UGH! You say.
I did too. But it worked.
I was a VERY heavy girl in my 20's. I can sit here and blog about how and why I got to that very heavy state, but the main reason (aside from medical conditions) anyone ever gets to be heavy or obese...eating TOO MUCH food and/or REALLY CRAPPY food that's horrible for you.
First thing you should know, DO NOT DIET! Dieting rarely works. You need to make a change in your eating or exercise habits to lose weight. Going all carbs or all proteins or all this and that will ONLY deprive your body of what it needs to survive.
The best rule you can teach yourself "Everything in moderation."
My weight loss success started with Weight Watchers. The reason I chose WW was simply because they let you eat everything that you normally eat...even the not so good stuff, like chocolate and bagels! I love bread, pasta, and cheese. I love steak, pork, and chicken. And yes, I still like my fast food. With WW you can still enjoy those guilty pleasures (in moderation) if you stay within your calorie range each week. I followed the plan, counted my points, and slowly started shedding the lbs.
Sad but true, I was so out of shape and heavy that walking up a few flights of stairs made me sweat. I knew that I needed to exercise and hated the thought of it. There was NO way I was going to go to a co-ed gym. I thought about Lucille Roberts too...but those commercials with all those skinny girls doing jumping jacks didn't do it for me either. Luckily, Curves started to explode around the country. I found a great place to start! Curves is a 30min women only resistance workout. I would go there, put my headphone in with some fun dance music, and do the work out three times a week. An hour and a half of my life per week to get healthier. No biggie, right? Right!
I stayed Curves for about a year, and as the weight kept coming off, I knew I had to take it to the next level if I wanted to continue seeing results.
I still didn't want to go to a coed gym or LR--damn skinny girls, but I needed real equipment for weight & strength training, so I found an awesome personal trainer , Jill, who provided that and more.
Even if you can't find/afford a gym or a trainer or somewhere you feel comfortable, you have two feet. Walk. Park your car ALL the way at the end of the Target parking lot instead of the front and walk. Close to work? Walk. Have a dog? Walk even more. Many parks have exercise areas too. Every cable provider has on demand exercise programs. The Wii Fit? LOVE IT! Exercise with friends, family, kids. Company helps!
I'm not yet where I want to be, but I am much healthier and happier in my 30's then I ever was in my 20's.
I'm not a nutritionist or a doctor, I'm just telling you what worked for me. You also need to find out what your recommended calorie intake for the day should be, based on your height and weight before you make any changes to your eating habits. You are a car. Food is your fuel. You can try to put 20 gallons of gas in a 10 gallon tank, but it won't work, so you shouldn't do it to your body either.
Fact: You need to burn 3500 calories to lose a pound of weight. You can do this one of two ways, eating less calories than you normally do or burn more calories than you eat through daily activities and exercise. (Both is better)
I've learned some great tricks along the way, so, if you're looking to drop some lbs...see where you can make the change too:
1. Don't drink your calories. Before my weight loss, I made a New Years Resolution to not drink any soda until my birthday in April. Just by doing that and nothing else, I lost about 10lbs. No joke. Find low or no calorie drinks to sip during the day. Water is the best, of course, but some people (hi bro) don't like water (go figure). Crystal Light has a ton of flavors. Yes, it may take some time to adjust your taste buds, but it's worth it. I drink Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi now instead of regular, and to be honest, I can't stand regular soda anymore. Too sweet. Also, limit your alcohol if you're trying to drop some weight, it's baaad!
2. Cut out the "White" stuff. If you change some of your breads and pastas from regular to whole grain or whole wheat, you are doing your body a favor. I found with Wheat Pasta, if you cook it a little longer than normal you barely notice the difference. Toast the Wheat Bread and it's practically the same. Most white breads also come in a light/smart/whole grain version, that works too.
