Your 19 Fat Busters — Do Each With A Light Heart
Don’t let your heaviness make you heavy. Here are 19 Fat Busters, each to be done with a light heart.
THIS PAST week, various news outlets have breathlessly reported that one third of the world is fat.
“A third of the world is now fat!”, they cry out.
Researchers found more than 2 billion people worldwide are now overweight or obese.
The Middle East and North Africa have the distinction of having the highest rates — nearly 60 percent of men and 65 percent of women are heavy. But the U.S. proves its “exceptionalism” once again; it has about 13 percent of the world’s fat population, a greater percentage than any other country. China and India combined have about 15 percent. (Source)
One thing is certain – you are, or know, a loved one or friend who is substantially overweight. Often, the overweight person you know and value is a child who will face dire health consequences in his/her future if the excess weight is not shed.
For this reason, I encourage you to relax, settle in and read the rest of this long post. Then share it widely.
The information here has a good chance to help you or someone you know.
Excess Weight Can Dramatically Impair Your Health
Yeah, pretty much a no-brainer, but consider these specifics…
Often there’s an emotional or psychological issue that physically manifests as weight gain. Over time, that extra weight – if substantial – can lead to a long list of physiological health issues, particularly if the fat is in and on the belly.
A CNN report presents some sobering numbers: Over 100,000 cancer cases each year are due to excess body fat. Remarkable in that it’s such a high number and because it’s so avoidable.
To read about the types of cancer and the percent caused by excess body fat, read Cancer and Obesity.
Diabetes is linked to excess fat
The Obesity Society says that almost 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.
Which is it, do you think?
Read Obesity and Diabetes, focusing on “type 2”, right here.
The brain can degenerate due to excess weight
Obese people’s brains…
– Have 8% less tissue than normal-weight individuals.
– Look 16 years older than the brains of lean individuals.
Overweight people’s brains…
– Have 4% less tissue.
– Are prematurely aged by 8 years.
Read Obesity and Brain Degeneration. And, if you haven’t heard of the one-two punch of “diabetes”, read The Diabesity Epidemic — It Might Be Coming To You.
Sleep apnea is a disorder where you actually stop breathing for an extended period of time during sleep.
As you can imagine, it’s a good idea to keep breathing when sleeping. If you stop breathing, you — hopefully — wake up. If this happens many times a night, every night, you might have sleep apnea.
Not getting consistent sleep messes with your health, particularly the heart. and must wake up to breathe again, although most of the time you don’t realize you’ve awoken.
Find out what you need to know about excess weight and sleep apnea here.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Despair
OK, so those are five potentially unhappy results from being overweight. And there are many more. But I say,
Yes, that was easy for me to type out. I’ll do it again… “Don’t despair”. Took about four seconds.
There’s a reason I’m accentuating this “no despair” thing. Despite the fact that you may be overwhelmed with emotions pertaining to your girth, you ultimately have more control than you think.
Now, I’m not so nutty to think that I can string together a few words and concepts here that will magically install into your head the new software program that will reprogram how you feel about yourself, how you think about yourself, your knowledge about diet and exercise, your lifestyle… and all the habits that extend from all that.
What I can do, however, is outline a plan, sort of… or maybe simply a list. A list of things for you to consider, and then do, step by step.
Perhaps such a list will demystify the process of losing fat, or give you goods idea to try. And, yes, I do realize that it might do nothing at all. I’m going to give it to you anyway.
Here Are Your 19 Fat Busters
Do one of them. Then add another. Keep adding after you make each habitual. Find ways to make what you do interesting and fun.
Time will pass away, and so will your excess weight.
#1. First thing each morning for three mornings, write down why you’re overweight.
Yes, got to the bathroom first, but then – immediately after, before you’re day grabs you and pulls you in – sit down and write on a post-it, or some other little piece of paper just one reason why you’re fat.
Limit one reason for each post-it. Write as many as occur to you. Do this for three mornings. Leave all these notes in a place where you will see and review them a few times during these three days.
Make sure you examine reasons related to emotions, psychology, the people in your life, stress, care-taking, food, drink, sitting (the lack of exercise), etc. In other words, make your list address all the dimensions of your life.
#2. Rewrite them on one piece of paper.
On the fourth morning, collect your bits of paper and rewrite them in one column on a piece of paper. On the fifth morning, read them all again, and add anything new that occurs to you.
#3. Add what you’re willing to do to challenge each reason you’ve written about why you’re fat.
