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Lifehack Presents: A Mini-Guide for Weight Loss for Men

Lifehack Presents: A Mini-Guide for Weight Loss for Men

Weight loss for men

    (Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or even a nutritionist. This information comes from my own personal quest to lose weight and the research that I have personally done. It’s also what has worked for me. Please consult a professional before making any changes to your diet or exercise regimen.)

    I remember looking in the mirror in the middle of last year and being somewhat disgusted with the way that I looked and felt. I became quite overweight and unhealthy during my last few years of college. I had lost weight before and leaned out. Now it was time to do it again, but this time, make it stick.

    Below is a weight loss for men plan that any guy can follow to lose weight and keep it off for the long term.

    Diet

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      I tend to hate the word “diet” because for most men it brings about thoughts of eating like a rabbit, eating too little, or eating things that don’t lack any taste whatsoever. This definitely isn’t the case though. You can definitely lose weight while eating a bunch of tasty food, you just need to change up your eating habits.

      When I was losing weight, I had a two-step plan for changing my eating habits. The first was to cut out refined carbs and sugars as much as possible, while eating lean meats, green leafy vegetables, and nuts and seeds. This is what the step-one diet for weight loss for men could look like in a typical day:

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      Breakfast

      • 3 Eggs light salt and pepper, scrambled
      • 2 cups cooked spinach w/ light salt and pepper
      • 1 cup of coffee, black

      Mid-morning snack

      • 1 handful of almonds
      • 1 small apple

      Lunch

      • 1 Large, seasoned chicken breast over 2 cups of mixed greens, assorted fresh vegetables (onions, red peppers, tomatos, etc.)
      • 1 serving of blue cheese dressing, vinegar and oil, or a vinaigrette

      Mid-afternoon snack

      • 1 small block of cheese (sort of like the string cheese sticks)

      Dinner

      • 2 servings of black beans or pinto beans (even refried beans, but not every day)
      • 8oz. steak, seasoned
      • Side salad or fresh broccoli w/ butter

      Dessert

      • mixed fruit or even a homemade fruit smoothie

      Doesn’t sound too bad, huh? Basically you are cutting out a ton of carbohydrates and sugars with the first phase. This will help you lose weight faster in the beginning, which is a good thing because if men do something and don’t see results somewhat immediately, we tend to give up.

      In the second step of the diet you can start to slowly add grains back into your eating habits as long as they are whole and as close to being unprocessed as possible. On my weight loss journey, I moved myself more inline with the Paleo side of eating instead of bringing back whole grains into my diet. That doesn’t mean that it is the only way of eating right, as I have seen many men go either way with great success.

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      For the second part of your diet just make sure to not relapse your eating back to that of refined sugars and grains. As we lose more and more weight the idea of “cheating” on our eating becomes easier and easier to do. We start to think, “well, one Oreo won’t hurt, right?”

      This is dangerous territory for a one time fat guy. If you love your sweets and bad eating, then maybe you need to give yourself a cheat day once or twice a month where anything goes. This could help you stay on the straight-and-narrow for most of the month.

      Exercise

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        If you haven’t been exercising very much or at all, then you want to start off with something that won’t completely kill you. Below is a great starter exercise plan for men.

        Weight training

        3 days a week, with at least one day in between, do the following:

        • Body weight exercises rotating between pushups, squats, lunges, crunches, leg-lifts, and pullups.
        • To start, do 5 reps of each exercise and move onto the next with only 15 second breaks in between.
        • Keep the rotation going for a total of 20 minutes
        • If you can’t do full pushups, then you can do modified pushups off of the wall at an angle, or even on your knees. If you can’t do full pullups (most guys can’t at first) grab a chair to keep your feet on.
        • If you can’t finish the whole 20 minute set, just give yourself a break. Make sure as you move forward in the starter exercise plan, that you are continually improving on your workout.

        You can also do a mixture of exercises from one of my favorite sites, SimpleFit.

