THE REAL SECRET TO WEIGHT LOSS and HOW TO KEEP IT OFF
How the Truth Rocked My World
How many of us have a nice colored picture of an exercise routine taped to the mirror in our room? It’s the first thing we see whenever we contemplate our rounded curves, many of which are sadly all in the wrong places.
Well, I have. It shows four easy exercises to lose the flab in the abs — and it’s been there for almost 15 years. It’s also been ignored for nearly the same amount of time — color-faded, the borders decorated with ever-changing passwords and email addresses to different accounts.
I’m not really that overweight, but I don’t look good either. My darling sons make it a point to tell me I look pregnant. It makes me sad, because I know I could look a whole lot better if I just slapped myself in the face and got to it. Ten minutes a day — that’s all it takes and yet, I lack the willpower and motivation, two important things you need to reach any goal.
That was, until earlier this year. But lo and behold, here I am now, at a constant 110 pounds for the last six months with buns of steel (well, less saggy buns, at least) to go along with more toned arms and legs. And all this was possible in just TWO months!
How? I’m more than happy to share that with you here.
1. Breakfast is Key
We all know diet and exercise are the keys to losing weight — something that’s easier said than done — just ask the 64% of American women who are considered overweight, according to the National Institutes of Health.
My short journey to better health started with a friend who invited me to the opening of his fitness club. As soon as he mentioned weight loss, I literally dragged him all the way to his wellness hub. There he taught me the importance of the magic number, the number of calories you should eat each day to lose weight. Mine was approximately 1200 calories.
Your ideal calorie count is determined based on your age and resting metabolic rate. My typical day started off with a meal replacement shake that was equivalent to just 150 calories (for reference, a cheeseburger has 650 calories!) . My diet plan each day looked like this:
|Breakfast||Shake with oats and half a banana||
|Snack||One Banana or apple||
|Lunch||One cup rice or vegetables||
|Palm-sized chicken or fish||
|Shake (no banana or oats)||
|One cup rice or vegetables||
|Palm-sized chicken or fish||
|Snack||One Banana or apple||
What and how much you eat for breakfast will dictate what you eat for the whole day. If you eat a meal heavy on starch and sugar, your body will have a blood sugar surge that that is bound to drop every 2-3 hours, triggering uncontrollable cravings. That obviously isn’t ideal.
The important thing with any meal plan is to make sure you never be hungry, otherwise you would cheat on your diet — with a little donut here or a soda there — and soon all your good intentions will come crashing down. Before you know it, you’ll catch yourself binging. Which brings us to the next important key…
2. Make Sure You Have a Hands-On Coach
My friend and wellness coach was there to keep me on track. He was there to make sure I drank enough water (3 liters a day), avoided “bad” food (pork, beef, junk food, sodas, the list goes on…) and that I got enough rest (at least 6 hours). Without him, I would have never learned that white bread will make you fat but sweet potatoes won’t or that using coconut oil or olive oil (high in monounsaturated “good cholesterol) is better than using canola or palm oil (high in saturated “bad” cholesterol).
He kept the motivational texts coming (these were more in the line of “No cheating!!!” than, “You can do it!!!”), and provided a happy place for me and others to workout.
3. Exercising, for real
With the change in diet, the program also included an herbal tea, which was packed with caffeine. Caffeine is known to stimulate lipolysis or burn fat as well as keep you more energized. The more energized you are, the more you move and, in turn, the more fat you burn. I also found I was more focused in my work and stayed awake longer. I was like that darned energizer bunny. A 30-mile hike? No sweat!
Because I felt more energetic, I was ready to take on my old nemesis, exercise.
A 20-minute video that combined cardio, abs, and strength exercises, helped me finally rid myself of most of the flab in just two months. There are so many exercise videos on YouTube to choose from. Select one that you think is doable and that you would enjoy doing.
We used a Jillian Michaels exercise video that had three levels of intensity. We graduated to an upper level each month when we became stronger. We did this every other day, three days a week. Make sure you get a mix of cardio for the heart, strength to tone the muscles, and ab exercises to get rid of the muffin tummy.
Within 30 minutes after every routine, take a protein shake to promote muscle synthesis and get bigger long-term gains in strength and lean body mass. While protein shakes are more convenient, you can also get your protein from fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, beans and nuts if you prefer whole and natural foods.
Now for the BIG one. Drumroll, please….
4. Exercise Buddies – Let’s Move it, Move it!
If you don’t cheat on your diet and diligently exercise three times a week, you will lose 1-1 ½ pounds per week following a meal plan of 1,200 – 1,500 calories per day. If you achieve that goal…Congratulations are certainly going to be in order!!!
But wait…don’t break out the confetti just yet. Keeping the weight off over the long term (we’re talking for good) by changing your eating habits and exercising regularly is another story. Most people would go back to their old habits in as little as two months when they feel they’ve lost some weight.
The reason and the only reason I kept the weight off was because I had friends who had common goals as I did: to be healthier and fit for life.
I regularly exercise with two other women about my age (late 40’s) and each of us would remind the rest about workout sessions. During the workout, even as we groaned, huffed and puffed, nobody quit. Each thinking, if she can do it, so can I. We motivated each other to keep going. When the moves became difficult, we tweaked the move a little, but we still kept moving.
The chances of quitting when it got difficult are higher if you exercise alone compared to when you exercise in a group. Shawn Dolan PhD, of the American College of Sports Medicine says that being in a group makes exercising more effective because you are exposed to a social and fun environment which is safe and enjoyable: there is the accountability factor, a variety of exercises to keep you interested, and a consistent exercise schedule to look forward to. People quit because of boredom when they exercise alone, says Dolan.
Find a fitness coach to teach you the right diet and exercise that is best for you. This will help you lose weight the right way. To keep it off, exercise with your friends or join a fitness club to make it more fun and more effective.
Let’s move it, move it!