. Flip the pages of any major publication on the market and look at the advertising. Draw your own conclusions.
Two years ago MM started a targeted google ads campaign, most of the details are unimportant…except for this particular tidbit. A vast percentage of leads came in between Sunday night at 8 PM and Monday morning at 8 AM. What is up with this 12 hour window?
From discussions I had with the ones who converted I gathered a very common story. Most people reach the end of their week or weekend and count up all the ice cream, beer, candy, cake, ribs, and burgers they consumed and feel shitty. More specifically they feel shitty about themselves for the actions they took and did not take. Many times by the way this is a huge factor of how they get there too. Some people feel shitty about eating “bad” and the next step they take is eating more comfort foods in an effort to feel better. This can rapidly spin downward out of control, often resulting in another spontaneous first try at getting out of it.
Of course there are other reasons people start – weddings come to mind. Most people seem to have a moment of clarity while planning or participating in a wedding that perhaps they look like shit. That’s not how I describe it, this is what no less than a dozen people have told me in the last 9 weeks.
This tends to be a huge motivator to get going, and I am happy to say a number of people who start from wedding plans end up going the long haul and hitting their goal.
Anyways none of that is the point of the article.
In the past I have provided a gross outline of my fat loss strategies with people here in articles, and a detailed breakdown in the Smarter Strength Course. What I have not done lately is tie in some of the other things which seem to matter.
Naturally this is a list formed by my opinion, others will have their own of course. Two things we all have in life – assholes and opinions.
Does it matter if you track (and don’t) your food intake?
With some people food logging/diet journals are a really sore spot. I’m fairly certain this has become my least favorite continuing conversation. What is the purpose of food tracking? Accountability. That is it. Not to make you think you are a piece of shit, you do that to yourself. Tracking your food becomes more valuable when you are adding more variety to your diet.
Here is what I have not seen much of- someone who diligently tracks yet still doesn’t lose fat. I have seem people who only agreed to take this simple action make decent progress without doing much else. If you are writing it down, and reviewing it, you will end up taking new action (probably).
Here is a gem for you. Start your tracking by just taking a picture of it. When you have 7 days of photos of every single thing you eat, you are ready for an online app (best ones are still free) or a pen and paper. Start slow and build the habit.
Does it matter how you train?
First question is this: is it possible to lose fat and not ever exercise? Yes. Absolutely. Unquestionably.
Is there a way to exercise and accelerate your progress? Yes.
Can you ignore the diet portion and simply train harder? Not if you’re over the age of 21.
I am friends with a few people who are currently exercising 4-5 days a week. Upwards to 75 minutes of rigorous exercise. Kettlebell, barbells, body weight, sprinting, running. Guess what? Still too fat (according to them) and it’s not getting any better. Why? Their diet is all fucked up.
What exercises seem to help? High density workouts with moderate to high volume. The actual speed of the movements seems to matter too. Remember the first question at all times. This also means that any exercise you helps your fat loss along. The point of bringing that up is that any training is better then no training for fat loss.
Will kettlebells hack off fat without the dishonor of dieting? No, it is unlikely even very taxing workouts can succeed for someone who eats at Taco Bell 4 days a week and drinks 2 cases of beer every 6 days.
To this day I think that is an awesome marketing line! It worked! It worked on me the moment I read it.
Could how much you sleep matter?
We don’t seem to appreciate how important sleep is.
There number of vital chemical processes which occur during sleep adds up in to the hundreds. Sleep is critical to our survival. When our sleep quality and quantity goes to shit, everything else in our body does too.
So are you getting enough sleep?
What are you doing with your time instead of sleeping? Eating/watching tv/playing on facebook/reading a book…none of which are useful to your fat loss goals.
If you can figure out how to add a total of 5 more hours of sleep in to your week you will get better results. Sleep is cumulative in benefit, you can somewhat catch up and make up for lower periods of rest in the short term. So if you can swing a nap here and an extra 30 minutes there you will find it is disproportionately high yield.
Could your stress levels matter?
