Sunday, July 18, 2010

Let's Get It Started

Yesterday I shared how things would be changing around here - and that starts today!!  I want to take a few minutes to do what I do best - share some thoughts - and then we'll get down to business.

First, if you're new to my blog - WELCOME!!  If you started reading my blog because you were curious about what I was doing - GREAT! If you're trying to lose weight - but nothing has worked for you -you've come to the right place.  Regardless of why you decided to start reading - I hope you continue.  I get my inspiration and motivation by holding myself accountable to the people that are following, and hopefully joining me on my journey.  So, if you're thinking "what qualifications does this woman have to give weight loss advice?"  The short answer - none.  The long answer comes down to the fact that for the past 10 years, I've followed "professional" or "guaranteed result" diets - and ended up losing weight for a month or two and then gaining it all back, losing nothing, or gaining more weight.  I've tried meal replacement shakes, pills, low carb diets, low fat name it, I've tried it.  I realized 6 months ago, that diets DON'T WORK!  After 6 months of changing my eating habits, my exercise habits - and my entire life - I lost 43lbs, have become stronger, more fit, and I'm loving myself and my life.  I'm doing things that I never thought I could do - and still keeping up with a crazy, hectic schedule on top of it all.  I still have quite a way to go, but I know what I'm doing I'm continuing.

For the past few months, I've blogged about my weight loss.  I did a 6 week bootcamp that ended on Friday.  I have 2 weeks until I begin another round of bootcamp.  I figured this would be a great time to introduce people to what I'm doing - and hopefully motivate them to give it a try in a more practical way. 

Now, even though this isn't a "diet plan", there are restrictions, schedules, routines, etc. that you need to get yourself into that will make your lifestyle change work.  After six months, I have things pretty figured out so that it's second nature to me now - but I still rely on things like meal plans and work-out schedules to keep me on track.  You will probably hear a lot of things that you've heard before from other diets - some of that stuff does make sense - but it's the combination of several factors that come in to play here.  Alright, you ready to get started?  I know I am.

Tools to get you started:  These are the things that you will find useful as you get started on your journey.

1.  Motivational "Before" Picture.  If you really hate the way you look in the mirror, then there's nothing more motivating that to have that person looking back at you WHERE EVER you go.  Take a picture of yourself in a bathing suit, shorts, or work-out clothes.  Then make copies of that picture and put them on your fridge, the area you will work-out, in your car...anywhere that will provide the best motivation for you.  Every time you visit the fridge, you'll refrain from the bad foods...every time you work-out, you'll want to change the person in that picture.  You'll also take progress pictures along the way - and it's great to have a beginning picture to compare'll be amazed at the changes you will see.  Tomorrow, I will post my first "before" picture and my current motivational picture - that will give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

2.  Planner.  Every week, you will make your meal plan for the coming week.  You can use a journal, a computer program - whatever works for you.  You will plan all of your meals ahead of time, so there will be no rummaging for food.  You will also plan your work-outs for the week.  You will need to write down what you are GOING to do each day.  I use an Excel spreadsheet - one tab for meals, and another for work-outs.  I then print out my weekly schedules and put my meal planner on the fridge and my work-out planner on the wall in my home gym.

3.  Some form of weights.  Don't worry, you don't need to rush out and spend $100s on weights.  If you own a set of free weights, AWESOME! If not, you can use things like resistance bands, milk jugs filled with sand or water, etc.  I was lucky enough to pick up this set at a yard sale for $ if you want the equipment, but don't want to spend the money - be sure to check Craigslist or yard sales:

4.  Accountability.  This has probably been my most effective tool I've ever used.  Many people don't tell anyone that they're trying to lose weight - because they're scared of failure.  That should be a sure sign that maybe it's time to hold yourself accountable for your commitment.  I hold myself accountable with my daily blog.  I know that I have people watching me, waiting to see my results - and thus, makes me work that much harder to do it.  I'm not saying everyone should start a blog - but sharing what you're doing with friends, family, or co-workers can really boost your motivation to succeed.  If people know what you're doing, your more likely that people will notice your changes...both physically and mentally. 

