Jeff Stein is a corporate communications professional, and a regular participant on Daily Burn 365, a live, daily workout show based in NYC. The opinions expressed in this guest post are his own. You can read more from him on his blog, steintrek.com.
An actor friend told me about a casting call for a fitness program: “It’s not a convenient location for me, plus I’m already in shape. You’re more the size and fitness level they’re looking for and, don’t worry, they’re considering older people.”
That’s how, on January 4, 2016, this 46-year-old freelance writer became one of the in-studio participants at Daily Burn 365.
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My goals were not unique. Lose weight, feel better, and have a firm yet big and round tush. While I have now lost 23 pounds, feel fantastic and have one of the best butts in Northwest Queens, my life has improved in so many other ways.
Had I known these seven things before I began Daily Burn 365, I would not have waited so long to take control of my health and well-being.
7 Simple Truths From Daily Burn 365
1. Moderate activity and minimal weight loss will save your life.
In my first 21 days, I worked out three times a week, ate reasonable amounts of food that did not come in a wrapper or box and lost nearly 10 pounds. My blood pressure went from 140/90 to 110/70. That’s in just three weeks, after losing less than five percent of my body weight. High blood pressure and heart disease is the main killer in my family so I did something life altering in less than a month.
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2. Alcohol is the worst.
This one is tough if, like me, you drink six beers a night, by yourself, while slow dancing with your dog. Giving up or limiting alcohol is the easiest way to rid your diet of empty calories, not to mention hangovers that will make a 30-minute workout feel like an Ironman. Yes, the first few days are hard, figuring out what to do with all your feelings now that you are conscious. Now, I take my dog Harry for long walks whenever I’m at loose ends. Harry enjoys the walks more than the dancing and has gone from 42 pounds to 35 pounds.
No Photoshop, he swears. I now drink moderately, a couple of glasses of wine once or twice a week, not the 27,000 calories (or eight pounds) per month I was guzzling before.
3. It’s not a journey.
A journey implies there is an end. There is no end. A person who is at optimal fitness, weight and health still must wake up every day and choose to be healthy. The word journey makes me feel like I’m still not there yet, always striving, not good enough in the present. Whether you are 300 pounds or 150 pounds, the day you decide to be better to yourself and take action is the day you’ve arrived.
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4. Food is how you lose weight and exercise is how you feel great.
All 23 pounds I have lost are the result of sticking to plan. More specifically, the 2,200 calories per day my Daily Burn Coach and I determined would allow me to lose one pound per week while still feeling satisfied. Exercise alone won’t cancel out the poor diet that made you gain weight in the first place, unless you plan on working out six hours a day, every day (hint: you won’t). For me, exercise, has become a way to feel accomplished, become stronger, build stamina, and quiet the voices in my head.
4. I’m obese.
I seriously had no idea. No matter how big I am, I still see a long and lean 21-year-old in the mirror. Tight clothes? Result of cheap fabrics, harsh laundry detergents and over-aggressive dryers.
I nearly came to blows with my doctor who said my BMI (Body Mass Index) put me in the obese range. When I let him know that many professional athletes are in the obese range according to their BMI because of their muscle mass, he was quick to point out I am not a professional athlete. The measurements used to determine ideal weight are not perfect, but they are pretty good for most average people. Being overweight does not make you a bad person or unattractive, but it is doing terrible things to your health.
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6. Perfection is the enemy of good.
I work out at least four times a week. I stick to a nutrient-dense, 2,200-calorie a day diet, all entered religiously into my meal tracker app. I limit alcohol and junk food. Most of the time. In my previous attempts to lose weight, I was intense and unforgiving. If I wasn’t eating and working out perfectly, I was a big fat failure and I may as well just go back to the big fat life I deserved. This time my goal is sustainability. I love the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the time I’m very good and 20 percent of the time I’m a very naughty boy — and I’m very good at being naughty. Last week, I watched new episodes of Veep while dipping an entire bag of kettle-cooked potato chips in lox-flavored cream cheese. You can’t spank me though because I’m still losing weight and feeling great.
7. The next six months are going to happen no matter what.
In January I calculated that I could reach my goal weight of 195 pounds by the end of June. Jeez, six months is a long time to be doing this, I thought. Then I realized June would come no matter what so I could either choose to be fitter and stronger when it does arrive, or not. We are now already halfway through May and this has been wonderful.
After not buying clothes for two years, I finally had the desire to get some new outfits, including pants that show off the 6,000 squats prescribed by the Daily Burn trainers. Even better, I’m not too tired to go out and show them off. With Harry, of course.
To learn more about Daily Burn 365, or join free for 30 days, visit DailyBurn.com/365.
Note to reader: The content in this article relates to the core service offered by Daily Burn. In the interest of editorial disclosure and integrity, the reader should know that this site is owned and operated by Daily Burn. Always talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise or weight loss program. Daily Burn users who worked out for 30 minutes or more at least five times a week for 60 to 90 days reported an average weight loss of about one pound per week.