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5 Questions to Ask As You Create Your (Running) Bucket List

5 Questions to Ask As You Create Your (Running) Bucket List

For many, bucket lists come about in response to a life-altering event, which in turn brings perspective and urgency. But why should we wait to be dealt such a hand before giving a bucket list some well-deserved thought?

The college where I work houses a “Before I Die Wall”, which is part of a greater global art project. It is an unique avenue for individuals to express their life goals and dreams; a bucket list of sorts. You may have seen them in cities around the US and internationally. If you are curious or in need of inspiration, you can check out examples at www.beforeidie.cc.

I probably pass by this wall a hundred times or more each week, but I’ve admittedly become blind to the majority of postings. I had just dropped off some paperwork one day and was headed back toward my office when I caught one particular post out of the corner of my eye. “Run Naked in Public,” it read, plastered on the wall.

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Bold. Daring. Running related.

As a runner myself, it got me thinking, what are my bucket list items in regards to running? Admittedly, I drew a blank. What running goals did I have for myself that I so daringly wished to complete?

As runners, we tend to become creatures of habit. We have our standard set of routes, or preferred race distances, and so forth. With each New Year we may resolve to make some minor adjustment or add a goal to our list; however, by and large we remain predictable and comfortable in our patterns. The underlying problem with most of these resolutions (as we now realize mid-year) is that the goal was either a fleeting thought, unrealistic, or no action was taken toward accomplishing it.

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So what can you do to generate and check off your own running-themed bucket list? As you brainstorm, be sure to let these five questions guide you.

1. Have you told anyone?

If you only think to yourself, “it would be cool to complete an ultra,” how likely is it that you will commit this to action? Communicate your goal. Write it down. Tell a friend. Accountability and excitement will be the result. Find a “Before I Die” wall near you, and make it public!

2. Is it realistic?

For the sake of satisfaction, your bucket-list should be filled be activities that can be accomplished. With a half marathon PR of 1:49, winning Boston might be a tad optimistic.

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3. Is it within your control?

What factors might be involved that may pose as obstacles to achieving your goal? Are these factors within, or outside of, your control? Make sure you have control over attaining anything on your bucket list. Winning the lottery might be nice, but too many variables are out of your hands.

4. Is it unique to you and your interests?

Are you really interested in this goal, or are you pursuing it out of influence of others? You should have a genuine intrinsic motivation to accomplish the task.

5. What’s the first step?

The best way to guarantee it will remain on the bucket list, is to never take any action toward it. If it is on your bucket list, that means it has been significant enough to elude you for this long. Consequently, it is challenging enough to require some significant changes.   However, making several dramatic changes all at once may be overwhelming. Instead, make a list of steps in a natural progression toward your goal, and introduce one change at a time.

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So what is on your running-themed bucket list? As for me, I will have to give it some serious thought, but I do know what won’t be on there: “Run naked in public.”

Featured photo credit: Jogging at beach/Barn Images via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

The Truth of Rapid Weight Loss: How to Actually Shed Pounds

The Truth of Rapid Weight Loss: How to Actually Shed Pounds

“If I drink this supplement, will I lose 40 pounds in two weeks?”

 Another consultation with a new member in the fitness center that I manage, and yet another person that fell prey to the marketing-trap of a supplement company that promised immediate results and rapid weight loss.

Rapid weight loss is enticing. It speaks to our human nature. It’s unfortunately also a false fantasy of ours.

The truth is that while you might be able to lose weight in a very short time, it’s practically impossible to keep it off. Here’s why and how you can actually shed pounds sustainably and continuously.

The Key to Patience

A mentor of mine once told me bluntly: You can have it all young man. You can be a great salesman and entrepreneur. You can run a successful business. As long as you just refuse to give up.

Is it that simple? It is.

I came into a management position at a young age not because I’m the brightest but because I outlasted my colleagues.

There are a lot of similarities between business and the results in the gym. They just produce different rewards.

If something isn’t working simply because you don’t have the patience to push through, develop this crucial piece of the puzzle before moving on.

You can learn more about just how long it takes to build muscle and lose fat here.

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The Art of Weight Loss

Weight loss is simple, but not easy.

It’s not easy because it goes against our nature. We all have to know that our ancestors dealt with much rougher situations than we did. Over millions of years our genome has evolved to store energy in order to prepare for rainy days.

Only in the recent decades have we gone from scarcity to absolute abundance. The supermarket just around my corner contains ripe fruits from all over the world. Packaged, conserved foods that can be stored in our shelf for years to come.

While our recently-evolved, self-conscious forebrain is demanding us to keep losing 10 more pounds, our genome is desperately trying to hold on to all of those bits of energy storage, making rapid weight loss nearly impossible.

Fat cells used to be our friends, and now they’re enemies. (Find out more about the reason why here.) In order to beat them and lose weight, we have to learn to go against nature and trick our genome.

How to Trick Your Genome

What if I told you that there is a way to soothe your genome and your brain at the same time? How can we manipulate both of these entities to reach our goals?

