Today is part 2 of our interview with Chip. If you missed part 1 from yesterday, go back and read it here.
Tell us about the Excel spreadsheet you're using.
As I said, I
haven’t been counting calories as I should, and so I needed to know whether what
I was doing with my nutrition and fitness was actually working. I bought a
Tanita bathroom scale that measures weight and body fat percentage, and it gives
me some of the feedback that I need. But I wasn’t always recording my weight
and body fat percentage, so I didn’t have a good way of looking back to see
whether I was moving in the right direction, especially with the body fat
percentage. Using the spreadsheet has shown me that I have basically hit a
plateau, as far as my weight and my fat/lean ratio.
I usually go
to my PC in the morning after I weigh myself (to check email, news, facebook,
etc.), so I decided to use the PC as a tool to record those numbers. I made a
Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to do that, and I added formulas to automatically
calculate my fat body mass and my lean body mass. Then I added a line graph, so
I could visualize my progress over time. If the line representing my lean body
mass is going up and the line representing my fat body mass is going down, I
know I am headed in the right direction; otherwise, I know I need to change
something. I saved the spreadsheet to my PC’s “desktop,” so I can just click on
the icon and my spreadsheet comes right up. Here is what a page of the
spreadsheet looks like:
A lot of people want to start a diet program, but don't know where or how to
start. For someone who is sitting at home reading this, what is your best
advice to them on how to get up off the sofa and begin?
each person’s motivation for weight loss is different. But I would tell that
person to first visualize what he or she would want to look like or be like, if
that could somehow magically happen. Then, I would say that, even though it
won’t happen by magic, it can happen. We know that there are proven ways to do
it. In fact, if that person is reading this blog site, he or she has seen the
amazing results that are possible. I would tell the person to think about
reasonable and achievable short-term goals and how meeting that first goal would
affect the reasons he or she wanted to change in the first place. Seeing that I
could reach the intermediate goals that I had set for myself gave me “early
wins” and that success keeps me motivated to set and reach my next intermediate
goal. So I would tell that person that, with the right information, even
moderate changes in diet and activity can move you closer to that image of what
you wanted to look like or be like. And as you start to like what you see
happening, you will get excited about making further changes that will get you
to your own ultimate goals.
Lets talk about the passion4profession 8-minute, level-1, ab workout video on
YouTube that you used.
The only regular exercise I had been
doing was stomach crunches holding a 13-pound dumbbell on my chest, and while
that was increasing the size of my abdominal muscles, I wasn’t losing the fat on
the sides of my waist. So I was looking for a better routine. I searched the
web and found a series of YouTube videos with three levels of 8-minute abdominal
muscle workouts. Level 1 can be seen here. In
addition to this workout video, the main passion4profession YouTube site, located here
other ab workout videos, videos for other muscle groups, and videos that show
you how to do each exercise properly. The videos use 3D animation to highlight
the muscles that are worked by each exercise. By the way, some of your videos
showed up on the “Recommended” section on the right-hand side of the
passion4profession YouTube videos, and that is how I discovered your blog.
Any other tips or suggestions you'd like to share?
I guess my
experience has shown that it is important to approach weight loss and fitness as
a lifestyle change, rather than as a temporary change in eating and exercise.
For that reason, I would suggest that people spend some time getting to
understand the basics of nutrition and fitness and the types of food and
exercise that are likely to help us reach our goals. Then, from among those
choices, we can select a balanced set of foods that we find appealing and
enjoyable, and we can find ways to exercise that we actually like to do. Listen
to music while exercising, running or swimming, if that makes it more fun for
you. (Yes, you can listen to music or even read an audiobook while swimming,
using a waterproof mp3 player, such as “Swimp3”
. It uses bone conduction instead of earbuds.) By doing those things, we can
maintain our weight loss and fitness, because it doesn’t feel like we are
depriving ourselves of the things that we enjoy.
Also, I know first-hand that stress can cause weight gain and low levels of
fitness. And sometimes, our weight gain itself causes us even more stress, such
as when we worry about our weight or when other people comment about it. It can
become a vicious cycle. So taking steps to reduce chronic stress can be an
important factor in reducing body fat and developing muscle. I have learned
that extended periods of stress can cause the body to secrete higher-than-normal
levels of a hormone called cortisol. Elevated cortisol can interfere with the
body’s glucose metabolism, cause muscle deterioration, and result in the excess
abdominal fat that is associated with higher risks for hypertension, stroke and
heart problems. Ironically, the regular exercise that I didn’t think I had the
time for, could actually have reduced the stress that came with my job, and I
might have avoided the belly fat that accounted for most of my weight
Finally, it is never too early, and it is never too late,
to improve your diet and exercise. Not only do you feel healthier and more
attractive, but you actually start to feel better about yourself in other ways.
And you realize that your other goals in life are achievable, too. But the
earlier you begin, the sooner you can achieve that image of yourself that you
visualized as your ultimate goal.
If anyone would like a copy of the Excel worksheet, leave a message in the comments section below for Chip so he can get a copy to you. I'd like to thank Chip for coming by and sharing his story with us. He has some great insights and shared some great tips. See everyone on Monday for our weekly progress reports!