5.  Goal tracker.  When I first started my journey, I had only one goal in mind: Lose 100lbs.  That can be a very daunting goal when after a month or two you're only seeing a couple of pounds dwindling away.  I decided that it's great to have that one big goal in mind - but by having small goals along the way, I really feel more accomplishments.  Now, I keep a log of goals.  I have small goals like: getting all of my work-outs in, or drinking 100ozs of water a day.  I had fitness goals like: to be able to run for more than 10 seconds, do a push-up, etc.  I accomplished those goals, and moved up to: completing a 5K and doing bootcamp...again, accomplished those and my current goals are:  running a mile in 10 minutes and running (not walking/ jogging) a 5K.  Once I accomplish my goals, I feel like anything is make sure you keep small goals, and when you accomplish them, update with new goals.

6.  Motivation/ Dedication.  At the end of the day, nothing is going to work for you unless you really want it to.  Living a healthy lifestyle is easy...changing your current lifestyle to a healthy lifestyle is not.  There are going to be days where you really just can't be bothered to work-out or you really want to eat pizza.  That's TOTALLY FINE!!  Yes, you heard me right.  I still have days like that - and being that this is LIFE we're talking about here - that stuff is OK.  It's how you deal with the day after that will come in to play.  You CAN NOT think that just because you had one day of weakness that it's all over for you.  You CAN NOT give up.  The next day, you just pick yourself back up and start where you left harm, no foul.  For added motivation, you should find a picture of someone that has a body you admire.  No surprise to my regular readers, but my motivational picture is Jillian Michaels.  I look at her every day...and think that one day I could have her body.  That's actually very unrealistic for me - because my bone structure is much larger than hers...but it still helps me.  I posted a picture of Jillian (the real one..LOL) right next to my picture.  Seeing the comparison really gives me the added boost I need to get through the tough work-outs. 

That's it...yep, just 6 little things is all you need.  Now I will briefly describe what it is we're going to be doing with these tools - and tomorrow we'll get into the real "nitty gritty" of it all.

First:  you will need to eat 6 small meals a day.  I know, it sounds like a lot - and it is - but the key word in that sentence was "small".  You need to eat 6 times a day to properly fuel your body so that you avoid binging and have the energy you need to get through your work-outs. 

Second:  you will NOT be counting calories.  STOP...don't leave!!  Hear me out!!  Counting calories is a pain in the ass...let's face it.  Who wants to spend their life doing math all day to make sure they can eat?  NOT ME!!  Rather than counting calories, you will be focusing on portion sizes and eating the right amounts of protein, carbs, and fats....AGAIN, DON'T LEAVE!!  You have to eat fats - it's the portions in all of these things that will come into play...just bare with me.

Third:  you will need to work out 6 times a week.  Don't worry, you don't have to spend hours in the gym every day.  Everyone can fit in 30 minutes to an hour of exercise every day....I know you think you can't, but don't worry - I'll show you how.

Lastly:  this one you've heard a thousand times, I'm sure:  You will need to drink LOTS of water!!  When I say a lot, I mean a lot.  You will drink water all day, every day.  Don't like water?  Don't worry - there's ways around that...stay tuned.  ;)  Your body needs water more than anything else.  Think of your body as a car....water is the gasoline.  Yes, food fuels your body - but you could live without food if you had to.  If your body gets low on water - it's going to start getting sluggish, and eventually break down.  Not good!!

Again, that's it...not so bad, right?  Hopefully I haven't lost you.  It really isn't as bad as it sounds - it really is as easy as it sounds.  In January, I was holding down a job, going to school full-time, being a mother to 3 children, finding time to do homework...and still was able to eat right and get my work-outs in.  If I can do it, so can you!! 

So, today was the introduction.  Hopefully you'll come back tomorrow when I explain in detail how to plan your meals.  I will share how to portion your meals, what you should focus on eating, and even share a couple of recipes to get you started.  One thing to keep in mind is that I don't live on salads...I actually rarely eat salad.  The meals I eat every day are much more satisfying than my "junk meals" I used to live on.  If you're worried about cost of food, etc. don't be...I have a very limited budget - and I make it work. 

That's it for today - folks.  Hopefully I didn't bombard you with too much.  Please come back tomorrow, and hopefully invite a friend to join you.

Till next time. ;)

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