During my epic revamp last year, I changed my mindset about a couple of things to really bring about the change:
- Carbs are not the enemy: Although in my case they kind of were, but I made the switch to low-GI, clean carbs such as oats and sweet potatoes, instead of cutting out carbs completely.
- Protein is good: I spent a long time not really eating much protein, because I didn’t really care for meat and other protein sources were not readily available. I added protein powder to everything I could, in addition to eating lots of cottage cheese and chicken breasts.
- Low-fat is wack: My whole life, I believed that low-fat was the way to go. This fallacy was taught to me at a young age, so for years I only drank fat-free or low-fat milk (even as a kid), and refused to add extra sugar or salt to anything. This while having unlimited pasta and potatoes. Point is, once I switched to full-fat milk and leaving the skin on the chicken once in a while, I found myself eating less and enjoying the little that I ate (relative to before).
- Fat loss is not the same as weight loss: I managed to lose 25kg of body weight, but only lost 6% of my body fat. This is because losing fat is very hard, and that’s the loss that counts. What’s the point of losing a bunch of weight if it was all muscle and water? That’s what mostly happens when you follow a low-carb, high cardio diet.
- Strength training is definitely for ladies as well: I can view the “only” 6% fat loss in another way – I gained 6% in muscle. Incorporating dumbbells and boxing into my workout was the best thing I could have done. You burn more calories at rest if you have more muscle, so what’s there to lose (besides fat)?
- Cardio is fine – in small doses: For fat loss, you want to do strength cardio i.e. training which involves some weights which make you “work” that much harder, while incorporating lunges, flies etc at a faster pace so that your heart rate remains at levels you would normally only reach during cardio. Win-win!
- Lose weight in the kitchen, get healthy in the gym: A lot of people try to make up for a poor diet with lots of gym time. The truth is, the amount of calories you burn in a tough gym session can easily be gained back by having that “healthy” Kauai smoothie and wrap afterwards. You need to eat filling, protein rich meals that are below your calorie allocation for the day, and combine it with exercise.
- Eat less, move more is a lie: If you hold onto this catchy phrase, you will relapse into old habits as soon as you plateau. You will plateau. Accept it, and adjust your food and exercise schedule accordingly.
- Cheat days are not a thing: Why do you want to hold onto the past? That’s what chips, sweets and processed foods are: a thing of the past.
I could probably go on a bit more, but I’ve run out of time.