Friday, March 20, 2015

Those three little words: Diet, Exercise, Weightloss

This is a very different, and very personal, blog post for me today; however, I have felt strongly for quite some time now that I need to share my experiences when it has come to losing weight, dieting and exercise. Gotta love those three little words, right? Wrong!

Don't you instantly feel like a great weight is pushing you down the second you hear someone utter those words? Or feel immense pressure when you hear how someone just completed their morning workout? Or "so and so" just lost so many pounds and can now fit into the same jeans they wore before baby? Yeah, I used to be one of those people too.

I always wanted to lose weight and go back to how I used to look when my husband first dared lay his eyes on me, but I could never really get the motivation. I was motivated for a short time after I gave birth to each of my children, but I could never lose those last 15-20 pounds. No matter what I did, I just couldn't get any smaller. How did I get so small before I had kids?

I wasn't exactly little miss skinny in middle school....actually, I was quite a little chunk in middle school, and you know what, I used to be ok with that at the time, until my grandpa came to visit one thanksgiving, and upon noticing that I was allotting myself an extra helping of mashed potatoes and gravy, my grandpa whispered to me that "boys don't like girls who eat a lot." I know what you're thinking, what person in their right mind would say that to a 14 year old girl??? The answer is, I don't know, however, I am not here today to tell you my "sob story", but rather to tell you my success story with healthy weightloss along with a healthy diet and daily exercise. Because you know what? I'm over being that low self esteem 14 year old girl.

I know all of you are about ready to click off this blog post because you just don't want to read another person's "success" story. But I am here to tell you that my journey in weightloss and getting fit is far from over. I still have a weightloss goal that I haven't reached and I also have a fitness goal (to run a marathon this October) that I still need to reach.

I am here to show you what I am doing to lose weight and get in shape and how it is working for me. You can try it, it just might work for you, but the first thing I want you to realize before you start, is that what works for me, may not necessarily work for you. Keep your head up, keep trying and find what works for YOU! Every BODY is different, keep looking until you find what works for you!

So the diet I am doing is my own version of the Slim Fast diet, but catered to my tastes and my budget. I actually buy the Costco weightloss shakes instead of the actual Slim Fast shakes, and then my daily diet/exercise schedule goes as follows: (after my schedule, I will share with you some tips that I have learned along my journey...)

Actually, before I show you my daily schedule, let me start off by telling you that I am a calorie counter! It is the ONE major thing that works for me! You'll see why...

Here is my average day:

6:30 AM: Wake up, change into work out clothes, brush my teeth, quietly straighten up the house while everyone sleeps, and then head into our backroom to jump on the treadmill.

7:00 AM: Morning walk, usually I do a 3.5 mph pace for 30 minutes. This is the time I use to get my body going for the day and prepare it for the "big" workout to come. I also read on my kindle during this time, reading helps me to pass the time and not focus so much on how much I don't want to be walking, or how much I would rather be sleeping. It's definitely something that has worked for me. Also during my morning walk I drink a 16.9 oz bottle of water, I have learned in this experience that the more water you drink, the less you retain, believe me, water retention is a big part of the blame for weight gain!

7:30 AM: Wake kids up, get them ready for school, and feed them breakfast. During this time I also "eat" my own breakfast by drinking a Costco weightloss shake.

8:45 AM: Cardio workout, I usually go any where from 60-90 minutes depending on how I am feeling, but no matter how tired I am, I always push myself until at least 60 minutes, this helps my "brain" fitness as well. It takes great determination and discipline to stick to a workout routine and diet, believe me I know how hard it is to keep going when you just want to quit, but I also know that you will NEVER regret not stopping at 30 minutes like you wanted to and going the full 60 minutes.

Here is a little tip I want to throw in now before I forget, this is something that is actually a great motivator for me, as I struggle with bipolar depression. It's a quote from one of my favorite movies: Legally Blonde:

Not only have I been happy to see weightloss, no matter how big or small, I LOVE the natural high I get for exercising! It helps my day go so much more smoothly as opposed to doing no exercise at all. Oh and also during my cardio workout, I drink another 16.9 oz bottle of water. 

If you haven't noticed yet, I also haven't mentioned any toning, my reasons for that are actually my own. See, I have this thing with the scale, I get discouraged REALLY easily if I don't see weightloss after a hard days work of exercising. I also have learned that muscle weighs more than fat, and since I want to see the weightloss before I see definition in my body, I have chosen to do strictly cardio until I hit my goal weight, then I will work on toning, but honestly, having a 6 pack of abs is not high on my priority list, lol.

10:00 AM: Before I jump in the shower and wash off all that sweat, I take the time to eat a small 100 calorie snack. I have learned that when I eat every two hours, I don't binge eat when I come to mealtimes. So for my morning snack I usually eat 3 oz. (about 4 berries) of Strawberries and then a reduced fat stick of string cheese. You can choose anything you want though! Just try and stick to 100 calories or less.

12:00 PM: Time for lunch....another Costco shake! (I seriously love them! They taste so good! It's my daily chocolate and sugar allowance :) )

2:00 PM: Another 100 calorie snack, this snack for me is usually a banana (which helps with sore muscles) or wheat thins crackers (which actually really help to hold me over until my next snack) At this time I also drink another 16.9 oz bottle of water.

4:00 PM: Last snack of the day, this is usually lighter, I tend to eat a Yoplait Light yogurt, there are so many different flavors and I can really quench some of my cravings with those yogurts! Like they have strawberry cheesecakes and red velvet cupcake! They really do taste like those desserts and are SOOOOOO good!