Most people’s understanding of stress is incorrect. Hans Selye made “stress” a word used by every American over 80 years ago and people still don’t know what the fuck it is.
Your situation is not stressful, you are stressed by your situation.
well technically every environment is stressful…but you are how we know if it is excessively for you.
Stress is not the stimulus, it is the response.
Stress response is individual. The stress you feel is not the same I feel.
Literally everything you encounter is a stressor. The air pressure, temperature, noise level, colors, light levels, smells, textures, every person, every spoken word, every damn thing you see. Most of it is within your abilities to resolve, you can handle it.
What you can’t handle is up to you. Not that you decided, but it is unique to you in some aspects.
In any event, uncontrolled/unresolved stress is marching lock step with fat loss failure. Show me someone who is over stressed, and I will show you someone who will be gaining fat.
In severe situations, you will use lean tissue as fuel and still hold on to fat. I know people who had very nasty divorces who lost 30 lbs and were worse off then before it all started. Down 30, now fatter then before.
This is exactly why stress resolution is a corner stone of Smarter Strength. If you want more fat loss, or you want it to become easier, you must learn to resolve your stress levels.
Does it matter how your friends and family look and act?
Fat people often have fat friends and fat families.
I will guess most of your friends you have look fairly similar to you. After all you probably have comparable life styles.
Go back to my original start here, I don’t give a shit if you are fat or not. You are the one who decides if it’s a problem.
How much progress will you make with your diet when no one you know is on board with your success? Every person who begins a journey of fat loss will have a moment or two of weakness or doubt. At those times, we all have had someone who said something, maybe something very simple, that gave us strength or confidence.
Does someone get support to change their life around from people who are refusing to do the same? I don’t know, because I share space and time with people who like me are all this game. This god damn fat loss game.
Back to the fat ones you know: either get rid of them or get them working with you. Seriously.
And before you get all bitchy about that statement, it’s probably one of the better things you can do for someone. Help them get healthy. I am not saying get rid of your family or friends, I am saying you may be the one to get them all on track.
Most people won’t think twice to have someone drink a beer with them or stuff their face, but how many are out asking their friends and family to join them for exercise? Numbers nationally indicate 7% of the population is…we can do better.
Could the quality of your food matter?
This topic is coming to public awareness more and more especially over the last decade. It seems we have to concern ourselves with more than what we are eating, Where did it come from? What did was put on it or in it? Is it of natural origin or has it been modified?
We don’t know much about this really. There are many hands working to obscure the facts surrounding food quality, as the billions of dollars connected to it is more important then the effects upon populations.
I observe this: the less processed food someone consumes, the easier their fat loss becomes. A quote that is useful in many contexts comes to mind – “consider the source”.
Can you modify your shopping to get away from the bulk of processed foods?
Does it matter how often you eliminate waste?
Pooping folks. Everyone poops, or at least everyone is supposed to poop. Elimination is a vital function, don’t take my word for it ask your doctor. Waste products which remain in the body can have serious effect upon our health. While the numbers vary, it is agreed upon most American’s over the age of 30 have several (ranging from 4-25!) pounds of compacted shit stuck in their body. This is linked to cancers, immune disorders and diseases, toxic poisoning of the body, mild to severe discomfort, low energy, and other assorted problems.
We (American’s) are stuck with these problems with our low fiber diets, low vegetable intake, and minimal fluid intake (I’ll talk about that next). Coupled with little to no movement or exercise this becomes a ticking time bomb.
I’m not a doctor, but I think it’s probably a good thing if someone shits every single day. I would guess it’s a bad thing if they don’t especially if they are unable to pass for days at a time. Oh yes, that is a conversation I have to have at some point early one with every single client.
“Ask your doctor if shitting is right for you”
Could you benefit from more fiber in your diet? Is it possible your first 10 lbs drop is going to be literally right down the toilet?
Could it matter what part of the country you live in?
This summer I visited San Jose, man California is beautiful. Great weather, great view, and for the most part good looking people. At least to me, an awesome contrast to the midwest.
