Several bloggers have emailed me wanting to know my “weight loss secrets,” and since this happens to be today’s topic at Kelly's Korner, I’m finally going to oblige.
Oh, and if you were one of those people who emailed me, I apologize for not getting back to you. It’s not that I was ignoring you, it’s just that I didn’t feel like I had any advice to give because there really isn’t a weight loss secret! I will tell you what worked for me though…
Get on the Scale! This seems simple enough, right? When I was gaining weight I hated to get on the scale because I didn’t want to know how fat I was. But, in order to see your progress, you have to know your starting point. My scale also calculates body fat, which is nice because as you build muscle you might occasionally gain weight. So, with the body fat scale you will be able to see that even if your weight goes up, your body fat may have gone down!
Set Reasonable Goals! My goal was to lose 30 pounds by my 30th birthday, and I set this goal on my 29th birthday, so I had a whole year to do it. Giving myself a year made it easier because there were certainly ups and downs where I gained instead of lost, but I didn’t get discouraged knowing I still had plenty of time to reach my goal.
Try on your skinny clothes. Yes, this sounds weird, but just listen. The summer before I started exercising I was cleaning out my closet and I found a pair of shorts, which definitely did not fit. I squeeeeezed myself into them, and then went over to my husband and said, "Hey Shawn, check it out! Fat girl in little shorts!" I think he threw up in his mouth, but oh well. Over the next year, I would periodically get that one pair of shorts out and try them on. It was a great way to track my progress, and by the end of last summer I put them on and they fell right off!
Exercise! If I had to give one weight loss “secret,” exercise would definitely be it! You can use a calculator like this to determine how many calories you need to burn everyday to lose or maintain your current weight. I know gym memberships are expensive, mine is $95/month (!), but you don’t need a gym to exercise. Let me guess? You don’t like to run, or it’s cold where you live so you can’t workout outside right now? That’s okay! My husband can vouch for the fact that during the winter I have been known to run up and down our stairs for exercise! I don’t just mean a couple times either. I would have my husband set a timer and I would run the stairs for 5 minutes at a time, and in between I would do jumping jacks for a minute. And, before I had hand weights, I did arm curls with soup cans!
If running your stairs and lifting soup cans might get you a stint in a mental ward, then get an exercise DVD. The absolute best DVD I have is the “Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred.”
Lift Weights. I know weights can be intimidating, especially the weight machines at the gym, but building muscle is very important in order to lose and then maintain that weight. Did you know that one pound of muscle burns an additional 35-50 calories/day? Studies have also shown that weight training increases your metabolic rate! Oh, and women, don’t worry about getting bulky from lifting weights. Why? Women do not have enough of the male hormone, testosterone, to get big muscles. Trust me, my arms are totally ripped, but you can’t really tell unless I flex. Just ask Hillary and Amber, they were practically begging me to flex my triceps last summer while we were trying on clothes at Banana Republic!
Get off your Butt! Yeah, yeah, I know…this goes along with exercise. However, I’m talking about during your regular daily activities. When I work and I’m circulating in the OR, there is lots of time to sit down during cases. But, why sit when you could stand? Standing or moving around burns more calories!
Count calories and write it down! This sounds simple too, but I bet some of you have NO idea how many calories you’ve consumed today. Ignorance is bliss, right? Once you’ve looked at the calories you might realize, Hey, maybe this is why I’m getting so fat? Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to survive on carrots sticks and celery to lose weight. If you drink pop, then change to Diet pop. That alone can cut a lot of calories since one 12 oz can of regular coke has 140 calories! You’re a chocoholic? Hello, you’re preaching to the choir! Nobody likes chocolate more than me, so stock up on these:
The Internet is your Friend. If you like to go out to eat, like me, you can usually check out the restaurant’s menu ahead of time on their website. Even if they don’t list the nutritional facts on their website, try Googling the item you want to order or the restaurant and 99% of the time you can find the nutritional information that way. Being prepared ahead of time will keep you from freaking out at the restaurant and feeling like you have to order water and lettuce. You can also use the internet to find training programs, food and exercise logs, and basically anything and everything you need to help you reach your goals.
Try something new. After you’ve been working out for a long time you will probably get bored. When you get bored, you might want to quit. When you quit, you get fat. End of story. So, don’t get bored! Try training for a race (start with a 5K if you’re not a runner), get a new workout DVD, or join a group fitness class. Getting bored is actually how I found spinning, which I now love!
Go to the doctor. If you’ve been working out consistently, and counting your calories and you’re still not losing weight, there could be a medical reason. Sometimes, something as simple as getting your thyroid checked can reveal the answer! When I started exercising over a year ago I literally could not lose a pound. I went to the doctor, and decided to go off all of the medicines I was taking. Almost all of them caused weight gain with long term use. I did go on different meds though, and I may or may not have stretched the truth to get on one medicine which actually has a side effect of weight loss!
Do. Not. Diet. Whenever I hear a family member, friend, or co-worker say they are going on a “diet,” I just want to scream! You don’t need a diet. You need a lifestyle change. Do not start any exercise program or diet that you can’t maintain for the rest of your life. You don’t agree with me? Ok, well how long did you keep off those 3-5 pounds you lost on the 2 week Special K Diet?
Don’t Give Up! There will definitely be weeks where you don’t lose any weight, or where you might even gain. Don’t get discouraged, and don’t beat yourself up. If I can lose weight, then you can too! I know you’re thinking, yeah right you weren’t overweight to begin with. Okay, well I wasn’t morbidly obese, I’ll give you that. Yes, it’s easier for someone who is 20 pounds overweight to work out, than it is for someone who is 100 pounds overweight. However, at my weight I had to workout twice as hard to lose weight as the morbidly obese person does.
So, there you have it (and I’m sorry it was so long)! Those are my tips on how I became a Skinny Bitch. Well, actually those were just my tips on getting skinny, I’m a Bitch all on my own!