5 Things I Learned About Weight Loss
Today we have a guest post from our summer intern, Derek Whalen. Derek is a pitcher at Waynesburg University. Today is his last day with us so we thought it would be good to feature him on our blog post for the day. Best of luck this upcoming season Derek!
Five Things I Learned About Weight Loss This Summer
Derek Whalen - Crucible Performance Intern
1. It’s not as hard as everyone perceives it to be.
Before you roll your eyes and click the big red “X” at the top of the screen, bear with me. I started out the summer slightly overweight at 6’0’’ and 217 pounds. I guess you could call it the “Junior 15,” as I survived the “Freshman 15.”
What it truly was, though, was a failed attempt to bulk when my body composition wasn’t prepared to do so (that’s a blog post for another day). To compile matters I gained the weight entirely too quickly and while I did get a lot stronger and my fastball velocity improved, I had accumulated too much body fat. It really started to show at the end of the season.
After being completely horrified at a picture of myself, I decided that I would take this summer and cut weight from 217, trying to get down to 195 in early August.
So how did I lose the weight?
You’re probably wondering what kind of grueling workouts combined with horrible tasting green vegetable shakes I had to consume to cut that much body fat in a little over three months. In truth, I didn’t have to make that large of a lifestyle change. The reason people have problems losing weight is because they think they have to run 10 miles a day and eat things that look like this:
The key for me to lose the weight was simple. Make series of small changes to your lifestyle that when they add up, all of a sudden you have a large change in lifestyle that didn’t take that much effort to achieve. The next tips will highlight some of the small changes I made.
2. Food Prep
I did pre-prepare my meals over the summer so I could stay on track. Most people look at meal prepping and think of what “The Rock” does.
They think they have to spend hundreds of dollars at the grocery store and then spend their entire Sunday cooking it all so they can eat it throughout the week. If you want to look like The Rock, then yes, you are going to have to do this. I can assure you that you probably don’t have the time to spend on your body that Dwayne Johnson does, and neither do the majority of high school/college athletes.
Meal prepping for me was simple. Prepare enough food so that I wouldn’t have to scavenge from my freezer to find food for lunch or dinner. A typical week of meal prep looked like this for me:
· One five-pound pack of chicken breast marinated in Italian dressing and cooked on the grill
· One dozen hard boiled or pickled eggs
· Have lean deli meat available at all times
· Have Greek yogurt available at all times
· Have fruit available at all times
· Have packets of tuna/salmon available
· Have oatmeal available at all times
That’s it. That is all the meal prepping I did in order to lose weight. Most of the food I had available didn’t even require me taking the time to cook it. Basically once a week I would see what I was getting low on and run to the store and grab some. It cost me approximately $20-30 a week to make sure I had these things at all times. Ask yourself, would you pay $20-30 a week to ensure that you eat well enough to lose 20lbs? I think the answer is self-explanatory.
3. Subtle changes make a world of difference
I love over-easy eggs and toast. I also love omelets. Egg yolks do not like my waistline. So for the time being, I decided to forgo the yolks, and when I prepare my eggs in the morning, I only eat the whites. Egg white omelets with basically whatever I want to put in them. Cheese, bacon, sausage, you name it and I’ve probably put it in an omelet at some point over the last three months. Removing the yolk seems tedious, and pointless. Plus who wants to go to that kind of trouble when it probably doesn’t make a difference anyway, right?
Let’s run some numbers. There are 78 calories approximately in an egg. There are also approximately 5 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein. By simply removing the yolk you have removed 55 calories and virtually all of the fat from that egg. The white contains 4 out of the 6 grams of protein in the egg and only has approximately 23 calories. If you eat 3 egg whites you have removed 165 calories and 15 grams of fat from your omelet. If you eat an omelet every morning for a week that is 1,155 calories and 105 grams of fat. If you eat an omelet every morning for a month…you get the point, egg whites get you shredded!
Some other subtle changes I made to lose weight include:
· Using a low calorie bread or low-carb wraps (for the fiber, not because they are low carb)
· Rationing peanut butter consumption to one serving a day
· Having a protein shake to control hunger instead of eating
· Limiting alcohol consumption
· Drinking more water
· Going to bed an hour earlier
As you can see, when you look at making one of these changes it sounds easy. It’s when you overwhelm someone with information on what they have to do to lose weight that it becomes difficult and seems impossible.
Before you eat something that may be unhealthy ask yourself a few simple questions.
· “Is eating this worth the calories?”
· “Will I still feel good about myself after I eat this?”
· “Can I still achieve my goals if I eat this?”
If you’re answers to these questions are “yes,” then go ahead, dig in and enjoy it. If your answers are “no,” then look at the list above and find out what are some subtle changes you can make to your lifestyle to be happier, healthier, and leaner.
4. Find a type of exercise you enjoy
You do not have to exercise to lose weight. There are plenty of people out there that can lose weight from simply dieting. However, if you want to look tone, buff, ripped, or whatever adjective you want to use, then you are going to need to do some type of exercise.
If you want to make losing weight significantly easier, you are going to have to do some type of exercise. If you want to excel in a certain sport, you are going to have to do some type of exercise, more than likely you are going to have to do a type of exercise that relates to your sport. Sorry athletes, you have a very limited choice in the type of exercise you get to do. But for other people that want to lose a few pounds I personally don’t believe you need to do a certain type of exercise to lose weight.
You need to do a form of exercise that you enjoy and will perform 5-6 times a week. For me, that’s strength training. You can’t pay me enough money to go outside and run a marathon, but I will willingly workout at the gym 4 times a week and do a form of anaerobic conditioning 2 other days a week. Options are open to lifting weights, biking, running, swimming, hiking, rock climbing, etc.
My advice to people is to explore. Mix up your workouts to prevent from getting bored, and when you find something you like, stick to it and start shredding those extra pounds.
5. Have a support group to stay on track
I cannot stress the importance of having a support group. I have used the resources at Crucible performance as my support group. Going to Crucible performance and helping other people achieve their athletic goals gave me the willpower to achieve my own goals and to apply my knowledge to my own body. Finding a good Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist can be the difference between achieving your goals and falling short of them. Whether it’s your family, friends, or even our team at Crucible Performance, having a support group will keep you on track and provide you with knowledge to help you achieve your weight loss goals.