The Dad Approved Weight Loss Guide
The 6 Pillars of Weight Loss
Lets be honest - Diets suck and weight loss is tough! It is one of those concepts that is simple but not easy.
Spoiler Alert: No gimmicks, fancy miracle drinks or pyramid schemes here!
- Sustainable meal plan (no crazy crash diets!)
- Daily habit of physical activity (not exercise)
- Metabolism boosting workouts
- Your action plan
1. Sleep comes first
It is easy to buy a gym member or start a diet and feel like we are making progress because we took some action. The problem is you didn't take the right first step! Sleep is critical because that is when our body regulates hormone levels.
Growth hormone surges at night while insulin decreases to help your metabolism and cortisol decreases as well. Improper sleep will leave you fighting against your hormones and that's just a battle we can't win!
In fact, a recent University of Chicago study found that people trying to lose weight with inadequate sleep actually lost muscle instead of fat. Talk about a terrible outcome for a diet plan.
2. Mindset is a must
Weight loss is truly a battle, you will have to make intentional decisions that conflict with your normal habits and the eating style that you have become accustomed to over the last few years. You will need resolve and mental toughness to overcome your greatest obstacle - which is yourself!
Find your WHY and own it. Write it on a sticky note and put it on your desk - live and breathe your WHY
Take a moment to consider:
- How could you benefit from losing weight and getting healthy?
- Who in your life will benefit from your healthy decisions?
- Could setting a healthy example be good for your kids?
- Could your life be cut short by continuing an unhealthy lifestyle?
3. Start a Sustainable & Sensible Diet Plan
As much as I personally love working out - your diet plan will account for the majority of your weight loss results.
Most Common Mistake: Starting an aggressive diet that you can't maintain. A 30 day crash diet could help you lose some weight for now but it won't make any difference in 5 years once you go back to your old habits.
5 year Rule:
Consider what diet decisions will help you 5 years from now. Small, sustainable long term changes will help you way more than some short term diet choices you can't maintain.
You don't need to count calories - You already know what is healthy and what is not. Knowledge isn't the problem - mental toughness and willpower are what you need more than a calorie app or fancy weight loss drink.
I'd recommend considering meal prep where you cook and prepare your meals once a week; this will limit the number of decision points you have in your diet. It will also make it easy to avoid unhealthy eating out options.
4. Start with Daily Physical Activity - not actual workouts!
Similar to crash diet vs. a sustainable meal plan, building a habit of daily activity is a great choice for lasting results. Especially if you have not been very active, you need some low-intensity activity to start to 'wake up' your tendons and ligaments so they can have a chance to build up some endurance before starting a more challenging workout routine. The worst thing you could do is have an injury on the first day of your new weight loss plan.
Additionally, your brain requires at least 30-45 minutes of active movement (like walking) in order to regulate hunger level. Therefore, your hunger levels may be higher if you stay inactive! Pretty counter intuitive right?
If you have an active job then you should be good to go here. Those of us sitting at computers have a tougher task here - throw in a few 5-10 minute walks into your day.
For a dad, a great time to get some physical activity is in the backyard with the kids or at the park. Your kids will move around plenty! Just try to keep up.
Remember: The point isn't to burn calories, it is to hit our Daily Required Movement Threshold so that our brain will reduce hunger cravings.
5. Workout Time!
Once steps 1-4 are mastered, you can hit my favorite step which a proper workout.
Stay away from the treadmill! The only acceptable use of a treadmill is to help you warm up or cool down - life is too short to trudge along for an hour on the treadmill.
2 Styles of Exercise for Weight Loss:
- High Metabolism Interval Cardio: Think sprints instead of jogging
- Strength Training: Lifting weights is great for your body's hormone levels
For an interval cardio style workout, I'm less experienced with these but here is one from the Fit Father Project if you'd like to check it out - click here to get a free one.
For Strength Training - this is my bread and butter so feel free to ask me anything about it. In general, I'm in favor of major lifts like Squats, Deadlifts and Bench because these are compound lifts that work out many muscles at one time. Even a body squat is a powerful exercise so no need to be lifting 500 lbs (unless you want to).
6. Get Serious! Write down your plan
Final step - get serious about this and fight for your health. It is not easy to try another weight loss effort because statistically, we fail most of the time and it leaves us feeling defeated.
Write down and schedule out your process. For example, maybe take 2 weeks to work on steps 1 and 2. Then schedule another few weeks to add on step 3 and 4. Write down whatever plan you can commit to and makes sense.
You know have the information you need! Be intentional and conquer your health once and for all!
If you are interested in a laid out plan to help make things a little easier - I'd recommend the Fit Father 30-Day Program (FF30X). Dr. Anthony Balduzzi and I share the same opinions on sustainable weight loss and diets. The Fit Father Program has helped over 22,000 men lose 95,000 pounds which is totally amazing!