Thursday, December 16, 2010

Watch That Waistline This Holiday Season. My New Found Secret!

Oops...I did it again!

Every holiday season we all have the propensity to add weight to our bodies between Thanksgiving and New Years, with much of it going right to our midsection and the bootay! The delicious foods we all love to indulge in, especially the sweetness of the ultimate desserts are the real culprits for packing on the pounds, including the well meaning friends, neighbors and family that love to cook and bring us a sample....yes it is hard to say "no."

Alcohol consumption combined with these luscious temptations, are loaded with empty calories and do much to speed this process up. Before you know it, you can be an easy 10 pounds heavier in short order.

This year would have been no different for me except that before Thanksgiving, I began to log everything I put in my mouth and began a very different, fun exercise program, which ramped up my metabolism. Things had to change for me drastically as I tipped the scales at 160 this early November. To put this in perspective...I am small boned, 5 foot, 3 inches tall. The only thing I seem to be blessed with, is it spreads out pretty evenly on my body, however my tummy was getting a bit out of control. Menopause of course does nothing to improve my situation.

It wasn't until I began to register the food I was eating, did I suddenly learn, I was consuming more calories than I was burning by a wide margin. This was shocking to me since I also realized I ate mindlessly, forgetting most of what I would eat in a day. Plus the heaviness in my step was becoming apparent.

Hitting A Goal

My Christmas wish of Comfort and Joy didn't mean in the way of food. I wished to return to 125 realistically, but I am setting goals of 10 pounds at a time before I celebrate a marker in every phase of my new program. Well I am so pleased to say I have lost 11 pounds in the last month, my step is noticeably lighter, I feel more powerful, tummy is flattening out and I am now at 149 pounds. The size 10's are loose and I fit back into my size 8's with a bit of a snug fit. I also noticed it was already easier to walk since I feel lighter on my feet.....even an 11 pound loss was making a huge difference on my small frame.

Even if I don't always make a wise choice in my food selections, I am at the very least monitoring it and entering it into my log and it goes toward my calorie deficit. After all it is about calories in, calories I can choose to eat a lot of quality high volume foods and be sated, or a lot of junk, but I'll be hungry and the nutrients are crap.

New Found Regimen

I wanted to share with anyone who may be struggling with their weight like I am, my new found secret, especially if they are in the next phase of their life, or are approaching it. A great program which has been incredibly easy to stick with and seems to be working the best, is also far removed from every gimmick I have tried.

Nothing fancy, no guru packets, no infomercial hype, just sound research and science of making it work as long as you have the fortitude and discipline to carry it out until you reach your goals. But what I am now doing, makes this goal pretty easy to achieve, even for me. And trust me due to my business, I lead a very sedentary lifestyle with a lot of desk jockeying.

First Step

Most of us have an iPod, iPhone or one of the new Droid phones, or maybe even a Blackberry, and these are instrumental in keeping tabs on what you eat, when you eat it.

My Fitness Pal offers the perfect blend of food monitoring, exercise, support forums, and a huge library of foods to pull from giving you an instant calorie profile of each and every food on the globe. They offer an App for the phone and anytime you enter a food, it is synced with the website where your account is stored. So you can add your foods directly online when you get home if you don't have internet access to your phone. Otherwise, as soon as the meal is finished, you add it immediately. This makes for no mistakes and avoids forgetting what you had for lunch or a snack. If you don't have internet access to your phone, then at least write it down so you can add it once you are home.

If you are not sure of what is in what you are eating at a restaurant for instance, then it is all about portion control and some fancy guesswork of keeping the meal light and checking it out on My Fitness Pal to find a close comparison. Or if you are following a recipe with all the nutritional breakdown, you can build your own food profile under "my foods." This program is completely customizable for your needs.

You just place all your pertinent information as to your activity level currently, height, weight, and goals and it will give you a predetermined calorie intake each day. Mine is 1200, but if I exercise it buys me more calories I may wish to consume. However, I stick with the 1200 since I want more rapid weight loss and the exercise gives me a larger calorie deficit....but if I should cheat a bit, I'm still okay because I stayed below my calorie intake due to exercise.

2nd Step

Changed my exercise routine and it works beautifully, and causes no residual effects to my once injured shoulder I recently recovered from last Spring. The additions I chose to my getting back to a healthier weight, and I truly enjoy working out with them, are the following:

Zumba Fitness ~ this program gives you so many workouts and variable dance routines, you are never bored. I love to dance, especially the Salsa. Full of energized routines and burns from 500 to 1000 calories an hour depending on the effort you put into the routine. I always am a bit more conservative and tend to stick with the low end for accuracy, if it is more, then this is a bonus for my body.

Jackie Warner Workouts ~ Her stuff is great and has had nothing but fantastic reviews if you check her out on Amazon. I purchased two of her workouts from Barnes and Noble since they had the very best prices, and I am truly loving them. Fun, fast and easy to do. Xtreme Timesaver Workout and Power Circuit Training.

Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zones ~ A bit of a slower paced workout, but the routines are great and also has great reviews through Amazon. People seem to prefer this workout over her others, since she uses high reps and low weight throughout. I know I love it, again because it is easy to do for the most part.

