If you have discovered, like I have, successful and lasting weight-loss is not the short-term, fast and restrictive diet we all love to hate but strive for and fail. Weight-loss needs to be a Lifestyle Change but what does “Lifestyle” change really mean? Does it mean you have to get rid of your all your favorite foods, desserts, and drinks? Does it mean you have to get off the couch and join a gym? The short answer… NO
No you don’t have to give up your favorites; shocking? I bet it is but no you don’t have to give up what you love but you do have to modify it. Depending on your goals you may either have to reduce the amount or change the way you eat food. Unfortunately, it may be healthier for you to get rid of that favorite brownie or crispy fried chicken but there are millions of healthy alternatives. It truly boils down to choices. For instance, the calories in one brownie can be over 200 calories and 10 grams of fat. To reduce your calories you can cut that brownie into twos or fours and have it over two or four days. This can help with cravings if you just have to have it. Instead of that crispy fried chicken, try grilling it, baking it with bran flakes, or simply frying it with healthier options and limiting how many pieces you eat. If healthier is your goal drink more water and make fruits and veggies the main ingredients of your meals.
No you don’t have to join a gym. Getting fit can include anything that gets you moving and increases your heart rate. My personal favorite is walking but if you can’t or just don’t want to walk you can do housework, yard-work, dance (even in your chair), skate, skip, etc.. You just have to get moving and once you get started your endurance will increase and you may want to start doing more.
Nutrition and Fitness
With weight-loss and weight maintenance fitness and nutrition go hand-in-hand. To reach your goal, the key is learning how to balance the two. A lot of studies suggest strategies such as Calorie in VS calorie out. But for every report you read there may be 10 other reports that discredit that report. Who or what can you believe? You can ask your Doctor, maybe he/she knows or can refer you. If you can’t talk to a doctor, research what is the best plan for you. I can’t tell or suggest a plan because I am still learning and what worked for me might not work for you; which is so maddening. But I do suggest to start monitoring your food and modifying your calorie intake. Clearly if you are overweight or obese what you are currently eating is not the key. So try limiting the amount of food you eat. Instead of drinking four cans of soda try drinking one and drink more water instead. Adopt a fitness plan that will be easy to adjust and maintain.
Don’t panic.. There are tools that will help you establish a plan.
I successfully use Sparkpeople. Sparkpeople lets you track and monitor your food, exercise and goals. There are also teams and communities you can use for support. MyfitnessPal is another website like Sparkpeople and there are many others; you just have to pick the plan that works for you.
Wearables: Activity trackers
There are several wearables available. I use a Fitbit Surge. What is great about Fitbit is that it tracks your steps and monitors your heart-rate (useful during exercise). Another cool feature to Fitbit are the FitBit Challenges. You can challenge other Fitbit users to Daily, Workweek, or Weekend challenges. I won countless workweek challenges by increasing my steps which in turn assisted in my health and fitness.
Programs and Trainers:
I joined a program and hired a trainer but there are plenty of resources you can utilize to assist with your weight-loss. The key to remember when deciding if you want to join a program is you need to ask the important questions: Will this help me lose weight safely? Does this plan involve changing my lifestyle? Does this plan recommend fitness? Can I maintain this plan for life-time weight management?
My weight-loss has been a rollercoaster for over 20 years. I have tried every diet you can image yet I have never been able to sustain my weight-loss or my weight loss goal for over a few months. 10 months ago I was at the highest I have ever weighed. I was very close to 300 pounds. I was pre-diabetic and hypertensive. I could not stand for long periods of time or walk without my back hurting. I would never attempt to walk up stairs because after just one or two flights I felt like I was having a heart-attack. I couldn’t breath and that was so scary.
10 Months ago I decided it was finally time for a change. I needed something drastic because my health and my husband’s health was slowly deteriorating. We decided to join the Kaiser Weight Management program. I believed this program was drastic because of the following reasons:
- The Cost. It was quite expensive for the two of us
- The “no food” for the active phase
- The commitment
The cost alone almost changed my mind but we needed something that would work. The fact that for 16 weeks we would have to survive on meal replacements was daunting and the Life-time commitment was a bit scary because of my previous failed attempts at weight-loss. Thankfully, my husband and I agreed that this was the best program for us and we needed to finally invest in our health so we jumped in with two feet.
The Active Phase, (16 weeks) was not as hard as I imagined. The first week was quite challenging and the hunger was a bit overwhelming at times but I got through it. I drank the recommended gallon water and stuck to the eating plan of every two hours. I joined the gym and added a workout routine which included 1 to 2 hours of cardio. After the second week, the results were simply amazing; I was dropping over 5 pounds a week and I was never hungry. The skills taught and the support found in class was extremely helpful. The ability to sit in a room and share experiences with people who are going through the same struggles was refreshing. To enhance our weight-loss, my husband and I decided to hire a personal trainer. I think this was pure genius because she introduced strength training and explained how to get the most out of a workout. This was an eye opener because I was doing at least 2 hours of cardio on weekdays and more on the weekends. She taught us intense cardio for 15 to 20 mins then 30 to 40 mins of 6 – 8 sets of strength training is a better workout routine.
The Transition Phase was the scariest by far because this is where you start to add in food. Week by week you add in a meal to replace one meal replacement. This phase tests your knowledge of nutrition and your commitment to tracking and monitoring your progress. Tracking your food is one secret to success in weight-loss. If you don’t know what you are eating, how can you balance your nutrition? I track my food and progress in Sparkpeople and my husband uses Myfitnesspal. In this phase my weight-loss did slow down a bit but I was still losing 2-3 pounds a week. I was still very happy with my progress.
The Lifestyle Phase (my current phase) is the hardest and most challenging phase because now is the time for maintenance. If you think losing weight is hard try maintaining it. The Lifestyle classes are really helpful because you meet other participants who have maintained for years and some who have stumbled but got back up. Their stories of successes and struggles really bring home the lifetime commitment of health and fitness (Weight-loss Management). The licensed Nutritionist is also a big help because she reenforces the knowledge and skills we obtained during the Active and Transition Phases.
My overall results are astounding. In 10 short months I have lost over 92 pounds with the program. My total weight loss is 114 pounds and I am down 8 dress sizes. I would have to say this program is quite successful.
The following tips are the key to success in this program:
- Stick to program plan. Try your best not to cheat.
- Monitoring your progress
- Build a support group. Having a support team is key and I think my husband and I have an advantage because we are a team. He has lost over 136 pounds and still losing.
Here are my Before and After Photos