3. Buy more cereal. Yes, seriously. First of all, you should be eating breakfast. Every day. No exception. The sooner your body gets food, the sooner it starts to burn calories. Many cereal companies are now putting whole grains into their junkier cereals like Cocoa Puffs (a Jenn staple), but there are many other great cereals out there that are healthy, Kashi, Great Grains, Grape Nuts, Cheerios, etc. When I needed a snack & chocolate, I grabbed the Cocoa Puffs and had a bowl. A serving size (1cup) with 1% milk (1/2cup) is under 200 calories and better than eating a bowl of M&M's.
4. Eat more but less. Instead of eating three normal meal per day, eat four or five or six times a day. Times not meals! Breakfast-Before Lunch Snack-Lunch-Afternoon Snack-Dinner-Nighttime Snack. This does not mean you can eat candy and chips and such, your snacks should be healthy and lower calorie, light popcorn, a few pretzels or crackers, fruits & veggies etc. One of my favorite new low calorie treats are the Special K bars. 90 Calories, YUMMY, and they go great with a glass of milk. I'm partial to the Chocolate Pretzel one.
5. Trick your body. If you normally eat a big breakfast, small lunch, and med dinner, eventually your body will get used to having the same number of calories at the same time every day. When you adjust your eating a couple of times a week it will confuse your body and in return your body will change the way it burns those calories. Instead of always having Sunday Brunch, have a bigger breakfast on Tuesday. Have breakfast for dinner one day. Eat a larger lunch on Saturday and smaller dinner. Don't do it all the time because then you'll really confuse your body. Once or twice a week is good enough!
6. Veggies & Fruit & Salads. Eat more. Nuff said.
7. Cook and eat at home more. This is really a no-brainer. If you cook at home, you know what you are putting in and on your food. Find healthier recipes online. Biggest Loser is great for this, they have amazing low calorie cookbooks. Many restaurants are putting the nutrition information on the menus, but not all. If you do go out, make better choices! Ask for dressings and sauces on the side and ask if they have a lower calorie options for your favorite dish.
8. Make substitutions & other minor changes. You honestly don't need to give up anything you love to lose weight. You may have to limit your intake or find a better option. Instead of buying Ice Cream go for low fat ice cream or frozen yogurt-most come in the same flavors. Instead of Movie Theater popcorn, buy it plain and butter it yourself with a little pat of butter. If you drink whole milk, switch to 2%, it's healthier for you anyway. If you make dishes with ground beef, switch to ground turkey--if you season it, you rarely notice the difference. When you want McDonald's, go, but make it a single cheeseburger instead of a double and get small fries. Fries are a killer!
9. No Late Night Eating. If you stay up until midnight, don't eat after 8pm. If you must, have a cup of popcorn or a glass of milk or a carrot.
10. Treat Yourself! Splurge occasionally! If you behave and know you've stayed under your calorie range and you're exercising, go ahead and have a slice of your favorite pizza, eat a piece of candy or that brownie at your next work party. If you deprive yourself of the things you love most, it'll make sticking to a weight loss program that much harder.
11. Find someone to talk to. Rarely can we make any life changes without the support of friends and family. There are a ton of weight loss groups online where you can talk about weight loss until the sun comes up. No one knows how hard it can be unless they've done it themselves, and sharing tips and tricks will make us all healthier in the end.
12. Don't give up! Remember the P's! As with anything, practice, patience and persistence is key. If something is working for you, go with it! Like I mentioned earlier, I loved repetition while loosing weight. I had Cheerios for breakfast, fruit mid-day, soup and a half-sandwich for lunch, varied my dinners with filling salads and low calories meals, and made sure any snacks I had were small and/or healthy. I told you I like chocolate! If something isn't working for you, ask for help. It's out there, all you have to do is seek and ye shall find.
Trust me, when all those overweight people who lose weight the correct way say: "If I can do it, you can do it" they're right! All it takes is the desire to make a change and the determination to see it through. It's not always easy. It takes time. But I did it, you can do it to!