I was clicking around the internet the other day and I came across this graph of the USA from 2013 (and I am sure these numbers have only gotten worse over the next 6 years). This graph shows what percentage of the population in each state self-reports themselves as obese. This really got to me because it’s not how many people are obese but instead how many people think of themselves as obese. Framing it that way is much more powerful to me.
25-30% of people in New Jersey report themselves as obese. That is way too high and it makes me want to go door to door and help everyone who wants to lose weight and feel great about themselves. So I figured, lets create a little plan for someone who thinks they are obese and wants to start getting in shape.
The first consideration we have to make is do we focus on working out or nutrition first. My personal experience has been that it is much easier to start with working out first and that people start to truly want to make changes to their nutrition after about 6 weeks of working out. This means you need to get moving first.
Step 1: Set aside 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week to get moving.
Have you done nothing in the past 12 months? Then pick out a walking loop that you are going to walk for 30 minutes (set a timer!), 3 days a week.
Have you been doing a little of walking/moving the last 12 months? Go to that same walking loop, set your 30 minute timer and every 3 minutes – jog for 30 seconds.
The goal is actually not even about the exercise. The goal is to begin by putting aside 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week for working out. We are simply creating the habit and time for when you workout.
Step 2: After 3 weeks of walking/jogging, you should have your times down for when you can workout. Lets increase to 1 hour, 3 days a week.
Do not worry about pushing the intensity just yet. We are going to do that simply by doubling your workout time. If you were walking for 30 minutes, simply walk for an hour. Now an hour is a long time, so bring some music, a friend to talk to, or find some interesting new places to walk.
The goal is to expand that half hour to an hour so you are now moving 3 hours a week.
Step 3: At the 6 week mark, it is time to start making some changes to your nutrition.
Let’s keep your nutrition change simple. Every meal you eat should have at least a fist-size of protein and 2 handfuls of veggies. I don’t care what else is on your plate for each meal but their should protein and veggies. Do this for every meal. This goal is not about changing everything about how you eat, it is just to get some more protein and vegetables into your system, especially as you are move more than in the past.
The goal is to show you can make an improvement to your nutrition and the affect on your body a small nutrition change can have.
That’s it! By week 9, if you follow this plan you will have created a habit where you are working out 3x a week for an hour and you are eating protein and vegetables with every meal. These two things are the foundation for getting into better shape and hopefully this little plan shows you how you can make small changes into what you do everyday. Sometimes we look at the big picture (I need to lose 40 pounds) and it can paralyze us from creating action. Instead I want you to focus on the little changes – lets get moving and eat some more protein/veggies – the bigger picture stuff will come if you do the little things. If at week 9, you want to add another nutrition change, take a look at your total calories (check this blog post out for more info).
Once you put together 9 weeks of walking/jogging and eating better, I would suggest putting some research into what you would like to do next for working out. I am a huge believer that the best workout program is one that you enjoy and there are a ton of options out there. You already have 3 hour sessions carved out so research what you think will be what you enjoy the most and go try it out.
Change starts with small steps that you continue to repeat, just focus on getting outside for a walk and then you can go from there!