The term “Weight Loss” is such a lousy term. I’ve used it here to get your attention, but I’d like you not to use it. It doesn’t help to be talking about weight. Dehydrating yourself or taking amphetamines (diet pills and caffeine) will lower your weight, but that’s mostly a temporary water loss and clearly harmful long-term. You want to lower BODY FAT and increase MUSCLE MASS. That may actually INCREASE your weight since muscle weighs more than fat. But if you can do THAT, you’ll be happy – GUARANTEED.
So why is “Weight Loss” a mental game? Because you have to do the following mental things really well: get motivated, manage your time, persist through pain, overcome irrational thoughts, stay focused, and build confidence. Those are all the things our elite athletes clients have to do! We’ll talk more about these mental skills in Part 2, but first there are some fundamentals you need to know.
So here’s where you want to start:
- Lift Weights: Start with light weights and medium reps. That probably means getting in to the gym and using the machines. Book it in your planner, set reminders, and f you can go at the same time as a friend, perfect. Do 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps. Your muscles should burn toward the end and be a little stiff over the next few days. Start with the major muscle groups (core, legs, arms) and do this 3-4 times a week. If you have any health concerns, obviously consult your medical doctor before starting an exercise routine.
- Exercise Aerobically: Two to three times a week for 30-45min, get your heart-rate into an aerobic range (50-70% of your maximum; your maximum is roughly 220 minus your age). If your heart rate goes too high (anaerobic), you’ll burn muscle glycogen (sugar) in your muscles instead of body fat and you’ll get fatigued more quickly. So make sure you keep a medium heartrate. Recent research has also suggested interval training (alternating high and low heart rates). If you are currently overweight, I would suggest building some strength and endurance before using intervals.
- Eat Better Food: That basically means low salt, fat and sugar. Splurge now and then, but make a list of your staples (ie. green vegetables, lean meat, fresh fruit, whole grains) and the things to avoid (ie. processed foods, white flour, fried foods, simple sugar, dairy).
- Eat Smaller Portions More Often: Make your target to eat a snack or small meal every 3-4 hours so your blood sugar levels don’t get too low (that can cause moodiness and binge eating later). Also, if you eat too few calories, your body will start storing everything as fat (why low calorie diets don’t work long-term). Basically, you want to continue to eat at least enough calories to maintain your BMR (see the steps below to calculate your BMR).
- Drink Water Constantly: Carry a 16oz water bottle around with you throughout the day. Refill it 3-4 times. Getting rid of waste products enables your body systems to function more efficiently and correctly. You’ll also feel more alert and energetic.
- Reduce or Eliminate Drugs: That means caffeine and prescription drugs too (talk with your doctor about the latter). Becoming reliant on drugs is not a long-term solution, and it harms the body systems that control what energy sources are used (ie. using body fat as energy).
- Manage Your Stress: Cortisol is a stress hormone that increases fat storage. Reduce it by becoming more organized, leaving more time to get places, meditating daily, and recognizing that stress comes from worrying about uncontrollable facets of your life.
- Use a Monitoring Chart: It will be unlikely all of the above will get done without some system to remind and track your progress. Get with one of our Mental Trainers® for a custom designed M-Chart.
- Mental Skills Training: All of the above tips can be integrated into a custom program for you by MTI. We all probably know how effective being accountable to someone else can be, as well as having encouragement and specific guidance. Your Mental Trainer® provides all that for you by helping you set and reach your goals, as well as teaching you the thought and emotion control skills that can knock you off track. The cost is $1,795 for a mental training package of sessions. If that’s out of your price-range, give our OnlineMentalTrainer.com service a try. It’s very low cost and the next best thing to working with a live Mental Trainer®.
Here are the 3 steps to calculate the number of calories you need to be safely losing body fat:
- Step 1 – Calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is the number of calories you need to maintain your weight if you are not working out. Go here for the calculator: http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/
- Step 2 – Using the formula below, multiply your BMR by the factor according to your exercise level. This will tell you the approximate calories you need to eat daily to maintain your weight.
- Step 3 – Set calorie goals for yourself each day and make them 10-20% lower than the formula below. For the first few weeks, record everything you eat into a calorie counter (lots of them online). Once you figure out how to meet your goals, record your calories over a 7 day period once a month to make sure you’re in the ballpark.
Harris Benedict Formula:
- If you are sedentary (little or no exercise): Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2.
- If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week): Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
- If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week): Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55.
- If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week): Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725.
- If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2 per day training): Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9
Part 2 will hit on the key mental skills you need in order to drop body fat and get fit. Talk with you soon.
Mental Training, Inc.