At the beginning of the year, I discovered that I was not in ideal weight and it pissed me off. At 167-169 pounds, I thought I was doing pretty good for a middle-aged guy standing 5′ 10″ until spending a couple hours of research online for the post. It turns out that based on the majority of reports, I was actually about ~10 pounds overweight, which is a lot since I don’t weight that much to begin with.
With tennis season just three months away at the time, I didn’t want to be out of shape. My teammates were counting on me. In competitive sports there’s the triumvirate mind, body, and skills for winning. The body is the EASIEST thing to optimize, which means during competition against high caliber opponents, they are all in great shape. Having an ideal body weight is standard (ever see an overweight professional tennis player?), and therefore one is able to focus their energy on mental strength and specific skills.
For well over a decade, I had an enormous mental block that I had to overcome. I told myself it was IMPOSSIBLE to get under 160 pounds, even though I was a lean 155 pounds in college. I kept saying there was no way I could break 160 because of work and a slower metabolism. I accepted weight creep and the ideology that people automatically gain 10 pounds every decade.
PLEASE TELL ME ANOTHER EXCUSE
I’ve heard and made all the excuses before: “I’m big boned“, “I have broad shoulders“, “I’m allergic to healthy foods“, “Health food is expensive“, “How am I supposed to work out when I have a desk job?“, “I’ve never been ideal weight” and so forth. Deep down, we all know our excuses are bullshit, and we simply like to eat and relax more than we like to exercise.
Working out in the gym is one of the most boring and pointless things to do, unless of course there are incredibly attractive people around you. Can you imagine people 100 years ago spending money to go lift weights in a gym? That’s just dumb. Instead, people would get there workouts by doing something productive like hunting, running errands, and playing sports. I visited Olympia, Greece in the Fall of 2011, and even back then people engaged in physical activity for purpose (Olympics) rather than just trying to look good.
I can run for at most 35 minutes before I give up in exhaustion. Yet, I can play 4.5 hours of tennis before passing out. The reason is because when you’re having fun, you don’t even realize you’re exercising. It’s the same thing with work. The mind is that powerful. As a result, I encourage everyone who hates to go to the gym to find a physical activity they enjoy doing. Hiking and biking are low skill sports that come to mind. Surfing, kite-boarding, and snowboarding are high skill sports at the other end of the spectrum. And then of course there is tennis, soccer, walking a golf course, basketball, and booze ball.
After three and a half months, I’ve lost about 10 pounds and I’d like to go through the checklist of how I got there. Hopefully this post will provide some weight loss takeaways for you to get motivated, and also keep me motivated to stay in shape.
WEIGHT LOSS GOALS REVIEW & ANALYSIS
* Every two hours spent writing will be matched by 30 minutes of exercise. So long as I keep this 4:1 mental-to-physical ratio, I will at least not blow out. I regularly am online 20 hours a week, therefore I will exercise 5 hours a week. Simple as apple pie with vanilla ice cream on top.
Review: Computer work alone has probably created more spare tires than Goodyear. This 4:1 mental-to-physical ratio has largely been followed. I haven’t been super stringent, but I do know that for many weeks, I’ve worked out way more than the 4:1 ratio would dictate. Take playing 6 sets over 4.5 hours for example. I didn’t end up working online for 18 hours over the next 24 hours. Instead, I probably spent 18 hours online over the next 6 days, but in those 6 days, I played another 4 hours of tennis.
* Do 60 push-ups and 150 sit-ups for every basketball and football game watched. Watching sports is bad for an athlete, because it’s a double negative. Instead of playing sports ourselves, we’re rotting away our bodies and our minds. Not good that I’m a college sports fanatic.
Review: TV is a waste of time for the most part. There was this one week stretch when Jeremy Lin of the Knicks blew up that I watched all his games and followed my push-ups and sit-ups routine. I also watched a lot of March Madness and followed the routine as well. But now, I probably do 60 push-ups and 150 sit-ups only twice a week because I’m not watching much at all. The goal is to really replace watching with playing.
* Eat more slowly to give the body time to know it’s eaten. It takes 15-20 minutes for the body to know one is full. Hence, that 15-20 minutes is a crucial period where one can overeat and gain a lot of weight. The solution is to eat slowly and be mindful of everything I put in my mouth.
Review: This was an easy goal to accomplish. Instead of gorging myself like a hungry hippo as soon as the food comes out, I give thanks and reflect on my travels abroad where food is a luxury. I also began serving everyone at the table first, before digging in myself. By doing so, I’ve added about 5-10 minutes on average per meal, which has helped me not over eat.
* Eat vegetarian 40% of the time. The system will either be 2 out of 5 meals a day vegetarian, or eat vegetarian 3 days a week. With this mindset, I hope to then average 40% of the time eating vegetarian and more raw foods. Eating vegetarian feels great, is good for digestion, and could very well be cheaper. I will also consciously reduce dairy and sugar from my diet.
