When my son was born nearly eighteen months ago, I needed to get back into shape. I was very overweight. I had been doing OK through my son’s first year, but as his first birthday approached I felt like I was ready for more. I read on this lady’s blog that she had “organized” her weight loss. Being an organized person myself, I was interested and checked it out. She talked about this program online that is just like Weight Watchers, only it’s free, and that’s when my paradigm shifted. This post is what I learned. In the last eighteen months, I have lost 50 pounds, but nearly 20 of that was in the first three months of starting this program. I haven’t reached my goal yet, but just knowing that I am on the right track is empowering! I know I will eventually get there.
This is not a quick fix, fad dieting, drop weight quick solution for anything. What I did was a lifestyle change! This was a makeover of my life and my habits and I became healthier over all. I learned that if you want to truly be healthy, if you are serious about losing weight, then you have to be willing to take this seriously, be honest with yourself, and you’re going to have to be willing to get your butt down on the floor and do some sit ups, and push ups.
(Disclaimer: I am not a professional and I don’t claim any medical credentials. You should consult a doctor before starting any weight loss program).
- Step 1: I joined Lose It! .com and started tracking EVERYTHING! I had to be completely honest with myself. It was tedious and time consuming at first, but totally worth it! This program has given me a profound sense of self-efficacy. I feel empowered by knowing my boundaries and goals. And it has been a lot of fun! Lose It! is a FREE program that will allow you to easily keep track of your diet and exercise. There is a huge database of foods and exercises you can search, but you can also add any food and exercise if you have the nutrition/caloric information. You can add recipes easily and it will calculate the nutrition information of each serving. You can share your progress with friends via Facebook, Twitter, or email, or adding friends within the program. There is even an iPhone and Android app to make it that much easier! This was my first step and the one that opened my eyes to how quickly calories add up! Check it out!
- Step 2: “Listen to this dude, [Alton]. He knows what he’s talking about” (name that quote)! Seriously, though. Check out Alton Brown’s “Live and Let Diet” program. I LOVE IT. It is the ultimate NON-DIET program. It’s all about moderation, and getting all the right kinds of foods when you eat. To help me track the quality of my diet, I created a spreadsheet to make sure I am getting all the right stuff.
- Follow Alton’s advice about what to/not to eat
- Drink LOTS of water
- Moderation and balance are good things to remember. The cool thing about the Lose It! program is that your goals are daily ones, but they also span the entire week. That means if you are really good for several days, you may be able to go over one day and still be within your weekly goal. Or, if you mess up one day and eat too much, you can make up for it the other days and still be within your weekly goal. Don’t beat yourself up over a bad day.
- I generally try to eat a protein and a carbohydrate in every meal. I eat fruits in the early part of the day, and vegetables in the afternoon and evening.
- Get plenty of fiber and probiotics via whole fruits & veggies, whole grains, yogurt, and if needed, supplements like ground flax seeds, psyllium husks, and acidophilus. I know there are other ways to get probiotics, but this is good enough for me.
- Drink LOTS of water. I drink three 24 ounce bottles/cups of water a day.
- In general, I eat the same things for breakfast and lunch. That makes it easy to plan and discipline myself. I get my variety from dinner and plan at least one vegetarian meal a week.
- Alton’s video leaves off talking about breakfast, and in the show he goes on to talk about his smoothie. I have this smoothie every morning (but about half the portion he prepares). (Here’s the recipe).
- Step 3: Fitness is KEY. I’m pretty busy, so fitness is kind of tough. But without fitness, I would not have been successful! I have had to organize my time in a way that will allow me to get exercise into my schedule every day! I try to do about 45 minutes a day. I started out walking twenty minutes a day on my treadmill at about 3 mph on a 10% incline. I added a few resistance exercises including this routine that got me started (link). A good baseline fitness test is one I found here. I took the 30-day challenge and I still try to do it everyday since.(Check out this online stop watch to help track the intervals of this workout). It’s just 7 minutes of intense intervals, but it’s a good foundation for my daily workout. (I have a spreadsheet to track the 30-days. Just click here to get it). Once I’ve done this, I feel energized to do the rest of my workout, be it jogging on the treadmill, strength training, or a video. Then, I go record everything into Lose It! and watch my calorie budget rise!
That’s it? Yup! That’s it! You really have to personalize the program to yourself and how it will work best for you, but this is all I’ve done! I keep track of (and improved) my diet and exercise, and that’s it.
I try to get the most out of my workouts by intensifying them (this blog explains how to do that). I am not on a diet, but I work hard to stay within my caloric budget. I eat salty and sweet treats, but in moderation. I actually have a food scale to keep track of those little things. 1 ounce serving of potato chips means I eat 1 ounce! One serving of those Cadbury Mini Eggs is just 12 eggs, but if I’m gonna eat ’em, I’m only gonna eat 12 of those darn mini eggs (as delicious as they are!). I plan for splurges by cutting back elsewhere or exercising more, just like a financial budget.
Grace has played a major role in my transformation. I used to feel like I was a failure if I messed up, or quit if I couldn’t hold it together. Now, I just try not to be so hard on myself. I put my trust in the Lord and do my very best. He will make up the difference! So if I have a rough day, I get over it so that tomorrow can be better. If I constantly dwell on my faults or my unworthiness I would never change. But, the Lord empowers me to change in spite of myself.