I’ve been getting quite a few emails asking for advice and strategies on how to lose weight. The basic premise of living a healthy lifestyle is something that is commonly addressed nowadays. A single search on the internet will lead you to thousands and thousands of sites talking about how to eat healthy and how to exercise efficiently. Perhaps this is the problem. There’s just too much information out there and for someone who wants to get started, it can get overwhelming.

When people ask me what I did to lose weight, they’re not happy with my answer. I talk about staying away from refined sugars and starches, not drinking soda, not eating anything with preservatives or artificial ingredients … and the most common reaction is a look of horror followed by asking ‘So, what do you eat?’ When I add on my resistance training routine along with my Jiu-Jitsu, they shake their heads and say that it’s impossible. That it’s too much.

There are a few things I have to say to this:
1) I’m happy with the way I eat and the way I train.
2) The changes I made to my lifestyle did not happen overnight. They took time. They took discipline. They took deliberate thought and action until they became habits.
3) I do these things because they work for me.

While I do believe that the basic premise of living a healthy lifestyle is the same for everyone, the exact details will vary … after all, it’s your¬†lifestyle.

You need to figure out what works for you — what suits your tastes, what suits your routine. That being said, you also need to accept that changes will probably need to be made. You may need to cut a few things out of your diet, step up the intensity of your exercise, and rearrange your routine. You can’t expect to continue to do the same thing and expect different results — it’s going to take some work.

Worth

There is no ‘one size fits all’ outline for how to live a healthy lifestyle. You really do have to sit down and figure out what works for you.

The first thing to do is go back to basics —
1) Set your goal(s)
2) Start eating a bit less
3) Start exercising a bit more

From there, come up with a food and fitness based plan on how to reach your goals. What you eat and how you train will differ depending on what your fitness goals are. Do you want to run a marathon? Enter a strong man/woman competition? Excel in MMA?

What you want to achieve will determine your actual plan.

Once you’ve figured that out, make changes in a way that you know you will be able to sustain. If you don’t think you can cut out sugar, dairy, gluten, and red meat all at once, then don’t. Set yourself up for success — don’t choose impossible goals or tasks that you dread. Remember, this is your life. You are in control. You make the choices — and you have to own up to the consequences.

I really think it’s important to start with small, simple changes, and then keep modifying as you go along.

Flexible

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with going all in from the very beginning. I cut everything out all at once and it worked for me — but I’ll be honest, it’s not easy to sustain. I’m now trying to come up with a better balance that will suit my lifestyle.

When in doubt, keep it simple. Here are a few basic tips to get you started:

1. Drink more water (cut down/eliminate soda, juice, alcohol)
2. Eat more fresh foods (cut down/eliminate processed foods that are filled with artificial flavors and preservatives)
3. Move more (take the stairs instead of elevator, walk instead of drive, find a fun activity to participate in)
4. Eat less and chew more
5. Get enough sleep

You can do it — just keep trying.