How to Lose Weight Without Dieting (or fit tea)

It’s that time of year again – where weight loss is the hot topic on everyone’s mind. Over the past few years, dieting has gotten a bad rep, and sometimes for good reason. Dieting should not be seen as a punishment or something you do that makes you feel horrible. The truth is, we all already have a diet, it’s just a matter of whether that diet is currently hurting or helping you.

The definition of the word “diet” is, “The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.”

I’m sure monkeys not have some weird mental complex about the word “diet”, it’s humans who have created that for ourselves. We’re the ones who made it into some overall negative word that means something along the lines of looking at a picture of a salad for your meals, but at it’s core, it just really means becoming conscious of what you’re eating.

Where most diets go wrong

The problem with going on a diet, especially one that’s the new flavor of the month, is that diets rarely work out in the long term. They rarely become something people want to do in the long term and instead become something we do for a few months while we mentally punish ourselves until we can get back to our regularly scheduled eating.

On the outside, fitness is simple: Get in a caloric deficit and, boom, you’ll lose weight.

However, just because something is simple on the surface doesn’t make it easy to do in practice. I would make a bet that at least half of Americans are on a diet or attempting to diet at any given moment of time, yet, they seem to fail in the long run.

Once most people stop dieting, they gain most of the weight back almost immediately.

Why?

Because diets are often temporary and not a long term shift in how they eat. Deciding to cut out carbs for a month or two only lasts so long and then people are right back to their old eating habits because they’re not tweaking anything for the long time.

People sign up for the newest trend, or worse, do some celebrity diet, only to lose the weight but put it on just as quickly as they dropped it as soon as it’s over.

The problem is, people do not mentally think there is any possible way to lose weight without starving themselves, which thus creates this bad circle of never really taking charge with their health. In their mind, if it isn’t hard and doesn’t come with pain, it’s not weight loss, which is so unfortunate because it doesn’t have to be so painful.

What to do instead

The first thing you need to know (or already probably know) is that so much of weight loss simply comes down to burning more calories than you consume in a day.

Now, the problem is that most people have no idea how many calories they need, how many they burn, and how many they eat in any given day. There are a ton of ways to do it, but here’s a generic site that should give you a good idea: TDEE calculator.

For example, entering in my data shows that my maintenance calories are 2,337 per day.

This gives me a good ballpark of where to begin when it comes to knowing how much I should be eating, if I keep up my current fitness activity level.

Now, when it comes to figuring out how much you need or how much you’re burning, this is one of the harder areas to figure out. Almost every single fitness tracker I’ve used wildly overestimates how many calories are burned. I see all these screenshots of workouts with calories burned close to 1,000, which is rarely the case.

Keep in mind, running for 30 straight minutes burns between 200-500 calories. That’s a wide range and can be hard to pinpoint your exact numbers.

First thing to try

One of the first things to try is to simply add more real food into your diet. (Yes, fitness nerds, I know all food is technically “real” food, but by this I mean something you could pick or hunt in the wild.)

I love Doritos just as much as the next person, but I’m also aware a small bag is over 400 calories. Listen, I’m not saying you need to go on a tirade and throw out everything processed in your house, especially since the definition of “processed” is up for debate.

However, you can know that one whole steak is about 679 calories. Between a bag of Doritos and a steak, which one do you imagine is more filling? One chicken breast is 231 calories and one cup of rice is 206 calories… so you can really cut calories down if you want.

I’m not saying you need to only eat vegetables until you die, but you CAN replace your snacks with more fulfilling options that also taste damn good.

Back when I was a personal trainer, just having clients challenging themselves to eat one vegetable before they ate anything else helped kick off their calorie reduction.

Sometimes this can help much more than just doing the latest “fad” diet out there.

Walk into any health section of your local bookstore, and you’ll be greeted with 90% diet books and 10% books on actual health. Diets are all the rage in America and everyone seems to think it’s the magic pill that will fix our obesity problem.

The continuous circle seems to be: gain weight, be shocked, get a new diet book, go on the diet, lose a few pounds, go back to what you were doing when you gained the weight. Rinse and repeat forever until you die.

How exercise plays a role

When people think of weight loss, they think about dieting. While dieting plays a huge role, the science behind weight loss is simple: You need to burn more calories than you’re consuming.

Another way to do this besides dieting is to increase the amount of activity you do in a given day or week. If you increase the amount of activity you do in a day, that can also give you more of a boost over the amount of calories you consume, leading to more weight loss.