Are you a product of your environment? Probably. Could a colder climate count as a factor for fat gains and losses? Is there a biological connection to weight gains in colder temperatures?
What about social factors? Activities? Culture?
If fat loss truly is a priority to you, would be you be willing to question these factors?
Your genetics are not why you are fat. They matter very little.
If you believe you are fat because of your genes, you should stop reading right now. Stop reading, stop dieting, stop exercising, and accept your fate.
I’m white because of my genes, I am tall because of my genes. I am lean because of my lifestyle choices.
Yes, your whole family maybe fat, but that is not likely genetic. If we go back farther in the past they were lean. Not like 1,000 years ago, more like less then 100 years ago.
If you want to protest this bullet, fine. I am personally not interested in hearing about it. Take a trip to Africa or Asia and you will notice how there are millions of people who seem to miss the fat gene…
So you can blame your parents, but not for the genes. They probably did make you fat, but more likely from diet and feeding choices. Even better option- blame no one or blame yourself. The interesting thing is neither one of those is actually useful for the fat loss part of the fat ass issue.
Are you short changing your results with excessive alcohol intake?
Like to party? A fat ass is on the horizon.
I have yet to work with someone who is able to pull off heavy drinking and solid fat loss. Of course no one I know wants to own up to being a heavy drinker.
“I only had 7 drinks”
Yeah that is a lot.
“Not compared to when I was in college”
Oh yes college, when you first gained a fuck load of weight right?
The effects of alcohol on your body composition is a pretty huge lever point. Not just the direct impact of alcohol itself, but all the associated pieces. What do you eat when you are drunk? Salads and fish right? Or is it fried fast foods and sugars? The day after you drink a lot, do you exercise that morning? Do you eat a great first meal of the day? No you are too busy feeling like shit as you pretend your hangovers are not so bad. It’s a monkey wrench to the entire life style improvement area.
That doesn’t mean drinking is bad, it just means drinking tends to fuck up your fat loss progress.
Your ability to set goals is of equal value to your ability to execute the plan.
I know people who floundered in their fat loss for a long time, then one day they walk in and say “I have to be at a wedding in 12 weeks, I need to lose weight”
That is fucking hilarious to me, I thought you were coming here for the last 5 months to lose weight?
All of a sudden, little miss can’t stop eating chocolates is a high compliance machine. Pounds of fat drop off at an incredible rate. Attendance improves. Workouts are of higher intensity with better choices made in their execution.
What changed everything? A goal was set.
There is a big difference between moving your fat face while making noises and actually setting a goal. I hear a lot of people declare a lot of statements which to the layman would be confused as a goal…these are just spoken fantasies. Verbal diarrhea. I know people who claim to seek fat loss who drink 15-20 drinks per weekend. I know people who claim to want 10% or under body fat who eat Burger King weekly…the list goes on and on. I am not making a judgement on your character, I am simply stating the obvious:
It is not a goal until you take action on it. Until that happens it is just nonsense.
“But wait a minute, I do go to the gym! I really do want to lose weight!”
If you think this, the measuring stick is easy to apply. Are you doing ALL of the things you know to do to lose weight?
I think it is pretty safe to say 90-95& of Americans want to lose weight. I don’t think many of them have set goals on it. I can count the 7% who exercise and add the 2-3% who in addition to the 7% are shopping at health food related stores (Whole Foods/Trader Joes/CO-OPs, not like fucking GNC). All in all it would be a fair guess to say only 10% or less of the population is doing something about their fat problem.
Supplements don’t fucking matter
Supplements are fucking bullshit. Specifically anything that is sold to you to “promote, coax, motivate, lure, bait, entice, manipulate, draw in/draw out, burn, torch, shed, snare, entrap, attract, block” or whatever else the marketing page said about fat loss. If it comes in a pill or powder it probably doesn’t do that much.
Even if it did; there is no supplement, including the illegal anabolic steroids, which can defeat you pounding down all those PBR’s and Grand Slams each weekend during your benders, hitting up Micky D’s 5 times a week, getting only 5-6 hours of shitty sleep, and skipping your gym appointments every time you can find an excuse.
