January Challenge: Nothing Fancy, Just Straight Weight Loss

Last Updated on December 29, 2017 by Michael Brockbank

Perhaps it’s fate that January 1st is a Monday. It’s a good place to start for rebuilding a body. And after the last few days of Christmas goodies, I desperately need it. For this January challenge, I am going a bit more elaborate than usual. You can follow along if you’d like, and feel free to modify any part of this plan.

What Does the January Challenge Entail?

This challenge is going to center more around simple weight loss with a few added elements. The base is simple to follow, and I’ll separate the easy from the more extravagant things.

Ok, let’s get this started.

My Diet

Creamy Tomato with PenneI am a firm believer in not following restrictive diets. For me, they simply don’t work because I get frustrated with them. And to be honest, I’ve already proven you can eat regular food and still lose weight.

For the January challenge, I am focusing on my Net 600 Calorie diet. To do this diet, you need MyFitnessPal.

Using MyFitnessPal, set a goal for 600 calories for the day. Then, make sure you record any and all physical activity. This will offset the calories you burn allowing you to eat more if you need. After all, consuming less than 1000 calories in a day is actually bad for you.

This is how it works:

  1. You set a goal for 600 calories.
  2. You have 300 calories for breakfast and 300 calories for lunch.
  3. Throughout the day, you do a few physical activities that burn about 500 calories.
  4. Now, you can eat a 300 calorie dinner and have 200 available for snacks.

This works far better when you’re using something like a Fitbit Charge or other wearable device that monitors your calorie burn for the day.

For instance, my Fitbit Charge 2 sends burn data to MyFitnessPal which automatically adjusts how much I can eat. This is how I lost the first 20 pounds with very little effort.

With this diet, you’ll technically eat more than 600 calories, but your body burns the remainder during activities. You don’t have to center on aerobics or other activity. You burn calories simply by being alive.

Go for a walk, ride a bike, play the Xbox Kinect…anything that gets the body moving to burn calories.

If you stick with a net 600 calorie intake, you’ll burn nearly twice as much as you consume regardless of your activity. My first test run of this diet worked well, and I didn’t feel like I was starving to death.

Healthier Foods

Don’t assume you can pound back 600 calories worth of donuts and be good for the day. You need to add in some healthy alternatives. The human body requires a certain level of nutrition to perform correctly.

For example, here is what a typical day looks like for me:

  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 turkey sausage links – or – two packets of instant Cream of Wheat w/ a half-cup of mixed berries.
  • Lunch: Bowl of Progresso soup
  • Dinner: Lean Cuisine or properly portioned Trader Joe’s frozen meals.
  • Snacks: some kind of chocolate, half-cup of fruit or maybe some popcorn.

Meals and snacks are offset by some form of physical activity.

Proper Portion Sizes!

The most important part of any good diet is to eat proper portion sizes. Pay attention to the “Servings” on a label. Many people are overweight simply because they eat more than they can burn for energy.

For example, most packaged cookies have a suggested serving size of two cookies…not two rows. Understanding proper portion sizes will slim the waist while reducing your weekly grocery bill.

The Exercise

Playing With KidsAnother part of the January challenge is getting enough physical activity to burn away the fat. Now, this can be anything from walking around the yard to going out and bowling a few frames.

Routines work great, but in reality any physical activity that gets the heart pumping is exercise. Even vigorously cleaning the kitchen will burn quite a few calories…something you should do often anyway.

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been slacking. I haven’t been as active as I would have liked, which means I need to get back on the wagon. Especially if I want to be able to eat dinner while keeping my calories in the green.

One of the hardest things about doing the January challenge is the cold. Because the temperature is low, it’s hard to get out and walk as much as I did when living in Los Angeles. This just means I need to find other methods to burn calories – like house cleaning, dancing or playing the Xbox Kinect.

Adding More Effort

So, the above should help anyone lose weight even if you’re against doing mainstream diets or aerobic workout routines like myself. However, I am personally going to add in a bit more effort.

You can follow along if you’d like, but this next portion is more for me than anything. It’s what I’m going to do to start 2018 off on the right foot.

Strengthening the Core

losing weight fastDuring this January challenge, I will be doing 50 push-ups and lying leg raises every day for the entire month. Of course I cannot do 50 reps of anything consecutively except jumping jacks.

I am going to discover if spreading out the push-ups and lying leg raises throughout the day is beneficial or not. For example, I plan on doing 10 of each five times throughout each day.

To make sure I remember, I am setting alarms on my phone. Otherwise, I know I’ll forget. So, I’ll do 10 push-ups and 10 lying leg raises at:

  • 6:30 am
  • 9:00 am
  • 12:00 noon
  • 3:30 pm
  • 5:00 pm

This works the best for my schedule. It’ll be a total of 50 for the entire day…or 1,550 over the course of the month.

As an added bonus, I am going to take weekly pictures of myself to see if there is a visible difference. At the end of the month, I’ll attempt to break my personal record in both exercises to see how much of an impact the experiment made on my body.

Aiming for the top 800

ExerciseSince I am doing push-ups and lying leg raises anyway, I am going to aim for being in the top 800 of Exercise.com for the January challenge as well. The site offers points for various exercises and pits your score against others who use it.

Currently, I am still in the top 900 even after my lack-luster performance the last half of 2017. However, I am confident I will succeed in breaking my personal high scores in various exercises.

Perhaps the thing I like most about Exercise.com is that it tracks your personal bests. At a glance, I can see my record sits at 22 push-ups back on June 12, 2017. It’s a record I plan to break by the end of the January challenge.

A Running Weight Tally on YouTube

Starting January 1st, I am going to display my weight during my Monday videos. It’s not to show off, or be flashy or try to impress everyone. It’s more so I can see where I start and how I finish.

I look back at pictures of myself when I weighed 290 pounds and think, “Holy crap!” So, I guess it’s a bit of an ego boost to have a visual of how much I lose, even if it’s just in my face.

In a Nut Shell…

So, this is how it all breaks down for the January challenge:

  • Stay 600 calories in the green in MyFitnessPal
  • Get more physical and record calorie burn in MyFitnessPal (my Fitbit does this for me)
  • 50 push-ups and lying leg raises every day
  • Make enough points in Exercise.com to be in the top 800
  • Weekly pictures in the mirror for visual confirmation
  • A running weight tally in YouTube

Let it Begin!

Well, there it is. My January challenge – mostly for myself. But that’s how it all begins. Don’t try to be healthy simply because you want to look good on the beach this summer. Don’t try to lose weight so you can attract that cute person at the bar. Do it to improve yourself. Proper health improves body, mind and emotional status.

Challenge yourself to be better than you are.

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Michael Brockbank

Since 2015, Michael has put in the effort to lose more than 80 pounds by gamifying fitness and eating proper portion sizes. He conducts extensive research into various health and fitness products to provide the best answers possible according to his own experience and knowledge.

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