Are you like Jared? Did you go on an all Subway diet and lose a ton of weight? Are you like the biggest loser contestants who spend weeks at “the ranch” with nasty personal trainers, medical supervision and all day exercise? Maybe you have special food delivered to your door every day that is perfectly balanced in calories for scientific weight loss. No? Didn’t think so.. not me either.
I’m not even like the Beachbody success stories who pick a workout program and 90 days later have gone from fat and flabby to ripped. Throughout my adult life, I have been about the same size (give or take 10 to 15 pounds). At certain times in my life, I find myself needing to lose a few pounds. I’m guessing maybe there are more people like me out there. I am never going to win one of those contests or be on TV because I have always tried to eat healthy, exercise and live a balanced life.
If you are one of those people (or would like to be one), I’ll share what I do to maintain my weight and lose it when I need to. My rule of thumb is “take care of little problems before they become big problems.”
1. Weigh yourself frequently. You don’t have to be obsessive about it. Pick one day each week and weigh yourself. Have a ten pound window, five pounds below and five pounds above your ideal weight. If your weight is outside the window on either end, it’s time for you to get to work..
2. I use Lose It to keep track of calories and exercise. I try to keep calories in and calories out balanced. It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle.
3. I eat three meals a day and two or three snacks a day. I eat very little bread, pasta, or wheat based foods. I mainly eat lean meats along with fresh or frozen fruits and veggies. I’m not a fanatic about “no wheat” or “no grain” in my diet, but I try to keep it to a minimum.
4. You will hardly ever find me in McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King or Starbucks. You will seldom find me in the middle isles of the grocery store. Processed foods are not really foods to me. They are full of all the things you should avoid. You won’t find me buying lunch in the cafeteria of the school where I teach, but that’s another story…
5. I almost always drink water. I have a water bottle with me at work each day and I carry one to my workouts. I will drink ice tea or hot tea. I can’t remember the last time I had a soda. If I want one (or a piece of cake, or a cookie etc., etc.) I will have it, but it’s a treat, not an everyday habit.
6. I work out at least six days a week. Two or three days of weight training and two or three days of cardio. On these days, I get my heart rate up and work up a good sweat. The other days are lighter workouts or “recreational” workouts. These are things like yoga or stretching, a walk or a hike in the woods, a bike ride or ballroom dancing. This is a habit and a regular part of every day. If I am not feeling well, injured, or I am too busy to work out, I skip it, but it’s not ever an excuse to quit. I just pick it up where I left off the next day.
7. I try to get a good night’s sleep every night. I don’t always get the seven hours my body needs per night, but I try. On weeknights I head to bed a 10:30 p.m. On the weekends I try to be there by 11:30 p.m.
8. I try to meditate at least once a week, read books of a religious or spiritual nature and try to stay centered mentally and spiritually. I also try to balance work, workouts and fun time with family and friends. If one area gets out of balance, it can throw the other areas out of balance as well.
9. I am lucky that I don’t have to take any kinds of medications. Because of this, I focus my energies on preventative medicine. I eat good, nutritious food, I exercise regularly, I stay strong mentally, spiritually and socially, I see my chiropractor every four weeks and I get bloodwork, mammograms, colonoscopies and other preventative screenings. Hopefully, I won’t have to start any long term medicines anytime soon!
There is no magic pill, there is no perfect diet or workout that brings you instant weight loss or instant health. It’s small lifestyle changes added together and continued over time that will bring fitness that will last a lifetime.
Want to get started? Try at least one of the nine steps above, just one, over at least a four week period and see what happens. Reply here and let me know how it goes!