I get to see that above example every weekend I bounce. There are plenty of juiced up guys who are still fat. You can’t out think or trick a fucked up diet.
There is only one supplement in the entire world which I know of which works 100% of the time for fat loss. The most powerful supplement in the universe.
What you own up to can make the difference
If you will take responsibility for something, you acknowledge you can change it. Own up to your situation as being YOUR situation and instantly you are empowered to lever it.
Owning the problem doesn’t mean someone needs to feel like shit or hate their body. Owning the problem in this case is saying “I am the one who will fix this” and then acting.
It’s like when you find dog shit in a house. You didn’t shit on that floor, yet now you have found it, and you can’t walk away from it. So you clean up the shit, you don’t make a big stink about it to anyone who will listen either. You clean up the mess, and move forward with your day.
Alternatively you can blame everyone else for your fat ass and see how far you get. It can be an experiment.
Realistic Expectations can be very useful
A story I have shared before- A women steps on a scale, she is down 5 lbs. She has only been training for 13 days. She says “I thought it would be more” and is disappointed. Several weeks later she quits.
Do you know what is a realistic expectation for fat loss over a 30 day window?
That is “TWO to THREE POUNDS” for those who are unsure about the above.
Wait a minute, you just read an article on some stupid fucking fitness site promising 30-40 lbs of weight loss per month. Yeah I got ya, just forget about that shit.
If you can drop 2-3 lbs of fat per month you will completely change your body in short order.
You must educate yourself on the difference between losing 10 lbs on a scale and losing 3 lbs of fat. You can cut 10 lbs in 3 days by increasing fiber intake, taking several large shits, and dropping carbohydrates for 72 hours. It is easy.
To drop several pounds of fat you will have to wait longer.
Under normal circumstances no one is gaining or losing 1 lbs of fat in 24 hours.
So do yourself a favor, learn how sustainable fat loss works. Modify your behavior in a way that don’t hate yourself for being on a diet, and ensure that every ounce that comes off stays off. There is little value for you to drop 5 lbs then put on 6 lbs several months later.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what happens. What matters is how you feel about what happened. Great results out of context with reality can equal a failure.
Remember, you don’t fail until you say fuck it and quit.
Nothing anyone else says, thinks, or does matters.
Your co-worker lost 10 lbs on Jenny Craig? Whatever. Your brother gained 15 lbs when he switched to a new diet? Who cares?
The only person to compare to is YOU. It doesn’t matter how hard or how easy it is for anyone else. Good for them, or boo hoo for them. The only data point you need concern yourself with is YOU.
Why do I say this? Because so many of you are retarded when it comes to how you feel about your results as you try to compare them to others. I hear it literally every week. Susie there started when you did, now she is down 25 lbs and you’re only down 10? Did you ever consider that you and Susie are doing different things?
Your results are the sum of everything you do and don’t do. Not what anyone is doing or not doing. This is not a conflict to bullet #5 either.
Plus even if you know every bite they take and every rep they do you are still in it all alone. You don’t even know what your metabolism is, certainly not yours and theirs. You can’t compare it, there is only the external feedback of body comp changes. Luckily for us, that is all we need.
When have you Won?
When you damn well say so. Please at some point call it! I know people who are right now to this evening driving themselves crazy over “almost being there” with their fat loss when they are clearly “there”. They never switch gears, and their minimal progress drives them up the wall. If you are at 7-8% body fat and you are kicking yourself in the head for not being at 5% you need to chill the fuck out.
No one will give a shit when you go from “really lean” to “really,really lean.” No one will even notice honestly. If you are still single now, you need to understand your looks are not the problem. If you hate yourself, see a specialist because 2% is not going to unfuck that.
So call it a fucking win and some point and get your mind on something else. That is what really will leave you better off, when you are not so fucking worried about shit.
It’s your damn body, do what you wish with it. My first suggestion is appreciate it for being yours.