Are you the type of person who follows directions to a T, or do you think you know best and change things around a little? Well, if you're cooking from a recipe and you add a little something or maybe leave out a little something -- it may or may not turn out as you hoped. But -- if you've decided it's time to head down the trail to a Healthy Lifestyle the little changes you make could make a big difference.
I don't have a degree in this, but I've lived a long life and I'm pretty observant, so the things I tell you are pretty much the way it is. So let's say you've finally decided to get yourself healthy and in shape (after looking in the mirror -- or maybe you noticed your reflection in a store window as you were walking by -- and you didn't even recognize yourself?) Been there, done that!
The whole thing is a series of steps. That means it's best it you don't try to jump in with both feet and think you'll look like you did in high school, all in a month's time. The fact is, depending on how long you've waited to do this, you will PROBABLY NEVER look like you did in high school. Not exactly what you wanted to hear, is it? But if you've let your weight get up to say 280 and in high school it was 120 - 130, you'd probably look like a skeleton at that weight! I'm 75 years old, weighed 105 when in high school, and my goal is 125 - 130. So be practical, don't base your goal weight on your girlfriend, or some movie star, look at the charts and go from that.
First Step: You need to know just what and where you need to tone up. To do this it's best to stand (naked) in front of a full length mirror. Look front, side and back, even if you need another mirror to see how you look from behind. I know you'll want to do this while you're alone because this is more than you should share with your BFF.
By the way, there is no way to target just one exact area, so doing sit-ups thinking your stomach will disappear won't do anything except make you tired. You will lose inches everywhere; however some exercises do work certain muscles so you can concentrate on those.
Now that you've admitted to yourself just how bad things are, get out the tape measure. Measure upper arm, upper chest (that's above the boobs and under the arms with the tape), bust, rib cage (just under the boobs), waist, hips, thigh and calf. You might even want to measure your ankle. Now hide that list, but keep it in a place where you can look at it and add to it. Date it too, along with your weight. And speaking of weighing, always do it naked (or with panties) first thing in the morning before eating anything. Try to do it about the same time of day each time.
Make a journal of this, it helps to keep things in perspective if you are writing them down. And you'll find it is motivating and enjoyable to go back and look at your notes now and then.
Go by what the advice is on SparkPeople. This is what I mean by "following directions" because deviating can get you in trouble. And when I said don't jump in with both feet -- go slow. Weight that is lost slowly is more likely to stay off.
Be aware that it takes a combination of eating the right food and getting exercise to be successful at losing weight. I read that when you lose weight merely by cutting back on the food you eat, a large percentage of what you lose is not FAT, but LEAN MEAT AND MUSCLE. Believe me, you don't want to lose any of that!
Decide on three or four things that you will change as far as your diet goes, and with that in mind, try to track your food on a daily basis. For example you may decide to be sure to drink 8 glasses of water daily (8 oz each = 64 oz) It sounds like a lot if you haven't been doing it, but try drinking 2 cups of water with a lemon squeezed into it first thing in the morning, before eating. I like mine slightly warm so I nuke it for about 40 seconds. #2 could be to eat at least 4 fruits or vegetables per day. #3 go for more fish, chicken, turkey in your diet, no more than 2 servings of red meat weekly.
And decide on 20 minutes or more of exercise daily. Walking is by far the easiest to start out with, as no equipment needed except a pair of good tennis shoes. If you are handicapped and can't do that, there are lots of suggestions on SP for you too, which include chair exercises. Wall pushups are one of my favorites, and again, no extra equipment needed (I think you all have a wall somewhere). And as the weeks go by add some little thing each week or month -- the whole purpose is to get you a little bit tired so you know it's "exercise." Gardening is a good hobby, and it counts as exercise
as a side benefit.
Good luck to all of you, and comments are appreciated and welcome!