Saving the world, saving money and losing weight; its all about commitment to a lifestyle change.

About a month ago I put myself on a diet. Well that’s not actually true, I’m not on a diet, I’ve changed my diet. Diets are for losing that extra 5 pounds before some grand occasion, they’re fickle things and tend to not have any long term effects. The curse of the recurring pounds. There are two well determined ways to lose fat, eat less calories and exercise more. Eat less and move more. A combination of these things has been proven to be the best method of losing weight and keeping it off. You know what the trick is? Its all about the lifestyle change.

Exercise is something I enjoy if I’m getting it by proxy, through activities that I enjoy. The gym sucks, its boring and I don’t like how it smells or feels. I spend lots of my free time contemplating my day and life in general so I don’t feel any need for the ‘personal time’ or the feeling of ‘getting away’ that is often lofted as a reason to go to the gym. I would be at the gym to exercise and exercising at the gym is boring. You must know your limits. I understand that if my lifestyle requires gym time, I’m not going to stick to it. One must pick a lifestyle change that they can commit to and I’m not prepared to go to the gym regularly. Instead I try and take opportunities to get more exercise when they arise, most often this means walking around downtown more.

Eating less is often harder. I only ate two, sometimes three, meals a day. And I didn’t feel like they were too big, but you know what? They must have been. If I’m overweight its because I’m consuming more calories than I’m using. My trick for changing how much I felt I needed to eat, and to manage my eating is this: I decided to when I felt like I was full. I started paying attention to how I feel as I eat, and when the feeling of hunger recedes I stop. I’m talking about real hunger here, not your brains desire to taste the tastes, but the body’s desire for nourishment. I changed when I decided I was full.

You know what that caused to happen? Now I get hungrier more often. Instead of fighting it, because I know if I fought it I’d lose out eventually and my lifestyle change would revert, I just eat again but again I stop when the hunger recedes. This management has reduced my calorie intake drastically and I never feel hungry. I eat what I want and when I want but I manage the calories. The trick is to eat when you’re body needs it, and only as much as it needs. Calories in vs. calories out. I’m a programmer, which means a desk job, which means I need less calories and I’ve changed my life to accept this fact. I’ve lost 20 pounds in a month this way.

At my work we have a system where you can order lunch through one of two options that change daily. I used to eat the whole meal, now with my new lifestyle I eat only half of the meal. I save the rest and I eat it for lunch the next day. When I go out to dinner the same thing happens. I’m spending only half as much money on food as I used to. So now I’m saving money and I’m losing weight.

Also, since I’m not eating as much there is more food in the world. Its a small change, and not even noticeable but its there. So now I’m saving the world, saving money and losing weight.

Its about commitment to a lifestyle change. Its about standing up to yourself and saying, goddamnit I’m not that person anymore. I used to be like that, but thats not me anymore. I’m not like that anymore. Its about commitment to a lifestyle change, commitment to changing yourself through your actions. Its about quitting with the excuses and changing the way you live your life. Its about realizing that if you’re unhappy, then you need to change. Its about admitting you have control, and that if you’re not who and how you want to be then it is because somewhere you failed to exercise that control properly, but you still have control and its still up to you to be who you want to be.

Change who you are until you are who you want to be and damn the critics.

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10 Responses to “Saving the world, saving money and losing weight; its all about commitment to a lifestyle change.”

  1. A couple of months ago I read about a study comparing European (maybe French?) eating with American eating habits. The study showed that Americans tend to eat based on quantity, where Europeans tend to eat based on feeling. Meaning, Americans would eat until there plate was empty, but Europeans would stop eating once they no longer felt hungry. I think we can all see the correlation, although it doesn’t necessarily imply causation.

  2. john jensen Says:

    You weren’t asking for advice, but I would try being a part-time vegetarian, too. It’s super easy to stick to. From what I’ve read, we only “need” meat about once a week yet the American diet has us eating it multiple times a day.

    Meat is more calorie dense than almost any fruit of vegetable and it also has a very severe environmental impact. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy meat and it’s not “evil” at all, but I’ve lost about 15 points and kept it off even though my gym activity has dropped just by switching to cooking with more vegetables and whole grains.

  3. john jensen Says:

    And you’re completely right about a diet being a lifestyle. It certainly isn’t a temporary thing.

  4. Dan Baron Says:

    Josh,
    I’ve kept up on your blogs, and you’ve got some really good stuff. You’ve definitely got the right idea when it comes to eating healthy and exercising being a lifestyle and not a diet. So many people are quick to call healthy eating habits “diets” when that’s not really what it is at all. It’s simply taking care of yourself so that you can live a long and rewarding life. Many people take for granted the gifts of physical abilities they have and destroy their health and well being. Congratulations on the new lifestyle, keep it up.

  5. Dan Baron Says:

    Kevin made a good point as well. I saw that same article. To Europeans food is about the quality and not the quantity. Plus eating when you’re hungry, and stopping when you’re not ensures that your body always has fuel to burn. Which will raise your metabolism even when you’re not exercising.

  6. Josh Wittner Says:

    Kevin,

    You should hit me up with a link to that article if you can find it. I think there are many reasons that combined account for America’s obesity problem and I think this is one of them.

    John,

    I’ve always loved vegetables and I have increased my intake of vegetables over meat, mostly by enjoying a good salad for dinner more often. Its a great way to drop calories without eating less. That said, if you manage the calories intake properly, what you eat isn’t as important.

    Dan,

    Hey man! That’s super cool that you’ve been reading my blogs. Thanks for the encouraging words too! It is all about the lifestyle.

  7. I think you’re looking good dude. I’d bang the holy piss outta you if I was into that sorta thing.

  8. Josh Wittner Says:

    Thanks Ben, that means a lot to me.

  9. Emily (Morris) Hansen Says:

    Hey Josh,

    I’m enjoying your blog, and certainly believe that committing yourself to changing one aspect of your life has a tendency to lead to unexpected (and usually welcomed) changes in others. Keep it up!

  10. Josh Wittner Says:

    Hey Emily,

    I thoroughly agree, change is hard to keep localized and that’s a good thing if the change is positive. Thanks for reading!

    Man it really is good to hear from you,
    Wittner

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