I'm sure there are a gazillion things that could go into this but I'm going to share specifically what has helped me get things rolling in my life:
#1) You need to diet.
Nope. Food is fuel. You need to eat. You need to eat the amount of calories you need to function, subtract a few hundred calories if you need to speed up your metabolism, add a few hundred calories if you are exercising. But in essence, you need to eat! It doesn't matter how much physical activity you do, if you don't eat enough you will not lose weight. If you skip a meal, you will not lose weight. You need to eat, and eat often - about every 2-3 hours, 6 meals a day. Ask any Beach Body or fitness expert. Food is fuel!
That being said, you don't need to eat a donut or half a box of pizza. You have a certain number of calories you need to intake a day and you should fill those calories with nutrient rich, healthy foods as much as possible! Because it will help you have the energy you need so you have the stamina/strength to work out and you can still function like a decent human being through out your day.
So do this with me:
- Download the "Fat2Fit" app on your phone.
- Follow the instructions to calculate your body fat based on the measurements it asks. Write that down.
- Follow the instructions to calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Write THAT down.
- Download "MyFitnessPal"
- Add me as a friend on "MyFitnessPal"
- Set your daily calorie goal or limit to your BMR
- Measure and log everything you eat (otherwise the app won't work! You have got to embrace this accountability!)
- Week 2: try to adjust your eating to hit your BMR
- Week 3: Exercise and add your exercise activity to MyFitnessPal
- As you exercise and it gives you more calories, eat according to the new calorie goal for the day
You'll become more familiar with portion sizes, and what your plates need to look like. So allow it to motivate you to make better food choices so you can enjoy the food you really love, eat and be satisfied, and not go hungry!
#2) You need to stop eating certain foods
Some people chose to go vegan, some people cut out carbs completely. To be completely honest, my budget dictates my diet. We are a family of 5 and 2 pets on a 1 person income. Rice goes a long way! I lived in a 3rd world country where meat or vegetables were so expensive sometimes we did without, and I personally am of the conviction that I'm thankful for whatever I eat because the Lord provided and I'm not going hungry! Do your own research on that, but as a general rule: Take out things that are not easily identifiable in nature or contain chemicals your 4 year old can't pronounce (there's a big difference between juice that contains oranges, water, and sugar and juice that contains maltodextrose and yellow#5). Sodas, junk food, sweets do nothing for you! NADA! Replace things slowly to a healthier option as you do groceries; example; fat free over whole milk, whole wheat over white bread, sherbert over ice cream... Even somethings are better home cooked if you must than fast food! If you absolutely need french fries, you're better off cutting a potato and tossing it in the oven than buying from McDs or getting a bag of frozen fries ready to deep-fry. Bake your own pizza making whole wheat dough and fresh veggies. You'll be more successful replacing your meals with stuff you can live with than trying to quit stuff you love cold turkey.
My favorite switch was with my coffee. I would buy coffee creamers and add much more than the serving size to make my coffee palatable. So I switched to better coffee (whole bean, fresh) and got myself a grinder. I also switched to Vanilla Almond Milk. I use regular sugar (cuz I haven't bought sugar in months, but I suppose I can get brown sugar next time), but only 2 teaspoons (and I measure them!), and a quarter cup of almond milk... voila! I got my morning cup of coffee and saved myself about 200 calories.
That all being said, portion control goes a long way too - for those "cheat" days. So even when I indulge in a pizza I have 2 slices instead of half the box and that's already a step towards a healthier life-style. Or I drink water with my meals at restaurants instead of soda. Or I ask the waiter to give me two sides of veggies instead of rice or mash potatoes. Or I split the chocolate bar I treat myself to around "that time of the month" with the hubby who has to put up with my horrible PMS.
#3) You only really lose weight by doing horrible, grueling exercise
Here's a secret. No one who hates Insanity or P90X has actually lost weight doing Insanity or P90X. Because the people who hate it quit. It's the people who love it that actually lose weight and get in amazing shape doing the program. So if it's not something you love, don't bother doing it. Life is short. YOLO!
You do need to exercise though. You need to do SOMETHING. Just find something you enjoy doing for at least 30 consecutive minutes and start from there. It may be you enjoy walking for 30 minutes. Or dancing (I can do Zumba for an hour!). Or Yoga. Or playing tag with your kids. Just find something you enjoy doing - something that you can do for 30 minutes straight and not even feel like you worked out. Start there!
Then you challenge yourself by increasing intensity: Try to walk faster or further. Do higher cardio dancing. Stretch further in yoga. Or actually catch your kids and raise them over your head like you're doing shoulder presses. Push yourself because you'll surprise yourself! You'll kill that "I'm gonna die exercising" barrier in your mind and you'll start realizing that you can do more.
And you'll do more - maybe you'll start running, or doing Pilates, or add some weight lifting aside from the Zumba, or get on the monkey bars and make it from one end to the next right along your kids. Because then you'll enjoy exercise!
You may never be the kind of person who enjoys Insanity or P90X, but you'll still get active, get stronger, and lose weight. Or you may actually become that kind of person that loves working out to the point of sweat, tears, and blood because you realize that you're strong enough. Who knows? I'm a runner now in the summer but when it's icy and snowing outside, I may train with some of these exercise programs during the winter - not because it'll be easy, but because I will get stronger!
4# You can lose weight secretly
Nah... We all need a support group, we all need accountability. If you don't want to discuss everything you put in your mouth with someone else I understand, but the Bible says that "Iron sharpens iron, and so friends help each other" or something like that (paraphrase mine). You will get more results plugging in with people who will support you, who will celebrate all the little "off-the-scale" victories, and who will encourage you with new foods, exercises, and REASONS to keep trying.
For most of my adult life I had tried, at various points in time, to lose weight. But I failed consistently. And the truth is, I didn't want anyone to know I was trying because I didn't want anyone to know I would fail. Big difference now is that I have friends who are coaches, I have support groups I'm a part of, I have forums I look into, and I post all my activities on Facebook. So someone may look at it and say, "Dang, she ran a mile in 17 minutes?! That's so slow!" but someone else would say, "You're still running laps around everyone else sitting on the couch! Go girl! See if next time you can do the mile 30 seconds faster!" Accountability helps.
Iphone has an app called "weilos", which is like a Facebook specifically for people trying to lose weight. My husband loves it. He posts his pictures as he makes progress and gets cheered. No one judges him, there's no flaming or spamming. There are people who weigh 300 lbs and lose 10 pounds as well as people who weigh 150 lbs and lose 5 lbs and it's all a place to cheer each other on!
In the words of Nike, the secret to weight loss is "Just do it!" How fast you lose weight is not as important as how permanent the changes are anyways, right?