Hahahaaa that title got you a little bit didn’t it? Don’t lie! It got you!
But seriously, when I tell you that I deal with a lot of people wanting desperately to lose weight I am not exaggerating. This year, I have already designed fitness and nutrition programs for over 1,200 different people in my local community alone. What may come as no surprise is the fact that well over half of them are on some kind of weight or fat loss program.
I am writing this article not to point out the flaws in your life, nor to create more frustration for you. Hey, I’m as flawed as they come and believe me, I struggle with body fat levels as well so I’m not immune to the things we are discussing here. This isn’t a finger pointing session. What I hope to accomplish with this article is simply to bring you awareness to a number of things that perhaps you’ve not considered so that you can focus on how to combat them in an intelligent manner.
The vast majority of questions I get about fat loss are ones that come out of frustration. Frustrated people who have tried what all the magazines told them to do, they’ve eaten frequent small meals, they’ve reduced their simple carbohydrate intake, they’ve tried almost everything but they just can’t get the weight off.
Well here are eight (8) major fat-loss preventions that you should know more about. Work to minimize the effects of these factors and you’ll soon find you have more free time, your body functions better, you’re more motivated and your body fat is dropping as it should.
1. You are Married
Yea this is a big one! Once two people tie the knot it seems they tend to gain weight – especially women. This comes primarily from the sudden change in your daily habits. When you were single you could eat how you wanted and no one thought a thing about it. Now that you live with and eat with your spouse (and possibly kids), you have other people making decisions, or at least requests, regarding what to eat. Since most people prepare meals for the entire family and not just one person they tend to eat what everyone else is eating. Sticking to a “clean” eating plan can be a major challenge if the people in your family have no problem with eating pizza and chicken nuggets three nights a week. Yep! It’s true. From my experience, I have noticed that married clients have a much more challenging time getting lean than my clients who are single. Work to make your entire family health-conscious and you’ll find it much easier to live fit.
Data collected by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health tracked the relationship status of nearly 7,000 young adults. Each person’s relationship status was “self-reported either as single, dating, cohabiting (living with a partner, but not married) or married”. This particular study found that no matter what the relationship status was, both men and women were at risk of being overweight but the risk was higher overall for women. The study concluded that cohabitation increased a person’s odds of becoming obese by 63% for women and only 30% for men – either way it’s a pretty staggering thought. Marriage seemed to double the risk of obesity for both men and women increasing risk of obesity rates 107% for married men and 127% for married women. Wow! So obviously this is not a bash session and I’m not trying to get you to blame your spouse for weight loss struggles. The goal here is to bring your attention to what is known so that you can make a very concerted effort to work against the norm and be the exception.
2. You Eat “Healthy Foods” Without Doing Your Homework
So many foods deemed “healthy” have been given this label as a marketing ploy designed to trick you into buying their product. The problem is that a lot of these foods are not only trash, they can be down-right bad for you. If your goal is fat loss you need to be aware of this. Check out my article “5 Health Foods – One Just Might Kill You”.
Bisphenol-A is just one type of chemical in the Obesogen (I didn’t make that word up) category. These chemicals are found in just about all canned foods, non-stick pans, plastic bags, stain-resistant clothing, carpets, baby teething toys and zillions of other products we use in and around our homes every single day. Many scientists call these chemicals, “endocrine disrupting.” Bisphenol-A can cause some pretty serious health problems even in small amounts. Many of the FDA’s safety recommendations on it are nearly two (2) decades old. That’s twenty years! A lot has been learned since Atari ruled the video game world. Being lean requires a clean internal environment, so go with fresh or frozen foods that you may normally buy stored in a can. Cook using healthy oils to keep your food from sticking and avoid storing your foods in plastic containers. Use glass whenever possible but be careful, even some glass now contains plastics to resist breakage. Wow, it’s a tough world for the healthy eater isn’t it? Check out my article “Healthy Eating on a Budget – With Complete Food List.”