You can also find these at Target Stores.

My Tip: I also am a person that really doesn't enjoy the workout compressed into a single session. It is difficult for me to set aside even the 30 minutes required to do most of these routines, so this is what would sabotage my efforts for keeping fit.

In doing more research, I since learned that it was shown in university studies, women lost 30% more body fat when they did 3 to 4 - 10 minute routines spread out throughout the day, than those who exercised in one longer session daily. A blip from Prevention Magazine tells a great story for women entering the new stage of life. Great Read! And this is how I exercise. I pull 10 minutes from a chapter on each DVD and go for it, full tilt with major intensity. I am breathing hard, breaking a sweat, yet feel rejuvenated and the best part is, it won't leave me exhausted or fatigued like with a full on workout where my intensity wanes half way through it. This is also helpful for women who may have a lot of weight to lose.

So it stands to reason the results would be better, since your metabolism gets a boost at intervals during the day even if you are primarily sedentary. A single workout session, however, is over, and it has been shown in further studies, you only continue to burn calories for a period of 1 hour following your workout.

Even at work, you can squeeze in a mini workout! During your lunch or break, take a brisk walk or do some jumping jacks, squats, hit the stairs or jog in place...mix it up for just 10 minutes. You'll be amazed a the level of intensity you can reach in such a short time and you continue to burn calories for an additional hour great is that?

Also what I enjoy doing once again and haven't done since my 30's, is hiking in the foothills with my hubby. A huge calorie burn during this form of exercise, as much as 800 calories in an hour. Plus it gets me out of my office, into the fresh air, pretty scenery and best part is, a glimpse of wildlife. On our last hike, we ran into a large number of Mule Deer, mainly doe's with last Springs fawns. If you can make exercise fun, you'll stick with it easier and it isn't always about formal exercise....any exercise will go far for making it interesting and for losing weight.

3rd Step

After a while I get tired of meals geared toward weight loss and most of them are B-O-R-I-N-G, tasteless and sometimes even weird, or the ingredients are expensive to maintain on a regular basis.

So I recently found and purchased Better Homes and Gardens "Eat Well, Lose Weight" at Barnes and Noble. Real food, real lives, and easy to make.

Over 500 recipes available so you never get bored and to date, I have cooked over 30 of them, and never a disappointment. All delish, relatively easy to prepare and the majority of the foods are high volume for never feeling hungry.

Serving Size and Nutritional panel are in Bright Yellow on every recipe page for quick guide referencing, making this an invaluable tool, no more guesswork. Best part, like I mentioned under My Fitness Pal, you can create your own food list under "my foods" and store your recipes there along with quick page reference for finding the recipe quickly.

It is a hardbound ring binder for laying flat, and is offered at a fantastic price online compared to in-store price. They also offer it in a soft cover now with the spiral style notebook so you can lay it flat for hands free easy access to your favorite recipe. But I find with these types of cookbooks, the pages tend to tear easily. The Hardbound cover in my opinion is better and at the great price at barnes and noble online store, it is only a few dollars more.

Table of Contents
Sandwiches and Wraps
Beef, Veal and Lamb
Chicken and Turkey
Fish and Seafood
Shortcut Meals
Restaurant Meals
Index and Metric

4th Step

As much as I hate these things, I also soon learned that without tracking my progress, I could lose incentive to keep moving forward. Also if I am backsliding, I can catch it early and reverse the trend more quickly by ramping up my workout or double checking my food intake. And, I must admit, since I have purchased one, it has kept me excited as I see the pounds melt away, yet when I saw a reversal in the weight loss, I reacted immediately by creating something different in my routine to get things moving in the right direction again......

YES it is the SCALE...the purveyor of truth and torment of showing our weaknesses as they come through in the shape of excess baggage to our hips and thighs. But I now realize it is an invaluable tool to complete my ensemble of winning the fat loss game....which I am currently doing.

The old adage of "go by how your clothes feel on", doesn't work for this gal. By the time my clothes might begin to feel uncomfortable, I would have already gained 15 to 20 pounds and fat seems to store more quickly on me these days.

I advise buying a digital scale, one that also measures your fat content, muscle mass, water, etc. These are also great markers to see fat exchange with muscle.

Well that's it folks and I hope that you too will find your winning combination, but for me, this has been working out dandy. The holidays no longer scare me and I have been enjoying some of the best meals. I have simply learned how to budget them in without blowing my calorie intake for the day, since I know precisely now with the use of accurate tools to keep me from making the same mistakes which have lead me to significant weight gain over the years.

Avoid the guesswork and go for have nothing to lose but pounds and fat and gain a whole new lease on life, not to mention a new reduced pant size. Woot!

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  1. This is a fantastic post. I love that you shared videos that you like, and that you mentioned Zumba. Love me some Zumba. I have several iPhone fitness apps, but not My Fitness Pal. I'm going to check it out on your recommendation. Thanks!

  2. You're welcome dM. I just hope I can continue to see the results I saw the first month of beginning this new way to weight loss. So far I am very pleased, plus excited. Enjoy~

  3. Thanks Rachel. Sorry for the delay on posting, we just returned from the Natural Products Expo and we were playing catch up. Hope you continue to enjoy our many articles.