Now, that’s not to say you can out-train a bad diet. On average, people burn about 100-150 calories running a mile while one slice of pizza is about 285 calories.

You still need to keep your calories mildly in check if you’re planning to workout more to lose weight. What I’m saying is the solution is not often to just workout for hours and only eat a single broccoli, especially if you still have a day job or other work you need to be alert and conscious for.

HIIT and Strength Training

If you want to get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to fitness, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and strength training (aka lifting weights) is your best bet when it comes to losing weight without spending so much time in the gym.

Without diving too much into the science, what essentially happens is that because your body is recovering for the next day or two, it’s going to burn some calories while it does so. In comparison, just regular, casual cardio mostly only burns calories while you’re doing it.

It might seem simple, but you don’t need to do drastic steps in order to start getting some weight off your body.

Alphalete Sweater and Joggers Review

If you’ve ever dived into the world of YouTube and fitness content, you’ve most likely come across Christian Guzman and his brand, Alphalete. I’ve never been one to buy fancy gym gear because I always know I’m going to wear it down quick, but this past holiday season I received some Alphalete gear and thought I’d write up a review now that it’s been about 10 months of owning it. Keep in mind, I mostly buy men’s workout gear because I’m not a fan of tight leggings when I work out.

The items I’ve tested

The three items I received from Alphalete were: a black standard hoodie, olive joggers, and the limited edition dog collar. Of course, they have hundreds of items they’ve released throughout the years and while I’d love to say I’ve tested a ton of them, this is the current stack (for now!).

Now that it’s been about 10 months, they’re still holding up very well. Keep in mind, I treat my stuff well and rarely blaze through clothes, but they’re still in about the same shape that I originally received them in. The stitching is staying together, the sweater is still soft on the inside (which is a miracle in and of itself) and the pants along with the collar are all holding up nicely.

The overall make and use

Immediately when putting on Alphalete, I could feel the difference in the overall make of them compared to what I’ve worn before. You can tell these are designed by athletes as soon as you use them, especially with things like how the joggers don’t move when you’re doing squats. That’s always the thing I notice with fitness gear as soon as I use it – you can tell when it’s designed by someone who works out or not.

I’ve had a friend who have worn Alphalete who said hers didn’t hold up as long, but also I have no idea what her rate was for wearing it or taking care of them.

Taking care of the Alphalete gear

I’m a person who likes to make sure my gear lasts as long as possible, so I always follow clothing instructions. The clothes from Alphalete I have say on them to not dry them and instead hang to dry. I make sure to do this every time, just to get the most use out of them.

Will I buy more?

The price is pretty steep for Alphalete, but given how much it’s held up over these 10 months makes it worth it. In my mind, it’s better to have one pair of joggers that lasts years than buy tons of cheap ones that only last a few months to a year at best.

Overall, I’m really happy with these products since I prefer to own things that last a long time. The fit is comfortable and the joggers material feels unlike any other type of joggers I’ve worn before. Everything has thick material and I would guess should last a few more years if not even longer. The Alphalete dog collar will probably last even longer as it has barely shown any use and I use it every single day.

How to Manage Your Food Addiction

First and foremost, let me just say I’m not a doctor. Serious food addictions need professional help.

This is more for people who suddenly have a pizza craving and indulge in it all the time, sabotaging their fitness goals.

What you need to know: companies spend billions and billions of dollars a year to make sure you can’t put your fork down. Why do you think so many of them have cute characters as mascots?

I only mention this because you should keep this in mind when you’re battling those late-night food cravings. Yes, it’s partially discipline, but there’s also a HUGE industry spending their days and nights thinking of ways to keep you addicting.

There’s a reason that for the most part people have a craving for fast food over celery – they’re designed this way.

The problem sets in when you’re sabotaging your fitness goals or your overall way of life simply because you can’t stop. I don’t think I need to tell you that eating these foods in excess will not only add extra fat, but could end your life early.

As someone who will destroy a pizza or a bag of Cheetos if it’s within arms reach, let me share what I do to manage it.

Get it out of your space

Listen, I’m not a fan of throwing food away (hello low-income upbringing) BUT you need to at least stop buying the food you’re addicted to. If you’re bringing it in your house, you’re going to be relying on willpower every single day, and that’s borderline impossible after a long day of decision-making at work.

Remove the temptations and free yourself. If you have to get up and go to the store to buy it when your cravings hit, you’re going to reduce your chances of eating it.

