March 26, 2007

My butt hurts!

Yeah, I said it. My butt hurts. I bumped up my weights this week. And my butt hurts. Well the muscles are sore. I have to admit I never thought I would stick to a workout routine. But(t) I have to. I have to do it to keep the weight off. Because I don’t do the diet thing. My pastor mentioned that I had lost a lot of weight yesterday and asked if I was doing anything special and to be honest I’m not. I’ve had a hard time explaining what I have been doing. Just moving and eating better is what I told him.

I’m thinking of starting a diet to help get that last 15 pounds off, but honestly, I can’t do the diet thing. I love food too much. I can live with working out to be able to eat what I want. I started this weight loss thing to just loose weight and try to be healthier. I got discouraged early on when I developed a chronic cough. I quit the exercise stuff. I suffered with the cough through the summer. I realized I had only lost 8 pounds before I quit when seeing a specialist and he asked me to step on a scale. I started back on the exercise routine in late September. I made the commitment and was determined to drop 50 pounds by the year’s end … and shortly after starting and seeing how slowly it comes off with just exercise I quickly realized 50 pounds in 4 months wasn’t going to happen. I decided to start reading up on loosing weight, exercising, supplements and dieting. And reading. And then some more reading.

I finally found something that made sense of it all. It was a 4 page article in Men’s Health magazine (bought from my daughter through the local elementary school magazine fund raising sales drive so she would have 24 sales to be part of a pizza party otherwise I never would have looked at it). I’ll boil down what I learned into something short and easy to follow.

  1. Diets only work if you can follow them for life. If you have to starve yourself or swear off a certain type of food that you love, you will never be successful in loosing weight and getting into shape. You will begin to feel like you are punishing yourself. What matters when it comes to “diet” is this. Garbage in equals garbage out. Eat better. Eat healthier and still enjoy the food you love in moderation. Try new foods that will help you get healthy.
  2. Don’t expect immediate results. You didn’t put on the 30 extra pounds over night. It crept up on you. But we are a society driven by the “I want it now!” syndrome. That drive explains the ever expanding credit card debt problems, the all night drive thru windows at the local fast food joint, 24hr entertainment on cable/satellite, on-demand pay per view movies, Polaroid cameras, the hugely successful digital cameras, and all the way back to the miracle weight loss pills, drinks, exercisers and infomercials that come on when you are at your lowest point … 3am and tired and cannot sleep. The “diet industry” is a billion dollar drain on the economy. Eating and gaining weight is easy. Changing all the bad habits we have developed to loose weight, eat right and get in shape is hard, very hard. And it takes time.
  3. Pick something you can stick to. Consistency is key. If you can get into a weekly routine and maintain it, you will be successful. If you cannot diet then exercise is the only thing you can do and it will take longer. But if you can modify your diet as you exercise you can accelerate the weight loss. I started out walking. Easy to do and other than a decent pair of shoes and good socks you don’t need any special equipment. Make it a new habit for life.
  4. Push yourself. I say that and it’s vague for a reason. You have to make yourself get up and move. You have to want to do this. If you are not in it make a change and not serious about loosing weight then nothing you do will make a difference. If you have a day when you feel like you don’t want to work out, push yourself. If you had 2 chocolate frosted donuts and you know the calorie count is 700 total, push yourself to do 60 minutes of cardio … you’ll have burned the 700 calories. You have to want to make a difference in you life. You have to push.
  5. Eat healthy. OK, I mentioned this in number 1 but I have to admit this one I had a hard time with in the beginning. It wasn’t until I started seeing results that I started eating better. Oh, I still eat Jelly Bellies, candy bars, chips, pretzels … but I’m also eating salads, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, occassionally tuna or other fish, less red meats, only 2 hotdogs at a sitting instead of 3, do you get the picture? Eat the bad foods in moderation but balance them with good foods. If you deny yourself the foods you love you will eventually feel like you are punishing yourself and that’s not good. You will crash and eat a bunch of stuff you feel you shouldn’t to rebel and show that you are still in control. But let’s be honest, you were always in control. You just have to remember to make “best” choices when it comes to eating.
  6. Take one day off every week from exercise. Eat sensibly. Relax. Let your body rest. I lift 3 days a week. I run 4 days a week. On one of my lift days I don’t lift with my legs and I run instead. Your body uses roughly 174 calories to run/jog/walk a mile. My goal is to burn 2700 calories a week doing cardio. I’m running 16 miles a week now. Yes, you burn slightly more running, but not enough to make note of it. To burn a pound of stored fat, you have to create a calorie deficit of 3500. At a brisk pace of 4mph you will burn about 350 calories in 30 minutes. You will burn 525 in 45 minutes. You don’t need a treadmill or pedometer to do this, just get in the car, drive around the neighborhood and map out a 2.5 mile course and walk that that route ever other day each week and try to finish in 30 minutes. At first it will be hard, but each time you walk you are burning 435 calories.
  7. Add fiber to your diet. The average American only consumes 8 to 12 grams of fiber daily. According to the “health experts” you need 25 to 30 grams to keep everything in you digestive tract healthy and clean. By adding a bowl of Fiber One ceral a day you have already doubled your daily intake. General Mills put together a cool site to test your knowledge of fiber content in foods, check it out. It’s important to make high fiber food choices by choosing foods closest to their natural state (like an orange instead of orange juice), substituting beans (excellent source of fiber and protein) for meat and cheese and choosing fruit for dessert instead of pastries or ice cream. Fiber will stick with you and keep you full and slow down the absorption of sugar and fats. It can reduce the risk of colon cancer, breast cancer and lower your cholesterol as well!

Long winded, I know, but worth it. Am I going to diet? Doubt it. Just depends on how hard these last 15 pounds are to loose.

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