So I've been posting a lot lately about my weight loss, inches lost, smaller sizes, etc online and in day to day life and I love the support I'm getting. I'm a little worried that I may be annoying people because these days I tend to go on and on about exercise and eating better and losing weight and everything but it's kind of a big part of my life right now and, probably, for the rest of my life and I'm so excited about my progress that I can't seem to shut up.
I've also had a few people ask me what I'm doing and how I'm doing it. I've already done posts on the basics... low carb, high protein, counting calories, exercising, not eating junk, weighing and measuring my food and more of these things but here's other advice I have for anyone who's interested.
1) Find something you love to do for exercise. This is so, so important. I spend between and hour and an hour and a half a day on working out and once I finally add cardio in again it'll be more than that, but I love what I'm doing. I love working with weights especially but also yoga, pilates... things like that. I have no problem spending an hour on weights because I enjoy it and I'm definitely enjoying the results... smaller body, tighter muscles, becoming lean and firm, but I know that if I didn't like it I would never be able to stick with it!
For example, I have no interest in running, like, ever. I enjoy walking and I'd love to go hiking but running has never been my thing and I know that if I was looking at an hour of running I would never do it. I also don't want to swim or bike (unless it's a recumbent bike) and I absolutely do NOT want to dance... ever. I would love to learn a barre workout though but that's not actual dancing (since I have the rhythm of a stick. Or maybe a rock) and Sarah (my bestie) will actually teach me that the next we visit her from my workout DVDs because she used to do ballet. I would also love to learn kickboxing when my back is ready for it.
So find what you love, otherwise you won't do it!
2) Start slow! I didn't jump into a huge workout plan right away. I started with easy, low key things and built up my body until I was ready for harder work, heavier weights, higher reps and longer workouts. You can't go from 0-60 overnight. Just because you start with 3 pound weights doesn't mean you'll be there for long, your body will accommodate and you will work more and harder, but that's part of the beauty... seeing how hard you can go!
Maybe you can only do 10 minutes of walking today. Great! 10 minutes is a great start and maybe you can do 11 minutes tomorrow! Everything counts!
3) Find what works for you. I love working out on my own, at home. I'm perfectly happy without a gym and I have no interest in group classes at all. In fact, I hate group classes... they're just not my thing. Maybe, eventually, I'll change my mind but I like moving at my own pace and doing my own thing, but some people can't do that. You really have to be able to motivate yourself when you work out alone. You have to be able to push yourself because no one else will be there to push you.
But, maybe you don't like being alone? Maybe you want to be part of a group and if so, go for it! Working out with like minded people and motivating each can be an amazing thing if that's how you want to exercise! It's all in what you prefer. There are gyms, workout groups outside of gyms, groups of friends who can get together for runs or walks... the possibilities are endless!
4) If you can, get a trainer! I can't say enough great things about my trainer! I would never have believed I can do the exercises, the reps and the weights she has me doing but I CAN! There are exercises I never would have even tried without her and she plans out my workouts, taking into consideration my back, joint and pain issues. It's like having a cheerleader right there beside you, only one who won't take any crap, lol! Outside of going low-carb, my trainer has been the best thing for my health! And, actually, she's the one who got me seriously into low carb anyway. And she's always there over email encouraging me and guiding me. I seriously can not recommend her enough!
5) Surround yourself with people who will support and encourage you! This is so, so, so important! I not only have my family, friends and my trainer but also this blog, Facebook and Instagram and the support and just the "you go girl" have helped me so much. It's amazing how much harder I want to work when people comment and give me thumbs up on my photos or posts about my workouts or about my weight loss and all of it.
6) Be accountable. I find several ways to do this. I've found that being accountable to people online works very well for me, once again with the blog, Facebook and Instagram. I even post a photo of my scale every weigh-in day on Instagram which really helps me because I know that at the end of my week I will be posting that number for all to see and that helps keep me in line with the food. I also post my workouts and progress photos.
7) And speaking of progress photos... take photos! Take them from the beginning all through your weight loss journey. Take measurements as well. The scale has moved pretty slowly in the last six weeks and I would be so disappointed right now but I've made huge progress in losing inches. Cover it all so you can see the big picture!
8) Find a food plan you can see yourself living with for the rest of your life! Don't diet because diets end and the weight will come back if you go back to eating the way you did before the diet started. I chose to try low carb because people kept recommending it and I can honestly see myself eating this way for the rest of my life. Yes, I miss pizza and bread and pasta sometimes but not bad enough to start eating them again and along with the weight loss I feel better, I have less pain, I have more energy and so on. But, like with exercise, you have to find what works for you. If you can't see yourself cutting way back on carbs then do something else. Count calories, eat clean, go vegan... whatever you feel you can do and stick too and whatever works for you!
9) Compete against yourself. You do not need to compete with other people (unless that's specifically what you're doing like an actual competition). You do not need to compete or compare yourself to models and actresses. You need to compete against yourself. My goal is to make some exercise progress every day. If I could hold a plank for 20 seconds last then this time I want to hold it for 22. If I could do 100 crunches last time then I want to do 105 this time. It's all about me versus me. Not me vs. a Victoria's Secret Model because, God knows, I will never look like that nor do I need to! You are your best competition!
10) Make time for exercise not find time! Schedule it like you would an appointment and stick with it. Find your best time, mine seems to be around four in the afternoon because all the mornings' aches and pains have usually worn off by then and I'm done picking people up and driving them around. You need to make exercise and, healthy eating in general, a priority in your life. Yes, that may be easy for me to say, I work part-time and my kids are all old enough to entertain themselves but carve out what time you can. Not only will it be good for your body but also your soul! And if you have little kids, try to get them to work out with you. I remember working out to the Walk Away the Pounds DVDs and the boys would do the kicks and knee lifts with me just to be funny! Make time for your health! You're no good to anyone if you're not taking care of yourself!
11) This is very important... listen to your body! This is something my trainer says to me all the time. Because of all my issues, the back problems, the fibro and everything else, I have good days and bad days and sometimes I have to accept that a bad day will ruin a workout plan for me. I either have to go slower or lighter, do a different workout or just stretch and rest. There will also be days when you're so busy you just can't fit anything else in. That is life and that's just how it works. Listen to yourself and your body. Push yourself but don't push to the point where you'll get hurt!
12) And, finally, understand that weight loss and getting in shape takes a lot of time, effort and dedication. There are no secrets, there are no shortcuts. You have to put in the time and the work. It will be hard, it will hurt, you will be hungry at times, you will be exhausted, you will have to get off your butt, you will have to put some things aside to make the time for it, but it will be so, so worth it!
If anyone has any more questions or thoughts I would love to answer them or discuss them. I still have a long way to go, I'm not even half way to my goal yet, but I would love to help anyone who needs it the way others have helped me! I'm just a message, a phone call or an email away!
And remember, you can do this!!!