If you look down in the mirror to a bulging stomach and then look up and see a fat face staring back at you, it’s time to make a decision. Face up to it: if you don’t make some serious changes, you will eventually be committing suicide by food.
Suicide by food is a harsh statement, but certainly one that many men need to hear.
Most health problems in the modern world are created by excessive consumption and poor choices when it comes to food and drink. Take this statement to heart, because there is no way to attain self-mastery without getting a handle on your diet, weight and fitness.
Eat with Purpose
Just as the advertising industry has become extremely successful at separating us from our money through conspicuous consumption, the food industry has become very, very successful at turning a necessary life function into an obsessive and unhealthy addiction for many. Especially here in the United States, poor eating habits have become the primary cause of poor health for most men.
Separate yourself from the masses and become aware that you alone a responsible for your eating habits. Take control of your diet.
There is no argument against the fact that 100% of what goes in your mouth is under your control. Become aware of the campaign to direct and control your eating habits; most of which will lead to poor health.
Change your outlook towards food from one of escape and pleasure to one of purpose.
From this day forth you will be eating for health and energy. Be aware that doing so does not preclude enjoying a delicious meal, but it does mean that purpose will precede pleasure from now on.
Remember the good old days when you had tremendous drive and ambition; when you could go all day at work and then come home and work out like an animal?
Those days can absolutely return. Your body wants to be healthy and primed for each new day. Give it the chance to return to glory. Be patient and eat right over the long term. Take the long view and use food as a tool for your benefit.
You’re going to need the energy.
Eat with Precision
So you have made the decision to eat for health and energy. You’ve woken up and decided to stop the slide into the abyss of sloth and poor health.
You will also need to eat with precision.
To do so, it’s time to figure out your caloric breakeven point. In other words, the number of calories consumed each day within your normal activity level that will allow you to maintain your weight.
I recommend a smart phone application called MyFitnessPal for this purpose. I use it every day. It’s free to download and will guide you through to your breakeven caloric number. It will also be extremely useful in tracking your consumption totals on a day to day basis.
Just to give you a quick rule of thumb, multiply your current weight by 15. This number will be your rough caloric breakeven point. If you live a very sedentary lifestyle use 13 or 14 as the multiplier instead. Better to be conservative in your estimate.
Another good reason to use MyFitnessPal is to gain some perspective and precision over your macro nutrient consumption.
There are three main categories of food nutrient types or macros: protein, carbohydrates and fat. It is very interesting to note the relative caloric percentages of each of these as you track your consumption. Manipulating them within the umbrella of your caloric intake goal will affect your hunger, health and fitness.
So get the application and get started tracking your food and beverage intake. The app contains a massive database. Many products can just be scanned into the program using your phone to read the barcode. For homemade recipes, just scan or enter the ingredients, create a portion and you are on your way.
Within a week or two, most of what you eat will auto-populate as you enter your meals. Entry will become seamless and quick.
You will now be able to eat with precision as you cut through each day.
Eat to Loose, Maintain or Gain Weight
Most of you reading this will likely be interested in losing weight, just as I needed to a while back. One birthday morning I stepped on the scale and looked down to a reading of 215 pounds. Trust me, this was not a good 215. I should have weighed 185.
I am aware of how easy it is to let yourself slip over the years. Life gets in the way. Work and family take precedence and you fall into some bad habits. Food and alcohol become an escape and then part of the problem as things slowly spiral away from where they should be.
That morning was my tipping point. I’d thought about this particular birthday half a lifetime ago when I was in my prime. Since that day on the scale I haven’t looked back. I made a hard core decision to cut weight and take the rest of my life back as well. Never again will I let myself slide as I had done. It would be purpose and precision from now on.
My recommendation for losing weight is to consume at a caloric rate of 25% below your breakeven point. For me this led to a loss rate of about a pound per week while I added muscle mass through weight training.
A loss rate of about 1 pound per week is a healthy and sustainable goal. It will allow you to manage your hunger and eat a decent amount of quality food for energy and exercise.
In six months I did indeed reach that 185 pound magic number.
Remain Dynamic in Your Consumption
An important consideration here is to adjust your caloric intake number downward as you lose weight. Always maintain a 25% deficit relative to your breakeven point which will decrease as you lose weight.
The reason for this decrease is that your basal metabolic rate will drop as you lose body mass. Because of your weight loss, your body will require less energy to simply exist. And of course, your metabolism will also fight back as a means of survival against the lower calorie intake by slowing itself down.
You will counter these two effects by dropping your calorie count on the fly as you lose weight.
Once you reach your goal, spend 3 months eating at breakeven to make sure you have complete control. From there you might want to add some muscle mass and add a little weight to project a better physical presence. After all, there is nothing wrong with sporting a little beefcake for the woman.
To allow yourself to add more muscle mass, you will need to eat at breakeven or above.
At first, breakeven will suffice because your metabolism will have slowed from the weight cut. Over time, a 10% or so caloric surplus will be necessary to bulk up before another weight cut as you try to keep your muscle gains and lean out.
Experiment and check the scale every morning. Every man has his own sweet spot.
Let me tell you gentlemen, it’s a pretty good feeling to be able to manipulate your body weight and body composition. It adds a real flare to who you are and provides a great contrast to the masses.
It is also fantastic to look as you did in your prime and have the energy to go full throttle every day. Cutting weight and getting in shape will indeed bring your energy and drive back up to where they should be.
Make the commitment to go hard for six months and reap your own glory.
Limit Alcohol and Eating Out
Better yet, cut out alcohol completely and eat out only as the exception every once in a while.
First of all, just think of the savings available here. Cutting out beer, cocktails and restaurants will free up a boat load of cash for financial control and prosperity. But, I digress.
It’s time to accept the fact that alcohol is a complete waste of time.
The calories are of no value and any time under the influence will limit your potential for advancement that day. Regular consumption over the years will also burn brain cells, add useless fat, slow you down and kill your testosterone levels.
Think about that last item gentlemen. Low testosterone levels will affect every aspect of your life: sex drive and performance, ambition and energy, muscle mass and body fat, as well as mental focus. I personally would prefer to keep these items at their most advantageous levels.
Physiologically, testosterone is what makes you a man. Modern lifestyle and diet have led to significantly lower testosterone levels in the average male compared to even just a generation ago. Removing alcohol from the equation will be a step in the right direction.
Make the decision you’ve had your fill. At some point, getting a buzz on at the expense of your long term health and top line potential as man has to come to an end. Enough is enough already. It’s time to get busy and get things done. There is still too much to be achieved to waste any more time under the burden of alcohol.
Much of the same goes for eating out. Most restaurant meals are prepared without consideration for your health. Let’s face it, each establishment is in fierce competition for your dollar and will use whatever advantage it can to get your repeat business.
Eating all that rich prepared food on a regular basis will slow a man down.
Simplify your meals. Become very deliberate in what you consume. Get back to the basics and tone down what you eat. Change your expectations regarding food from those of feasting and escape to health and energy.
Turn your meals into the clean fuel you will use to reach new heights as your Ultimate Self.
Enjoy the high end vigor and drive that comes from eating with purpose and precision.
All the best,