I am not an expert in weight loss – nor am I a qualified physician. My first encouragement to you is to speak with your family doctor about your weight loss plan and how to achieve your goals. The following is what I have found works for me and my body type.
This morning I stepped on the scale and realized that I am very close to achieving my second weight goal. I tend to set these goals at rounded-10 pound marks to make it easy to recognize when I have made a break through.
When I first started working out, I did just that – worked out – and hard. I’d step on the scale and realize that I may have been gaining muscle, but I wasn’t shedding the body fat. As I researched more, I realized that there was one main reason why. Working out is fantastic for your body. It improves muscle strength while also growing and strengthening your heart and cardiovascular system. Working out by itself, however, will not aid you in toning and slimming down. In order for that to happen the simple equation of Calories In vs. Calories Out would have to be applied – on top of working out.
The problem, however, is that when you begin working out – you tend to want to eat more – because your body is trying to restore your fat reserves and thus begins the struggle – which is where a lot of people have problems.
Here are the pointers I live by while losing weight:
- You have to have a calorie deficit every day – even a few calories under is the goal. If you’re going out to dinner, look at the menu online and make a choice – don’t be tempted to “cheat.” Plan, Plan, Plan everything.
- You can eat back the calories you gained from working out
- If you’re living on a 2000-calorie, shoot for 1700 daily intake (but ask your physician first).
- Log everything you consume – it is vital that this step is never compromised.
- Don’t pay too much attention to the weight scale daily – focus more on long-term weekly or bi-weekly weigh-ins.
- Constantly think long-term. Although you want results today, the reality is that you didn’t put it all on during one month – it’s not going to all come off in one month either.
- Having a routine is important, but it is more important to have equal workout options (Cycling, hiking, running, treadmill, etc). Changing it up will help you not get bored. I find this especially true about weight lifting – if you do the same thing week after week…. *yawn*. This is especially true about the winter months. Have options.
- Get a community around you that is working towards the same goals. You might think that your spouse or roommate is a good option, but adding this requirement on top of someone who has chosen to live with you can be a bad combination. Who you are while working out can be very different than who you are while resting. I have a Facebook group who shares similar values and a few communities on MyFitnessPal (calorie counting service).
- I find that the earlier in the day I plan and log my calories (lunches, dinners, snacks), the easier it is for me to stay in check. Often times I find myself removing foods I never got around to eating (mainly snacks in the evening).
- It’s easier to work out in the morning. Just my subjective observation. I never know how cruel the day is going to be on me – so starting out with a workout is a better habit for me to get into. It’s also motivation to stay away when someone in the office brings donuts because you’ve worked so hard to achieve today’s goals.
- Find reasonable “healthy” options that you can stomach. Eating food that you hate all the time is terrible – but there are TONS of options out there are are better alternatives than that donut shop you drive past every day. Make your calories count…as you count them.
- Join a free Calorie Counting Service that has a mobile app. I use MyFitnessPal, recently acquired by UnderArmor. Great for all tracking and the mobile app allows me to immediately put in calories. I also use Garmin Connect with my VivoActive Wrist Watch and Heart Rate Monitor for gauging calorie burns. It has taken me 5 years to acquire those things – you don’t need them on day one. The estimations on MyFitnessPal after you put in your stats is fairly reliable.
- Log your calories immediately as you consume them. Better to do it now than to forget. This is a critical action to accomplish the first 4 points listed above.
- Plan your meals out 2 weeks at a time. This one is really hard for me – but my wife and I force ourselves to do it and we actually save money and eat healthier – and I can figure out my calorie intake early every day (as stated above).
- Limit or eliminate all pop/soda/coke from your diet. Even diet drinks are full of stuff your body will struggle with. Go on a slow plan to ween yourself off. Going cold turkey doesn’t work.
I’ve been working hard at achieving my next goal. I’ve got less than one pound away from my next small success but every day is a choice to get up, get out there and work out. Be sure to try lots of things, stay focused on the long-term goals (to fight discouragement) and give it all you can. Not everyone is going to notice or say something, but you will love the person you find under there. I promise.
Keep your stick on the ice,