This post is a part of an ongoing series entitled MIP (Man In Progress).After my 25th Birthday I decided to improve three aspects of my life, my physical well-being, my romantic relationships, and my writing career. My philosophy is that a writer’s work and his life are irrevocably intertwined and in order to improve one, we inevitably have to improve the other.
After one week of working with my new nutritionist, I was amazed how balanced my energy was for the entire day. Not only was I able to perform better at my job, but my writing was vastly improved.
I was so amazed, in fact, that I thought I was psyching myself out, so I asked my nutritionist what was happening.
He responded with a laugh: “You’re not psyching yourself out, man. You’re blood sugar levels are evening out!”
As the days passed, I continued to be assisted by my nutritionist. He monitored my eating habits and helped me make the necessary adjustments to my lifestyle.
After only three months of working with him (and engaging in the full-body work out that was established by a personal trainer I had also been working with) I was shocked to find that I had lost 13 pounds.
On top of that, I felt healthier, happier, and more energized.
The Chubby Writer’s Guide To Losing Weight
***Please note: I am no expert by any means, and, as always, I would recommend you seek the advice of a doctor or professional nutritionist when it comes to your diet and exercise needs.***
Here’s how you can shed some pounds and, in the process, get back to writing with a more balanced energy and vitality:
1. Get a professional to help you.
After working with two professionals on my personal health, I now highly highly recommend getting a nutritionist and/or personal trainer to help you. I know they can be pricey, but I personally did a trail period just to get myself going—and even working with them for 3 months vastly improved my life. In the end, for me, the short-term investment was totally worth it for the long-term health benefits.
Some rules that I recommend in regards to finding the right trainer/nutritionist for you:
a. Make sure you’re comfortable with the individual you choose.
b. Make sure they have experience and a record of delivering results to their clients.
c. Make sure they are open and eager to answering all your questions (no matter how “stupid” or simple they are).
d. Make sure they are willing to go at your pace—and not theirs.
e. Make sure they’re open to respecting the rules you’ve set for your lifestyle. (i.e., being vegetarian, etc.)
f. Make sure they get you results. If your nutritionist is good, then you should feel better after only a short time. (I, myself, felt a difference after only a few days!) With a personal trainer it takes a bit longer to see results, but still, you should see some significant changes after a few months—that is, if you’ve strictly adhered to the work-out plan they’ve provided you. If you feel the same or worse after several months then they may not be good at their jobs, or they’re just not the right fit for you. Either way, you should move on and look for someone else.
2. Track your meals.
I would suggest you start tracking your foods using a smartphone app like MyFitnessPal, or, if you prefer it the old fashion way, you may want to sit down and track your foods in your journal.
Although today I no longer track every single thing I eat like I did when I was working with a nutritionist, that temporary practice really has made me acquire the habit of thinking about what I’m about to eat, about what I’ve eaten that day so far, and about whether what I’m eating is giving me a balance nutrition. This mindful approach also makes me aware of when I’m eating because I’m truly hungry or just because I want to indulge myself.
(Consciousness here is key. This is always the first step of any healing process, so it makes sense that TRUE weigh loss has its beginning here.)
3. Learn how to balance your meals.
Here is what your body generally needs at each meal and how it generally makes your body feel after you ingest it:
Protein (like meat, fish, nuts, chicken, dairy, eggs) is what helps give you mental and physical power.
Protein makes you feel more powerful: Whenever I have enough protein, my body and my mind feel like they have a lot more power; my body has more power in terms of strength, and my mind has more power in terms of creativity, problem-solving capabilities and imagination.
Carbohydrates, (like bread, pasta, and cereal) help give your body energy. Carbohydrates are a big part of what your body needs to function on a daily basis. That is why many folks on a no-carb diet find themselves binging at the end of the diet and therefore gaining all the weight that they had lost previously. So, instead of cutting out carbs completely, it’s recommended that you substitute your carbs sources. So, instead of flour tortillas or white bread, for instance, it is recommended that you eat whole wheat tortillas or whole wheat bread. (Believe it or not, moving from white bread to whole wheat bread has been one of the easiest adjustments I’ve made recently, and I’m discovering that even fast food restaurants are now offering whole wheat options.)
