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Fitness Secrets: Get Fit Slowly Style

Fitness Secrets: Get Fit Slowly Style

by macdaddy on March 19, 2010 · 17 comments

Post image for Fitness Secrets: Get Fit Slowly Style

People ask me all the time how I managed to lose weight and get so fit. I’ve written about it all over the place on this blog, but never in just one place. The story behind my transformation is actually pretty boring. I didn’t take any pills (this time) or stick to a diet program like Weight Watchers, Atkins, or South Beach. There were no detoxifying drinks or colon cleansers either. In fact, I still drink diet soda and I don’t really care which whole wheat bread is the best, as long as it’s good. Nope, my story is very simple. In November of 2007, I started to move my body more and I stopped shoveling massive amounts of food into my mouth.

It was a long process. It was a hard process. It was a process marked by starts and stops. There were times when I was extremely motivated and lost several pounds per week, but there were also times when I fell off the wagon and didn’t feel like exercising at all. When you’ve spent year after year conditioning your mind and body to expect a caloric surplus and a sedentary lifestyle, you’ve got to spend a lot of time reversing those expectations as well. And even though I’m no longer losing weight, I still have to think like I am so that I don’t start thinking like I used to.

There are lots of awesome tools out there to help you lose weight and get fit. But for me it came down to three basic principles: Count your Calories, Move your Body, Hold yourself Accountable.

Counting Calories

If you don’t know how much food your putting in your body, there’s no way you can create a calorie deficit–and the key to any good weight loss program is caloric deficit. The science of weight loss can not be denied or avoided. So if you want to lose weight, then you’ve got to start counting calories! Keep a food journal, use Dailyburn, write it on a frickin’ napkin. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but you’ve got to keep a log.

But counting calories is only a start. You have to do some basic research to determine how many calories you actually need to consume to meet your goals. Use an online calculator to determine how many calories your body needs to maintain its weight. Eat 500 less calories than that per day and you should lose one pound per week. If you don’t, make adjustments in your plan until you’re losing the weight that you want to be losing.

Exercise

I’ve said it before that I don’t think exercise should be used to create a caloric deficit. I still believe in this. In fact, when you’re first starting a weight loss program, I recommend replacing any calories you burn via exercise by increasing your calorie intake accordingly. Still create a 500 calorie deficit, but if you burn 300 calories on the elliptical, replace those calories with highly nutritious foods that will help your body recover from the workout so that you can do it again.

Exercise makes you a fitter person. It turns your body into a healthier engine and better prepares you for the challenges of life. It enables you to take the stairs, play tag with your kids, or even run a marathon. But many people use exercise as an excuse to eat whatever they want. Do not go down this road–it will only delay you in reaching your weight loss goals.

Accountability

The biggest key to my success has got to be the high degree of accountability I’ve placed upon myself. When I finally decided that it was time to lose weight and get fit, I told everyone I knew. I initially told my friends and family and of course they were supportive. But they had heard it all before.

But when JD and I started this site and got a few readers, man was the pressure on. I don’t like to fail at anything. And failing publicly isn’t an option for me. There’s no way that I’m going to put every thing out there in a public forum and then come up short. Get Fit Slowly is how I hold myself accountable to my actions and goals. But there are lots of ways to find accountability. Start a weight loss program with a friend and check in with each other as often as you need to. Have a weight loss contest at work or make a bet with your wife.

Accountability will help you get through those really tough times–and there will be really tough times. But each time you successfully navigate one of the many challenging periods during your journey, you lay the foundation for success in the future.

Deciding that you want to lose weight and get fit is the first step in a long road. If you use the three tools outlined in this post to help you get started, I know that you can be successful at this. I said it earlier, it won’t be easy. But nothing worth doing ever is.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cathy March 19, 2010 at 5:12 am

I said it earlier, it wonÂ’t be easy. But nothing worth doing ever is.
Sooo true! Great post!
.-= Cathy´s last blog ..Now, if you promise not to tell
=-.

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2 Darren March 19, 2010 at 5:42 am

“Count your Calories, Move your Body, Hold yourself Accountable.”

This is a great breakdown of how you managed to combat your weight. Some people don’t always consider all three of your ‘basic principles’, effective weight loss requires all three!
.-= Darren´s last blog ..Hello world! =-.

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3 fit36.com March 19, 2010 at 6:34 am

Mac, excellent points, though I disagree (a bit) with the point on the necessity of tracking calories. For me, just being more aware of what I’m putting in my mouth, and making conscious decisions about eating is enough to create a caloric deficit (especially when combined with a reasonable amount of exercise).

Could I be making more rapid progress if I weighed, measured, and tracked? Probably. But I’d almost certainly quit. So for me, I keep track of my caloric deficit using the weight loss graphs and other data from PhysicsDiet. It’s much easier to weigh myself once a day then it is to record everything I eat so, for me, this approach is much more sustainable.

The beauty of PhysicsDiet is that, aside from giving you a nice smoothed curve of your body weight trends, it also translates the changes per unit time into a daily and weekly caloric deficit (or excess if you’re gaining). That gives me a real-world benchmark that I can use to adjust my eating “on the fly” if/when necessary.
.-= fit36.com´s last blog ..Learning to Run: Insights from an Expert =-.

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4 Seth@1010in2010 March 19, 2010 at 7:15 am

I’m with you about the public failure. Once I got a few readers — the pressure, as you said it, is on. This is for me but at the same time I think that through my own successes – people can have their own.

