Thursday, April 3, 2014

What's the Secret?

When I decided to stick with not running or jumping until my calf was better, I thought eventually I would have to give in and do it, but taking things a little easier this week has actually felt good.  I am not as fatigued, unless the kids don't sleep, and I still feel strong. I probably need to stick with taking a few easy days a week so my legs don't give out.

I talked to a few new girls at the gym yesterday.  They both want to lose around 80 lbs. When I told them what I used to weigh and that I had lost over 80 lbs., they asked what the secret is.  I tried to think back to when I started to lose and the thing that made the biggest difference was food.  I had to change how I ate and what I ate.

 I remember thinking if I only ate 1200 calories a day, whatever it might be, I could lose.  My test was to eat M&Ms and see if I could lose.  It didn't work, so obviously quality of food counts too.
I have always liked fruits and vegetables. But when you eat junk for years in college and as a newlywed, you have to get rid of the control those cravings have over you. 

I thought that I had to be perfect with my food to lose. That isn't true either.  If you can keep a clean diet nonstop, then good for you.  Having a treat once a week is not going to kill you.  But it doesn't give you a license to eat crap all week or all weekend.  Pick and choose what it is that you want to eat.  And having a treat does not mean that you have failed. You can also choose fruit as a treat.  I love apples and peanut butter.  It feels like a treat, but it is good for you too.

Food is not your enemy.  Food is the fuel that allows your body to move and grow and improve.  You have to feed it well, so it can perform well.

Of course moving matters Exercise and weight loss go hand in hand. In the beginning, being consistent is key.  Maybe you aren't as fast as you would like or as strong, but if you're consistent you can get to where you want to be.

Cardio is a good way to start losing weight.  I started running when I wanted to lose.  Start with walking if that is where you are physically.  When that gets easy, jog for a few minutes at a time. When that gets easy, go for a longer jog.  Add in sprints to help you see how fast you really are. That helps you see your potential and ramp up your intensity.  Don't be afraid to push a little.  Just listen to your body.  Go for muscle fatigue without pain.

Along with running, I used to do Denise Austin workouts that were on the TV. If you want to change your shape, you have to do some kind of weight bearing activity. Don't know what those are? Here is a list of 50 you can do at home.

My shape changed even more when I joined the gym and lifted heavier weights.  I had virtually no muscle definition in my arms and legs and even my back when I joined.  I am no bodybuilder, but I am strong.  I shared with the girls that I hired the trainer last summer and she really helped me improve my strength and muscle definition and confidence in the gym.

My last piece of advice is if your workout gets easy, it's time to change it up.
Whenever you increase time or intensity, be realistic.  Don't go from running 1 mile to running 5 miles.  Gradually increase.  Or for lifting weights, don't deadlift 135 lbs. out of the blue when you normally lift 60 lbs. because someone says you can.

It takes hard work.  I'm not going to lie.  But you can do it.

What is your best weight loss/ fitness advice?

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