Do you often feel like the snowman in the cartoon above? Many people that have joined me on the Vince Diet have made similar comments. My friends Kim and Brett just recently told me that they had been struggling to lose any weight, despite working out. After lunch with my wife and me, they started on their version of the Vince Diet, and are collectively down more than 20 pounds in the last three weeks!
An old Chinese proverb says that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
What is the single step that will start you on a journey towards a healthy weight loss program and a healthy new you? In my first post, How we lost 69 pounds! I write about how I was introduced to the Keto Diet by a chance article in my local newspaper headlined by a simple recipe called “Eggs in The Forest”. This was a simple combination of bacon, fried eggs, and Bok choy sautéed in the bacon fat alongside the eggs. Delicious! You can read about my version of a very similar combination here: Collards with Bacon Eggs and Jalapeno Jack Cheese – Keto Diet Comfort Food.
As I’ve thought more about my own journey and how I can help others, I have come to the realization that this newspaper article was not the triggering event for my change. The triggering event actually happened a little earlier that morning when I stepped on the bathroom scale and didn’t like the numbers that appeared on it. That event put my weight front and center in my mind and opened up my mind to reading that article and then acting on it.
Many people who write about diets and weight loss suggest that you shouldn’t weigh yourself every day, as your weight can fluctuate quite dramatically from day-to-day and during the day. Think about it. Your goal is to drink eight to ten 16 ounce glasses of water per day. Each glass of water weighs about 1 pound. Depending on where your body is in its hydration cycle, just that water can add two to four pounds at any given time. Despite these fluctuations, I believe that weighing yourself daily is the single most important step in getting started on a weight loss plan.
In business, there is a saying, “What gets measured gets managed.” I’ve worked for nine different companies in many roles, and have consulted with many other companies. I can tell you this is an absolute fact. Or, maybe it is a fact because guys and gals like me run around saying it all the time. It applies to your weight loss program as well. If you start weighing yourself every day, you will start to manage your weight. Whether you manage it up or down is up to you. My young, athletic boys and their friends are managing their weight up. My wife and I, and now, many of our friends, both real and virtual, are managing theirs down, or are in maintenance modes.
Back to that irritating thing about weight fluctuations, here is how to let that work in your favor. Like a scientist, the first thing to do is reduce the number of variables in your measurement process.
Get consistent about the habits that surround when you weigh yourself. As soon as you wake up, empty your bladder, get naked (its your bathroom, you can get naked), and step on the scale. Before coffee, before a glass of water, before you brush your teeth, before you look at your phone. This will get you to your most consistent weight measurement.
Now comes the hard part. Write it down. I have been using the Samsung Health app on my Galaxy. I moved the app to my front page, so I can easily get to it and record my weight every day. If you love tech, you can get a scale that will have its own app, and will talk to your phone or I-pad, or whatever. I believe that there is a habit-forming and consciousness raising benefit to the act of manually recording the data rather than letting the technology do it for you, but do what works for you.
The interesting thing about having done this for over one year is what I have seen about how the weight loss program works. There are days when it seems like a little weight comes off every day, then it will plateau for a few days, perhaps increase, then, just as suddenly, it will drop several pounds. The day-to-day changes are not too important, what is important is the trend, and the habits you will form by measuring it every day.
Now that you are recording your weight consistently every day, you are putting your weight front and center in your mind every morning, giving you a chance to start thinking about your weight goals first thing in the morning. With your phone in your hand, you can refer back to this website or others for healthy tips and tricks. My downloadable keto shopping list is here.
Think twice about that frappucino on the the way to work, eliminate sugary drinks. Think about what you ate and drank yesterday, was it a good combination? Did you record what you ate and drank? Are you going to start recording your intake today? Take a walk? Go to the gym?
Back to business, body weight is what we call an output measure. It is the sum total of every food, beverage, and exercise decision that you have made up to the point when you weighed yourself. It is now up to you to decide what to do about your inputs going forward. You have established a baseline, and a consistent process about how you will measure your weight. Now you can build and manage your weight loss program.
How are you going to get started?
Visit James Clear’s site for excellent writing and his book on habits, including great ideas about how to establish your environment to improve your habits.
Thanks to The Florida Times Union for publishing cartoons every day!