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Working smarter, not harder

Working smarter, not harder

When people hear my story of losing 60kg, they assume I spend hours in the gym every day and they want to know what my exercise routine looks like. But the reality is this; I started out just walking for six minutes every day.

If you’ve decided it’s time to make a change, lose weight and get healthy, exercise shouldn’t be the first change you make.

When you get right down to it, weight loss is a pretty simple equation. You need to burn more calories than you consume. We’ve all heard that and it sounds simple right? Unfortunately lots of us assume we can compensate for poor food choices by doing more exercise. I know I did. Skipping, star jumps, burpees, running, push-ups, sit-ups, you name it, I was going at it. I tortured myself with an exercise regime that I absolutely hated for almost five months, and guess what? The scales barely moved.

That’s pretty deflating. I felt ashamed and wondered why I even bothered to try. So what went wrong? Well, two things really:

I was attempting to make massive changes too quickly. I’d gone years without doing any regular exercise, then suddenly I started doing all the exercises, all the time. It’s like thinking that you can enter the Tour de France just because you own a bike. You don’t learn a new skill or get good at anything overnight, it takes time and practice.
I was trying to out-exercise my stink food choices by burning more calories than I consumed. But I didn’t even know how much I was consuming. Yeah sure, I knew I was probably eating a little too much junk food but that’s why I was exercising. What I didn’t realise was that I was consuming 14,500-16,500 kilojoules a day. That’s about twice the kilojoules that I needed (the average daily recommended intake for an adult is 8700KJ per day) – in short, I was overeating.

I also don’t like looking at food, activity and lifestyle in terms of calories in and out. I think that’s a crappy way to live your life. But knowledge is power and when you understand how something works, you can reverse engineer it to work for you. What did my Dad always tell me? “Work smarter, not harder, Shane.”

Less effort, better rewards

If we take my Dad’s advice, we’re going to have to examine our food choices. Now, I’m not suggesting you go on a diet! I reckon diets are rubbish and the dieting mind-set is doomed to fail, but calories in and calories out is an equation that’s not changing anytime soon.

So if we’re not going on a diet, how do we change our diet? Well, we make permanent changes to the food choices we make every single day. But you can’t possibly go without [insert unhealthy but mouth-wateringly delicious favourite food here] you say?!

Well, you don’t have to.

Don’t give up the things you love. Instead, look for tiny changes that you can stick to long term. Identify some of the poor decisions you make and instead of trying to cut them out entirely, just cut back a little bit. Slowly tip the balance in favour of healthy decisions and you’ll start to see some progress. Fast weight loss shouldn’t be your goal. Permanent weight loss and lasting health is our long-term goal and that’s not achieved overnight. Slow consistent progress. One healthy decision at a time.

Shane Gosnell
Founder | 127kgs

I’m Shane, a 30-something guy from Wellington, New Zealand. I started my mission to health in 2012 weighing in at 127kgs. I set up my blog 127kgs to share the weight loss and fitness tips that worked for me while I figured out how to lose 60kg in two years. No Diets. No Pills. No Gyms. Along the way I’ve learned a lot about food, fitness, myself and others. I hope my experiences – both my wins and my failures – can help you reach your goals too. Find me on Facebook.

First published: Jul 2015

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