Step One: Physical
This is the easiest step to diagnose and the second most difficult to deal with. If you don’t know if you need to lose weight or get in better shape, go ahead and stop reading now, find a scale and check out how close you are to the right BMI. If you are more than eight points too high then you definitely need to lose some weight. (I’ll deal with the “BMI is bullshit!” argument later). I suggest scheduling a physical to check blood pressure and cholesterol as well, along with the regular battery of blood work tests, but if the means aren’t there to go to a doctor then head the drug store and at least check your blood pressure for free. There’s no excuse for not knowing your weight, and blood pressure. You can’t honestly approach your health without the facts so go and find out even if you are afraid of what you will find.
If you already know all of your vital health info and are in excellent physical health, and cardiovascular shape then you can skip the rest of this entire post. Congratulations on doing what few in modern society can manage and even fewer Gammas ever manage to do. Well done.
As for weight loss here’s the brutally honest facts and the secret diet plan: You must expend more calories than you consume over an extended period of time to lose excess body fat.
Of course this is much easier said than done so I will now discuss dieting. I don’t care what diet you are on to lose weight and nobody else does either. Let me repeat that: I don’t care what diet you are on and nobody else does either. The goal is to lose body fat and I’m no expert in dieting so I’ll not give one single, suggestion on what diet to choose, what I will comment on is all of the typical Gamma responses to dieting.
The most common Gamma response to diet and exercise is a litany of excuses.
- BMI is bullshit! – Maybe it is, I don’t know, but it’s a tool that can get you in the ballpark and besides this has nothing at all to do with you being fat, a lot of things are bullshit in life, and they also have nothing to do with you being fat. Stop being hopelessly obtuse and binary in your thinking; that because BMI is flawed it in any way impacts your diet and exercise efforts.
- I don’t have the time to go to the gym – I don’t most days either, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do something every day. You have a floor, right? Get down on it for 10 minutes and do some good stretches. If you have 20 minutes you can get out a Pilates ball and work on it. You don’t have to go to the gym; you just have to do something.
- I don’t have the money for the gym – You don’t need it to work out. Walking is still free. In a bad neighborhood or snowed in? Do some yoga, youtube videos are available.
- It only pays off it you can be JJ Watt – More binary thinking acting as an excuse. Yes, JJ Watt can afford a cabin in the middle of Wisconsin, be a hermit, and work out all day. You can’t and this has nothing to do with you working out.
- If I worked out I’d be in great shape if I wanted to – I bet you would, but you aren’t.
- American, Western diet is bullshit, man. Like GMOs, carbs, caveman, gluten, sugar, fat, protein and stuff, man. There’s no way I can do it. – Shut. Your. Whore. Mouth. See below.
The number one rule for men and dieting is: You do not talk about dieting. Read this previous statement again and say out loud: “I will not speak of my diet.” There are reasons for this which is that nobody cares about your diet, and nobody wants to hear about your diet. Even your mother doesn’t care. The world doesn’t need another fat guy running around telling everyone he’s found the holy grail of dieting because he read a book or a website, and has been following the plan for the last 92 ½ hours, or even 92 days.
You want to stamp a giant GAMMA on your forehead? Then pontificate at every meal and opportunity about your new favorite diet, and how most things people eat are killing them. You want to ruin the few dates you manage to get or even the opportunity to ask a girl on a date? Tell the girl across from you all about her terrible selections off the menu and how much of a better job you’ve done. Women love hearing about what they are eating is making them fat, you ladies’ man! Keep it up. Your newfound knowledge makes you the food police and everyone will appreciate your efforts, I’m sure.
That’s the easy part, here’s the tough part: You cannot comment online in any manner about the superiority of your diet, debate diets, tell others you are on a diet, or even comment on the “horrors” of the modern, Western diet until you’ve had one year of success on your current diet. ONE YEAR. You have no right as a dieter to tell anyone how to diet or what to eat until you’ve had one solid year of success on your diet, to do so otherwise is disingenuous, perhaps in the extreme. Success can be encapsulated by filling out the following sentence: In the last year I’ve been living the XXX diet and lost XXX pounds, lowered my BP and cholesterol by XXX, and feel better than ever. If you cannot honestly fill out this sentence, shut up.
That was negative, but as a Gamma I know you respond to the negative first so here are the techniques to help you out.
- Practice stoicism with your diet. This is a quiet, calm acceptance of what the diet brings, including the successes and failures.
