Good morning Fitties! I have a treat for you! Rod Hansen, who writes funny short stories over at Focus Fiction is joining us today. Rod is a group ex student who has lost 25 pounds through hard work and dietary changes. He’s dominating Hip Hop Hustle and recently began attending BACK TO BACK classes (Hip Hop Hustle then PiYo). HOLLA!!

Rod is also one of the people I think of (and I have many that run through my mind) when someone is giving me a bullshit excuse about why they can’t get fit. “I feel conspicuous in a gym!” Oh yeah? Try being the only man in a hip hop cardio class full of spandex-clad women, then we’ll talk conspicuous.

Rod is living proof that if you suck it up and do it anyway and you’ll be amazed at your results. ::Steps off of the “get over yourself because no one is paying as much attention to you as you think they are because really we’re all busy paying attention to ourselves” soapbox::

So yeah! Rod left a great comment the other day and it got me to thinking his perspective would be useful here. My perspective is someone who has fought the fitness battle pound by pound pretty much all my life, Rod’s perspective is from someone who is newer to the battle but who is seeing great success. Read on!

CLOSING THE DOOR ON CALORIES

By Rod Hansen

If you care about fitness, most likely you also care about weight. For those lucky enough to be in shape, you want to maintain your current form to fit into that slinky dress or sharp suit, and perhaps enjoy an internal “Ha!” at your high school reunion. But for most of us (and by “most of us” I mean, “me,”) your main concern about weight is that you want there to be less of it.

So you join a health club. You climb aboard the fitness machine or take an exercise class, where you huff and you puff and you blow your lungs out. You congratulate yourself on your hard work, yet somehow when you step on the scale you find the needle has not moved one millimeter to the left and has, in fact, taken a rather insulting journey to the right. Grrrrrrr!

The purpose of this piece is to consider how much of the weight loss battle hinges not on the calories we burn off, but the ones we let in. Sometimes these calories sneak in when we least expect them, and ultimately bring us heartbreak on the scale and in the fitting room.

What follows are four points on how those calories find their way in, and some ideas on how to keep them out:

I. FRUIT FOR BREAKFAST
Good morning, everyone – time to wake up and smell the coffee. Or, even better, the delicious breakfast food!

As we all know, there is a specific reason why we call our first meal of the day “breakfast” – We’ve gone upwards of 12 hours without taking in any calories, and now it’s time to break the fast!

Your inner Tummy Child wakes up hungry, and you want to pamper it with a steamin’ stack of pancakes (and all the yummy fixin’s), or perhaps a big restaurant platter with a side of home fries smothered ’n’ covered ’n’ swimming in gravy.

Wait! Before you fire up the griddle or head to the Greasy Spoon, instead grab yourself a couple of sweet, sweet Clementine oranges and congratulate the Good Lord on His confectionary skills. This starts your day off with a tasty treat, and one you won’t regret come weigh-in.

II. NO SNACKING BETWEEN MEALTIMES – EVER!!!
If snacking were a crime, I would be serving life in the hole with no chance of parole, my friends! Many unwanted pounds crept in via little bags of Doritos and bagels grabbed as an afterthought with a cup of coffee. The good news is, take these snacks away and pretty soon the pounds are sure to follow.

Suppose you take in 750 unneeded snack calories a day (and if you’re overweight, you do). Knock it off for a week, and you’re down 5,250. Hold off a monththat’s 22,500. Clamp down for a year, and that’s 273,750 – MORE THAN A QUARTER MILLION!!!!! WHAAAAT???? C’mon, you deprive your body of a calorie lottery such as this, you think it’s not gonna notice?

Oh yeah, one thing. There’s a theory out there that if you deny your body the calories it expects, your metabolism will go into “starvation mode” and cling greedily to every morsel it gets. Please. Your body goes into starvation mode if you’re in some Siberian gulag surviving on two servings of porridge every week. Your system won’t panic if you cut back on the Ho-Ho’s. (Speaking for myself, here; not offering medical science.)

III. NO OVEREATING AT MEALS – ONE PLATE WILL DO YA JUST FINE

Congratulations! You’ve made it from Breakfast to Lunch with no goodies in between. That growling sound you hear is your stomach getting tighter. But it’s also the sniffling of your little Tummy Child, saying, “You don’t wuv me anymore? *sniff*”

Yes, Tummy Child, we do love you. Because love isn’t always pampering and indulgence. Sometimes love is discipline — the same love our own parents showed us when they taught us to be patient and wait our turn.

So, now your Tummy Child has waited its turn, and it wants to be fed, and fed BIG!!! It thinks of the ice cream parlor or the $5 Pizza Hut buffet and says, “Me! Me! Take me there just once, just today, and I’ll be good for ever-ever!”

Again, this is when we show Tummy Child our love through discipline. I know you’re hungry, honey, and one reasonable plate of food will take the hunger away. I’ll feed you till you’re not hungry, but I won’t feed you until you’re full. Because a full tummy turns into a big tummy way too fast!

IV. REMEMBER THAT EVERYTHING THAT ISN’T WATER, IS FOOD

I’m looking at YOU, superdelicious mocha-frappa-whipped cream frenzy!

We love our rich ’n’ tasty drinks, especially the coffee ones!But let’s take a peek at one such drink – the Starbucks Caramel Salted Mocha (Mmmmmmm, salt and caramel in one drink! Be right back – off to Starbucks!!!).

Nope, I think I’ll stay right here now that I know how many calories this thing packs. Ready?

The Starbucks Caramel Salted Mocha has 420 calories (learned this right on Bucky’s Web site). To compare, a Twinkie has 150 calories. Your math teacher served you well, so by now you’ve figured out that this single coffee drink packs the same caloric punch as ALMOST THREE TWINKIES!!!! Step awaaaay form the mocha!

If you’re trying to lose weight, you would stick your face on hot coals before you’d stuff it with three Twinkies. Think about that next time you feel like dropping a straw into a cup of frozen sweet deliciousness. (You’ll save a lot of money, too – those fancy coffee drinks are getting pricey!)

So, those are some thoughts and I hope they’re of use. I’d like to thank Fit With Lizzie for inviting me in, and I’m sure she would appreciate me letting you know that this post consists entirely of my own observations. I am not a doctor, and I do not play one on the Internet. Always best to check with the brainy folks before you start a new diet plan.

Thus concludes my visit here at Fit With Lizzie, and I might even stop back by sometime.

Until then – Eat healthy food, think happy thoughts, and follow the speed limit.

– Rod

Thank you so much Rod! And thanks for reading Fitties! Have a great day!

(edited to correct the title of Rod’s blog from Focus on Fiction to Focus Fiction. Silly mistake on my part!)