First off, I got my first paycheck from my first job in this state yesterday YAAAY! I love love my job. I adore it. And eating healthy and working out has just become routine again which I am very happy for. There is a very sweet girl from New Mexico that was in my orientation. The other day while computer training with her she sighed and complained about having gained 50 lbs since her having her baby a year ago (she looks to weigh about 150). She said that she had cried about that morning. She laughed and said maybe she should go get surgery. Part of my brain wondered if I should be offended that she thought she was so big when she is so small compared to me. To me she looks healthy and fit but everyone has their own personal fitness goal and I am sure there are a lot of women out there that aren't very happy about their weight after a baby. I wish I had taken that opportunity to tell her about Spark people.
This morning my sister sent me an email asking me how I was able to lose weight and if she would be able to lose her baby weight fast. My response to her turned out to be an essay! I realized that I have a lot to say on this subject matter-- especially when it comes to how awesome Spark is. Just thought I would post it on here as yet another part of my journey and maybe some of this information will be useful to someone.
What I learned from my 4 months on Spark:
Establishing a good diet and exercising doesn't work fast and it is continuous especially for me because I am making this my life change. I want to eat healthy and be active for the rest of my life and hopefully live a lot longer because of it . You lose pretty quickly at first but they recommend you lose 4 lbs a week at the most. If you try to starve yourself or burn too many calories while not eating enough (1,200-1,500 is what they recommend for me) your body will store your fat and hold onto it instead of burning it and you won't lose any weight. But it you stay without a calorie range and burn a certain amount of calories each week (spark people calculates all of that for you depending on your height weight and so on) you will lose weight. It takes a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories a week to lose one pound. For example if a person normally eats 3,000 calories and instead eats 1,500 calories a day. For seven days you are saving 8,400 calories which means you will lose 2 1/2 lbs that week. Now say you burn 500 calories a day. You will lose another 1 1/2 pounds a week from that for a total loss of 4 lbs a week. If you burn a lot more calories you will need to eat more calories as well. Losing weight is like balancing a big ball on a little stick. Too much of one thing and not enough of another and the fat will be stubborn and stick to you. All of my inspirations women that have lost 50 to hundreds of pounds look totally different healthy and happy but for those that lost the biggest numbers it took them a year or two to lose it but compare that to how many people I know that have lost that much weight quickly? None. Because it doesn't work that way and it is only healthy to lose 4 lbs a week (it may average out to that because when you start Spark you will probably lose a lot the first 6 months) If you do the nutrition tracker and write down what you eat cause it keeps track of calories and fat and lets you know how many calories you have left after each meal and if you follow the exercise too alternating cardio with toning and strength training days, the weight is gonna come off maybe pretty fast at first. I do strength and toning on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays like they recommend and cardio Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturday, and Sunday. Sometimes I do some extra cardio after I do my strength training so I can burn that 500 calories a day. They fitness tracker counts how many calories you burn with each exercise based on your weight. They recommend to do the strength training every other day so your muscles have a chance to heal and rest. You can exercise any way you want-- they have a fitness tracker that can calculate any exercise you do and they have tons of exercise videos that I love.I can tell you which ones are the most fun and work the best. If you start your strength training workouts with the yogilates and pilates every week, you will notice your core strengthening fast. I couldn't even do a sit up but after a month of yogilates and pilates I was able to do all the ab workout videos I was so surprised. Even more awesome after a couple months of using those videos I was able to jog. I didn't think I could because of my knee but the workouts must have strengthened it a bit. I started with jogging for one minute then marching for one minute. Did that for ten minutes. Then next cardio day jogging for 2 marching for one. I did 3 minutes the next time and the week after I jogged for 5 minutes march for one. The week after that I would jog up to 15 minutes at a time one day after I hit 15 minutes I discovered that after I hit that 15 minute mark, it gets easier to jog. So I kept jogging and pushed myself to jog for 30 minutes straight. I couldn't believe I was capable of that! Jogging, running, jump roping, and swimming burns the most cardio calories. The