Each year this time of year comes around and many of us start to think about what we’d like to change in the year ahead. At the top of many of our lists is to drop a few pounds. Over the past year I’ve been rather successful at this quest and I’d like to share my tips to my success. First I would like to preface my story with – everyone is different, everyone’s metabolism is different, and everyone’s thought process is different – this is just what worked for me and continues to work.
I think the biggest thing is you have to decide that this is something you really want to do. If you are not committed to it then reducing the poundage on the scale will be difficult to do and be nearly impossible to maintain. Second, I’m a big believer that if you want to drop weight and sustain it you need to look at it as just not a “food” thing. I believe that it really will require a consistent exercise routine to make it work. And third make sure that you are not completely eliminating all indulgences, but rather looking at those treats as something to enjoy in moderation.
Make this a life change….
So let’s talk about the first point – looking at this as a life change – something that you are really committed to. For me, I got to the point where I just was not happy with what I saw in the mirror anymore. I didn’t feel that great, didn’t like the way my clothes fit, and certainly didn’t like the way I looked when I saw any photograph that had me in it (I didn’t really look like that – or did I?). So I decided to make the commitment to myself and make it happen. I’ve never been a scale person since I always felt that it didn’t matter how much I weighed but rather how I felt about how I looked and how my clothes fit. I decided to give the whole scale thing a whirl – since my old method certainly wasn’t working. I went out, bought myself a nice scale, and stood on it – eeks! This gave me my starting point. Each morning I would weigh myself first thing in the morning (no clothes – I’m wanted the best possible weight I could get, after all). Note – I’ve noticed that it’s important to weight yourself at approximately the same time in the day, each day, to get a good weight. And I’ve also noticed that first thing in the morning usually brings back the least amount of weight (my preferred time!). This provided some inspiration. As I started to see some success I would be kind of excited to see what the morning would hold for me on that scale.
Make it not just a food thing….
Logic would hold that you will lose weight if you burn more calories than you consume. So I put myself on a consistent exercise program to include both aerobic exercise like walking (I’m not a big runner) and weight training. I read an article that I could burn more fat if I walked 45 minutes per day (4 days per week) – so I did just that and followed it up with about 30 minutes of weight training. And what I found is that the weight came off relatively quickly. Walking was an easy commitment for me – after all it wasn’t hard and at the gym I just put the TV channel on a program that entertained me and started walking. The time went by quickly and I actually began to look forward to this time during the day when it was just my time – no kids asking me for various things – just me and my time for my thoughts or my time to get lost in a TV show. The weight training also kept me motivated since I started to see muscle development and feel everything tighten up. I’m convinced though that the walking for 45 minutes at a brisk pace is what really had the biggest impact. In researching this, here is what I found:
Aerobic exercise like walking or swimming will burn a greater percentage of body fat. Aerobic exercise is an effective way to lose fat only if you are motivated enough to workout frequently, aerobics only burns fat during the workout so if you want encouraging results you need to be able to exercise daily and for longer periods.
Read more: http://www.weightlossforall.com/aerobic.htm#ixzz19QuGZ0xm
So, apparently this method only works if you truly are committed and walk daily and for long periods of time (like I do)...but again - this works for me and as I said earlier, everyone is different so you need to find the exercise program that works for you and satisfies you.
With food, don’t make it hateful and remove all indulgences….
The key to all of this is to find a “system” that works for you and will continue to work for you. If you hate any part of it then that will be the part you will fall down on. When it comes to food, I think it is unrealistic to remove all food pleasures from your life forever. How terrible of an existence is that? When it comes to diet I made some relatively simple changes;
- I made sure I always had breakfast. I never was a breakfast eater but now with the new workout regimen I needed to have the fuel to actually do the workout. The breakfast I’ve found works the best for me is our very own, Glutenfreeda Instant Oatmeal – I’m not just saying this as a marketing plug but truthfully I have found this to be the most satisfying breakfast that also gives me the energy for my workout without weighing me down.
- I minimized my empty carbohydrate intake. When given the choice of a sweet treat I began to just say no. Occasionally if I wanted something like that I would just have a bite or two and then be done with it. I just made those empty treats just that – treats to be consumed occasionally. And my focus went more towards wholesome balanced meals.
- I minimized my portions. No more second helpings, no matter how yummy that dinner was! I increased the amount of veggies on my plate and reduce the other parts…but again I didn’t take it all away otherwise I would have never stuck to it.
- Chocolate – I do have a weakness for chocolate so my fix for this is to make sure I had good quality bittersweet chocolate at the house – so if I really needed something sweet I would just grab a 1 ounce piece of chocolate and usually that would do the trick.
The end result….
Again, this is a system that has worked for me. As we move into this New Year I challenge you to find a program that works for you. It has now been just about a year since I started this and I’ve managed to lose about 20 pounds and maintain that weight loss for about 6 months. I think the workout has become a habit since I just know each morning that it something I need to do and once I get there I truly treasure that time (it’s getting there that’s the challenge!).
I hope this article gives you some inspiration and perhaps some tips on how to reach your weight and fitness goals in 2011 and beyond.
- Chef Jessica