Stop going through drive throughs

This is the biggest vice for most people and I don’t know an easy shortcut to this. Why do you think they made drive throughs in the first place? BECAUSE THEY’RE SO DAMN EASY. You don’t even have to walk in. You simply have to drive through.

Taco Bell was ALWAYS my weakness and if I hadn’t figured out I can’t eat wheat, I bet I’d still be going there way too often.

This might require even going out of your way to drive home because seeing the golden arches on your drive back will be enough temptation for you.

Think of how you want to feel the next day

This one really does the trick for me. I can feel crappy food in my diet for at least another full day afterwards. The day after I eat a whole pizza is sluggish and my brain power is not fully there. As an entrepreneur, I cannot risk too many days like this in a row because my clients need me on my A-game. There’s nothing worse than being on a client call and sounding dumb as a brick when they’re asking you hard questions.

Consider a detox

If you’re fully in cravings mode, you might have to go cold turkey. Every time I’m consuming too much junk, I cut it all out instead of tapering off. Now, not everyone can do that and while your body is pushing out all the toxic sludge, it feels pretty horrible. You’ll want nothing more than to eat an entire box of donuts. However, if you can get through it, you’ll find how much of your taste buds change.

Every time I detox from sugar, I notice that foods taste regular again. Yogurt goes from tasting like nothing to almost being too sweet to eat lots of.

Remove decisions from your life

The less decisions you have to make about your food every day, the better off you’ll be when it comes to food cravings. That means being on top of food prepping every week, making healthy snacks to easily eat, and having a meal plan ready.

This can also mean deciding WHEN you do indulge, too. I have a rule of indulging in my favorite foods I love once a week without an ounce of guilt. I don’t waste this on foods I don’t love.

On top of that, I have a new rule of not eating at my work desk. One, it distracts me from enjoying my food because I’m usually watching or listening to something else while I eat. Two, it allows me to focus on when I’m actually feeling full.

Tell your supportive friends

If you tell your friends your new goals and plans and in response they don’t agree or give you shit for it, uh, how do I nicely say you need to find new friends? Sure, friends can joke, but in the end they should be supportive and look out for you.

If you don’t have supportive friends, there are a ton of groups online you can find with similar goals where you can help keep each other on point. Even being in contact with people who think like you do can work wonders.

Know your triggers

Knowing what situations get you off track is essential to making sure you don’t sabotage your diet. Is it the happy hour meet up with your friends? Your cravings when you are sitting around watching Netflix? Fights with your spouse? Work stress?

Whatever sets you off, you first need to write it down so you know when it happens. Then you need to make a plan to combat it. When you know your enemy, you can fight it head-on.

Moleskine Wellness Notebook Review

Note: I’ve had this notebook since 2012 and it might have changed slightly since I’ve owned it, but after looking at pictures on the internet it seems to be similar in style.

As the old saying goes, “What gets measured gets managed.” Throughout my years in the fitness industry and working as a personal trainer, I learned how important it was to track what matters most to know if you’re getting results.

Whether it’s weight loss, keeping track of your lifts, progressive overload, or competing for a sport, you’ll only know if you’re getting better by keeping a detailed account of the numbers that matter.

Overall, the Moleskine Wellness notebook is great for keeping track of long-term goals but I would get another one if you want to track your daily workouts and diet because there are only about 30 pages or so for each of those categories which I filled up pretty quick. If you’re thinking about getting this notebook, let’s dive into the specifics of it and what you need to know.

The pages in the Wellness Moleskine

Inside the Wellness Moleskine, there are six pre-designed categories and six blank categories for you to decide what you need.

The six pre-made categories are:

  • Personal goals
  • Exercise log
  • Diet
  • General health
  • Games – sport
  • Inspirations

In the back, I’ve used the blank areas for measuring body fat/body stats, foods I want to get, and stretches I need to do to keep my body aligned.

I started to use the exercise log to track my daily workouts, but quickly filled up that section in just a few months. For that reason, I moved my daily tracking to other notebooks because I really wanted to turn this notebook into one I could keep and refer back to for a long time.

With that in mind, I use the pages more for overall tracking and long-term planning more than daily use.

The make of the Wellness Moleskine

Note: The page thickness could have improved through the years since I’ve purchased it. Be sure to read current reviews before purchasing.

The binding has held up for years, thankfully! As for the page thickness, most pen inks can be seen on the opposite side. A fountain pen would certainly bleed through to the other side. I know this is a pretty common complaint about Moleskine notebooks in the past decade or so, but for some people the sections are worth it.

