A funny thing happened in one of my fitness classes recently. After class, a participant came up to me and said, “I need to lose 15 lbs really fast. What should I do?”
I will let you in on a little secret: This is a terrible opening line to lay on a personal trainer. Any good trainer knows that losing weight “really fast” is just not a smart thing to do. Why? Because chances are when the weight comes off fast a result of doing something drastic (massively cutting calories or over-exercising), much of the weight lost will be lean muscle rather than fat.
So, after heaving a big sigh and rolling my eyes a little, I said, “Ok. Cut out all processed foods, cut out bread, pasta and dairy. Eat lots of lean protein and tons of veggies.” He stared at me for a minute and said, “Well. I can’t cut out bread. I have to have bread for my ham and cheese sandwiches.” And I said, “Wrap your sandwich fillings in lettuce.” And he said, “I don’t like lettuce. And I also have to have my bagels for breakfast. I don’t have much time in the morning and that’s the quickest thing for me to grab.”
After rattling off the recipe for muffin tin quiches (see the Healthy Eats tab for the recipe) and telling him they were full of protein and veggies, he reluctantly agreed to try that out. I told him to make a bunch, freeze some, then just pull a few out in the morning, heat them and go. Voila. Breakfast.
Another class participant had walked by while this conversation was going on and he said, “You also have to give up beer!” to which my friend responded, “But I switched to light beer! That’s okay, right?” looking to me for affirmation that it was indeed fine to drink as much beer as you want, provided it is light beer.
At this point I’m about to start looking around for the cameras, thinking this has GOT to be a joke. No cameras.
“Let’s talk about your workouts,” said I. “Are you lifting weights at all?” and he said, “Nope. I just take this class. I don’t like to lift weights.”
So what you are really asking is, “How can I lose weight and get in better shape, but not change a single thing that I’m doing right now?”
The sad thing is, this is not uncommon. I’m not sure what kind of answer people are expecting sometimes. He is certainly not the first person to say, “I want to get healthier, but I’m not willing to change X (or Y or Z).”
It made me wonder, how many people are out there who feel like healthy living is a burden? We have become so accustomed to our fast, processed foods and our sedentary lives that people feel like they are SACRIFICING what they love to get healthy. I don’t think many of these people know how truly uncomfortable they are until they actually lose weight. If you have watched The Biggest Loser, you have seen the challenge where current contestants who have lost anywhere from 50-100+ lbs are required to put on weight vests, ankle weights etc., equaling the amount of weight they have lost. These contestants are always shocked at how uncomfortable they are when they put this weight back on.
A person gets used to the excess weight they carry because the weight piles on over times. There is so much extra pressure on the joints and the internal organs that the body, the heart and lungs have to work extra hard to do their jobs. Over time this wear and tear can cause serious damage.
How about you? Do you feel like you are sacrificing anything for a healthy lifestyle? Or, have you found a way to balance everything you love with taking care of the one and only body you have?