Review: My diet has drastically changed. I’ve gone from 30% vegetarian to 75% vegetarian now (3 out of 4 or 4 out of 5 meals are vegetarian). I’ve sought out all the best vegetarian and organic restaurants in San Francisco, and have found the food to be delicious! One of the key barriers to not eating more vegetarian is not being able to find good vegetarian food. In big cities, one just has to look to discover they are all over the place. I’ve cut out pretty much all low quality meats from my meals, and have replaced the cubes of chicken and beef with with tofu. I’ve actually begun to crave good vegetarian food and feel a little sick eating meat. A mental shift has begun. Alas, I can still eat a dry aged rib-eye no problem, but haven’t done so this year come to think of it, so maybe not! I don’t drink soda or juice and I hardly ever eat chocolate or candy. I do believe sugar kills.
* Stop ordering the nicest, most expensive food during client meals! When things are “free”, it’s easy to order the most expensive and highest caloric item on the menu! This is partly why you don’t want to pay more taxes to the government, because they will spend your money unwisely. Instead of thinking about the most delicious thing on the menu, I’ll consider the most delicious and healthiest items. Perhaps items such as beet salad, mussels in white wine sauce, skinless chicken breasts, lamb chops instead of massive prime ribs, and so forth.
Review: Another really easy goal that has been accomplished. I look for quality over quantity now. I’m cognizant of the really buttery and cheesy dishes and try to avoid. I’ve taken my overall wining and dining down to a minimum and have replaced client activities with tennis and golf now that the weather has improved.
* Play tennis 3 times a week on average for 2 hours each session. This is automatic, as I’ve had this routine for 3 years. I would play more, but I injured my elbow and shoulder. Hence, a solution is to fix my injury so I can play 4 times a week.
Review: Automatic indeed. I love tennis and I will play until my knees break. My elbow and shoulder injuries are now healed thanks to re-reading of Dr. Sarno’s, “Healing Back Pain” that also delves into tendinitis. The book is a life changer and I recommend it to all!
I’m pretty sure if you follow the above weight loss goals, and tailor some to your own likings, you’ll lose your weight over the next three months as well. Try drinking more of your vegetables and fruits for breakfast for more energy. Meanwhile, consider an occasional all raw meal a week.
Below is a review of the ideal body weight charts for men and women which pissed me off and got me motivated.
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 am medium-frame.
CONCLUSION TO LOSING WEIGHT
* If you incorporate a healthier way of life as part of your everyday routine, losing weight becomes surprisingly easy. I didn’t even bother weighing myself more than once every two weeks because I could feel the difference. The jeans felt looser, and that was reward unto itself. Nothing was really forced except for doing push-ups and sit-ups while watching sports on TV. Even then, I didn’t mind because they are simple exercises that allow me to build my core and feel less guilty about wasting time.
* If you are sufficiently pissed off, then you will do things to no longer be pissed off. I spent several hours doing research and writing the first post because I was annoyed that for over 15 years, I thought I was in good shape. I also had a mental block since college that there was no way I could ever get under 160 pounds again. My mind already prevented me from getting back into ideal weight before I had begun!
* When your reasons for losing weight go beyond vanity, you’ll lose weight much easier. I made it a mission to drop the pounds due to the upcoming USTA tennis league season. I joined a new team and wanted to prove myself as a valuable member. The only way I could keep starting was if I kept winning. So far, so good as my partner and I are 6-0 and have been obliterating our opponents by an average score of 6-2, 6-1. We haven’t lost a set yet, and plan to keep it this way when we head into playoffs. Sports is just one example of losing weight beyond vanity. We can get in shape for our spouse, or for our children who hope to see us live for a very long time. If you are super patriotic, perhaps getting fit for your country might help lower the crushing healthcare cost burden as well.
* It’s important to stay mindful of the millions of people around the world who are malnourished or starving in order to never overeat again. We aren’t even being asked to help them, just ourselves! The CDC forecasts a 42% obesity rate by 2030 (as of 5/9/12) which is predicted to place a USD 550 billion burden on health care costs. It’s important to stop making excuses as to why a certain weight is unachievable and start believing it is possible. The diet is the biggest thing one needs to change, and then exercise. If you can change your diet, I think you’ll be 70% of the way there.
* Come to grips with reality. My sense of reality was slightly warped. At 167-170 pounds, I told myself for 10+ years that I was pretty fit for a guy my height who works all day and blogs all night. I look at plenty of folks around me who are my height and 20-40 pounds heavier and conclude that I must be alright. The problem is, I live in America, where the obesity rate is higher than the rest of the world! Just go anywhere in Asia, Europe, or South America, and you will immediately notice the difference. For some reason, I forgot what I used to look like due to the layers upon layers of mental blankets. The reality is that America is not reality. The reality is that millions of people in the world do not consume the way we consume.
* We can have all the money in the world, but if we don’t have our health, we might as well have nothing. Nobody knows when the end is, but everybody does know what it’s like to live now. By being a healthier weight, hopefully we will reduce the number of costly doctors visits, and increase our chances for living a longer, happier life.
Hopefully I’ll be able to comfortable float in the 155-160lbs range and not creep back up to the 165-170 range. It’s going to be hard while on vacation, but doing things like writing this post and staying mindful should really help.
Readers, if you’ve had a weight loss goal, how have you progressed year-to-date? What are some of the things you’ve done to get there? What are some of the challenges? Do these charts piss you off like it pissed me off when I first discovered them?
PS: The Body Mass Index is a popular metric you should use to combine with the above charts. Everybody’s ideal weight is different, and only you can decide what feels and looks right to you.
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Updated for 2016 and beyond.