On the fifth morning, write in a column beside each reason why you’re fat, what you’re willing to do to expunge that reason. Decimate it, reverse it, minimize it, wipe it out – that sorta thing.
If you get blocked, ask someone you trust to help you. Give that person permission to be blunt.
On the sixth day, select one thing from the fat-annihilating part of your list that you’re confident you can do. Now break it down into something so easy, so tiny that it would be simple to make it a habit.
(The rest of this list provides many ideas.)
Stanford researcher, BJ Fogg has popularized this concept. His studies show that getting started with one easy to implement habit can break down resistance to getting started on conquering something that seems big or difficult.
As I wrote in How To Make Tiny Habits Big:
The idea is that you choose a new behavior that’s so simple that there should be no resistance to doing it, AND it’s connected to another already entrenched behavior. If memory serves, BJ Fogg uses flossing teeth as an example.
Hopefully you already brush your teeth, but in this example you don’t floss them. You’d like to adopt flossing as your new behavior. Your tiny habit, then, will be to floss just one tooth after you brush your teeth. Odd? Maybe, but smart… and here’s why… two things are happening in this example that will help not only indoctrinate this one-tooth-floss habit, but lead, eventually, to all those chompers getting a good flossing:
1. The new habit was attached to one already ingrained – teeth brushing – so the one-tooth-floss can happen in a natural sequence triggered by and following the teeth brushing; and
2. The new behavior required requires nearly no time or effort, and therefore does not stimulate resistance.
Note: Although this “tiny habit” is #4 on this Fat Busters list, if you want to do #1 thru #3, but have not been able to, you may want to begin with #4. Find a way to dissect #1 thru #3 into smaller, more doable steps so that they can become tiny habits. Then let them grow bigger until you do the list as prescribed.
#5 Recruit a buddy.
If you’ve decided to give this list a try, or own of your own, and you haven’t done anything yet, recruit a buddy.
If you’ve started this or your own list, get a buddy anyway.
There’s no one single better thing you can do to help you succeed with your new challenge than to do it alongside someone you like, respect and trust. You’ll keep each other honest and on track.
Extra credit – recruit two people. That way, if one bows out, the other remains to help you stay true to your intention.
When reading Diet 101, select at least one thing presented there that you can add (or subtract) to your eating, drinking and/or supplement habits. There’s plenty of good information there that I’ve been doing for years.
#7 Drink Lemon Water.
Before getting whisked away in life’s events, the first thing in the morning, squeeze a lemon (or already extracted) in a glass of warm/hot water and slowly drink it.
As you drink it, review in your mind how grateful you are for putting yourself on this path of finally doing something to lose your fat and become healthy.
Then drink a big glass of pure water, swishing it around you mouth so you ensure that none of the enamel-robbing acid of the lemon will affect your teeth. (Lemons become alkaline in the body.)
#8. Start Your Day With Protein.
If you typically do not eat breakfast, fill a shaker with water, almond or hemp milk, and add a good quality pea, sprout, hemp or whey protein powder, cinnamon, and whatever else will shake up that’s good for you, and drink it down.
If you eat breakfast, make sure you have protein with it.
The aim is about 30 grams of protein in the morning. It helps repair your body, build muscle and makes you full, so you’ll eat less throughout the day.
#9. Plan your snacks.
Before you leave the house, plan your snacks. If wherever you’re going does not give you access to healthy snacks, bring them with you.
A healthy snack it not:
- Wheat (grains), like muffins, breadstuff, crackers or cereals
- Sugary yoghurt (added sugar or fruit on the bottom)
- Most anything from a vending machine
- Sodas or fruit juices
A healthy snack is:
- A handful of almonds or walnuts (or other nuts)
- An apple, pear or other whole fruit
- A cup of no-sugar, no-fruit added yoghurt
- A glass of half water, half almond or hemp milk with protein powder
- Some almond butter spread on celery or an apple
- Whole carrots and celery to assuage that desire for crunch, rather than chips
#10. Eat one big salad every day.
Need salad recipes? The Interwebs have thousands… search around.
Avoid sugary salad dressings. Try an assortment of greens. Pile in beans, lentils, nuts, seeds. Experiment.
#11 Drink water + fiber before dinner.
Drinking a very large glass of pure water before you eat dinner will help fill you up. Extra credit – add a tablespoon of Psyllium Husk Powder to at least eight ounces of water, shake it up and drink it before dinner, or any other meal.
Then chase it with another few gulps of water.