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        Cardio

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          5 days a week, do the following:

          • Walk for a total of 30 minutes. Use medium to high intensity on your walks. You don’t have to look like one of those crazy power walker types. Just keep your pace up while walking.
          • Remember you can split up your walking during the day, like a 15 minute break in the morning and afternoon, or a 15 minute walk during the morning and night.

          On your off days between your body-weight sets 3 days a week, do the following:

          • High intensity intervals for a total of 12–15 minutes. This consists of walking or light running for 1–2 minutes and then sprinting for 30–45 seconds. Follow the table below for a 15 minute high intensity interval plan:
          2.5 minutesWarmup, light walking to running
          45 secondssprint
          1 minutelight running
          45 secondssprint
          1 minutelight running
          45 secondssprint
          1 minutelight running
          45 secondssprint
          1.5 minuteslight running
          30 secondssprint
          1.5 minuteslight running
          30 secondssprint
          2.5 minutesCool down, light running to walking

          If you aren’t into the plan above, you can get some other great high intensity interval plans from Men’s Health here

          Basically, for this exercise plan, do the above exercises for a total of 3 weeks, then have one “light” week where all you do is your cardio. This will help you get over the dreaded “plateau” that we can face after a month or so as well as give your body a rest from the body weight exercises.

          As you move forward with your exercise and it becomes easier and easier, try to add more reps or even light dumbbells to your workouts. This will help keep your exercise plans interesting as well as help you continue to see results as you move forward.

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          If you want to try something different when it comes to exercise, check out the NerdFitness Guides.

          Bringing it together

          The key to weight loss for men is to ensure that your diet is one that is sustainable and tasty and that your exercise continues to be fun yet challenging. You could possibly lose weight by simply changing your diet or by only working out a little, but if you want to drastically lose weight, especially at first, follow the above weight loss for men plan to accomplish your goals.

          It isn’t unheard of to lose anywhere from 10 to 25 pounds of fat a month while using the above diet and exercise plan. When I first started, I lost a total of 30 pounds in three months. The trick is how you can keep the weight off as you move past the initial phase. As you get further and further way from your “fat days” you start to losen up on your diet and exercise regimen. Make sure to have someone keep you accountable, whether it be an exercise buddy or just a friend that knows what you are trying to do.

          It also helps to keep a health journal with your food and exercise in it. With this tool, it’s easier to spot when you are starting to backslide on your new way of life.

          Hopefully the above weight loss for men plan can help you reach your weight loss goals.

          (Photo credit: Human weight loss chart symbol via Shutterstock)

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          How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

          How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

          Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

          Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

          I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

          You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

          Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

          When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

          I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

          Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

          Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

          Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

          1. The Inner Critic

          This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

          • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
          • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
          • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
          • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

          He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

          Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

          2. The Worrier

          This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

          He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

          Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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          3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

          He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

          He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

          He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

          4. The Sleep Depriver

          This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

          His motivation can be:

          • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
          • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
          • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
          • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

          How can you control these squatters?

          How to Master Your Mind

          You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

          Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

          There are two ways to control your thoughts:

          • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
          • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

          This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

          The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

          Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

          For the Inner Critic

          When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

          You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

          For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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          You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

          “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

          If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

          • He riles up the Worrier.
          • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
          • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
          • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
          • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

          Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

          Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

          For the Worrier

          Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

          Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

          You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

          • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
          • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
          • Muscles tense

          Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

          If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

          Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

          “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

          Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

          If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

          Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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          Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

          For example:

          If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

          “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

          Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

          “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

          Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

          For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

          Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

          The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

          • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
          • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
          • Muscles tension

          I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

          Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

          Breathe in through your nose:

          • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
          • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
          • Focus on your belly rising.

          Breathe out through your nose:

          • Feel your lungs emptying.
          • Focus on your belly falling.
          • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

          Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

          Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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          One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

          Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

          For the Sleep Depriver

          (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

          I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

          Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

          1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
          2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

          When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

          From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

          For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

          If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

          You can also use this technique any time you want to:

          • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
          • Shut down your thinking.
          • Calm your feelings.
          • Simply focus on the present moment. 

          Becoming the Master of Your Mind

          Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

          You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

          Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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