You Have To Change Your Lifestyle...

“You have to change your lifestyle.”

Always said with a perfectly straight face and deadly serious tone it’s one of the most commonly used phrases when it comes to weight loss. I’ve been guilty of it many times myself.

But what the heck is a lifestyle change?

You’re smart enough to understand if you want to lose weight, get in shape or build a physique, obviously, you’re going to need to make some changes to reach the goal. All too often, those changes are lumped into the “lifestyle change” category without much thought about what it means and what’s required.

What if I like my life now but I’m not happy being twenty-pounds overweight?

Why do I have to change my whole “lifestyle?”

It’s a valid question and one fraught with peril if we’re not careful answering and then defining the process.

Do you know the number of times I’ve had someone tell me they’re going to call me in a few months to start working out because they have a lot going on at work right now and won’t be able to get results?

How crazy does that sound?

Life will always throw something at you designed to keep you from working out or eating right. I said that on purpose, it’s not “designed” to do that, you just use it as an excuse – come to recognize it as exactly that – an excuse.

(Here’s a great one I’ve used myself: Eva and I are from Texas and we love the weather here in Birmingham. We can always find an excuse to sit outside, drink beer and eat nachos or whatever happens to strike our fancy. Back home, it’s either too hot or too cold – usually too hot.)

It’s our job to teach you the relationship between what you’re eating and the effect it has on your body and the goals you’ve set.

It’s your job to get the job done and stop making excuses.

Just remember: If you want something to change you’re going to have to change something.

Obviously, you’re not happy with your weight and you’d like to change it. It’s also obvious you’re going to have to make some changes in order to accomplish it.

You were aware of it long before you come to us for help.

The answer you get from fitness professionals is usually a blend of the knowledge that, while you can be given the tools to reach your goals, there’s a probability you’ll eventually end up right back where you started sometime in the future.

Our goal is to help you learn to live, at your goal weight, where you enjoy life and all it has to offer. Go to restaurants with friends and family and travel to all the places you’ve dreamed about knowing you have the tools and the knowledge to keep your weight and physique right there through it all.

For Eva and me, it’s not that we want you to “change your lifestyle.” What we really want is for you to make the changes necessary to stay at your goal weight indefinitely while learning how to occasionally sit outside, drink beer and eat nachos – or whatever happens to strike your fancy.

So, we don’t want you to change your lifestyle, we just want you to adapt part of it so it supports your goals and the new you you’ve created. We didn’t say you couldn’t have a drink, eat dessert or enjoy the holidays.

As a matter of fact, we’re saying life requires it – or whatever your version of it happens to be.

We want you to learn, and then implement, strategies about nutrition, exercise and living that will help you stay there forever.

Losing weight requires some changes to your current diet. Where most people fail is when they hit the goal weight and go back to regular living. This is what we call “maintenance calories.” You haven’t been equipped to go back out in the world and you go right back to your old ways.

This is what got you in trouble in the first place.

You’ve done all the work to get there and there’s nothing we hate more than seeing someone reach their goals, leave us and then – we see them a year or two later – and they’re as big as or bigger than when we first met.

If you’ve tried to lose weight before you’ve probably been told to cut out all sorts of foods, alcohol and… fun.

What if we learn how to lose weight while eating all those things – or at least a version of it that supports our goals? What if we learn the relationship they have to our current weight and body composition, how to alter that current state and how to live at our new weight and body composition while still eating and drinking our way through life?

Wouldn’t that be cool?

If you’ve read our book, 3 Eating Guidelines: The Confused Food Lover’s Guide to Weight Loss, you know there are a couple of things you can’t escape when it comes to eating and nutrition. Namely, calories determine weight loss or gain and macronutrient profile determines what weight loss or gain looks like.

Eating Adam’s Cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory has a cost in terms of calories and macronutrients. But eating an egg white omelet has a cost too. It’s a matter of learning what that cost is and how to fit it into your “lifestyle” without wrecking all you’ve accomplished.

We’re living proof it can be done.

We eat dessert every night, we eat at restaurants and we love to travel.

You can do the same as well.

Let’s start by thinking about what we’re eating every day and whether the cost we pay is really worth the benefit we receive. Set your sights higher and start thinking of yourself as being worth more.

We think you’re worth more than eating grocery store cookies – and certainly worth more than eating half a box of them in front of the TV. The same goes for the processed and packaged foods sold in the grocery store as well as most of the junk you get from your average restaurant.

Think about eating simple and delicious whole foods. They’re bursting with flavor and nutrients that support your goals and long-term health. Five-star restaurants prepare their foods with whole ingredients not the junk we’re sold in the store by the food industry.

You can have the same thing at home every night – it’s cheaper than going to a restaurant and a lot easier than you think.

We want you to dream big when it comes to food and life.

Does anyone dream of going on vacation and staying at a fleabag motel?

Did you settle for a “sort of okay guy” when you got married?

I’ll bet the last time you bought a new car you looked for the nicest one with as many bells and whistles as you could get for your money.

Treat your food and eating the same way. You can eat grilled chicken or steak with stir-fried vegetables and rice or couscous done quickly and inexpensively. It’s fresh, hot, it tastes wonderful and it supports both your goals and your long-term health and wellness.  

We often grill burgers with local, grass-fed beef and some quickly sautéed mushrooms, onion and jalapeño – that’s called Cowtown after the famous Kincaid’s Grocery back home. Add some cheese and a small bag of Popchips and you’re good to go. If you know us, then you know it’s figured into our calories and macros and it works for us.

Yes, you can track your food and have cheeseburgers and chips with dessert afterwards. It’s not a “cheat” meal.

As our client, Jan, says, “Who are you cheating?”

If you read Eva’s article The Eating Season Is Upon Us then you know we both eat dessert every night. It might not be anything more than a single piece of chocolate or a spoonful or two of ice cream but we end the night right. We figure dessert into our eating plan and we make it work for us.

There are also times when we’ve worked very hard, hit major goals or had big successes in our business and that Adam’s Cheesecake I mentioned earlier gets eaten.

As we laid out in our article Football, Friends & Restaurants, there’s nothing wrong with hanging out with friends and enjoying great times. You just have to pick and choose when it’s time to splurge. I promise, if you’re eating things at home like we just described, you aren’t going to think what you’re ordering at Buffalo Wild Wings tastes very good. But you can still go and have a fabulous time.

The key to success is to realize, “You need to eat right most of the time but you need to be aware of what you’re eating all of the time.”

By doing so you’ll be able to go through life enjoying the good things.

As we said before, you’re smart enough to know you can’t go through life eating anything you want and drinking all you want. Unless you want to be fat and unhealthy – it’s going to catch up to you eventually.

If you’re trying to lose weight right now it’s already caught up to you.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t lose weight while enjoying life. Nor does it mean you can’t enjoy the rest of your days maintaining the new you while having great times.

We can help you find the nutritional awareness, combined with a simple exercise regimen that will get you there and keep you there.

More on that later,

Henry