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Small Changes = Big Results

Just the other day I received one of the best complements possible from a friend who has been trying to get into shape. My buddy Mike didn’t even say too much, he simply sent a picture of himself with a big smile on his face and said, “since I saw you a few months back I’ve made that one small change you recommended and am down 5 pounds!”

That one small change? Leaving the sugar out of his daily coffee. While we sat in his kitchen one sun filled morning not too far back discussing one of my book’s final edits, I noticed a few of his habits that may have been undermining his efforts. In mid discussion, as he scooped copious amounts of sugar into his coffee, he expressed interest in losing a few pounds but, being a chef of sorts, wanted to continue indulging in some of the more calorie dense foods that brought great joy to his life.

Mike exercised occasionally and didn’t want to drastically change his eating habits, so I casually mentioned that the calories from sugar, although seemingly small in one cup of coffee, may be one of the factors holding him back. Mike shook his head in a knowing type of way but I could see that it didn’t quite register. That’s when I showed him the math from my book, “Stronger, Faster, Smarter – A Guide To Your Most Powerful Body”. Here it is – but with his portion sizes…

 Remember this… 1 pound of fat = 3,500 calories

1 g (gram) of sugar = 4 calories…sugar will turn into fat.

15 g of sugar per day = 105 g per week

105 g per week = 420 g per month

420 g per month = 5,040 g per year

The simple math on this… 5,040 x 4 = 20,160 calories

Small ChangesThat’s 20,160 completely useless calories he was adding to his body every year! Almost 6 pounds of pure fat he’d have to burn off for this one little indulgence alone.

Can you imagine how difficult it would be to work off 20,160 calories? Now multiply that by the dressing on your salad, the small snack you had at work, or those extra few bites you had that you didn’t need.

Every day we make these small decisions that will ultimately lead to our success of failure. It’s time to make an evaluation. Know what you can live with, in this case extravagant food, and without, sugar laden coffee and start to see results. The decision is clear. Make those small changes and let the weight disappear. Just like my buddy Mike!

9 replies
  1. Patrick
    Patrick says:

    Very good article. It’s amazing how the small changes can make you drop weight. The hard part is sticking to it. I LOVE sugar like most people. It really is a drug. But I stopped drinking soda and fruit juice and now just drink water (most of the time). I still like sugar in my coffee. I don’t like unsweetened coffee, but instead I only drink ~ 1/2 cup in the morning. Good luck withe website Ryan. I’ve followed you since your unjust incarceration and you are a true inspiration. Keep up the great work. You are a Superstar!

    Reply
    • Ryan Ferguson
      Ryan Ferguson says:

      Thank you so much Patrick! I’m incredibly glad to hear that you’ve already made a few great changes. The difference one or two can make is amazing. Imagine if we were to make another each week or even month with our workout and diet choices. The potential is limitless. That said, I too love sugar and will never fully give it up. It’s ok to keep a little in your diet as you have done as long as you are aware of where your letting it in. Keep up the good work man!

      Reply
  2. Carnahan
    Carnahan says:

    Congrats on your new website. Wanted to comment to lend my support. You inspire so many people with your outlook on life. I read that you deal with panic attacks, episodes. I can relate. Please, if you would , include any helpful hints you may have for dealing with them. It is refreshing to see someone who has encountered so much be such a grounded individual. Best wishes in all your efforts. -KWCarnahan St.Louis, MO

    Reply
    • Ryan Ferguson
      Ryan Ferguson says:

      Great question. For me it’s about staying busy. If I begin to feel anxious and my breathing is not cooperating appropriately I can usually distract it through physical activity. Study have shown how it releases endorphins and can combat against cortisol, the stress chemical. Beyond that, it takes me out of a sedentary state and makes me focus on something else. We are all different of course but I have found that this is one of the best remedies for me and has been proven to help others. Worth a try right!

      Reply
  3. Ruthie
    Ruthie says:

    Well done, Ryan! I’d just like to add that it’s not just the calories in sugar that cause weight problems, it’s how your body reacts to sugar and other simple carbs. Consuming sugar causes your blood sugar to rise sometimes to unhealthy levels, at which point it crashes down causing you to become overly hungry. In some people it can drop low enough to cause physical symptoms such as shakiness, sweating and light headedness.. This vicious cycle raises your insulin level which is hard on your pancreas, and can cause some people who have a genetic predisposition to develop metabolic syndrome and diabetes. So for many reasons it’s a very good idea to stay away from that sugar.

    Reply
    • Ryan Ferguson
      Ryan Ferguson says:

      You are so right Ruthie. This is why a well balanced low glycemic breakfast is very important. It begins the day by regulating those blood sugar spikes that can do precisely what you were speaking of. Thank you for sharing!

      Reply
  4. Joshua Erickson
    Joshua Erickson says:

    I feel like I never can step foot in Starbucks, or at least not any time soon. It takes a break down like this to realize whats really going into your body!

    Bye for now, Starbucks:(

    Reply
    • Ryan Ferguson
      Ryan Ferguson says:

      Hey Josh, glad to hear you’ve had this awakening. The reality is though that there are a few things that you can still get from Starbucks. A FEW! Ha! I love Starbucks, you know that. What I would suggest is a little research before going in though. I stick to Americanos because it’s just water and expresso. Also, black coffee is good and many of the teas if left untouched are good. The problem is that that place is a minefield. If however you have a plan, stay away from those delicious looking pastries, and stick to it then you should be fine!

      Reply

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