The elastic closure has also held up through all of these years, which is probably the most impressive part.

How I use the sections

As I mentioned, I don’t use this notebook for daily tracking of lifts. I do use it for more of a broad view of my fitness and stats over time, to see how I’m improving each year.

Here’s what I use each section for so you can get an idea of what I do if you want to draw some inspiration from it.

Personal goals:
This section is broken down by each week and month for an entire year. Instead of using each week, I have dedicated each page to an entire year with the things I’d like to accomplish with my health and wellness that year. Sometimes I use it to also track programs I’m doing throughout the year. That gives me a good overall look at what I’ve been doing so I can cross-reference that with my results to see what’s working or not working.

Exercise log:
As I said earlier, I filled this section up pretty quickly so I don’t use it much any longer.

Diet:
As someone with food allergies, I use this more to track my overall diet and what I’m doing during a current month instead of a daily diet tracker. That way, I can compare it to my results to see what I need to do and if I need to tweak anything.

General health:
I use this to track my food allergies, vitamins/supplements I’m taking, dentist and doctor appointments, and if there’s anything alarming I need to keep track of or bring up to my doctor.

Games – sports:
I use this section to track any sports I play or hikes I take. This is more for tracking memories to look back on.

Inspirations:
This is what I use for fitness inspirations: quotes that hit home, people who inspire me, great moments I want to remember (like hitting a PR, etc).

That’s pretty much how I use this journal. I’m personally a big fan of having notebooks dedicated to certain areas of my life, which is why I own a variety of the Moleskine Passion planners. The pages are thin, but if you’re willing to put up with it to keep track of your overall health and wellness, it’s a good trade-off.

Bodybuilding.com’s Signature 100% Whey Protein Powder Birthday Cake Review

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For most of us stuck inside over these past few months, working out has been…. a struggle. Not having our gyms to lift at and weights to throw around has thrown most of us off. One thing that helps motivate me to get it done is something delicious to end my workout with. Most of the protein I was ordering was on backorder for a while now at most stores, so I decided to try a new flavor: Bodybuilding.com’s whey birthday cake flavor (mainly because it’s the top-rated flavor on their site from other reviewers).

Overall review: 9/10

Flavor: 9/10

Mixing: 9/10

Sugar: 8/10

Protein content: 9/10

Flavor and mixing

The first thing I noticed about this protein was how smooth it mixed and the great flavor. It’s the closest I’ve had to an actual cake flavor in a long time from a protein powder. I’m a sucker for sprinkles, so I love that they’re mixed in. Keep in mind, if you blend your protein powder with other ingredients, they’re going to get crushed unless you add it after you’re done blending. You’ll also want to keep mixing it as you drink it because the sprinkles sink to the bottom.

Unlike some other protein powders I’ve used in the past, this one is rarely clumpy or sticking together. It mixes smooth and doesn’t need to be constantly shaken to maintain it’s good flavor. I suspect it’s due to the types of proteins used, which we’ll cover.

The ingredient breakdown

Bodybuilding.com has a stellar reputation, and I love that they put right on their site that they don’t use proprietary blends in their protein. For those that don’t know, some brands essentially hide how much protein you’re getting behind the idea that they’re a “proprietary blends”. That’s not even exclusive to protein powders, you can even find such labels on things like multivitamins.

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Key Ingredients:

  • 25g of Protein (13 g from Whey Protein Isolate, 6g from Whey Protein Concentrate, 6 g from Whey Protein Hydrolysate)
  • 2g of Total Fat (1g is Saturated Fat)
  • 3g of Total Carbohydrate (2g of Sugars, 1g of Added Sugar)

The different types of protein:

  • Whey isolate is ideal for low-carb diets since it’s low in fat
  • Whey concentrate has a balance between the major macros (protein, carbs, fats) to give you the energy you need
  • Whey hydrolysate has been broken down into strings of amino acids (peptides) to make digestion even easier

Also included are digestive enzymes which can help you absorb 20% more protein than a drink without them included.

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Serving sizes

The 2 lb. jug gets you about 27 servings – so almost a full month of shakes if you take it daily. If you take two scoops per day, you’ll need two jugs or you can opt for their 6 lb. option.

When to take

The best time to take a protein shake is right after a tough workout, but if you’re not getting enough throughout your day, it can be good to take more when you need it.

For reference, you should be getting about 1 G of protein per lean body pound.

Where to get it

The best place to get this protein is straight from Bodybuilding.com’s website: here.

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