Your weight is probably generally stable, which means you’re within a few calories per day of getting thinner.
That means relatively small and easy changes in your lifestyle can achieve great results. Let’s identify those changes for you.
Most people maintain their weight over time, or only put it on slowly as their metabolism changes with age. I remember my teenage years involving two big chocolates and a huge bottle of Sprite every day, and I still looked like my great-grandfather, a Dachau concentration camp prisoner. Trouble is, people pick up habits when young and then have trouble changing them when they’re older, so it may be a good idea – if you’re very young, dear reader – to never pick up bad habits in the first place, and pay attention to details of your lifestyle even when you feel you currently don’t have to. You’ll thank me – and your younger self – in a few years.
Let’s assume you’re an age – any age – and already have a routine and lifestyle. There are probably things in it that don’t work best.
Now, I’m a fan of simple, minimalistic yet effective solutions. It’s certainly possible to lose weight – or as I prefer to call it, gain thinness – quickly if you radically overhaul your diet and work out several times per day. That, however, might not be the optimal approach for a busy worker who simply wants to be and look healthy, preferably without spending half your waking hours in spandex and torturing yourself at every meal. You just want to be healthy, not necessarily a model.
For that, you don’t need to do anything massive – because you’re already within a small margin of energy balance from losing weight, just identify the best opportunities to tip the scales to start seeing better numbers on the scales.
The scales are either in balance or only slightly out of it, you can tip them with a feather touch.
The energy balance is precarious, and it takes just one bad habit to tip it into obesity – or one good habit to tip it into good things.
So, here’s the practical exercise for you:
1. Identify the worst thing about your diet – the one thing – and change it.
2. Identify the best opportunity to add literally any amount of movement or exercise to your day. Do that.
To get you started, here are the most obvious and frequent candidates:
Do you drink calories?
- Still drink soda?
- Put sugar in your covfefe or tea?
- Drink more than a few portions weekly of booze, wine, beer? (this is my big one)
What’s your breakfast like? Is there breakfast cereal? Unless it’s straight oatmeal or fiber, change it – everything else is particulate candy.
Do you take desserts after meals?
If you eat salads, do you ruin the point with billion calorie salad dressings? Kilimanjaro-sized heaps of croutons? Landing strips of bacon?
Any fast food in your diet?
Lots of grains, bread, carbohydrates?
Do you eat within a few hours before bedtime?
As for the exercise, do you take the stairs? Do you use small gaps in your schedule to do add light exercise, really just to get your blood to move around, during the day?
Do you take walks? It may be the most neglected good habit of all – not just for the exercise, but for thinking. An article is coming about that.
Of course, if you can identify more than one of these things and change them, the effect will be that much bigger. But for most people, there’s that one obvious thing they need to fix, which does the trick. Again, virtually everyone is super close to calorie balance. It just takes modest change to nudge the balance, and send you on a trajectory of hotness gain.
It will work over weeks and months instead of days – but it will work, if you keep up discipline. And with no(t much) perceived effort.