MSG is hidden in so many packaged foods it’s almost impossible to keep up with it. Studies show that people who regularly eat foods containing MSG or monosodium glutamate are three times more likely to be obese whether they exercise to balance their calories or not. MSG is found in a lot of snack foods including flavored chips, so if you think the single-serving of chips isn’t setting your weight loss efforts back, think again.
Milk and other dairy products (except organic) are derived from cows that were regularly injected with antibiotics that are passed on into the milk they produce. These antibiotics kill the good bacteria found in your digestive tract making digestion a real challenge for your body. As your gut struggles to digest foods without the proper amounts of healthy bacteria, inflammation sets in causing discomfort, bloating and additional fat storage from compromised digestion. Every person will respond differently to every “bad” and every “good” thing they put into their body. Don’t obsess about milk if you cannot tell any negative feelings when you drink it. Try to buy organic milk, Greek yogurt and cheeses when possible if you eat dairy but the real focus here is keeping chemicals out of your body. I recommend limiting dairy products whenever possible.
3. Your Training Technique Sucks
This is much more important than you may think. So many people train daily and train hard but fail to make the improvements in their bodies they desire. They’re frustrated and as a fitness professional, I empathize with them. Then I see them train. Even very experienced exercisers are cutting their results short by failing to pay attention to essentials aspects of training that guarantee maximum muscle recruitment and maximum results.
- Mobility Training – so few people focus on range of motion and quality movement patterns and overlook them in favor of pounding out endless sets and reps of burning up that treadmill. If your body does not more efficiently, it does not exercise efficiently. I am here to tell you – we ALL have mobility issues that can be improved. Tissue release through massage and/or foam rolling is a big asset as are inherently “corrective” exercises that easily fit withing any workout such as bear crawls, 1/2 kneeling cable chops, active straight leg raises and glute bridging. All of these can be found easily with a basic YouTube search so I will leave it to you to explore these options, but you will find that regularly performing exercises o this nature as part of your program allows your body to access more muscles, engage deeper stabilization muscles and allows you to tap into more results.
- Tempo – every exercise has an optimal tempo for what you are trying to accomplish. Some tempos (or speeds) are scientifically sound but boring as hell and some get the job done without boring you to death. Just to keep it simple and to help people begin to achieve results quickly, I tend to start most of my clients out with a 5 second repetition tempo. That’s about 3 seconds on the easy part (negative) and 2 seconds on the hard part (positive) of a lift. If you’re a competitive performance athlete, obviously this doesn’t pertain to you. I’m talking about the average person coming into a health club wanting to tone up, get stronger and see their body make positive visual changes. The 5 second rep speed allows you to focus on what you’re doing, reduces stress on the joints and allows you to gain a higher level of understanding of correct technique during your exercise. It’s hard to incorporate great technique when learning a new exercise if you’re pounding out reps at warp speed. So slow it down, focus on technique and feel the muscles you are trying to work.
- Follow me on YouTube to keep up with all the new fitness videos I’m doing for you.
4. You’re on Medication
A huge number of prescription drugs cause an increase in appetite, water retention and weight gain. Be sure to read the insert paper that comes with your medication to see if any of these are associated with the medication(s) you take. If they are part of that medication’s side-effect list, have a chat with your doctor. He/she may be able to do something about it. Of course I am not a physician so be sure to follow your doctor’s orders, but a healthy conversation about your medication is a smart thing to have.
5. You’re “Busy” Instead of Productive
If I had a dime for every person that ever said, “I want to workout and eat right I just don’t have time,” my riches would make Bill Gates’ look like a puny little penny-pinching runt. The fact of the matter is we all have the same amount of time in a day. For every person that has four kids, three jobs, two mortgages and one bad case of allergies you could probably find another person with the same obligations who also has one heck of a healthy, fit body. I’m here to tell you that the “I don’t have time” excuse is done, no one buys that anymore.
