Here’s a question from my fitness friend Tiffany.
You said when you started, you weren’t setting out to lose weight, but to get healthier and reduce pain (right?). What did you start with? Clearly, focusing on “losing weight” is not working for me. I’m up and down, and I get discouraged and frustrated and mad at myself for not sticking with anything long enough to make some lasting changes. But when I go the other way – and avoid the scale completely – I don’t go up and down. Just UP!!
Losing weight has never been this hard for me.
After each kid, I was able to lose the weight with the same amount of effort (or less!) than I’ve been putting in now. But I never had to sustain my weight loss for very long because soon I was pregnant again. Now my youngest is 3-1/2, and I fear I’m going to be stuck in this constant state of “trying to lose weight but never getting there.”
I didn’t decide to get fit to lose weight, because I wasn’t overweight when I started, but I also wasn’t carrying weight in a healthy way. Here are the steps I took to getting fit (and losing 25 pounds in the process).
As I mentioned before I drank a lot of soda. I thought I needed the caffeine to get through the day. The first thing I did, after the 2nd day at the gym, was quit drinking everything but water. No soda, juice, alcohol, or even milk (although I did have milk in cereal).
I cut out carbs after lunch. I realized that I would fill up on bread and pasta which is higher in calories. If I focused on eating protein and fruits and vegetables after lunch I was eating less calories, but still felt full.
I ate a lot of protein. My trainer (and my husband who has aslo become a fitness junkie) recommended I eat as much protein as my body weight. That was impossible for me to do without drinking protein shakes or eating protein bars. So I did eat and drink those regularly.
I cut out red meat (very hard because I love hamburgers!) and ate only fish and chicken.
I developed an eating routine. Because my life is crazy busy (as I”m sure yours is) I realized I needed an eating routine to stick to the plan.
- Breakfast #1: Bowl of cheerios
- Breakfast #2: 2 eggs, two pieces of turkey sausage
- Snack: Clementine, apple with PB2, protein bar, or protein shake
- Lunch: Chicken or fish, salad (no dressing), fruit
- Snack: Nuts, fruit, carrots, protein bar, or protein shake
- Dinner: Whatever the family was eating, unless it was high carbs like pasta or pizza. Then I would make myself a salad.
I stopped going out to eat because it was harder to find healthy options on the menu.
I never felt hungry and I never counted calories. I stuck with this schedule for three months. Although I was tired of eating chicken, it was worth it.
I never counted calories, I just made sure I was eating as much healthy, real food as possible each day.
Lots of cardio.
I went to the gym six or seven days a week. I worked with my trainer three of those days and the other three or four I did at least one hour of cardio. I kept my heart rate in the “fat burning zone” which is where I think most people slip up. Most people work out as hard as they can, for a half hour to an hour. I worked out hard, but I made sure my heart rate stayed in the lower zone so I could burn more fat.
I know an hour a day seems like a lot of time, but with my increased energy I was able to get much more done during the day and needed less sleep at night.
Mix up the workouts.
Your muscles get use to the same workouts, when you don’t change things up and you won’t see the same results. I tried to do something different on the elliptical, DMT Trainer, or treadmill and not stick to the same workout each week.
Move it, move it!
I work on the computer and I homeschool my kids. Basically I spend a lot of time sitting on my hiney. I made an effort to move around my house more throughout the day, take breaks, park farther away from stores, and move as much as possible. I stopped taking elevators and escalators, even when I was carrying luggage. It makes a difference.
Ignore the scale.
Because I didn’t set out to lose weight, I didn’t step on the scale for at least three weeks when I started. I tracked my progress in other ways.
- How long I could hold a plank.
- How many crunches, squats, mountain climbers, etc I could do in a minute.
- How many calories I burned, distance covered while doing cardio.
- How much more could I lift, squat, push, or pull.
- How long could I go without eating a burger, pizza, soda, chips, etc.
I think it is fine to set a goal of losing weight, but I think tracking your progress only using the scale can be detrimental. I was fortunate that the weight came off very quickly, but it might take a while to find the combination that works for you.
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