SpecterFit Weekly 38: The Beginning

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Welcome to the new and improved “Fitness Specter,” now known as SpecterFit. The numbering remains, but the the focus is now on solid and consistent improvement. SpecterFit Weekly is going to be about motivation, tips, tricks, and ideas to help get yourself fit. Welcome to the 38th Edition.

As stated in Fitness Specter 37, there is a SpecterFit event on the horizon. SpecterFit 1 is slated for January 2017 (the whole month) for you to accomplish a fitness goal that you, yourself set. In addition to this fitness goal (which will earn you a medal if you complete the challenge), you can participate in the SpecterFit 1 event medal: StepMaster. This is a medal that will be specialized and will be unique to this event. So, if you’re keeping score, you can earn two medals in January 2017. Medal designs will be revealed later this year, but prior to the event itself.

Now, on to the column…

I’ve written about this before but I need to reiterate the point because of just how important the point is: 75% of your weight goals can be achieved by doing nothing more than eating correctly. If you eat right, you’ll lose weight. Fitness isn’t just about losing weight but for those of us (myself included) who are looking to lose weight while getting fit, this is an important factor. Thus, diet is important.

Not a diet. Diet. The act of eating correctly. The act of changing your lifestyle. Sustainable weight loss is only achievable through lifestyle change.

Have you tried jumping on fad diets and seeing success, only to regain all that weight once you’re off the diet? Cutting out certain foods to lose weight means you can’t go back to those foods (at least not in a regular basis situation). Atkins, for instance, puts the body into ketosis by eliminating most carbohydrates from your meals… which works, no doubt about it. However, if you want to keep that weight off, you can’t just jump back into the carbs when you’re at your target weight. You have to avoid those carbs forever.

Lose 50 pounds by avoiding McDonalds for a year? Awesome. If you go right back to eating McDonalds on a regular basis again you’ll just gain the weight back. Juice diet to lose 15 pounds? Once you return to solids you’ll gain the weight back.

Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Most people out there are kidding themselves into believing that this or that diet will work and keep them lighter. They’re insane. Stop thinking that you only have to fast, juice, or cleanse for a little while to get those pounds off… its a bandaid for the bigger problem that is your food choices (and portions).

There’s another point I’d like to touch on: cleansing. So many diets talk about “cleansing” and about getting rid of the ick in the body in preparation for an actual diet. Most of these are paid programs you have to sink cash into in order to even know what to do to cleanse in the first place. Cleansing does nothing for you (long term) unless you always “cleanse.” It’s ridiculous to believe that drinking a special juice for a couple of weeks will rid your body of the bad you’ve been inflicting upon it for years.

Bodybuilders are the smartest nutrition and diet specialists on the planet, yet most of the world makes fun of them for being stupid because they have muscles. Think about what they do, every day, every week, and every year to obtain all those muscles. There is food preparation that happens, portion control, they closely monitor what they eat, they work out specific muscles in specific groups to grow them in specific sizes. The foods they eat contain no unnatural substances, they are low in the wrong kinds of fats, there is very little “sugar” in them, and they avoid condiments that will add calories because of the very same things they are avoiding in actual foods. How many bodybuilders eat high fructose corn syrup on a daily basis? I’d say that the answer would be “none.” Bodybuilders know you need a “cheat” meal now and then, but they are disciplined, very meticulous, and they are smart about what they eat.

Now who’s the meathead? The bodybuilder competing at the highest level of “human sculpting” or your fat ass?

Nutrition starts in the kitchen. Stop eating steak six days a week. Stop eating processed ketchup with your “potato side.” Stop eating the “potato side” more than once a week. Stop eating junk food. Stop binging on the couch with that bag of chips. Stop eating dessert as if it were a separate meal. Stop drinking soda (regular OR diet).

Start eating vegetables… lots of vegetables. Start eating fruits (fresh, not the canned stuff). Start eating super foods like almonds, fish, and chicken. Start drinking water, regularly, and with the intent of making sure you stay hydrated. Start snacking with portion control in mind and with foods that are healthier than what you’ve been eating.

I’d like to finish this column off with a little anecdote about me, personally.

In 2013, my wife and I started to completely change our diet and start moving because I woke up one day and literally told myself I’m tired of being fat. I started at 328 pounds (the morning I made that statement) and lost a total of 91 pounds by walking, eating better, and lifting weights. I got all the way down to 237 pounds. Then life hit me with some hard challenges and things started to slide.

First, I stopped going to the gym on a regular basis (from six days a week to once or twice). Next, food stopped being as accessible (we were prepping for a move, so meals became a lot more about convenience and less about nutrition). The weather hit and so that took out my primary source of exercise: walking. Once we moved in 2015, we were in a place where food (although tons healthier) is in abundance, so I ate myself back up to 322.

As of the morning I write this column I am 309, which is a steady decline for the past two months of not snacking uncontrollably, allowing my wife to prepare the meals we know are healthier for us, and making sure I’m walking as often as I can as far as I can.

That’s where SpecterFit comes in. When WAFFLE was in full swing, I was working out and losing weight like a madman. I had goals to shoot for, I could “train” to conquer my challenges and advance. Without that, I’m just sort of gliding through this weight loss journey without a clear goal of anything other than losing weight.

My progress starts in the kitchen, though. The very beginning is the kitchen.

I don’t have HFCS in our kitchen at all. I don’t drink sodas more than a couple times a week, and only then with the diet variety to eliminate the HFCS in the regular ones. If there is a soda made with real sugar instead, I’d definitely choose that over the HFCS variety. I eat chicken nearly every meal, and as a result, my wife and I have found plenty of recipes that allow us to mix things up with the tastes so we don’t enter a meal going “dear lord, chicken again?”

Where can you find most of the recipes? My wife’s site: food.madebytricia.com. If we eat it, it’s up there. We don’t post stuff we don’t like and everything we make eliminates a bunch processed and “bad for you” ingredients.

Shop smarter, cook smarter, lose weight, get healthy.

I started ramping up my walking in the last couple of months and the weight is slowly coming off. I am plotting a 4 to 5 mile walk daily soon, to a course near where I live and back. When my weight gets down to a better and more healthy level, I’ll start poking around for gyms in my area. The home workouts will begin well before that but my size makes working out (at the moment) difficult. That won’t be a problem soon.

Check back for more information on SpecterFit 1, the next SpecterFit Weekly, and motivation and support for attaining your own healthy goals.

Get fit.