Many readers have thanked me for my candor in writing this blog. Knowing you appreciate my journey and might get some inspiration from it gives me renewed energy and a stronger drive to succeed.
Success is an odd word when we are talking about losing weight and gaining health. Success means something different to each individual.
Having walked this road many times, I have a new sense of what success means. Before, I wanted to be healthy and wanted to lose as much weight as possible. I thought, losing weight would make me happy.
It certainly made me have a little better self-image, but it did not make me happy. As I said before, I didn’t truly appreciate it. I still saw an obese person in the mirror.
Happiness is an inside job.
I believe I’ll never truly be content with what I see in the mirror as long as I am judging myself by my appearance. I have to make peace with who I am and learn to treat my body as a vessel entrusted to me to take care of.
I have to learn to deal with stress, anxiety, fear and any other uncomfortable emotion without turning to food.
This is the body I have to live in for the rest of my life. I have to take care of it. I want to take care of it.
Here is my plan. Feel free to share yours with me. Together, we can figure out the best ways to manipulate our bodies into shape and perhaps live fuller, more useful lives.
First, I am tracking every bite I take using the LoseIt app on my Android phone. If you don’t have a smart phone, that’s OK. You can simply keep a food journal where you write down your meals. I think Weight Watchers has a saying, “You bite it, you write it.” There are plenty of websites and publications where you can find the calorie content of your foods.
I have the LoseIt app set to allow for about 1,300 calories each day. That’s the target, which the application says will help me lose two pounds a week. (You put in your height and weight and it will calculate your calorie target, based on your goals.) The target number of calories will decrease as I lose weight.
If you find the target calories range to be too difficult, you can modify how many pounds you want to lose per week and get more calories. You also can eat more calories if you burn more calories.
The app has almost every food you can think of, and it has a place to enter your exercise for the day. For example, if you walk your dog for 45 minutes, you burn 143 calories. If you walk briskly for 45 minutes, you burn 379 calories. You tell the app what you did and for how long, and it will calculate it for you.
Losing weight is a simple numbers game. For example, today I ate 1,290 calories and burned an extra 683 calories, for a net of 608 calories.
I began tracking my calories and exercise on Dec. 29, when I weighed 204.5. Today, Jan. 8, I weigh 200 pounds. I am excited to see results.
The key to eating fewer calories is making smarter choices. Yes, I can have a candy bar for 280 calories, but it will not curb my hunger or provide any nutrition. Instead, I could have a cup of Greek yogurt (my favorite) for 140 calories and a handful of almonds (11 of them) for 76 calories. That’s 64 fewer calories and I am no longer hungry. (Also, candy sets off a sugar craving for me, and then I want more and more.)
At the gym, which I am going to four or five times a week, I like using the elliptical machine. I think it gives you the most bang for your buck. At a moderate pace, I can burn 333 calories in 30 minutes.
I like to do an hour or more. I know it sounds like a lot, but I watch a movie or television show on my phone, using the gym’s wireless Internet connection, and the time flies by.
I have been nervous about using the circuit training weight machines because I feel embarrassed, but I am slowly getting over that. I did a few machines today, and plan to continue on my next trip to the gym. I know cardio and strength training are both important to overall fitness.
My husband and I usually go to the gym together. I recommend finding a workout buddy. When Tinsley and I trained a few years ago to run a 5K, working out together made us more accountable. She encouraged me and I supported her. We made a commitment to work out, and we kept it. On days when I did not want to run, I knew she’d be waiting for me and that I had committed to being there. It made a huge difference.
So, that’s my plan so far. I hope you find it useful. I’d love to hear what you’re doing to stay healthy.
Thanks for all of your kind words and motivation.