Body Makeover Day 6: Win the Weekend Weight War

Weekends are the time for rest, relaxation, and eating out.  Studies show that people, on average, eat 115 more calories per day on the weekends compared to during the week.  I thought today had some great suggestions for not overdoing it on the weekends.  Check them out:

FRIDAY:  Scale back.  Give yourself permission to splurge, but be selective.  If you are going to have some drinks, forgo dessert.  Heartier meal?  Skip the bread basket.

SATURDAY:  Move on.  Make it a point to do something active during the day.  Go to the gym, take a walk, do a workout DVD.  Don’t adopt the all or nothing thinking and assume the damage is already done from the night before, so you may as well keep it going for the rest of the weekend.  ”That attitude is what contributes to weight gain.”

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SUNDAY:  Stock up.  Plan your meals for the week and make a trip to the grocery store to stock up on healthy fruits, veggies, whole-grains, and lean proteins.  If you have time, go ahead and prep for some of your meals (chop, dice, bag, marinate), making it easier to stick with your menu during the week when things get hectic.  Buy healthy snacks as well, such as almonds, string cheese, or yogurt.

 

 

photo credit: angelocesare via photopin cc

Body Makeover Day 4: Get Off the Couch

I mean, what can I really say here that people don’t already know?  If you’ve had even the thought of losing weight or getting healthy, you know that along with diet, EXERCISE is key.  There were three tips in the magazine to help you start to incorporate more activity into your day:

  1. Reduce your “sitting” time.  The more minutes you spend watching television or surfing the web, the likelier you are to be carrying extra pounds.  Hello unplugged experiment!!  I can testify to that, seeing as eliminating TV and internet last month got my butt to the gym 5 times a week.
  2. Pencil in your favorite activities.  You don’t have to hate the method of working out.  Think about things you love:  volleyball, martial arts, tennis.
  3. Work your way into the gym.  This tip stressed the importance of including weight bearing exercises (strength training or high impact aerobic activities like running or kickboxing) because we women need to preserve our bone density!  Plus it helps you burn more fat when you have some muscle.

I LOVED this inset that brought up common excuses for not working out, and what to do about them.

nix excuses

My Take on Day 4

When it comes to working out, there are a million excuses to not do it.  There are also a million reasons TO do it, so try to focus on those positive effects instead.  Also, you need to find what works for you!  Personally, I cannot commit to DVDs.  It’s way too easy for me to just quit in the middle.  I love going to the gym, though, and being around a bunch of people.  It also gives me the opportunity to try things that I wouldn’t normally try, like a new group exercise class.

Of course, there is also that fact that a gym with childcare is a guarantee that you won’t have a toddler hanging on your leg while you sweat it out to Insanity.

Find what works.  Then do it.

 

 

Body Makeover Day 3: Cut Calories

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Cut Calories…WITHOUT Going Hungry.

Isn’t that the million dollar question?  People want to eat healthy but nobody wants to have your stomach growling all day!  So how do you accomplish that?

Here’s the magazine’s take:

  1. Know your calories. A calorie is a measurement of energy.  It is not to be feared or hated.  They are necessary to fuel the body.  ”Demonizing calories is like bad-mouthing oxygen:  it’s impossible to survive very long without either one.”  As far as maintaining or losing weight, there is nothing bad or magical about calories.  It’s a simple equation:  calories in (food) versus calories out (physical activity).  Only FOUR components of food supply calories – carbs and protein have 4 per gram; alcohol, 7 per gram; and fat, 9 per gram.
  2. Do the math.  Figure out how many calories you can eat and still drop pounds.  There are a lot of equations out there, just try googling it, but if you want an estimate, multiply your current weight (or goal weight) by 12.
  3. Leave room for splurges.  Nobody wants to feel deprived.  Eat foods that are low calorie but filling on days when you want a little more diet wiggle room.

They also suggest some simple calorie swaps/tweaks that can really save calories.