Most people do not eat enough fiber, and therefore have fewer bowel movements each day than what would be ideal. (Some nutrition pundits suggest you should have as many bowel movements each day as main meals… uh, wouldn’t that be about three!)
Psyillum Husk Powder is cheap and, along with the water, will help fill you up without adding calories. Make sure you drink it right away, or it will congeal. Also, don’t over do it… if you use too much Psyillum Husk Powder relative to water, it could bloat you.
#12. Learn about high/low glycemic carbs and eat less of them at dinner.
If you need to eat pasta, rice, breadstuff, etc. make it a small side dish, not the main part of your dinner (or any other meal).
Fill up on protein and vegetables, not carbs.
#13. Set your mindfulness to an alarm.
Yes, this sounds crazy, but the studies show that people who eat slower and with more mindfulness eat less and are more satisfied.
USA Today reported about this back in 2006. The article was about a study of women participants, though it seems to me it would be just as true about men:
- When eating quickly, the women consumed 646 calories in about nine minutes.
- When eating more slowly, they had an average of 579 calories in about 29 minutes.
“They ate 67 calories more in nine minutes than they did in 29 minutes,” says lead researcher Kathleen Melanson, director of the university’s Energy Metabolism Laboratory. “If you add that up over three meals a day, that’s a big difference in calories.”
Frankly, I have a problem with the pace of my eating. If I’m not mindful, I eat like a ravenous wolf. But there is a solution, if unconventional.
Before plowing into your meal, set your timer on your smart phone or whatever ticker you have to chime every three minutes.
When it goes off, put your fork, spoon and/or knife down and take a breath. Consider what you’re eating, how it tastes, how much you’ve eaten. Look around. Check in with your level of satiety.
Invariably, you’ll eat less, and yet be more satisfied.
#14. Practice “Hara Hachi Bu”.
Hara Hachi Who?
Yes, this is the Okinawan tradition of eating until you’re 80% full. The Okinawans are among the healthiest, longest-lived people on the planet. One reason for their hale health is that Okinawans do not overeat. (More about that here.)
How do you know when you’re 80% full?
That’s up to you. What I do – assuming I remember to be mindful when eating – is that I put the fork down I feel like I could eat more but am no longer hungry.
The key to leaving food on your plate, or not putting much on there to begin with is to consciously realize that there’s another meal right around the corner.
In other words, you will not become uncomfortably hungry if you stop eating before you wind up waddling away from the table.
Tell yourself, “If I get hungry before the next meal, I’ll just have that snack I prepared”.
#15 Don’t eat anything after 8:00 PM.
Pick a number. Make it about two to three hours prior to bed, say 8:00 PM. After that, no more eating. If you feel like you just have to have something, have a cup of whatever caffeine-free tea you love (or could love).
If the pre-bed noshing habit is too big to kick right now, do the protein thing. Shake up some water and protein powder and drink it down.
#16. Disrupt homeostasis.
The science behind this is complicated, but the principle is not.
Your body is smart and it is forever adjusting to whatever is happening to it. What it wants is to conserve.
So, you reduce your caloric intake by 20% and lose some weight and than plateau.
Part of the reason is that you’re body adjusts to the new calorie count by reducing your basal metabolic rate. The net of it is that you now need fewer calories to maintain your metabolism and thus the lower calorie count is now longer causing you to lose fat.
Your body strives for homeostatisis, which (in part):
“is a process that maintains the stability of the human body’s internal environment in response to changes in external conditions.” (Source)
So, what do you need to do?
You disrupt homeostatsis by being somewhat inconsistent.
Yes, that flies in the face of convention. Yes, that’s counter-intuitive. But it works.
Do this: Pick one day each week when you eat more than usual. Do not consider it a reward for being “good” all week, because you now longer want to reward yourself with food.
Food needs to become something with which you nourish yourself, not nurture yourself.
So, it’s not a reward day, but part of your attack on fat.
But this is a slippery slope.
It can be really easy to fool yourself into thinking,
“Well, if one day of homeostatsis disruption is good, two must be better!!”
Two is NOT better.
-> If you find that you cannot keep this to one day, abandon this fat-busting tactic.
Extra credit: In addition to picking one day to overeat, pick another day to under-eat. This way, you’ll whack homeostasis twice. In order to keep hunger pangs away, drink a couple of those psyillum husk with water drinks I describe in #9. Feel free to add some lemon, or a squirt of apple juice for flavor. And drink a lot of tea… sometimes dehydration masquerades as hunger.