- If anyone ever asks you about what you’d like to eat when you are a guest never tell them to modify what they are making to accommodate your diet. You have to be the one which practices self-control and deals with what is on your plate. In other words you don’t want to be known as the weirdo who nobody wants to invite over because your diet. (None of this applies to legitimate food allergies or celiac disease, etc.)
- If you make a meal for others, be sure there’s food for all tastes; don’t force people into your diet.
- If you start to make healthier choices, women notice and they will follow. Want a practical experiment? If you have a girlfriend, wife, or just eat around some women, regularly start picking the healthier options and you will see just like magic the women will too. Occasionally they will get upset instead, but they notice. My wife still remembers to this day that on our very first date I skipped the chips and ate the fruit. I never mentioned a thing about being on a diet, though I was at the time.
- The same stoicism applies to your workout too. I don’t care if you like free weights vs. machines, crossfit, running, or whatever. Keep your mouth shut and just go about your business.
- Whenever you feel like talking about your success in whatever you are doing in that first year, channel that energy into doing it even better rather than talking about it. Lead by example.
- If you are under 30 try picking up a highly physical competitive sport when you can handle it like a basketball, or soccer league or martial arts. Competition shakes out the Gamma tendencies and is great exercise.
- If you are under 30-40 find a less brutal physical sport like company softball, church basketball, etc.
- If you are over 40 that ship has likely sailed if you’ve never competed, but you will have one big advantage, if you start this late your joints are likely in better shape so if you do play a sport you might do well at it because your body isn’t as worn out. If you don’t play a sport, simply exercise instead.
The most important thing to remember is never to give up. Everyone needs to lose weight and do better at eating except JJ Watt, and he’d probably tell you he’s slacking way too much this off season. There is no time when, “You’ll be in perfect shape”. It’s a lifelong struggle filled with ups and down, and periods where you’ll likely give up for a while and then get back on the wagon. That’s how it goes, and that’s OK so long as you do get back on the wagon. Measure your success by making small strides every day, like picking the fruit over chips, or 10 minutes of good stretching and pushups when you can’t get to the gym, rather than focusing on failure or setting impossible goals.
Personally I’m down from before I got married, but I still need to lose a lot of weight. I’ve struggled with it my whole life, but the only time it’s defeated me is when I quit trying. If you never lose any weight you are doing something wrong, so try a different diet and exercise regime until one works. Here are some responses to help you:
Person: ”You don’t want any more of this? You on a diet or something?”
You: “I’m full, thanks.”
Person: ”What do you think about the diet-du jour I’m all into?!?!”
You: “I don’t know… I just try to watch what I eat.
Girl: “I love chocolate cake, you? I mean I could eat this whole thing if I didn’t stop!”
You: “Yeah, I know what you mean. I love desserts too.” *You eat one small piece in front of her*
Girlfriend/wife: “I want to lose weight, honey. I’m going to try the XYZ diet I heard about. What do you think?” **DING! DING! This is good news she’s changing for you.**
You: “Sounds like a good idea; I’ll watch what I eat too. I know I need to watch it sometimes.” *Then you stick to your diet and just help when she asks for it. Ultimately her food choices are NOT your responsibility*
Person at gym: “I’m doing this exercise thing I’m so excited about let me tell you all about why it is better than what everyone else does…”
You-interrupting: “Hey man, that’s cool and I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m here to get a workout in, so can I get back to my thing?” *walk away if you need to*
Person: “We are having a BBQ this weekend, is there anything you can’t eat? I’ve noticed you’ve lost some weight, are you on some diet? I don’t want to mess you up or anything…”
You: “Oh no, whatever you make is just fine. I’ve lost a little weight lately, thanks for noticing.”
Person: “No really, you’ve lost some serious weight these last six months, what have you been doing? Atkins? I know a girl who…”
You: *after waiting for them to catch their breath so you aren’t rude* “I’ve just been watching it some, nothing special. Thanks for the invite, I’ll see you there.”
The anti-Gamma conclusion on Physical aspect of life: Never give up. Never!
So here’s the first test for everyone who comments on this post: you cannot talk about your diet, debate diets, or tell everyone about your exercise program unless you can honestly start your first post by filling out the following sentence: In the last year I’ve been living the XXX diet and lost XXX pounds, lowered my BP and cholesterol by XXX and here’s why I think it works.
Graduating Gamma is a series written by a recovering ex-Gamma who is now happily married and living a successful life as an increasingly self-confident Delta.