Here is an email from a veteran who has gotten out of Army shape after he retired a few years ago and now he wants to get back to where he used to be this year.
Stew, Love your work. I retired after 22 years in 2010 and have gained about 10 lbs a year since then. I need to get moving more but do not want to just jump back into what I used to do with this extra weight. What do you recommend as I want to be Army Strong in 2013! ~ John
John, your issue is not much different than many others. As we age, we continue to eat the same way we did in our 20’s and do much less activity. But you are right, start off easy and lay off the hard impact exercises like running and rucking until you drop these extra 20–30 lbs.
This program is a great place to start and you cannot argue with the price: 45 Day Starter Plan. I’m hoping to help readers realize that if you follow a plan (ANY PLAN) of walking more, stretching, drinking more water, and watching what you eat (limiting excess sugar/fat calories), you can be well on your way to improving your energy level and getting in shape.
This process is really about breaking old habits and starting new ones.
Make a New Habit and Break an Old Habit: Don’t Call it a Resolution
Making Good Habits: Making a habit takes about three weeks for the body / mind to both agree it is something you can comfortably continue. Adding more water to your day or starting a walking or resistance training program all are easy habits to start. It is your job to figure out where you have time (20–30 minutes) in a 24 hour period to fit it into your schedule. Don’t start out too hard, too soon. Go into fitness thinking you are just doing it to burn extra calories in your day. Give additional activities 4–6 weeks before checking results such as weight loss, inches lost. You will find you feel better in a few days than you have in a long time and your clothes are starting to fit differently. These are subtle cues to know your program of adding activity to your life is working.
Breaking Bad Habits: The key to changing your life is making new healthful habits and breaking old habits that are bad for you. I recommend starting out easy as bad habits are hard to break cold turkey. You will see much better success if you try to re-route a river vs. damning the river. Same goes for bad habits. Instead of stopping at McDonald’s every time you see one and ordering a Big Mac, fries, and a large Coke, still stop but first ask yourself are you really hungry and just order the un-sweet iced tea. Instead of eating candy bar, eat a Hershey Kiss. Instead of smoking a cigarette try a new hand to mouth habit like chewing a mint gum. These are just some ideas to breaking a bad habit over time.
Other stories: Breaking / Making Habits
Quit Drinking Soda: My own father, not a particularly fit person, decided to quit drinking sodas and switch to water instead. Over the course of the year, he lost 25 lbs by ONLY adding water and subtracting sodas. Now, he feels better and has added a fitness component to his life – walking and stretching 20 minutes a day. I know this year will be a better year for him.
Water Retention: A gentleman — who weighed more than 320 pounds and could not wear his watch, rings, or shoes that he wore the year before — loses 20 lbs of retained water in one week. He did not sweat it off in a sauna — which is dangerous, he actually added water to his current diet (which was dehydrating him). He started drinking water throughout the day – up to 3–4 quarts of water and basically urinated all of the retained water and toxins from his body. In one week, he could wear his watch, ring, and shoes. After consulting a doctor upon this weight loss, he had a clean bill of health and the reason for his water retention was high sodium / low water diet. His body went into camel mode and stored water and quit metabolizing fat at a normal rate. Now he is on a path of basic fitness losing about 2 lbs a week and currently at 285 in two months.
So good luck and instead of making a resolution this New Year — make and break a habit for the whole year. Not just the month of January which is when most resolutions die.