is a girl on Spark who started the Couch to 5K challenge and was quickly running miles a day. She lost her 100 pounds really fast in about 8 months instead of a year or two. The only thing is since she lost it fast instead of slow she had a lot of loose skin and she had to have surgery to cut it off. You could have loose skin either way after losing that much weight but they say if you lose it more slowly, build muscle, and moisturize with a lot of Shea and Vitamin E and brush your skin- you can stimulate it to bounce back a little better. The best part about Spark is they have real stories written by people that joined Spark and lost weight. So many inspirational stories that show that a little lifestyle change and some key nutritional knowledge can make such a big difference in a life. The have TONS of recipes (Greg and I have a bunch of healhty but delicious recipes too) and you won't feel deprived of anything. If you are craving a dish, they have a healthier version of it. And you also learn that moderation is the key to enjoying an occasional treat. If you want to eat something you know has a lot of calories and fat just eat a little bit of it cause 1/4, 1/6, or 1/8 of that is better than eating all of the calories. For example a can of Pringles says that 9 chips are a serving so just eat 3 chips every once in awhile. Stretch that can out and see how many months you can make it last. Make it a game and try to make it last more months than the last time. You don't get any good nutrition from it but at least you got a taste of that craving and now you can put it away for another day. Greg is a big FAN of pizza. He can't go a whole month without a pizza night. If you would normally eat 4 slices of pizza on a pizza night, just eat 2 and a small salad or even better eat 1 slice and a big salad and you can even do the same with a leftover slice the next week. Order a smaller pizza so you won't be tempted by all the leftovers. If you eat healthy 80-90 percent of the time and are smart about curbing junk food cravings and portion control, you will lose weight! If you are having a moment when you need to cheat, look up nutritional information of restaurants and fast food or whatever junk it is you are craving and look at the numbers. Are those calories, fat, and sugars worth it? Are you going to burn more calories in your workout? You will be surprised by what you read and chances are you are since you will be making an "informed" decision you will pick a healthier option most of the time. I found out that a McDonald's ten piece chicken nuggets has almost 500 calories and 29.5 grams of fat. That is my entire fat allowance for the while day! I have a range of 30-60 grams of fat per day but I try to keep it close to 30. So for 10 nuggets to be 30 grams of fat is crazy! I haven't had McDonald's for a few years now but if I were to eat nuggets I would probably get the 4 piece or split that 10 piece with someone or save some for another day. Another crazy thing about nutrition information is that some places have something that might sound healthy like Panda Express's eggplant and tofu but if you look up the nutrition, it has the highest amount of fat and calories of all their dishes. They must really soak it in a lot of oil when they cook. Basically, unless you look up nutrition info and pick healthy choices ahead of time when you go out to eat-- it can be pretty hard to pick a healthy dish. You will always be able to cook healthier food at home that tastes better than healthy food in a restaurant (Vietnamese and Mediterranean restaurants are pretty healthy) so try to cook at home at least 80 percent of the time. In fact that is a mantra I kept in mind in the beginning "80-20, 80-20". Pretty soon without realizing it you will be doing 90-10 and eventually 98 to 100 percent healthy without even trying. Make healthy choices when you go out or eat something unhealthy in a very small portion and pair it with something healthy like a salad or smoothie, and exercise! That's it that's all it take to lose weight and it works! Drink plenty of water and eat lots of fiber (veggies and whole grains especially quick oats) because that flushes the fat out of your body as it melts off of you. The first 2 months I started I lost 30 lbs and 12 inches. I took a break between the end of November and the first of January so I am waiting until the end of this month to see how much I've lost. I think I might measure how many inches today though. I was doing the measurements every two weeks but I am going to start weighing every two weeks and measuring once a month I think. If you want to lose after the baby-- join Spark people it's free and I love it. They have all kinds of help. Articles, recipes, teams and challenges if you want to join one I was in the January Jump start challenge. You can join as many teams as you want. I joined the California team, 20 somethings team, fitness in motion team, Done being the fat girl team and more. They have local teams too. I've met up with a couple people from my local team to do walks. Sorry as you can see I really love Spark people and could just go on and on about it. Try it for yourself and see if you like it. Here are just one of the motivational members www.sparkpeople.com/reso