(migrated from an old blog)
Regardless of what people say, there is only one surefire way for losing weight:
Eat less, exercise more
There are exceptions, of course (e.g. you need surgery due to hormonal/endocrine system problems), but for almost all of us, those four words should be enough to make everyone’s lose weight.
Unfortunately, most people fail to do the whole thing properly. Some just lower their food intake, others just exercise. I even believe that most of those who do both don’t eat the right foods and don’t exercise properly (which would explain the low success rate of the people I meet in the gym back then).
The concepts of dieting and exercise would have to be deferred to the other posts. This post will instead deal with what you should do before deciding to cut your diet and hit the gym.
Why do you want to undergo a fitness regimen?
Finding the real answer to this question is probably the most important thing to do in a fitness regimen. By “real”, I mean you must find the underlying reason why you want to do this.
You might answer “I want to lose weight”, but that is still pretty vague; Why do you want to lose weight?
Continue going through the “why”s until the reason/s you find are about as specific as “I want to lose weight to avoid the health risks related to obesity” or “I want my body to look good when we go to the beach next month”.
Now write them down somewhere. We’re going to use them in the rest of this post as well as the next few posts.
Will your problem be solved by dieting and exercise?
A simple question for your reasons/problems, but still an important one.
There are things that cannot be done by normal fitness regimens, for example, you cannot expect drastic changes to your physique with less than 3 months of regular dieting and exercise. If your reason fall under this, it’s advisable to either change your goal (e.g. screw the beach, but still work out to get a head start for the beach outing after that) or remove it from your reasons altogether (e.g. losing weight will not turn a jerk into an admirable person).
There are also things that cannot be addressed by a fitness regimen alone. The simplest would probably be the “I want to look more presentable for…” one. For that problem, losing weight and getting toned muscles might not be enough. That person might also need to improve his/her wardrobe, hair, attitude, etc. in addition to those. In these cases, the person must also take note the stuff he/she needs to do to complement the fitness regimen.
Do you think this is the right time for a lifestyle change?
Not really related to the reasons we tackled above, but still a valid question. You must realize that any fitness regimen is practically a lifestyle change. Some people think that they could squeeze in dieting and exercise in their hectic lives, but trust me, you will fall off the wagon if you have other pressing issues with your life.
My fitness regimen (the one that pulled my weight from 155 lbs down to 132) started back in August 2006, smack dab in the middle of my burnout. While that might not be the right time for most people to start working out, it worked for me because I was so burned out that I didn’t care about my work anymore. Because of this apathetic approach to work, I practically had no issues that would conflict with my regimen.
That regimen stopped at around May 2007 when I started caring about work again. With pressing deadlines and other problems to take care of, I was no longer able to focus on my regimen.