“The first wealth is health.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
I went from 189 pounds to 159 pounds in about a year.
I’ve been able to keep it off for over five years.
I’m 41 years old.
I have a young child and I work more than full time.
How was I able to do this?
What are the secrets I’ve learned that will help you on your journey?
I’ve learned three things that will really help you lose and keep off weight.
I want to share why dieting doesn’t work, why most people fail, and how you can take steps to lose weight and take care of your health.
1. Shift Your Mindset
I was overweight.
I was working a lot.
I had a young child.
I justified my habits, but I eventually realized I wasn’t happy with the way I looked or felt.
I couldn’t move or go for a run without getting tired.
When you’re carrying 30 extra pounds, you can feel it.
If what you’ve done hasn’t worked up to now, it’s time to make a shift so things actually change.
I’m gonna give you some tools to help with this.
For me, I needed to do something different because what I was doing was not working.
As you shift your mindset, you should make a very clear goal.
What do you want to see?
Do you want to lose 30 pounds? 10 pounds?
Do you want to compete in an athletic competition?
You have to be very clear on what your goal is.
Once you’re clear on that, it’ll help you know what you’re moving towards.
One thing that helped me a lot when it came to weight was getting a scale.
I know that sounds really simple, but hear me out!
I got a new scale and weighed myself every single morning.
That might seem a little excessive, but it helped with my goals.
Eventually, it became a habit I still do.
I weigh myself almost every morning.
Whether the weight goes up or down, the process gives me more information.
I have a direct way of seeing how that banana cream pie from the night before affected me.
It’s just a way we can measure.
If we’re not measuring, we’re not paying attention.
There’s no way we can tell how we’re progressing or how we’re regressing.
When it comes to health in general and maintaining a healthy weight, diet is 70-80%.
We know we should eat better.
But how do we actually do that?
It comes down to habits!
We make one good choice, that will lead to another good choice.
I’m gonna give you some tricks and secrets that have helped me on both diet and exercise.
Both are important and they do feed into each other.
2. Eating Well
The second thing has to do with your eating habits.
Your body takes 15-20 minutes to realize it’s full after you stop eating.
Now, I love tacos.
After eating two big tacos I’d feel like I was full.
But what I should have done instead is eat one taco and then wait 15-20 minutes.
Then I would see how I actually felt.
A lot of times I didn’t actually need as much food as I thought.
If I was still a little hungry, I’d pick up an apple or something.
Some people may say they can’t do that.
When they get to dinner or lunch, they are starving and want to eat everything.
That’s why having some healthy snacks in-between meals can be really helpful.
You can also slow down and also have smaller portions.
Snacking and smaller portion sizes were both really helpful for me.
What do healthy snacks look like?
I’ll grab some carrots or an apple – sometimes I’ll have snap peas or peanuts.
There are many different healthy foods you can get.
I don’t know if you live in a big metro area, but fast food is everywhere.
I used to go to McDonald’s and Taco Bell and Burger King.
I love these places!
But I do realize the food is actually really poor quality.
The cheaper food is often lower quality.
Why is that?
They’re trying to get the cheapest product they possibly can to make money.
You can take a McDonald’s bun, set it on the shelf, and a year later the bun will be there and likely will not have mold.
That’s kind of crazy, right?
There’s so many preservatives in fast food.
When you look at what you’re doing and how you’re eating, convenience is a big factor.
Ask yourself: What does my day look like?
What does my week look like?
Can I make a big meal now and take stuff with me?
If you can plan that out, you have more control over what you’re eating and how you’re eating.
When you eat fast food, you’ll have to eat a lot more to get some nutrients out of it.
Your body craves nutrients.
When you eat things like veggies or salad, you’re giving your body those nutrients.
If you eat a bunch of food at a fast food place, you won’t have the same nutritional value.
Your body is not going to get what it wants compared to having natural things.
Our body really needs veggies and protein.
