If you’re close to me, you know how deeply I care about fitness and how every decision I make and action I take is somehow related to my physical health.
Why am I this way?
On the surface level, I took a nutrition class at UAlbany that completely changed my outlook on life. It opened my eyes to a whole new world I’d never explored before, and I’ve remained committed to that world ever since.
But if I dig deeper, I think some mild psychological issues might be to blame. Not serious ones, but I think it’s possible. I’ve never spoken to a professional, but if one told me that I suffered from an eating disorder, I wouldn’t be surprised.
In high school, when I didn’t care about any of this, I weighed 182 pounds. I was a high-level athlete burning crazy calories every day, and I was happy.
Fast forward to life in Connecticut four years later, and I dangerously dropped to 162 pounds. The insane work schedule and onset of depression made me look like a skeleton, and people around me noticed.
Earlier this year in Colorado, when I lived a really active lifestyle, I dipped down to 165.
Today, I weigh 172 pounds. After fighting through depression that first year in CT, I climbed back to the 170-174 range I typically find myself in.
The crazy thing is, I want to weigh closer to 180-182.
But do I really?
Because when I stepped on the scale in Colorado, I derived real pleasure from coming in underweight. I knew it was bad for me, but a dark voice within me told me to keep going, to wear a sweatshirt next workout. To go even faster on my next Rocky Mountains hike.
Doesn’t sound good, right?
The following is a list of strange things I do to adhere to the principles of that nutrition class, and also to maintain or decrease a certain number on the scale.
I’m sharing this not because I want you to think I’m crazy, but because I know a lot of you struggle with weight GAIN, and so I want to tell you about some of the things that I do to keep off the pounds.
These strategies really work, trust me.
1. I don’t eat within three hours of bedtime
I can’t let those calories sit in my system overnight. If I remember correctly, unused carbohydrates turn into fat. And no one wants that.
2. I go for AT LEAST a 20 minute walk after all meals
I do not like the feeling of food sitting in my stomach, hence why I rarely eat till I’m “full.” Your body doesn’t need as many calories as you think. So after breakfast and dinner, the only two meals I eat, I immediately go outside to start the process of burning off a couple calories.
3. If it’s raining or snowing excessively, I take some laps inside a store
I don’t mind a nice walk in the rain or snow. There’s something oddly relaxing about it. But if it’s pouring outside, I find the walk difficult to enjoy. So I head inside to the closest store I can find, usually a grocery store. I’ll walk up and down the aisles for 20-30 minutes before the employees notice that I’m just loitering around and not actually shopping.
4. Park far away from my destination
This allows me another opportunity for more steps, some needed Vitamin D and some quiet contemplation.
5. Never pay for parking
Out of principle, I rarely pay to park somewhere. The thinking being, that if I’m willing to walk 5-10 more minutes, I can likely find a side street that’s totally free for me to park on. I can’t justify paying to park if it means I can burn more calories.
6. Always take the stairs
I’ll take the elevator only when I’m with new people. But if I’m with my friends and they want to ride the elevator, I’ll happily take the stairs. Even if I’m carrying luggage in an airport, I take the stairs. It’s another chance to raise my heart rate, and it saves the environment too. So it’s a win-win.
7. Mini-exercise to break up long periods of sitting
After sitting for a while, I’ll run up and down the stairs for 60 seconds. Or maybe do a plank. Or a quick vinyasa flow. Or a quick walk. Perhaps some squats or some burpees. Anything to get the blood flowing again.
8. Limit hours spent watching movies, TV shows and sporting events
People always recommend things I should be watching on Netflix, Hulu and Apple TV. And while I’m sure they’re all fantastic shows, I never watch them. Ditto for sports. I used to LOVE football Sundays and NBA Tuesdays. But now, I’m incapable of sitting still for long durations of time. It makes me feel like I’m lazy, like I’m not accomplishing anything or bettering myself in any way.
9. Sleep with a water bottle next to me
Because you never know when you’ll wake up dying of thirst in the middle of the night.
10. Eat the same breakfast every single day
For the past five years, I’ve eaten the same breakfast every day, save for a few crazy mornings or a morning after a night of drinking. Breakfast is my favorite meal and I believe it’s the most important one of the day. Hence why I get as many nutrients as possible from three eggs (scrambled or over-easy), a heaping side of cooked vegetables (spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, peas, corn) followed by a cup of plain oatmeal topped off with fruit (banana, berries, apple), a sweetener (cinnamon, all-natural jelly, 100% maple syrup), and a fat (all-natural peanut/almond butter or nuts).
11. The gym is not a social place*
I don’t go to the gym that often because I don’t like the atmosphere. But when I do, I’m completely dialed in. I go hard, taking little time in between sets as I move swiftly from upper to lower body movements. I try to get out as fast as I can, hence why I design short, but action-packed, workouts. So when people come talk to me, it completely throws me off my plan and allows my heart rate to go back down.
*Unless you’re working out with a buddy, then it’s OK!
So there you have it. Eleven weight-loss strategies that I adopt every day, even though I probably shouldn’t.
Let me know if you plan on using any of them!