The number one question that people ask me is “how did you get started?” I’ve answered that question a number of times, and I honestly never tire of it. Below are the basic steps that I took, the thoughts that led me to those steps, and a framework that you could use to begin your journey!

First of all, take a second and read about the “1 Meal – 1 Workout” philosophy. I think that this approach is THE KEY to my success. It’s a simple paradigm shift really…just taking each meal and each workout individually.

Second, expect to fail. It’s okay. You will eat bad, and you will miss a workout. But if you’re using the “1 Meal – 1 Workout” philosophy, that’s no problem.

Another decision I made when I began my journey was that I was going to try to make changes to BOTH my diet AND my activity level. I distilled it down to what I called “eat less, exercise more”.  Apparently, I like four word slogans.

So…enough platitudes, what do I actually DO?

EAT LESS.

Some people are afraid to say it…but most people that are overweight eat too much. It’s true. There’s a thousand diets out there that say you have to eat this with that, only eat this, only eat that. I won’t deny that some people have had results from the Atkins diet or by going Vegan. But what I WILL deny is that you HAVE to do some strange, extreme diet to lose weight. 

I was one of those people. I ate too much pretty all the time. So, I made a few simple diet changes. Nothing fancy. I recommend the same for you. I knew that if I went ON a diet, that one day I would come OFF the diet. I also figured out that when I came off the diet, any changes that I had made by being on the diet would most likely go away as well. Below are the specific change I made.

  1. No sweet drinks – “DON’T DRINK YOUR CALORIES!!”
  2. No seconds (or 3rds or 4ths or 5ths)
  3. Start eating healthy snacks
  4. Lay off the white foods (white rice, white potatoes, white pasta)

That’s it. It’s all about just being reasonable. Nothing crazy. Take a look at your own diet. Do you eat a bag of chips every day? At the end of the week do you realize that you’ve emptied another 12 pack of Coke? Here’s a couple of more ideas:

  1. Eat a better breakfast
  2. No value meals (the only value is that you can get fat cheaper)
  3. Step away from the desserts 

Ultimately you have to evaluate your day-to-day eating habits and determine where those changes need to be made.

It’s possible to lose weight just by controlling your diet. However, it’s my belief that it’s EASIER to lose weight when you exercise, too. Also, there are health benefits from exercise that just losing fat can’t provide. So here’s what you need to do:

EXERCISE MORE.

So…are you ready to exercise? If you’re like most overweight people, the answer is “No!” Let’s change that. I had never been able to keep up an exercise program. Honestly, I seldom made it past the first workout. So what was different this time? A few things.

  1. I scheduled my workouts. I put it on my calendar and had reminders sent to my phone.
  2. I made a paradigm shift in regards to the importance of my workouts. When I get up in the morning, I typically don’t say, “I’m tired…I don’t think I’ll go to work today.” I go to work because that’s my responsibility to my family and just as an adult in general. So in my mind, I tried to make my WORKouts as important as my WORK. 
  3. With that in mind, I began scheduling my life around my workouts and not the other way around.

As to what kind of exercise you do, I recommend walking/running (unless you have physical limitations that prevent it) for a couple of reasons. There’s an extremely low level of buy-in. For most people to get started, there’s nothing to join and nothing to buy. Just put on your shoes and head out the door.

If after a month, walking/running doesn’t seem to be your cup of tea, try something else. If a month of that doesn’t do it for you, try something else. If the third thing turns out to not be your favorite, guess what? You’ve already worked out for 3 months! By then you’ll be well on your way to being fit.

WHAT ELSE?

Tell someone. Tell a couple of people. Find some support. Get a workout partner. Recruit your friends. Post about it on Facebook. Blog about it.

I found a friend that I met with every week for the first couple of months and every other week or so for the next several. He was part accountability partner, part mentor, part coach. It was motivation for me just knowing that someone was going to sit across the table from me (usually at Subway) and ask me how I was doing.

Losing weight and getting fit is simple. Notice I didn’t say easy. If it was easy, everyone would be in shape. But it’s not complicated. It doesn’t require a fitness degree, a DVD player, a gym membership, a personal chef, or a shake weight.

If you’re overweight and out-of-shape like I was, I encourage you, for yourself and your loved ones, make a change…one meal at a time, one workout at a time.

If you have any questions, comments, or want additional information, contact me: aaron@1meal1workout.com!