What Works.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Good morning, Sparkers.

I'm having a get-together this weekend and putting together a nice menu which is gluten-optional, dairy-optional, vegan-optional and low-carb-optional. "Paleo" people are out of luck, as there is no butter or bacon on the menu.

Can you guess what I'm serving??? (Bourbon is part of the "optional" menu, haha)


ANYWAY. It's the beginning of a new year, and while the super-cold temps have kept a lot of new folks out of the gym, being inundated with diet and exercise "advice" is part of the program, yes?

So - here is what has worked for me, over TEN YEARS of this journey, with a 100# loss maintained over the past six. YES, I have had to tweak, and change, and re-create to get results - as your body changes, so does what works best.

Also - some of these are anecdotal, meaning I do not have science to back me up, simply my experience or the experience of others I've known/worked out with/trained.

1. A lot of obese people have plenty of muscle, and greatly benefit from long bouts of cardio exercise. It works so well that we forget that our bodies burn both fat AND muscle - and there is a "tipping point" where we begin to tear down more muscle than fat, and when you hit a plateau - think "LIFT" rather than "RUN." You need muscle to burn fat! I could do an entire blog post on this...pondering...maybe a billboard? Or pop-up ad? :)

2. Drinking too much water can be detrimental. I know Spark encourages everyone to drink lots of water, if you're having leg cramps, stomach pain or headaches - ease back on the water and see if that helps. If you Google "hyponatremia Boston marathon," there is a study out there - made me uneasy, personally.

3. Eating properly. If your diet is not on point, you are not going to see the progress you want, at least in the long-term. I think we've all tried to outrun our bad eating habits! Didn't work! Doing all the boring things the folks in the National Weight Loss Registry do (breakfast, fruits and veggies, planned meals and indulgences) and don't do (binge, snack late) really does work! And a 10% reduction in calories may be all you need - I've done this twice with wonderful success - 30 lbs the first time and 14 the second. Still eating about 2000cals/day though.

Having said this, I am sitting here "hungry" because I decided I wanted a croissant and iced coffee from Starbucks this morning rather than my usual brekkie of a banana and toast with PB&J...um...not worth it. :P

4. Flexibilty and core training - pilates and yoga. I shaved off FOUR INCHES from my waist (I made the nurse measure me three times) in a year doing pilates 2x a week. No, it does not happen overnight, and yes, flexibility and core strength have to be consistently practiced, but - who gets up one day and runs 10 miles? My running and cycling are SO much better, and my pilates class (who all have known this much longer than I) believes flexibility and core strength are what drive all their other workouts. Truth.

5. Everyone's diet plan is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. Or, it works for a short time, then your body rebels. It's a process that goes on and on. My body goes nuts on a low-carb diet - high blood sugar levels (I have Type I diabetes) and intense stomach upset. So - no. High fat diets, nada. Carb cycling - NOPE AAAH! Gotta work that out and keep tweaking. It gets easier with practice.

SO - having said all this - What works for YOU?

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm so glad you wrote that everyone's plan has to be different! I've found that I cannot eat what spark says I can. I have to limit my calories to 1000-1100 per day. I have extremely low metabolism, and it takes A LOT of activity for me to burn 1700 calories. Normally, with a 45-minute workout where my heart rate gets up to 161, I only burn about 1500 a day. It's a bummer. Keep up the great work!
    1905 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.