1. The #1 thing to know is nutrition is at least 80% of the whole thing. Its diminished returns if you decide to get savage and workout every day if you’re not eating correctly. There is no way around it, trust me I have tried. If you want to lose weight you have to eat differently. Period.
2. You can’t outwork nutrition. Similar to #1, but can’t overemphasize how critical it is. You must eat right if you want to lose weight. This issue is so important it takes up 2 of the top 10 things I think are critical to weight loss.
3. It’s not a diet. It has to be a LIFESTYLE CHANGE. I changed everything I was doing. I changed not only the foods I ate, but also when and how I prepared them. Instead of cooking everyday, I cooked my lunches for the entire week on Sunday. This improved the process. And, I got even more efficient when I started individually packaging my food for the week. This actually took less time than packing a lunch every day at night. And, it built flexibility in my schedule in case something came up on a night that I wanted to do, I didn’t have to worry about having to take 10 minutes and pack a lunch. (For a more detailed explanation, click here) Also, I organized an intentional workout schedule (bodyweight workout Mon/Fri, sprint workout Wed, try to walk 6-10 miles a day). These were all things I had not been doing.
4. You must change your habits. If you want different results, you must be willing to do things differently. I listed the majority of the habits I changed in the previous point, but the key is you have to CONSISTENTLY do them every day. Instead of focusing on how big the task of changing is, you focus on making good choices every day until those good choices become a habit. So, with all of the behaviors I mentioned above focus on doing them daily until they are part of your routine. This is how you create lasting change.
5. Avoid grains. I do it 6 days a week, but am working toward all 7 days. Grains serve one purpose, they are a cheap source of empty calories. If you want to be fat, load up on the grains. Otherwise, avoid them. They are horrible for your body, regardless of what the government tells you. Giving up grains is hard. The first few days are the worst. Some people get sick (called the low-carb flu). I had 2 rough days, felt great day 3 on. Bottom line, if you want to lose weight, you have to be willing to do it. Are there other ways of losing weight? Probably, but this is by far the most successful and effective way I have seen with myself and those around me, not to mention the hundreds of success stories at marksdailyapple.com.
6. Map out your destination. Where do you want to go? Don’t worry about how ridiculous it seems. When I was 317 pounds, I made a goal to be 185. People looked at me like I was crazy, but it doesn’t matter. Make your goal what you want it to be. This is really important, you must decide where you’re going. Before you take a trip, you map out the destination. This is the purpose of the goal. Identify your target.
7. Establish your why-power. Before you embark on your journey figure out why you’re going. Once you establish your goal, write down all the reasons you want to reach that destination. The more detailed the better. Then put it somewhere you will read it at least once a day. The first two weeks were the hardest for me and required the most amount of energy. This really helped me maintain my motivation level.
8. Track it. If you don’t write it down, it won’t work. What should you track? Initially, write down everything you eat. I know its a pain and super inconvenient, but being overweight is more inconvenient. Eventually, you won’t really have to do this as much, as your habits become more automated, but initially this is a must. You need to be able to track your progress. Also, weigh yourself at the beginning and then once a week and write it down. I love going on stickk.com and looking at my progress over the past 5 months. It gets me motivated every time I do it.
9. The first few days building your new habits MUST be the PRIMARY focus of your day. Your new habits should interrupt your schedule somewhat. Your schedule has helped contribute to your weight gain, so you need to change. If you always eat bad with certain people, don’t eat with them, even if they ask nicely..During the first few days, you absolutely, must make this your top priority. Like I’ve said repeatedly, the first few days are the toughest, and it does get easier, but its critical to your success, that you make these habit changes the focus of your day.
10. Don’t drink your calories. Water and green tea only. If you’re a huge coffee drinker, try to drink just black coffee and if you need some flavor Tim Ferriss suggests some cinnamon. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I don’t know, but drinking your calories in the form of juice, soda, or sugary coffee drinks defeats the purpose of all the work you’re doing.
Is this the absolute letter of the law on losing weight effectively, probably not. However, these are the guidelines myself and others around me have been using with major success. Give them a try for a week. What’s the worst that can happen? You try for 2 weeks with no results and then you comment on my blog saying how big of an idiot I am. I can live with that. But, if you follow these guidelines strictly, that’s not the comment you will leave. Please feel free to let me know how it’s going. I love hearing people’s success stories!