Good points.

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5 josie March 19, 2010 at 7:30 am

Great post…and really it accentuates a point I made recently too that weightloss is really a simple concept. Not “easy” but simple. Watch what you eat, Exercise, and accountability. Now following through all of that is the struggle…
.-= josie´s last blog ..Day 1 on Weight Watchers & a new definition of sore =-.

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6 macdaddy March 19, 2010 at 9:39 am

Fit36–You make some great points in your comment. If you’re meeting your targets, then you’re being successful and shouldn’t be changing anything. DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU is my motto! Physicsdiet provides a great way of tracking caloric deficit/surplus on a macro scale which works great for some people but it wasn’t enough for me. Maybe now it is, but when I wanted to lose weight, it wouldn’t have cut it.

Seth–accountability is the key. At least for me.

Josie–following through is the toughest part of any change, but it’s the real momentum builder, in my experiences.

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7 Frank Dobner March 19, 2010 at 9:44 am

This is about the best summary of sustainable weight loss that I have seen. We are social beings and the accountability part if about connecting to other people to help ensure results.
.-= Frank Dobner´s last blog ..The Truth About Loose Skin =-.

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8 Brandon March 19, 2010 at 9:50 am

Great post Mac, I agree with your 3 principles 100%. And I completely agree that the additional accountability of a blog has helped with my own weight loss goals. It’s one of those funny things – with your friends and family, they will love and support you no matter what. Sure, they’ll be supportive of your weight loss goals, but if you start to slip, most likely they’re not really going to say anything about it.

Even though I don’t “know” any of my blog readers, I feel a high degree of accountability to them. Sure, don’t want to disapoint myself, but I don’t want to disapoint them either. And if I am having a tough day or whatever, they’re always there to offer support and encouragement. There’s an awesome power to it really. I truly believe that I wouldn’t have been as successful as I’ve been so far if not for keeping my blog. I’ve still got plenty of weight I’d like to lose (40+ more pounds), and I know that I’ll be able to reach my goal, at least partially thanks to my blog and its’ wonderful readers (such as yourself).
.-= Brandon´s last blog ..Weekly weigh-in #11 =-.

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9 AndrewENZ March 19, 2010 at 10:15 am

I’m so with you on the three principles. The greatest of these is accountability for sure.

Eat less. Move more. Be accountable. If you can do all 3 of these consistently then you will see success. I don’t think just doing one is enough. It takes the trinity.
.-= AndrewENZ´s last blog ..The danger of being comfortable =-.

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10 Chad March 19, 2010 at 11:48 am

AMEN!!! You hit the nail on the head; couldn’t have said it better.
.-= Chad´s last blog ..Weighing In After My Night on the Town =-.

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11 J.D. March 19, 2010 at 1:27 pm

That’s strange. I could have sworn I’d heard Mac’s motto somewhere else before. :)

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12 macdaddy March 19, 2010 at 1:31 pm

didn’t think you needed the link :)

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13 fit36.com March 20, 2010 at 1:25 pm

J.D. and mac: I’m pretty sure it existed before either one of you adopted it. ;-)
.-= fit36.com´s last blog ..Learning to Run: Insights from an Expert =-.

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14 Carla March 21, 2010 at 1:25 pm

What a great post. The details may be different for each person, but the basics of weight loss are the same!

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15 Sean (Learn Fitness) March 21, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Great posting … It’s like reading about myself except it’s taken me 10 years and quite a few more starts and stops. The journey may not be exciting in how it’s done but to be honest there isn’t anything wrong with simple and boring. Exciting and fast usually means side-effects and regrets. Simple, slow, and consistent means it’ll last and you’ll be happier on the journey.

I think accountability via a blog is a fantastic way to lose weight and get healthy. Now only are there lots of great people on the internet to support you but it will help you come out of your shell. When you lose your weight your going to want to do things you’ve never done before and after interacting online with people and sharing your story it’ll help break out of that shell.

Great post, well worth it for people who have been on this journey for a while or are just starting out.
.-= Sean (Learn Fitness)´s last blog ..Less than perfect but very focused =-.

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16 Scott March 21, 2010 at 7:27 pm

I love your Three Mantras for Weight Loss.

I so agree with the Weight Loss is simple, but no one said it was easy.

The cool thing about accountability is that it is so personal. For you, it was the posting your goals on your blog. For others, it might be getting your weight down for a wedding or a reunion.

For me, Its amazing how my weight always seems to drop right before I take any type of vacation where I’ll be swimming.

Another thought about exercise and being accountable, when I was younger, I used to be involved in many different sports. In fact, when I was a kid, I often was at the playground, tennis court, basketball, court, baseball diamond, etc for all hours of the day. Sport activities and competition would hold me accountable. I had to be ready. I think having a date where you must be ready to complete a personal challenge is a very effective way to keep yourself accountable. I think this is why 10k’s, marathons, and triathlons seem to be growing in popularity. I know for me having the triathlon at the end of the summer is a motivating factor in my exercise plans.
.-= Scott´s last blog ..fitbloggin can wear a person out. =-.

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17 Rita March 23, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Loved it! I’m hoping the world is slowly going to be taken over by a common sense revolution. And it starts and ends right in those three little steps.

Unfortunately, people still visibly get disinterested (commence eye rolling sequence) when your response to their, “how did you do it” question is: I stopped eating garbage, starting eating things that resembled food and moved my butt off the couch and out the door. Maybe if we were to put a shinny bow on it somehow…

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