Dropping pounds is no easy feat. Today I will share the strategies I used (& still do) to get slim & healthy—and stay that way. Sarah Terrion, Co-Owner, NRG 4 Life Fitness, Uxbridge, ON www.nrg4lifefitness.net
Losing weight is no small feat—it often requires a complete lifestyle overhaul, and with so much information out there, it can be tough to know what strategy might work for you. And to top it all off, all the weight loss myths threaten to throw you off track. That’s why it’s helpful to know what has worked for real people.
I released 50 lbs 15 years ago. On my 5’10” frame I hid it well. I was still within the healthy weight range for my height, just the higher end and my joints ached more. I started to notice it in pictures. I started to accept that as I had turned 30, that weight was where I was supposed to be. I began to wear black a lot as I thought it would conceal the extra pounds and I found myself reaching for leggings, dresses and pull on skirts and skorts instead of my jeans and pants with waistbands. Pictures don’t lie. I decided that I couldn’t hide any longer and I was no longer happy trying to. Find your own “why” and right it down. Make it concrete.
Back in 1992, my husband, Terry, and I enrolled in a nutrition course and started educating ourselves with better ways to eat in addition to weighing in weekly for motivation. We already had the exercise part down pat, however, we were missing the nutrition end of things. I have been teaching group exercise and enjoyed how alive I felt motivating others to move together since I was 18 yrs old. Taking “aerobic classes” in the mid-80’s literally helped me to get through high school with a purpose and I found something I felt good at that in turn made me feel so good!
So back to 1992…when I started cutting back on the snacks and portions of starchy carbs, people asked me what different exercise program I was doing. I didn’t change my exercise, my muscles were just hiding under a layer of fat (in my case – cheese and trail mix). Also, because I ate healthy foods most of the time and exercised a lot, I thought the wine I washed down with the rice cakes and daily cup or two of trail mix with a sleeve of dark chocolate Ferraro Rochers ‘didn’t count’ as much as they did. Once I educated myself on what a serving size of trail mix was, I decided to forego the ¼ cup and have a little fresh fruit and hemp on my yogurt instead. It was way more satisfying to have a bowl with just a little sprinkle of crunch on top over ½ cup of berries. What a treat without the guilt. Not only does it feel empowering knowing I’m making a healthier (and still very delicious snack), I don’t have the rest of the bag of trail mix calling my name and having to deal with temptation.
Also, depriving ourselves will lead to overeating. I still eat chocolate every day. It’s my treat and I don’t want to give it up. I just have 2 squares of 85% dark now which I do not find addicting as it’s 1/3 less sugar than in the 72% dark kind. It’s carried by all the grocery stores even in their house brands. If salty is your kind of treat, source out air popped popcorn or brown rice cracker treat that are lower in sodium. Eating a little of something that’s high in sugar is addicting to me (sugar is addictive) so the 2 squares of 82% dark chocolate works for me. Below are some other tips that I adopted, that work to help keep me (and my weight) balanced.
To lose weight, you have to decide to get more active, parking farther away in car parks and taking the stairs whenever possible. This really works! We hear this tip a lot, however, like anything, it’s actually applying it that counts (remember in order for any weight loss program to work and to be sustainable, it HAS to be a lifestyle change).
Look for ways to get exercise in. March on the spot when brushing your teeth. Purposely walk back and forth from the dryer to put away your clothes vs folding and taking them all to the closet all at once. I march when I’m doing my weekly food prep (just be careful when knife in hand!), rinsing my vegetable, taking the food and compostables/recyclables out to the garage. Embrace activity. Rather than be upset because you couldn’t find that parking spot near the door, look it as an opportunity to get in more steps. The same with regards to the laundry…turn it into intervals of squats and fast walking. Some people fit in a few more steps while watching their favourite TV shows by getting up between commercials and walking around the house, climbing stairs, squatting, doing dips, planks, crunches on the ball etc…
If you’re mostly sedentary (and let’s face it—with 9-to-5 desk jobs being the norm, it’s hard to avoid), you’ll start to see noticeable results with just a slight increase in your activity level. Break up the hours in front of the computer by using your lunch break to move around. Walk during your lunch break or come to the gym. It’s always fairly quiet and you can get in a super efficient 30 min session. Ask us for suggestions!
I find my Fitbit is great accountability for me and works well to help me get in my daily steps and I use it to track my meals should I notice the weight going up a few pounds. It helps to keep me in check!