How do you lose weight and get fit?

22 August 2016, Blaine Pinch

Answer: The same way you eat an elephant

How do you lose weight and get fit?

Firstly, let me start off by telling you that in Jan 01 2016 I was 115kg and by June 14th 2016 I was 84kg. So I know a thing or two about this topic.

I have always been overweight and I have tried many times to lose weight but nothing stuck. How was this time different? Attitude and technique.

Losing weight and getting fit is like trying to quit smoking or stop doing anything that is unhealthy for you. It takes the desire to do it! I do not mean looking in a mirror and saying or thinking “wow! I look big [or unfit] I should do something about it.” Or “I really look bad in that picture. I hate looking fat.”.

I said that to myself a million times but I did nothing about it. Again it’s like smokers say about smoking “quitting is easy, I quit smoking a few times a day, It’s stopping smoking that is hard!”.  In weight loss or getting fit, it’s easy to do something once or for a couple of days. It’s changing the way you eat or exercise forever that will make a difference.

So you need to decide firstly, for yourself, that you really want to lose weight and get fit! Once you have done that there is now the issue with how! You need to start with the right attitude but that will not help you without a technique.

Firstly, like all things in life you want to be successful with, create goals with milestones! Start with a big one and then divide it in to smaller ones.

My first goal was to be down to 84kg by my birthday. And my smaller ones included: walking up a flight of stairs without being out of breath within 2 months; getting on a sitting position on the floor with my 5 year old granddaughter without feeling like it was falling; being able to get up from a sitting position on the floor without help; being able to walk around when on vacation without doing a lot of “benching” … etc.

You can see that my small goals were small and my big one seemed BIG. So how do you do it once you have that done!   

There is an entire industry out there “helping you” lose weight and get fit. So what one will work for you! For me, when I started I became overwhelmed with everything I would need to do to get to even one of my smallest goals! So I started thinking of this like eating an elephant.

How do you eat an elephant? One small piece at a time! Everything is easier if you do only one little thing first and then build on it.

Stopping, what and how I was eating seemed too big a piece (of this elephant) to swallow so I needed to find something smaller. An old used gift I got my wife for Christmas two years before provided the solution. I got her a Fitbit activity tracker. No, I’m not a jerk husband; she asked for a Fitbit then tried it for a week and lost interest. I found it in a drawer and asked her if I could use it.

So the activity tracker came with an app that let me know how many steps I took in a day and how many minutes of activity I did in a day as well as other stats.

The Fitbit buzzed and flashed when I had done 5,000 steps in a day! This seemed easy. I would walk a bit more. 

One of the key things of exercise is doing it regular and often. Why walking and not running or something more strenuous?

I wanted to burn calories – calories = fat.

But caloric burn depends on a workout's duration as well as its intensity -- and it's easier to work out longer when exercising at a lower intensity. Also you are less likely to injure yourself at a lower intensity.  If you work out too hard and injure yourself, you will be forced to stop exercising.  So lower intensity is better for overall fitness and staying on track and therefore burn calories!    

So I started by getting off the bus one stop before the one I would get off for work. And I would not call my wife to pick me up in the car from the bus stop when I got home (unless it was snowing really badly). In no time at all I was meeting my 5000 step goal with ease and I had 20 minutes of “active minutes” a day! So I changed my step goal to 8000 steps per day.

As side effect I was not as hungry as I was before. Looking at changing my eating habits did not seem like as big a bite out of this elephant as it did before. So I started two things: I started drinking more water and I stopped eating “white” food. I could still eat as much as I wanted but I would no longer eat bread, noodles, or potatoes but I could eat unlimited “colorful” food.

Since my apatite was getting to be less and I was walking a lot more I was really starting to lose weight. I was no longer breathless after going up a flight of stairs! By March I had lost 16kg and I was walking everywhere. I started walking three stops before my bus for my bus ride home, I was walking every other day at lunch and I stopping call my wife for a pickup!

The Running Room store near my place was offering a walk-fit class that ran three days a week. So I thought I might take it. However, when I went to signup I was informed that they did not have a coach/instructor for it yet and it may not start without one. A asked what they were looking for in a coach and I found that I met the qualifications! So I started working there as a walk-fit coach! As part of the functions of a that walk-fit coach I had to get 4 speakers in to talk to the group about Nutrition, injury prevention, stretching and “Core”, and the bio-mechanics of walking.

The speaker that came in top talk about Nutrition was Dr. Todd Norton. He had written an article in a local magazine in 2006 called “13 Steps to Better Health”. He talked about this article and stressed that even if you did just one of these things it would make a difference in your overall health.  The 13 things are:

  1. Get more sleep
  2. Get rid of sugar and refined Carbohydrates
  3. Eat slow-release Carbohydrates
  4. Eat a nourishing breakfast
  5. Time your meals consistently
  6. Eat high quality, lean protein with most meals
  7. Eat high quality fats and oils (like fish oils)
  8. Eat lots of Fruits and vegetables
  9. Eat a variety of foods from all food groups
  10. Drink water
  11. Minimize caffeinated beverages 
  12. Take good quality multi-vitamin
  13. Choose “Food” not Fortified “food”

I had already been doing many of the things on this list as I did a couple more.

So by then I was walking almost every day and I was up to 10,000 steps a day (average) without really trying.

I have now completed my second walk-fit class that I have coached. I’m up to an average of 25,000 steps a day and I made my goal on my birthday of 84kg.

My new goals are to be at down to 54kg by Dec 31st and run a ½ marathon. Since I have learned the secret of eating the elephant, I’m confident that I will be met these goals.

-Blaine Pinch

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