Tennis season is just around the corner and I’m on a mission to get in the best shape possible to help defend our 2012 league championship. There’s only one problem. I’ve let myself go a little this winter as I seem to always do every winter since freshman year of college.
I firmly believe effective weight loss is all about the diet and that staying in shape has less to do with how much you exercise. The more you exercise, the hungrier you get. The hungrier you get, the more easily it is to overeat way beyond what you just burned off. Take it from me, someone who plays tennis three times a week for 1.5 hours each session. No matter how hard I try to get below 160 pounds and stay there at 5′ 10″ tall, I can’t.
My favorite drink is Gatorade after every single workout. Sure Gatorade provides electrolytes and replenishes nutrients lost through sweat, but each quart I down contains 200 calories. It takes on average one mile of jogging to burn 100 calories for your reference. My quart of gatorade wipes out about 30 minutes of workout in the three minutes it takes to drink the darn thing!
If only I could just drink three Gatorades all day, I’d lose weight in a hurry. Alas, I also eat tons of fruit, which although good for you, contains a tremendous amount of fructose. I love mangoes and can eat three for breakfast with ease. Unfortunately, three mangoes equals about 400 calories, more than a quarter pounder cheeseburger which contains roughly 350 calories according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Of these, 123 calories are fat, 118 are carbohydrates, and 62 calories are protein.
For the longest time, I thought I was eating a normal amount of food. The fact of the matter is, I was eating way more calories than I should due to the biases I had in my head of what is considered good food, and what is considered bad food!
To get you pumped up for losing some weight, I’ve provided two charts that are amalgamations of research I’ve done for what the ideal body weight is for men and women. These weight loss charts keep me motivated as they piss me off for how light they are across every category.
Ideal Body Weight For Men
|Height in Feet&Inches||Small Frame||Medium Frame||Large Frame|
Ideal Body Weight For Women
|Height in Feet&Inches||Small Frame||Medium Frame||Large Frame|
Definition of medium-frame: Your middle finger and thumb just touch when you hold your wrist. You are large-framed if your fingers do not touch. You are small-framed if your fingers overlap.
I’m going to guess that if you live in America, the land of processed foods and sugar overload, you are likely not ideal body weight! I’m medium framed and weigh roughly 165 pounds. Not bad, but not ideal. It’s frustrating because I work out three times a week and try and eat healthy. That said, I know I’m about 10 pounds heavier than ideal weight on the tennis court because 150-155 pounds is where I was in high school and college.
Strategies To Lose Weight
1) Cut out as much sugar and processed food as possible. Sugar kills. There’s no other way to say it. The problem is that we are inundated with products that contain sugar. An easy way to cut down half your sugar intake is to replace all fluids with water. This includes sports drinks, soda, and alcohol. Food that comes in a box is processed food. The nutrients are largely gone by the time you eat or recook the food again. Instead, try and eat as much raw vegetables as possible.
2) Remove your food biases. Gatorade and other sports drinks are not good for you if consumed in large quantities because of the sugar. Marketing makes people think they’ll all turn into Michael Jordan because of Gatorade. Forget about it. Fruit is wonderful, but unfortunately contains massive amounts of fructose. It can also blow up your stomach if you eat too much, so be moderate in the amount that you eat.
3) Understand how many calories are in your favorite foods. If you don’t know how many calories you are eating, how will you know whether you are eating too many or too few? Your 10 favorite foods should account for the majority of your diet, so start there and work your way down. There are an endless amount of online calorie calculators to choose from. Also learn how to portion some of your food. There are cool gadgets to help you with this but if you still need to eat high caloric foods, the best thing to do is portion it out.
4) Don’t work out too much. There is a point of diminishing returns where your body starts getting overly fatigued to the point of injury. For most people, 45-60 minutes of intense workout is where diminishing returns kick in, however the point is different for everybody. Instead of going for massively long workouts, increase the frequency of 30-60 minute workouts. This way, you get the most bang for your buck and reduce your chances of overeating.
5) Think about the millions of starving children. There are literally over one hundred million starving children in the world who will die prematurely. As soon as we become mindful of the suffering of others, we become more mindful of how much we eat. If you really want to lose weight, take a flight to Calcutta, India and stay for a couple weeks to experience poverty. You will come back a changed person.
Weight Loss Is Straightforward
We all know that in order to lose weight you must consume less calories than you expend. The concept is exactly the same when it comes to building wealth and personal finance. You don’t want to be poor and unhealthy, yet unfortunately there is a correlation between the two.
After struggling with my weight in 20 pound yo-yo’s for the past twenty years, I strongly believe that weight loss is attainable by practically everyone. If the winners of The Biggest Loser can lose hundreds of pounds of body fat in three month of filming the season, and if a man can lose 27 pounds in 10 weeks by eating a Twinkie Diet, then so can you.
I’m sick of making excuses for myself for why I can’t get back to fighting weight again. A slowing metabolism and older age are not real reasons! The reason why I’ve been stuck is because I simply love food more than I hate not being in ideal weight. But now, I hate having to run around with an extra 10 pounds of fat on the court as I try and vanquish my opponents in the upcoming tennis season.
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Untemplaters, do you think people who want to lose weight but don’t after months of trying really don’t want to lose weight? Is the idea of losing weight more attractive than the actual weight loss itself?
Do you think that we live in a bubble in North America given the abundance of food and water? Why can’t we recognize how much poverty and starvation there are in other parts of the world? Do you think that once we realize the suffering of others, we’ll do a better job of eating in moderation?
What is your excuse for why you can’t lose weight?
Picture: Everyday, this man walks up 588 steps at least five times a day from Santorini harbor to Fira. Diet over exercise. SD.