Carbohydrates makes me feel more energetic: Whenever I have enough of the right kind of carbs (like whole wheat bread) my body feels like it has more energy.
Fiber (vegetables and fruits) has essential vitamins and nutrients, allows your body to better process your foods, and is good for the digestive system. A good recommendation to help add more veggies and fruits to your meals is to make sure that at least one of your “sides” consists of veggies or fruits. For example: most restaurants these days will offer a choice of sides that consist mostly of carbs: fries, hash browns, bread, or potatoes, for instance. But if your main dish already has carbs (like bread), then you don’t need more carbs. So, a great way to sneak in more veggies and fruits into your meals is to opt out of “the side of fries” and get a salad or a bowl of fruit instead.
Fiber makes you feel cleansed: Whenever I have enough veggies and fruits, my body feels a lot more refreshed, awake, and cleansed.
Fats (olive oil, nuts, natural peanut butter, and avocados are great sources of good fats) do a lot of things but mainly they help keep your body balanced. I won’t get into this one too much (because, like I said, I’m a writer not a nutritionist) but essentially I learned that not all fats are bad for you. Some fats are really good for you and so necessary that some are even called “essential.”
“Good fats” make you feel more balanced: Whenever I have “good fats” with my meal, my brain and body feel a lot more balanced.
4. Reduce your portion sizes.
Generally, I’ve learned that American’s portions sizes have become so large that we often eat up to 2 to 3 times more than what we actually need per meal.
If you have issues with weight, it is recommended that you cut down your portion sizes considerably. Just make sure that those smaller meals are still balanced (meaning you have a balance of carbs, protein, fiber, and good fats).
Generally, right before you finally feel “full” is when you have eaten enough. You might want to practice stopping yourself right before you hit that “full” point whenever you have a meal.
5. Be wary of extra sugars, fats, and salts added to your foods.
You also may want to reduce sugary drinks and desserts that often will increase weight because of all the extra carbs and sugar they contain. Also, you might want to eat at home more often so you can track the amount of sugar, salt, and fat is in your food. Generally, frozen foods, fast foods, and restaurant foods have added sugars, fats, and salts that may be contributing to your weight gain.
6. Try to build muscle, don’t just rely on cardio.
Many folks make the mistake of running for hours and hours hoping that by doing this, this will help them lose weight in and of itself. But I’ve learned that actually, running—or doing cardio—is actually a very slow and ineffective way to lose weight. The most effective way to lose body fat is actually to do what’s called a full-body workout, which just means that you are trying to work most of the muscles in your body. Lifting weights helps you lose body fat faster because it takes a lot of effort and energy to build muscle—that is why the body will tap into your fat reservoirs to get that energy.
7. Listen to your own bodies needs—not someone else’s.
Finally: each person’s body is different and each of us will need a meal plan and exercise routine that fits our unique body types. This is why one-size-fits-all fad diets or trendy “high-intensity” workouts generally don’t work for the average person: we all have different needs and we need to respect our body and the unique physical and nutritional needs it requires to function.
We really need to stop trying to compare our weight-loss efforts with another person’s because that other person’s metabolism may be capable of handling a diet that for you would only cause more weight gain.
All and all, don’t look to other people for the best weight loss approach for you, instead, try to listen to your own body.
What is your body telling you that it needs?
I’m hoping that my approach to weight loss will serve as a helpful and practical approach to losing weight.
At the very least, I hope this post encourages you to start being more mindful about what you put into you mouth and what you do to look after your body on a daily basis.
much chubby love,
Start looking for nutritionist or personal trainer—and keep looking until you’ve found someone who you truly believe will help you reach your weight loss goals.
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