What can you do in 30 days? 

Holidays are a time to enjoy family and friends, eat a bunch of carbs, drink alcohol and be merry. Now that the holidays have come and gone, we are stuck with the sum of all the food choices we made, some possibly stored somewhere on our body, or you just feel different than you normally do.

When it comes to eating, we as a society, eat way to much. We eat to celebrate. We eat for comfort. We eat when we are bored. We eat when we are stressed, and we even eat when we are hungry (or at least we think we are). If you look at our ancestors, they would eat to live, while it seems like we live to eat. Taste has become a very important part of eating. How does it taste? It taste so good I want seconds, or thirds. Now with the rise of grub hub, ubereats, and door dash, it is even easier to eat the foods we love, but can do without.

My personal journey over the last few months has been a roller coaster. While I do live a very active life, I caught myself using that as an excuse to indulge a little more than normal. I recently took time to reflect on my eating choices over the last few months, mostly while my wife was pregnant with child number two. I ate when I was stressed (is it a boy or a girl, will it be healthy, am I ready for another child), I ate to celebrate when I found out he was a boy, I ate to comfort her, this resulted in me gaining 10 lbs during this nine month process. While that may not sound like a lot, if I continue down that road, that will be 20 pounds in a year and a half. If that is not the road I want to travel down, I need to step back and get my house in order. With the baby here, and my routine getting back to normal, I have run out of excuses. Time to get back on track! Below I will share a few eating routines I found to be effective and maintainable for me.

The next 30 days, if you are willing to accept the challenge, is time to get your house in order, hold yourself accountable, find that 80/20 balance of business and pleasure. Even if your goal is not to lose weight, and you don’t want to participate in the 30 day weight loss challenge, why not try to challenge yourself just to see what new eating habits can do for you and how it might make you feel.

We will all have the challenge of not eating that potato chip our kids, or significant other leave on the plate… be strong! Just remember, this is your challenge, not theirs. At the end of 30 days, the man and woman with the highest percentage of weight loss will receive March free, and the overall winner will have a nice hour long massage to reward their hard work.

Intermittent fasting/ One huge meal per day

If you were alive in 1800 b.c. do you think you would be able to go to Wegmans or Walmart to pick up some bacon and eggs to cook breakfast?? No.. you probably wouldn’t even eat breakfast. Cavemen would mostly eat figs, berries, fruits and plants throughout the day. They would hunt, maybe kill a bison or some other kind of meat, and feast on that for a day or two, then go back to munching on fruits and berries, if they ate at all. Even think of the top predators in the wild, and how they eat. Lions, Tigers and Wolves hunt, eat a huge meal then rest to let that food digest, and might not eat for another day or two. They fast until their next kill. This style of eating gives your food time to digest and your body a chance to get to the fat burning state, where the enemy insulin is out your system.  I have talked more about insulin in other articles, but just know that with insulin present that body fat is not going anywhere. Without the insulin, your body can tap into that stored fat for energy, and those muscles you were looking for start to pop out more.

This is not a meal plan or diet, it is simply time restricted eating. You can pretty much eat similar to how you eat now, just tighten up that eating window. While it is important to be healthy inside and outside, I understand that a life of only fruits and vegetables can be quite boring. So this eating style gives you the luxury of wiggle room mixed with discipline.  I am not saying you can go out and eat 10000 calories, you have to be cognizant of how much you move throughout the day, and a rough estimate of how much you are taking in. You can start off by keeping your normal eating habits, but restricting them to your feeding window. If you go out and eat lunch, do it, just keep it within your feeding window, and stick to the fast during that window.

Depending on your schedule and desired results is the amount of time you will restrict eating. There is a extreme 4 hour eat window with a 20 hour fast, there is 6:18 hour fast, 8:16 hours fast. I have used the 8-16 hour fast in the past, and I considered it to be extremely effective. In that fasting window, you should restrict yourself to black coffee, plain tea, or water, nothing extra.

I used strictly intermitted fasting when I was training for my physique competitions, and I have been playing with the one huge meal a day last few week since coming back from the hospital. As inconsistent as I have been, I do find it to be effective when I do stick to it. During the last few weeks of my wife’s pregnancy, I would not be able to meal prep as I usually do. If I knew I would go out to eat lunch,  I would save room for that to be my biggest meal, then I would snack on peanuts and fruits for the other parts of the day. While you body is adjusting to this way of eating, you will be introduced to a friend called hunger pain. Don’t worry, you won’t die.  If you are worried about reaching your recommended calorie intake, don’t worry, you will. Most of us can go to our favorite restaurant and knock out close to 1,800 calories with a nice meal. Jack Daniels sampler at Fridays is 1700 calories by itself. That is close to the low end of daily recommended caloric intake for a grown man.

Calorie counting

Another effective way to lose weight, that requires little more planning is calorie counting. Is it tedious, yes, but does it work, yes.

You have a bank account, monthly you get bank statements, or you may even do online banking. These are all tool to help you manage your money. Consider you went shopping for a big screen TV and a new car without managing your account, that would more than likely cause some problems. Well your body and food are the same way. Eating is like depositing a check into your account, if you don’t know how much you deposited, then you wont know how much to spend to maintain, or lose the weight. Two things that I recommend that will help you be successful are a food scale and the myfitnesspal app on your phone.   With this app, If you are eating something with a barcode, you can simply scan the barcode and input your servings.These two tools, combined with mealprep (prepping your lunch for the work week) have been keys to my success. This is a bit time consuming, but it works.

Final Thoughts

There are so many diet, and meal plans out there, some I have tried, and others I have just read about. I consider these to be the most effective, without making drastic changes to your daily routine… you just have to stick to it. There is an old saying, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. Most of you know what to do when it comes to weight loss, but sometimes that its easier to grab that beer, or burger when you know you shouldn’t. I am not saying don’t grab that burger, I am just saying choose the right time when to eat that burger.  My goal is to give you the tools for success.  I am giving you the metaphorical water to drink, but knowing and doing are not the same. What I want you to take away from this 30 day challenge is similar to lighting a single match. When you strike a match, the flame will eventually go out, maybe from the wind, or because a single match won’t stay lit forever, but it you drop that lit match on charcoal drenched in gasoline, you will have a fire that can withstand wind, and even some drizzling.

This 30 days won’t have lasting results if you go back to your old ways, but if you take this momentum and continue on that same path, you have a new lifestyle, and the new lifestyle leads to continued results.

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