Here’s everything that you need to know about substantial and sustainable weight loss in one sentence: Calories and satiety are not linked.

We can eat a huge McDonalds meal with thousands of calories but still feel hungry after one hour. We can scoop out some ice cream late at night, and the only time we feel satiated is after we’ve gained 2 more pounds.

On the other hand, we can eat 1-2 cups of broccoli or spinach and often feel full. What matters is the caloric density and the seven crucial factors influencing satiety.

7 Parts of Satiety

Hunger and satiety are sensations. Satiety is the absence of hunger. If we feel satiated, we feel full. If we feel full, we’re more likely to stick to a diet.

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If calories are not linked to satiety, which factors are? Lucky for us, a study on satiety gave us some answers. The researchers concluded:[1]

Servings of different foods vary greatly in their satiating capacity.[2]

Optimize satiety for rapid weight loss

    And the effect of a food on one’s satiety is important, as the satiety heavily influences our future eating behavior. These are the components that played a role.

    Fiber

    Fiber fills up your stomach and speeds up digestion through your small intestine. This means that less macronutrients will get absorbed. Therefore, also less calories.

    Foods containing fiber-entrapped natural sugars produced the highest satiety scores in the whole study. If you want to feel full, start taking in more fruits and vegetables.

    Sensory Information

    Studies have shown that our sensory information can play a huge part in our satiety and rapid weight loss. We’re primed to seek a variety of foods, but if we routinize the habit of eating the same foods during our eating breaks, satiety might come earlier.[3]

    Water

    If a food contains more water, it will naturally also be less calorie dense. Not only that, but the increased water content also fills up our stomach more, boosting feelings of satiety.

    Protein and Carbohydrates

    Protein and (good) carbohydrates seem to have great satiating effects. Both of these macronutrients can, therefore, help you lose fat more easily. However, stay away from fatty products, as fat was inversely correlated with satiety. Fat also contains nearly double the calories.

    Plate Size

    The bigger the plate size, the more calories you will consume, which will slow you down on the road to rapid weight loss.[4] This may seem obvious, but many people eat far more than they should simply because they fill up a plate that’s bigger than a normal portion size.

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    Amount of Fat Cells

    Our fat cells, scientifically called adipocytes, release a hormone called leptin. Leptin levels are significantly higher in obese individuals. When we start dieting, our leptin level goes down fast—too fast. It’s an indication to our brain that we’re starving.

    We suddenly feel hunger, have reduced motivation, and burn less calories at rest. This means that if we’re overweight, our body wants to keep us like that.[5]

    Serotonin

    Do you ever wonder why chocolate is so addictive? This tasty, dark food is releasing serotonin in our bodies to the same extent as cigarettes. This explains why stress often causes weight gain.

    They crave that good-feeling neurotransmitter that gets released in our brains. This means that the less stress we have and the better we feel, the more satiety we will experience.[6]

    The Next Steps

    “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” -Abraham Lincoln

    It’s time that we start thinking about long-term weight results when it comes to weight reduction. We have to realize that if we use the dieting approach to rapid weight loss, we’re losing both muscle and fat mass.

    This means that every time we start a diet, it gets harder, not easier.

    It’s therefore absolutely crucial that we start with the end in mind. We have to start a diet that is sustainable for months to come. There are three ways to do that:

    1. Focus on Satiety

    While a calorie deficit is important, we also have to focus on staying full. If our brain thinks we’re starving, our diet is doomed to fail.

    If we fight against our genome, we enter a war we can not win. If we fight against our genome, we enter a war we can not win. Eat high protein foods while avoiding processed foods. This will get you started.

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    2. Add Weightlifting and Cardiovascular Training to Your Schedule

    Weightlifting and cardio can improve the ratio of lost fat and muscle mass and keep us healthy. Increased muscle mass will also make it easier to keep off the weight, as it increases our caloric need.

    You can learn more about why cardio is so good for you in this article.

    3. Add Incremental Changes

    A diet shouldn’t necessarily be a diet. It should be a long-term dietary change for the better. We lay the groundwork to our dieting success by beginning with the end in mind.

    Try making one small change to your diet each week to avoid shocking your body and mind. As you work incrementally, you’ll train your body to adjust slowly and sustainably.

    Conclusion

    Rapid weight loss is a false fantasy. There’s no supplement that will help you lose 40 pounds in 2 weeks.

    It’s practically impossible to keep the weight off long-term if you do this because the dietary switch was never sustainable in the first place.

    Instead of focusing on short-term results, we should pay special attention to long-term habit change to get us to a healthy weight and more balanced levels of body fat.

    Weight loss is a trojan horse. We might expect superficial results like an improved reflection in the mirror, but if we begin with the end in mind and focus on long-term habit change, it affects multiple components of our existence and can lead to a better quality of life overall.

    More Weight Loss Tips

    Featured photo credit: Meghan Holmes via unsplash.com

    Reference

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