Friday, December 07, 2012
Ever since I abandoned my cardio streak a week or so ago, I've thought about whether I wanted to do another. After careful deliberation, I've decided that one was enough. 572 consecutive days was more than I needed to accomplish a butt-load of weight loss (literally) and get back into good shape, including a return to a good rating in the BMI department.
I am, however, continuing the streak of "90 minutes or more" each week. My weekly streak continues at 85 weeks. I see no reason to stop that one since both strength and cardio count toward the 90 minute requirement and actually, I can stagger the days!
Even before the streak came to an end, people have asked how I was able to lose the weight. Basically the questions revolved around how anyone could possibly lose 90+ pounds without trainers or special diets.
Trainers: Use one if you wish, but only to get information. The rest should be up to you. You don't need Bob or Jillian hovering and screaming in your ear for motivation. There are plenty of places to get motivation right here in SP!
Diets: How many diets are on the market right now? Dozens, hundreds, but what do they all seem to have in common? One thing - they want to separate YOU from your money. That's it, that's all, they want your money and they don't want you to lose weight because they want you to buy something else in a month or two.
I believe you don't need to spend very much money to lose weight and get in shape. After all, I did it. Here's the shopping list:
A pair of nice, expensive running shoes (actually a pair every few months because I literally wore them out on the streets and sidewalks);
A few pair of running shorts and sweat pants;
A baseball cap with LED lights for pre-dawn runs;
A FREE app for my smartphone;
A FREE membership to SparkPeople;
A FREE SparkPeople app for my smartphone.
Hmm... not a very expensive list, eh? No pills, lotions, endless magazine subscriptions, books, toys, etc...
Here's the secret:
1) work out at least 20 minutes a day with cardio
2) work out at least three days a week with strength
3) manage calories
Regarding number 3 - drink water instead of sugar drinks or diet sodas. Forget looking for the "low carb / no carb / low fat / high protein / grapefruit diets. Just eat a BALANCED diet within your calorie range every day.
As important as the workouts are, I believe the most important is the calorie management. "You can't out-train a crappy diet" is one of my favorite phrases and it's true... I could not consistently lose weight until I began managing the calorie intake.
And I know there is a lot of confusion about how many calories you're supposed to eat each day. So here's the deal... start with your recommended number of calories each day whether you use SP or some other computer program to determine your calorie needs. Whatever the recommended number is, aim for that number (no more) each and every day. It's critical that you TRACK EVERYTHING you eat and did I say - do not exceed the recommended number? Stay close to it for now.
You're going to watch the scale for two weeks. The recommended calorie intake programs will only get you close, so after two weeks on the program, has there been any weight loss? If not, lower your calorie consumption each day by 500 calories. You should see a weight loss of about a pound a week thereafter.
By the way, I like to weigh daily. I track the trendline and don't sweat the daily fluctuations.
Good luck... develop your streaks and get healthier!