Being fit and living healthy are choices and only you can make them. For every commercial break you sit through mindlessly staring into space, you could be on the floor using that wasted time to improve your body and life without having to join a gym, hire a trainer or do much more than think and move. Think about the time you’d save if you only checked your e-mail and Facebook accounts four times a day instead of forty. Those messages aren’t going anywhere, let them pile up a bit and use a great tactic called “batching” that I learned years ago from a book written by a guy named Tim Ferriss. The book is called The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) and I learned a lot from reading it, but one of the best things I was able to immediately put to work in my life and therefore teach my clients is the tactic of “batching.” Now that I think about it,
I actually prefer to listen to the book as I get a lot more out of it that way so here’s a link to the way I like to “read” Audio Download of The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich.
Batching tasks means you allow them to pile up a bit. This won’t put you behind because tasks you would batch are things like e-mail, social media messaging and returning phone calls. For instance, if you only checked and replied to e-mails at 9:00AM and 4:00PM you would save all the time of clicking and minimizing that screen dozens of times throughout your day. So instead of checking, reading and replying to emails twenty or more times a day, you’ll do it twice and increase your speed and efficiency, saving tons of time in the process. Learn to batch tasks.
One item I batch two or three times a week is the task of cooking my protein sources like chicken, beef and turkey. Instead of cooking a little bit every night I cook a lot twice a week and have it ready anytime I need it without having to do the unnecessary task of cooking one chicken breast and washing the dishes associated with the mess I would have made. Batching takes practice and you’ll need to resist impulses, but you’ll soon find that you are more productive and have more time to do the things that matter, like exercise and eat well.
6. Baby You was Bottle Fed
It’s a little too late now, but if you were a bottle fed baby, it may be time to take an extra-long look at your nutrition and go the extra mile to tighten things up a bit. People who were breast-fed tend to have a lower incidence of obesity than those who were bottle fed. Just make sure your diet is ultra-smart now and you’ll be just fine.
7. You Starve For Sport
Starving your body is a good way to lower your metabolism and initiate a super-fast fat storing process. Of course you can deprive your body of calories for a week or two and maybe drop a good amount of weight. But soon your body figures out what is happening and goes into survival mode. In order to preserve itself, it slows your engine (metabolism) down and stores everything it can get a hold of. So when you decide you can’t keep the starvation up (and you know you can’t), your body goes crazy grabbing a hold of all those calories and packing them into your stomach hips and butt for the next time you get lazy and decide you’ll try to take the easy way out. There is no quick-fix way to get lean. Do it right my friend and you’ll love your healthy, fit body.
8. You Associate Bad Food Choices with Having a Good Time
This is one of the absolutely most absurd phenomena I have ever come across but I have heard some form of this reason cross my ear drums at least once a day for the past twenty years. “But when my friends and I go out, I have to be fun to be around.” What in the world is that? I have no idea where this idea came from, but there is absolutely no evidence to support the notion that eating crap-foods equates to having a good time. I don’t care who you go out to dinner with, there is no sane person who will condemn you for eating fish with vegetables and a sweet potato. No one has ever made an issue of the fact that I am eating grilled chicken with beans and a salad. I’ve never had a person make a remark about my food choices except to say, “I wish I ate like that.” Remember! The majority of excuses we make to eat poorly are made-up by ourselves to justify our less than ideal food choices. Most other people could care less what you eat because they are too busy justifying their bad eating to themselves. If they do give you a hard time for eating well it’s probably because you are demonstrating a stronger sense of purpose than they are and they can’t stand it. So let’s be honest with ourselves. Hey if you want to eat for taste only and load-up on high calorie, fatty foods you go right ahead. Just don’t blame it on your friends. Chances are they want to be thinner, leaner and fitter (is that even a word?) too. Break the cycle and make the right choices and you’ll feel amazing afterward.
So there are eight (8) of my reasons why you are (or may be) carrying around more weight than you would like. Of course there can be many reasons for having a body fat level that is not what you desire, but these are some of the reasons I’ve found that we tend to overlook.
The cool thing about these “hidden” reasons for being fat is that almost all of them can be changed or improved by making just a couple smart decisions. That’s a pretty cool thing if you think about it. All you have to do is make a choice and suddenly reasons for being fat become extinct and all you have left are reasons to be thinner, leaner and happier living in the body of your dreams.
All the best to you my friend!
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