  • Eat three dark chocolate kisses instead of a candy bar
  • Pass on the dinner roll
  • Small french fries instead of medium
  • Hold the cheese on your sandwich
  • Snack on fruit instead of a smoothie
  • One tablespoon of peanut butter on toast instead of two

My Take on Day 3

I personally found the multiply your weight by 12 equation to be a little lacking, but I know they aren’t accounting for exercise.  My Fitness Pal seems like a great app to track calories and exercise.  I personally am not counting calories, for two reasons.  One, I am not trying to lose weight.  My goal is to change my ratio of body fat to muscle, but not really lose weight.  I’d even be okay with gaining if it means I’m getting more muscular.  And two, in the past when I’ve been counting calories, it leads me to a little bit of an obsession.  Blame it on the type-A personality, but all I start thinking about it how many calories I’m taking in and adding them all up.  Not going to do that this time.  I do, however, think that if you have a good amount of weight that you want to lose, counting calories to an extent can be extremely beneficial.

Here are my own methods/tricks to not eating too many calories, but not starving either:

  1. Eat more frequently, think 5 small meals or 3 meals with two snacks.  Keeps your metabolism going.
  2. Include carbs, protein and a little fat in each “meal.”  Without the carbs you will lack energy, and the protein and fat help you feel more full.
  3. FIBER.  It slows digestion and helps you feel more full.  When choosing carbs for your meals, go with 100% whole wheat, or fresh fruit/veggies.
  4. Swap non fat greek yogurt for sour cream.  They taste so similar you won’t even notice, plus you are adding protein to the meal.  Bonus!

There you have it!  On to Day 4: Get Off the Couch!

 

 

photo credit: klestaaaaaa via photopin cc

Body Makeover Day 2: Start a Journal

Research shows that the number one weight loss tool is a food journal.  The benefits, in my opinion, go beyond weight loss.  By tracking what and when you eat, you can find patterns that influence your energy level, allergies or even mood.  Here are some tips from the magazine when it comes to keeping a record of what you eat:

  1. Track the details.  What you ate, how much, what time, hunger level (on a scale of 1-5) and emotional state.  Make the entries immediately and be honest!  Your body keeps an accurate journal regardless of what you right down.
  2. Stick with it for 21 days.  A week is just a small snapshot of your eating habits.  Sticking with it long term will help most and keep you accountable.
  3. Review it regularly.  At the end of each week, sit down and look over your eating habits.  When are you consuming the majority of your calories?  Do you eat worse when you are stressed?  Are poor choices early in the day impacting your eating throughout the day?  Resolve to change the negative patterns you notice.

Check out this example.

food journal

Problem #1:  Skipping (or rushing) breakfast.  This sets you up to eat MORE throughout the rest of the day.  Sit down and eat a good meal.

Problem #2:  11 am Mindless noshing.  One of the top reasons for overeating.  It may not seem like a lot, but calories add up.

Problem #3:  Not taking a break at mealtime.  Eat your food distraction-free to keep from consuming more calories.

Problem #4:  Waiting too long between bites.  If your hunger level exceeds a 3, consider adding in more nutritious snacks to you day.  Not eating frequently enough slows your metabolism and lowers your blood sugar.  That can lead to the desire to consume junk.  Been there.  Done that.

Problem #5  Drink before dinner.  Beware of alcohol’s ability to lower your inhibition and lead to overeating.

 

My Take on Day 2

I love the idea of a food journal and can totally see the benefit.  I am NOT, however, good at writing stuff down on the go.  If you are in the same boat, consider some amazing apps out there that allow you to just snap a photo of your food and keep a diary of what you eat!  Here is a great one:

MealLogger – Love this one!  All you do is take a picture, write a few notes and voila!  You can also connect with others and stay accountable.  I’ve created a group called 21 Day Experiment.  If you download the free app, you just search for that group.  You can choose to follow it or join it.  Sounds fun!

There are options to track calories, carbs, protein, working out, etc.  You can make it as simple or complex as you want.  I plan on going back at the end of each day and making a note of how the day went, similar to this:

food diary app

You can even have a pro weigh in on your eating choices.  Don’t know if I’m ready for that yet!