You need protein to develop muscles and keep you strong.
Veggies and fruit have a lot of nutrients.
I love having dessert.
After dinner it’s very common to want something sweet.
A doctor friend of mine once said the best dessert is to desert the dinner table and go on a walk.
But if you do want something sweet after dinner, try to reach for some fruit.
Fruit is more natural and it won’t impact your body the same way as eating ice cream.
Now I’m a guy who believes you can have everything in moderation.
Even moderation in moderation!
You should be able to enjoy the things you enjoy.
It’s just being able to do it in a way that has some moderation.
These food tips also tie in with how I exercise and look at food as fuel.
3. My Fitness Secrets
We talked a lot about food and now we’re gonna talk about exercise.
I love hiking and being active and getting on the golf course.
Whatever can get me outside is good with me!
One thing I like to do while I’m outside is go on runs.
When I was 30 pounds heavier, I’d work out a couple days a week.
I was going to the gym and doing some machine weight presses.
I was working hard, but I wasn’t really seeing any progress.
I didn’t have any sense of guidance or plan on how I was going to work out.
For me, doing classes has been really helpful.
I was a part of a gym that offered everything from yoga to kickboxing.
I learned a lot doing these classes and also being around other people.
Having structure allowed me to actually work harder.
When I would do these exercises, a subconscious thing happened.
I realized if I were to get lighter, it would make these activities easier.
I’ll be honest with you:
I had a moment of revelation in my doctor’s office.
About 10 years ago, I had knee surgery after I tore a ligament in my knee.
It took a long time to come back after surgery.
Thankfully, I was able to rehab my knee so I could run again.
My doctor told me after surgery that I was a candidate for knee replacement.
I was so young!
I felt healthy.
Why would I need a knee replacement?
He told me the biggest thing I could do was to maintain a healthy weight.
That was a real inspiration for me.
I needed to get active and do whatever I could to maintain a healthy weight.
I don’t know if you have high blood pressure or maybe you feel like you’re too old.
Losing and maintaining a healthy weight is possible if you make different decisions.
There are things you can do that will dramatically affect how you live the next 10-50 years.
It comes down to habits.
I couldn’t run very far when I started.
But I still tried to do something active every day.
Even if it was just going on a walk, doing a class, going on a hike, those things add up.
These habits start small and build up over time.
There’s also some great fitness apps you can use on your phone.
It’s also important to make fitness goals that are not related to losing weight.
If everything is about losing weight, it won’t be as much fun.
You think like that, you’re not going to change your lifestyle.
Every decision you make will only be to see a drop on the scale.
But if you’re saying you want to live a different, healthier, more active lifestyle, that will take you much farther.
To give you a picture on how I did this, here is a goal I made for myself:
I competed in my first Spartan Race.
I trained for a couple months, trying to get top five from my age group.
I actually ended up finishing ninth.
I was disappointed by that, but I still competed.
To me it was, it was great motivation and great training.
I felt really encouraged by the progress I made.
Whatever your goals are, just start making them!
Write them down and then give yourself a reward.
Reward yourself with something you’ll enjoy.
I want to end by going a little into the featured quote of this post.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “The first wealth is health.”
We talk a lot about financial freedom in these blogs.
So this post might seem a bit out there…
But it’s really important to understand the connection between wealth and health.
I used to work in the medical field.
I saw people’s lives shortened by as much as 20-30 years because of things like smoking and obesity.
They really weren’t able to enjoy the life they had.
If you’re able to be here longer, it will best serve you.
It will serve your kids.
It will serve your grandkids.
You’ll be able to leave a legacy with your friends and neighbors.
I encourage you to make steps to live healthy, exercise, and eat well.
Now, I want to hear from you!
What are your fitness goals?
Leave a comment down below and hold yourself accountable in the new year!
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Disclaimer: I am not your investment advisor. This is for educational purposes only. I am not giving specific advice on what you can do. I am simply giving my opinions.