Hey Fam! I've had a few people ask me what I've been doing to lose the pounds. I really didn't think I was during anything different than the rest of the family as far as my approach was concerned. However, I figured I'd blog my approach. I pray that it will be helpful for others out there and encourage everyone to "continue the race."
1. Set Short Term and Long Term Goals.
My short term goal is a pound a week. It's a goal that's achievable and within reason for my current lifestyle and schedule. It's a goal within the recommended range by most doctors (1-2 poounds per week). My long term goal is to be at 190 by May 2011 and at 180 by the end of the summer. My overall goal is to get to a point where I can can come off of all of my medications associated with Type II Diabetes. From my personal doctor's perspective, that means getting to a weight close to 165 pounds.
2. Record Your Calories.
This is non-negotiable for me. I keep strict records of what I'm taking in and, for the most part, I stay within calorie range. I do plan in advance for restaurant visits so that i can resist the temptation to just order anything. Even a chicken caesar salad at Applebee's (which you would think is low-calorie) can do you in at close to 1000 calories. By knowing ahead of time, I can avoid the pitfall. While we're on the subject of meals and calories, I typically have between 4-6 meals a day. And I try to put the fork down after 7:00 p.m.
Along this same vein, get yourself a heart rate monitor. They're indespensible and help keep you honest.
3. Have a "Cheat" Meal.
Most of you know that I'm a cheat meal advocate--I brag about my favorite vice (pizza) in my posts from time to time. Maintaining a sensible diet and exercise program is a lifestyle--not slave labor. So treat yourself from time to time. Granted, don't lose your mind and gorge. But, enjoy. You're working hard. I take the same approach with festive holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.). They're a few days out of the year. If I eat over my calories 10 days out of the year, but do well the other 355, that still puts me ahead according to my math.
4. Incorporate Some Weight or Resistance Training Into Your Routine.
It ain't all cardio, although cardio has its place and is very effective in building stamina and burning calories. Incorporating some time in weight training increases metabolism and allows a longer burning of calories at a higher level after a workout than cardio itself. I really saw the physical changes once I started weight training. My current weekly workout is about 60% cardio and 40% weight/resistance training. Strict records are kept here as well. I record each exercise along with sets and reps and with cardio I keep track of time and distance. This way I can make each future workout progressively challenging. My weekly workout looks like this (I spend around an hour working out each day):
Mondays - Cardio (Arc Trainer) and Weights (Chest/Bicep Exercises)
Tuesdays - Cardio (Treadmill, Spinning & Rowing). Also my Cheat Meal Day
Wednesdays - Cardio (Arc Trainer) and Weights (Legs/Tricip Exercises)
Thursdays - Off
Fridays - Cardio (Arc Trainer) and Weights (Back/Shoulder Exercises)
Saturdays - Cardio (Treadmill, Spinning & Rowing)
Sundays - Off
5. Weigh Yourself Regularly.
Opinions vary here, but I weigh myself daily. I want to be as intimately familiar with my body as possible and I want to see the impacts certain foods and exercise has on me. Some would say I'm a "scale w****", but that's fine. My official weigh-in day (i.e. the weight that counts) is how much I weigh on Mondays. But I do step on the scale daily--first thing in the morning.
Nuff said on this. i strive for about 96 oz. I'm usually closer to 60 oz most days. However, water is about the only thing I drink (other than my morning protein drink--which is mixed in water) and my weekly 12 oz pepsi I have on my cheat day. Water gives you the "full" feeling as well as flushing your system clean.
7. Record Your Progress.
Get the measuring tape and measure. Laugh and record your results. Record the basics: waist, hips, breasts, biceps. I take measurements every 12 weeks, but you want to do it monthly. Also, take some pictures. It's hard to visually notice day-to-day progress, but when you see your pictures from last month, you really notice the progress.
8. Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People.
You're a work in progress. You need other people to keep you motivated, provide advice, get ideas from, keep you honest, kick you in the behind, etc. That should be part of the reason why you're on MFP. Take the time out to pour into the life of others on here my leaving them a few words of encouragement. Celebrate with them when they reach milestones. Kick them in the pants when they need some motivation.
9. Be Patient.
It took awhile to get out of shape. It will take some time to get back. Remember this is a lifestyle that involves both "wait" training and "weight" training. While there are programs of all kinds out here to help you knock of 40 pounds in some short period of time, I find that the best long term results come from those that keep moving forward, a pound or two at a time over the long haul. "The race is not given to the swift nor to the strong, but to he that endureth."
10. Recalculate as Necessary.
Eventually your body adjusts to your routine and you'll find that what was working for the past six weeks isn't working anymore. Review your records periodically and change up on your cardio, weights, resistance or whatever, to challenge/shock your body. Instead of hitting the treadmill, do a 5K. Have you been bench pressing the same 200 lbs? Up the weight. Stuck at the same body weight for longer than three weeks? Play with your cardio or calories. Experiment and see what happens.
Anyway, hope this blesses somesone. Didn't intend to write this long, but I'm all for lending a hand when I can. Thank all of you for encouraging me toward my goals. Wouldn't be where I am without you!