6:00 PM: You will never believe me, but I really do eat ANYHTING I want for dinner. I can eat Jimmy John's sandwiches, Pizza Hut pizza (pan crust of course), chocolate chip pancakes, the sky is the limit. So what is the catch? I bet you are thinking I am eating those tasteless nutra-system meals huh? WRONG! I really do eat all those things for my evening meals, the catch is, don't go over 500 calories, that's it. Eat whatever you want! I don't do the gluten free thing, or the vegetarian thing, none of that. I eat whatever I want, I just watch my calories, and you know what? It works for me, it may not work for others, but it works for me. I calorie count, and that's ok. Remember, do what works for YOU! Oh and with my dinner I drink my final 16.9 oz. bottle of water for the night.

Finally, after I have finished my evening meal with my family, (that's another thing, eating whatever you want means you can eat with your family and not covet what they are eating, how nice is that? Just remember, everything in moderation) I do not eat or drink ANYTHING after 7pm at night, it took some getting used to, and some nights are really hard, especially when the hubs gets his 9:00 pm munchies and brings down a bag of potato chips, but discipline and good mental strength is really what gets me through those hard dieting times.

Now I want to share with you some tips to help you get through those hard dieting days, because let's face it, we ALL have them, even those who have success. They all make it look so easy, but I bet if you asked, they would all admit just hard mentally hard the struggle to diet is.

Tip #1: Chew gum! I learned this little trick years ago when I first started dieting after my first baby. I learned often times that I wasn't actually hungry, I learned that I was either bored, or my mouth just wanted something to chew I chew gum. It works wonders!

Tip #2: Take a multivitamin to help with the lack of vitamins you aren't getting with the lack of food you are eating. I take gummy vitamins for women that have added metabolism and energy support, I also take an extra dose of B12 to help with metabolism and energy since I chase around kids all day, I need that added energy.

Tip #3: Stay active! Keep yourself busy! If you get bored, you will most likely eat. Keep your mind off of food by keeping yourself busy. Create something! Clean something! Take your kids to the park! Read a REALLY GOOD book...anything to help you keep your mind off of food.

Tip #4: Don't go below 1,200 calories! I learned this the hard way. When dieting, for women, don't go below 1,200 calories. If you add up my daily calories from above, you will notice that it only adds up to 1,160 calories, and that is ok, cause chances are, I'm going to go over at dinner time lol. But don't go below 1,200 calories, otherwise your body will go into starvation mode and it will try to hold on to those calories instead of letting them go.

Tip #5: Get lots of sleep! Have you ever heard that you lose half the calories you gained during the day while you sleep at night? Well I'm pretty sure it's true! I have learned through my own experience that when you don't get enough sleep, you won't see the weight loss you were hoping for in the morning. Aim for 7-8 hours or more of sleep! Slip in a nap too if you can! I saw my biggest amounts of weightloss when I was able to take a nap. Not to mention, napping will help you to forget about eating food too. :)

Tip #6: If you go over calories, first off IT'S OKAY!!! However, if you refuse to forgive yourself for going over, lace up those running shoes and take a jog around the block a couple of times, it will help you feel better.

Tip #7: Download some apps to your phone to help you keep on track and keep on progressing. I like the RunKeeper app and the Myfitnesspal app. I use them every single day and they have helped me so much in my weightloss endeavor. The RunKeeper app has also helped me with my marathon training. 

Tip #8: As I have mentioned a few times now, remember that it takes time, discipline and A LOT of mental strength. It's not going to be easy but it WILL be worth it!

Tip #9: Allow a treat every now and then. If you swear off sugar completely, you are going to cave and binge, once a week, or even once a day, allow yourself a little treat. I actually keep a bag of peanut butter cups in the fridge and everyday while I am making dinner, I allow myself exactly two. It has really helped curb my sugar cravings.

Tip #10: Call a friend! Having a friend to go walking with makes all the difference! It's always so surprising to me how long I have exercised when I go with a friend! Talking to a friend helps take your mind off of just how tired you are!

Tip #11: When you hit the weightloss plateau, EAT MORE! I'm not kidding you. When I did research on the weightloss plateau when I hit it myself, I didn't believe this article when I read it, but after two weeks of sticking in the stupid plateau area, I gave it a try and you know what? It worked! I'm not kidding you! TRY IT!!!

Click here to go to the article.

Tip #12: Tell your family and friends what you are doing and how much it would mean to you if they supported you. Believe me, it makes all the difference. Having my husband not encourage me to eat that cookie sitting on the counter that I keep saying I want, or having him eat his late night snack in the kitchen instead of in the room with me, has helped a ton. His support gives me strength. Find yourself a good support system! 

Tip #13: NO MORE SODA POP! That's all I have to say about that....once I stopped drinking soda, I stopped have problems with losing weight.

Tip #14: I said this earlier, but tone AFTER you hit your weightloss goal, because if you are anything like me, it won't matter that you know that muscle weighs more than fat, all that will matter in the beginning is seeing that number go down on the bathroom scale.

Tip #15: The final tip I have for you, and I learned this from my brother; make sure you are doing this for YOU!!! If you are doing it for someone else, you will never have the motivation you need to accomplish your goals. YOU need to be the biggest priority when it comes to YOUR body and YOUR weightloss goals. Just this once, it needs to be all about YOU! 

Above all, have fun! Laugh at yourself. Go easy on yourself when you don't follow your diet exactly. Forgive yourself for eating those extra cupcakes. Remember that tomorrow is another day and that you can always try again! Never give up! I repeat, NEVER GIVE UP!

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