Good luck on your journaling today!  Tomorrow:  Cut Calories (WITHOUT Going Hungry)

 

 

 

Body Makeover Day 1: Get Your Head in the Game

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Today is all about doing the prep work to get in the right mind-set to truly change your body.  Take a few minutes to consider the following:

  • What is your motivation? Be honest.  Dig deep and think about why you want to change your body…and use it to your advantage!  If it’s fitting into a smaller size, embrace it!  Post a picture of an outfit you’d love to wear or keep a pair of jeans that you want to fit into someplace where you can see them.  If you want to reduce your risk of disease, put pictures of your family, friends, and loved ones on your fridge as a reminder.
  • No Emotional Eating Allowed!  We all do it:  Soothe a wounded soul with our favorite foods.  Bad day?  Ice cream please!  Awesome day?  Let’s celebrate with some cheesecake/favorite dish/wine/name your poison.  Eating foods we love brings pleasure and can boost our moods for a moment.  But it can also create some BAD habits that lead to weight gain or have a negative impact on our health.  To prepare for those times when you might be prone to emotional eating, come up with a non-food outlet to help you cope with stress (taking a walk, calling a friend, prayer, pedicure, etc.)
  • Benefit from your mistakes.  Think about the times you have tried and failed in the past.  Pinpoint what caused the downfall.  Did you plan to workout in the morning, only to find yourself hitting the snooze instead?  Pick a different time in the day to work out!  ”Unless something has changed, failed strategies won’t work this time around either.”
  • Prepare your environment.  Don’t keep food around that you don’t want to be eating.  If it’s not in the house, and you have to actually get in the car to go get it, there is a lot less chance of you eating junk.  DO keep healthy alternatives readily available (think fruit in a bowl on the counter).

My Take on Day 1

I really liked the idea of thinking honestly about my motivation.  There was a time in my life when my motivation was strictly appearance.  And I usually had some picture perfect, Victoria’s Secret model as my goal body.  The problem with that, for me, was I focused so much on trying to attain someone else’s body, that I wasn’t really appreciating what I had. Also, physical changes can be the last effects you notice, preceded by more energy, strength, confidence.  Because the change I was looking for didn’t happen “fast enough,”  my motivation to keep working hard waned and I looked for some other quick fix possibility. (And let me tell you, quick fixes are EVERYWHERE)

Now, after birthing two kids, my body image has changed quite a bit.  I don’t obsess so much about perfection, but look to what my body has accomplished.  I grew two beautiful boys, and get to witness that miracle every single day as I watch them continue to grow.  With this new body awareness though, I have realized how weak my little frame is.  I mean, being pregnant for pretty much two years (or so it seemed) meant a lot of inactivity.  My muscles are nonexistent, which has lead to more aches and pains in my joints, very poor posture, and pants that are getting a little too snug.

After much thought, the word I’m focusing on as my motivation is CAPABLE.  I’ve always been small framed, which many people, including myself, attributed to weakness.  I was never athletic or very coordinated.  I can’t do a push-up to save my life (at least not the “real” kind).  BUT, as I workout and become strong, I begin to break down those labels that I’ve attached to myself.  Things that seemed impossible for me to do now are in the realm of possibility.  And each time I do something that I didn’t think I could do before, I reshape my identity.  I begin believing a little more that I can do so much more than I allow myself to believe.  I begin grasping the fact that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, for a PURPOSE.  I begin to think of my body as a tool to do those good works that were planned for me long ago, and I want that body to be STRONG and CAPABLE.

I’ve created a Motivation Pinterest board (see here) to visually capture the things that truly motivate me.  Things like mastering a crazy difficult yoga pose, or completing a half-marathon with a smile on my face (instead of that pre-puke grimace).  I also love positive quotes that remind me of my goals and push me to try harder.

What is it that motivates you to work out and get in awesome shape?  Be honest!

 

 

21 Days of a Body Makeover

21 days body makeover

It’s almost time!  Each day check in at 21DayExperiment.com and see what your goal is for that particular day.  Don’t worry about Day 1 being an hour long workout or anything.  The first day is: Get Your Head in the Game.  That means it will be all about doing the prep work and making your environment weight loss friendly.  That’s my kind of start! Easing into it, ladies.  :)

Let’s do this!

(I think I’m going to end every post like that for this experiment.  Channeling my inner Jillian Michaels.  You can imagine her saying it with her toned arms and six pack if it helps.)

 

 

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