By the way, homeostasis disruption also applies to exercise. If you’re able and willing to add some exercise to your fat-busting life, a good day to amp up your routine is on the day you overeat.
Before I suggest a physical exercise, consider a mental one.
Close your eyes and envision your typical day. How many hours are you either,
Kinda embarrassing, isnt’ it? Makes you wonder what you’re legs are for. Our bodies are made to move. When they don’t they get fat, achy and sickly.
Go back to #4 – tiny habits – and select something tiny that you’re willing to do that involves movement.
Where can you squeeze it in… a time where you have the time without disruption?
Maybe you can spare five minutes. If you know about exercise because you’ve done it before, put together a five minute program that you can do daily.
If exercise is remote to your reality as an eggplant sandwich, check out exercise Meg Hoffman’s five-minute routine.
If you do that, inevitably, and almost imperceptibly, you’ll begin to do more and more, until you’ll be showing Meg how it’s done!
Whatever level of exercise you’re consistently doing for most of your week, do more of it on your day of overeating, should you comply with the hormostasis disruption described in #16.
Again, here’s the five-minute routine.
#18 Know your hormones.
This is the last item on the fat busting list, but could be the most important to you.
I put an asterisk behind #18 because if your hormones are outta whack you’re swimming against a powerful tide.
Right now, I’m working on getting my thyroid functioning properly. As I wrote in The Poor Performing Hormone That May Cause Your Chronic Health Problems, I’ve discovered that despite a near-perfect diet, supplement and exercise routine, certain health markers discovered with a blood test indicated that I had,
- Systemic inflammation;
- High fasting blood sugar;
- High LDL; and
- A smattering of some other unhappy indicators of potentially poor health.
You wouldn’t know it to look at me. But these things lurk within. You need to find out with a blood test, particularly if you’re overweight.
Begin with doing some reading. Within these posts is information about what blood tests to take and how to go about doing so:
This is important, so for those of you who do not click links, make this one an exception and go right to where you can get your blood work done and discover what health issues you may have of which you are now unaware:
While we’re on the topic of hormones, here are some statistics for you to mull over:
Thyroid – about 20,000,000 million Americans have a thyroid problem; 50% for those over 50. (Source)
Insulin – Nearly 26,000,000 million Americans are diabetic, many unknowingly (Source)
Testosterone – About 39% of men over the age of 45 have low testosterone, and this is relative to what some experts, like the Life Extension Foundation, view as a low reference range. Meaning that more that 39% would be low if a more appropriate, higher range was used. (Source.)
(Here’s my story about testosterone – How I’m Boosting Testosterone and Blasting Fat.)
#19 Find bliss. Repeat.
Do this with a light heart. Find what brings you to that point of bliss. It’s where you feel so good and connected that you’re untouchable by anything negative.
Meditation can do this, as I write in, How You Can Control Your Brainwave Frequencies, The Keys to Happiness. I begin it like this:
Is it possible that your brainwave frequencies are the key to a stress-free, happy life? Well, there’s no doubt about it. It’s measurable, and the truth is, get your brain to produce Alpha and Theta brainwaves and you’ll hold the keys to your happiness.
Anyone who has become an experienced meditator will tell you that this discipline is transformational.
Here’s how to begin:
- Wear comfortable clothes.
- Make sure no one, or no thing (phone) will interrupt you.
- If certain music calms you, play it.
- Sit comfortably any way you want, but keep your spine and neck straight and upright.
- Close your eyes.
- Rest your hands wherever comfortable.
- Note how you’re breathing.
- Watch the images and “voices” of your chattering mind.
- If one or more thoughts that you do not want to deal with right now insist on hanging out, mentally tell each one that you’ll return to them later, and then pick each one up and put it in a box.
- Now, it’s time to focus, which could be on anything you want — a feeling, mantra, list of things for which you’re grateful, a symbol… the key is to stay with whatever you choose. When something else intrudes, don’t get upset… just put it in the box.
- Stay with your meditation only until you feel you’re done, even if two minutes. Tomorrow, it may be three. Tiny habits.
A BIG high five if you’ve read everything down to here.
I know I threw a lot at you. You can always come back and review things.
Although you and others may have struggled with weight issues for a very long time, and it may seem hopeless, it’s not.
Release the feeling of struggle.
Make these 19 Fat Busters fun by approaching them with a light heart, recruiting a buddy and finding inner strength and peace thru meditation.
The days, weeks, months and years will come and go. Let time take your excess weight with it.
I truly hope you got something out of this, and will share it with others who might benefit.