How To Start A Diet
Another wild and wooly week on the home front, and another awesome week of interaction with awesome folks like you!
No stories this week, not because nothing interesting happened, but my brain isn’t firing on all cylinders, which probably means I need to take a nap.
Oh well…nap here I come!
But first, this week’s Q&A…
Q: “I need your help with a diet. I have dieted before, lots of times, but want something different now. I mean that I don’t want something that will make me regain the weight once I lose it and I don’t want to resort to weird things. I’ve been sucked in by every quick fix diet you can imagine and I want out but I don’t know where to start. What should I do first?” – Gene
A: Thanks Gene and I’m glad you’re ready to fix the problem permanently without the crazy stuff.
I don’t know your exact story, but I’ve heard it enough times I feel pretty comfortable saying you stress out a bit too much. Not only with food, but life in general.
You do want to lose weight, but you spend so much time stressing out about the situation, and lack the patience to do it right, that you end up picking whatever “shiny object” pops out.
So the first thing you need to do is chill out. This is going to be a journey, a journey that won’t always be fun, but a journey you can absolutely get through and will feel so much better once you get through.
You also have to understand it will be difficult, and sometimes flat out hard as hell.
That may come as a shock that someone in my position would say such a thing because I should be all about “Weight loss is simple! All you have to do is ‘x, y and z’ and the weight will fall off!” and while that may be true, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Weight loss does usually involve just a few things, and is pretty simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Once you come to realize how hard it can, and will be, you will be free to start your journey. The great lie is that the road will be paved like the Yellow Brick Road, minus the flying monkeys and apple throwing grumpy trees.
Next, write out exactly what you eat and how often you exercise. This is a boring, yet necessary step. Keep a food journal for a week and write out what you ate AND how it made you feel.
You won’t know how far you need to go until you know your current state.
Are you eating too many simple carbs? Are you eating too much at night? Are you not eating enough fat? Do you feel tired and irritable before or after eating certain foods?
This stuff matters.
Then, once that week is up, look it over and see if you spot any problems and pay attention to the stuff you wrote about how you feel because this often brings out what you need to work on.
If you wrote that you feel really tired in the middle of the afternoon that means everything you ate and/or drank up to that point causes problems, or maybe what you didn’t eat or drink up to that point is causing the problem.
From there start filling the holes with the easy stuff.
Drink more water, while getting rid of any other type of drink…all of it. Once drinking water becomes habit you may think about adding a serving of the other stuff back in, but not before drinking water is a habit.
Remove simple carbohydrates, or save them for one day per week. This simple step will cause a huge weight loss right away, but keeping them out for more than a week or two may prove difficult. Typically once you get past 3 weeks of simple carb removal it’s second nature.
From there it will probably boil down to specifics like what you’re eating, if you’re eating too many calories at the wrong time of day, having weekend blow-ups, etc.
But first keep the journal, then focus on drinking only water and removing carbs while adding lots of fruits and vegetables.
Once you do that email me again and let me know how it’s going and we’ll discuss it further.
Q: “I know that dips are a great exercise for your triceps, but I can only do bench dips but they hurt my shoulders. Should I continue doing them?” – Samantha
A: Hells to the no!
First, if an exercise hurts – legitimately hurts…not like the burn from doing lunges – don’t do it.
You should seek a pro, either a PT, or a goober-trainer like me, at the very least.
Now that we got that out of the way, let me tell you that I really don’t like doing dips on a bench.
I love dips…just not with your hands placed behind you on a bench and your shoulders at a really awkward angle. That’s too harsh of an angle for most of us to sit in, let alone lower your body (which puts more tension on the shoulder joint) and then raising your body and God forbid you place a weight on your lap to make it tougher.
That’s a perfect storm of shoulder problems in our modern-day “sit at your desk with your hands in front of you on a keyboard for hours and hours on end” lives.
If you can’t do regular dips, then do assisted dips, either on a machine that specializes in that sort of thing, or wrap a heavy duty resistance tube around the dip station and your bent knees to assist with the positive portion of the dip.
If you can’t do that, then start with any variation of push-ups that place extra tension on your triceps.
Close grip push-ups are first, then when those become “easy,” move on to different variations like 1-Leg Close Grips, Decline, Decline on a stability ball, Close Grip Dive Bombers, etc.
All of those variations will be much, much, much, much better for your triceps than the bench dips and your shoulders will thank you.
Thanks for the questions and keep ‘em coming!