When was the last time you said, I just want to maintain my weight? For most of us never! We are always looking to lose weight and for very few of us is the goal ever to gain weight.
However, as the years go by and with each diet that we try, we seem to just keep gaining more weight and not losing it. We jump from trying to find that perfect diet to exercising like a maniac. Yet we cannot seem to find the right balance.
We try diet after diet, constantly looking for the quicker fix. Diet pills, wraps, 3 day jump starts, 21 day detoxes, anything to get us moving in the right direction. Sure they work at first, mainly losing water weight, but over time we find that we cannot sustain the current fad diet or the quick fixes. So we stop and watch the weight come back on and then some.
Cardio worked at first, but then all of a sudden it stopped and we are baffled, so we spend another 15 minutes a day trying to get that burn. Overtime we find ourselves doing more cardio than we ever cared to, yet it’s still not working.
We think to ourselves, ok I will just remove all the “bad” stuff from my diet. This seems to work for about a week, then we are faced with stress or a life event and we cannot resist it. And because we were so restrictive about removing it from our diet, we overindulge. Followed with negative thoughts and guilt that we just drank a whole bottle of wine, or gorged out on the bread or chip basket.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Hardly do we ever start with a moderate approach. It’s literally ALL OR NOTHING! However, this approach keeps failing us time and time again.
The answer is to NOT be so restrictive in our diets and to NOT exercise binge. The saying is true that you cannot out train a bad diet. And here is the reverse, nutrition will not make up for lack of exercising. These strategies will only get you so far. For effective and long term weight/fat loss, they MUST go hand in hand. We need to make healthier choices in our diet and move our bodies.
We are so impatient, we want results RIGHT NOW!! Sure you can go to extreme measures and lose 20-30 pounds in a few months, but then what? You reached your goal and think the weight will automatically stay off? I’m sorry but it will not. You will gain it back because you didn’t learn how to keep it off long term. You didn’t go through the process of understanding how your body works. And the worst part through losing the weight quickly is muscle mass is lost too. Obtaining and maintaining your desired weight takes effort, patience, learning and understanding.
The good news is that losing weight and getting in shape doesn’t have to be difficult!!
Here are a few sane and sustainable ways to start you off on the right foot of your health journey.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Don’t go and eliminate the things you love, whether it be chocolate, soft drinks, wine, bread etc. Start with a list, one side being Non-Negotiable and the other side Not Important. Start listing foods under each section. The Non-Negotiable side, you will find a way to work in regularly but in moderation. The Not Important side you will start replacing immediately with healthier options. (A few of my Non-Negotiables – wine, vodka, pizza and chocolate) Restricting never works long term!!!
IMPLEMENT PORTION CONTROL
This goes both ways, as some do not eat enough during the day and some eat more than they should. Both will contribute to the scale not budging in the direction you want it to.
For those who are not eating much during the day and thinking the less food they take in will result in weight loss, I have bad news for you. When you are not hitting your daily requirement for just normal daily activities, your body enters into starvation mode.
Now imagine packing on exercise while not eating enough, your body digs down even deeper to hold on to any energy sources that it can. You would have to work really hard to override starvation mode and if you did the outcome is not positive! Your body will start to shut down. We need food to fuel our bodies, not deprive them.
When you are eating more than the energy you are expending, weight gain is the result. This too has health risks and puts a strain on our organs, joints and immune system.
To begin working on portion control, here are some great tips:
- For women aim for 1 palm full of lean protein at each meal. For men aim for 2 palm fulls of protein at each meal
- Load up on the colorful veggies and incorporate a variety of fruits.
- Include whole carbs such as potato, rice, legumes at each meal, start with a hand cupped full
- Work in a couple of snacks a day, protein shake, yogurt, nuts, jerky, etc
- Balance out your fats, strive for 1/3 Saturated, 1/3 Monounsaturated and 1/3 Polyunsaturated
- Enjoy your non-negotiables in moderation – if you are used to drinking 2 glasses of wine a night, cut back to 1. If you eat a whole chocolate bar a day, trying having half.
Also recognize how your treats serve you. Do they relieve stress or a negative emotion? Recognizing why helps tremendously in finding alternate solutions, so that when you do reach for your treats it is simply because you want to enjoy the taste. When this occurs and emotions are removed, you’ll find more enjoyment and it will take less to satisfy you.
MOVE YOUR BODY
As we get older exercise is even more important than when we were younger. Each year as no exercise occurs we continue to lose muscle mass and strength. Our bodies require movement and plays a huge role in having a healthy immune system. (Knock on wood, it’s been at least 2+ years since I have been sick)
There are many ways to increase strength and muscle mass without joining a gym or owning a ton of equipment. If you are a beginner use bodyweight or resistance band exercises. A set of dumbbells, a kettlebell in a few different pounds, a pull up bar that fits in the door frame and a stability ball is a great start.
Strength training 3-4 times a week for 30-45 min will do wonders for your body. Instead of focusing on cardio alone, work it into your strength training. Take 4-5 different exercises 2 upper body, 2 lower body and maybe 1 core and set a timer for 30 seconds for each exercise and do 4 rounds. Tell me you are not sweating and huffing and puffing after 4 rounds, I dare you!! 🙂
Most importantly each week, concentrate on getting stronger. Do not stick with 5 pound dumbbells. Rule of thumb, if you can get in 10-12 reps each set with no problem, it’s time to increase the weight. Once you increase, you’ll do as many reps as you can, working on increasing the reps each week until it’s time to increase weight again. Constantly evaluate and challenge yourself.
Take relaxing leisure walks, this is so amazing for reducing stress and centering yourself.
DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF
I get it! I have fully experienced this…. You find yourself at the highest weight you have ever been at. You constantly have negative thoughts and beat yourself up for how you feel and look. You question why you would let yourself get so out of shape or how did this happen to you??
For most it’s called LIFE, we put everyone and everything else before ourselves. Mothers are especially guilty of this. We get so caught up in the busyness that we are always eating on the go or relying on quick dinners that usually come out of a box.
Where you are now, well it just is what it is. You cannot change your past, but you most definitely can change your future.
Acknowledge where you are now and start with a clean slate going forward. Do away with the shame and start making better choices that will lead to you feeling amazing!! No one else can make the decision for you.
- You have a choice to make simple yet effective changes in your diet
- You have a choice to set aside at least 30 minutes a day to move your body
- You have a choice to stop blaming others for the situations you are in
- You have a choice to own your mistakes and learn from them.
- You have a choice not to live on your phone in the land of social media (We all know how much time that sucks out of a day)
YOU HAVE CHOICES EVERYDAY TO BETTER YOURSELF!
So let’s ditch the quick fixes, fad diets and let’s learn how to nourish and move our bodies in a way that give us energy for LIFE!