So what is my confession? Simple: I have not exercised at all. That fantastic home gym that I set up, costing me several hundred dollars, has gotten essentially no use over the past several weeks. I broke through the plateau with nothing more than a sustained caloric deficit. Any exercise I may have done was, shall we say, "nontraditional," and certainly "unintentional" in that it was not meant as exercise: I pranced about a theater singing songs with my friends. There were no weights, no spandex shorts, no technical T-shirts, and no running shoes involved. There were no Swiss balls, BOSU balls, tennis balls, baseballs, basketballs, or really any balls involved. Not once did I set aside time to exercise, put on my gear, and force myself to go to the gym or to run around like an unleashed mongrel up and down the rolling hills of my suburban Washington neighborhood.
All I did was move more and eat less.
This is a fairly monumental discovery. My friend Josh lost about 50 pounds a few years ago and when I asked him what his secret was, he told me, "I am following this great new plan!" I asked him, eagerly, what it was. He responded, with a big smile, "It's just four words!" I was beside myself. Good God, man, what is it! What are the four words!
He responded: "Move more, eat less."
Of course, I never believed it was truly that simple. Surely he had followed some sort of convoluted exercise and nutritional program. Surely a plethora of fancy electronics was involved, requiring straps and cables and sensors and various frequencies penetrating one's body and hooking up to a computer for detailed analysis!
Nope, none of that. He just stopped eating crap, didn't eat when he wasn't hungry, and walked around more. No Turbulence Training workouts, no killing himself at the gym, no supersets or drop sets or inverted half pyramid sets with a mandatory "10" at the end.
All he did was walk around and put the fork down!
So it turns out, that after many years of reading about all the different ways of losing weight, and analyzing all the various bodybuilding programs, I have been -- surprise, surprise -- over analyzing! You don't have to kill yourself. You just have to maintain a caloric deficit. It really is that simple.
Of course, it's not really that simple. You have to eat enough calories so that you don't lose muscle. And you have to eat generally the right type of calories -- 2000 calories worth of Baileys Irish Cream might be a good time but it won't do your body any favors. But as long as you eat a good combination of carbs, protein and fat, and burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight.
Building muscle is certainly important. I spent several years going to the gym and pumping iron -- and believe me, the muscle is there. I catch glimpses of it regularly, hiding behind the Big Paper Towel. But at this point in my life, my main goal is not gaining muscle; it's losing fat so that I can see the muscle I have. For that, lifting weights doesn't appear to be necessary!
So I will continue doing what I'm doing, and -- barring any unforeseen binges -- continue making progress. At this rate I should hit 190 by the New Year!!!