Saturday, July 30, 2011

10 Tips to Help You or a Loved One Loose Weight. (The Stuff You Pay a Trainer For!)

 All this talk about our obese children has been driving me nuts lately. So, here's the deal, for one post and one post only, I'm going to talk about it. As a Blue Collar household lets face it, means we're at the bottom end of the money spectrum and it's so much cheaper to go to the store and buy a couple of Totino's pizza for 99 cents and feed four kids, then it is to buy spinach, pasta, pasta sauce, and some ground turkey. Not to mention that there is always a taste issue with healthier foods. Some people will even say that they are eating pretty good and still their family is big! Well, I'm going to address some of these issues right now. So, bear with me.

Alright, as a self confessed “Fatty” you would assume that I know the least bit of information on food and how it works for your body. As a farm girl from the Midwest, you would think that I would always spout love of a good steak, potatoes and we can't forget good old corn. (I'm a Cornhusker, so corn has to be mentioned!)

All that aside what most of you don't know, well most of my friends don't even know was that I used to big into training. I haven't done it about 2 years now but, at one point the gym trainer wanted me to get into personal training, even though I wasn't near a size 6 yet. I had considered it too. Life took over and I just never got back into it. Now 2+ years and a LOT of stress and excuses later, I'm the biggest I've ever been in my entire life. In the last two months though, I've dropped a CRAZY amount of weight. Not by some fancy new exercise craze or some terribly extreme diet but, by some of the simple information I'm going to pass on to you.

I get to sound all preachy now but, weight should come off from two things, your food choices and good old honest exercise. I know, I hate that as much as you do, in fact I would've rather spent hours at the gym doing 100+ lbs leg extensions than do 20 minutes of cardio but, unfortunately that's not quite how it works. :)

1) Here are some things that are important to remember when you're considering a new lifestyle change, like diet and exercise. One, it doesn't matter if you're 400lbs or more, you have more muscle in your body than a “Skinny” person does! It's true, and you've used every bit of it too. Second thing, the more muscle you have, the more you can burn off during any exertion. That doesn't mean though that you should start weight lifting right out of the gate! It means that you need a balance of sweat and muscle to do any real changes to your body.

2)  I know we all can't afford organic or even healthier foods but, there are ways around this. One, is to splurge a little and take a really good multivitamin, and multimineral. In this day and age, we all get around the vitamin aisle but, we forget about minerals. Those are just as important to your body as anything else.

3) If you can't afford to go to a Whole Foods, then shop the outside edge of your local supermarket. If you think of your supermarket, it's usually fruits and veggies, protein (meat), and dairy. These are some great staples to a healthy diet that will yield results if you can stick with it. If you must shop in the aisles, it is usually healthier to shop the top of the shelves or the bottom! Don't believe me? Go look in your cereal aisle for example, most (not all) cereals on the top shelf are healthier than those eye level! Next time you walk around, take a look, you'll start to see it!

4) Probably the most important to getting healthier is to monitor what you eat. I don't mean making a mental note either. I mean a food diary. You don't have to share it with anyone, just keep it for yourself. It is incredible what you will see when you mark down everything you've eaten or drank. It can be enough to change your entire way of eating alone! My Trainer Bob, has one online as well as some great resources and support online as well as his free workouts every day or so.

5) I think for those of us who are severely overweight or obese, this is the key in and of itself. DON'T EVER use the word “diet”. If you want to change and keep the change, you must look at it as a lifestyle. It doesn't mean you can't ever have those mashed potatoes, it simply means that when you're ready, you can have ¼ – ½ cp of those potatoes. Seems insane now but, trust me, it will be no big whoop later on!

6) Get familiar with your products and their alternatives. What I mean by this is, for example, one of my fav “fast meals” before was Healthy Choice TV Dinners. As a mother of two on the go boys, this was a perfect set up so that I wouldn't be tempted to eat that candy bar left over from Halloween in the back of the cabinet! Healthy Choice has a wide selection but, here's the kicker that I had never really noticed before, there are two sizes. One large and one small. We never really pay attention to this when shopping, we just grab. Start grabbing the small ones and make sure to start paying attention to the sodium, the fat, the protein, fiber and sugar in each meal. Obviously the main thing is calories. That old saying calories in has to be less than calories out to loose weight is true. Yet, if you keep an eye on the things like sodium, protein, etc. you can ensure that the calories you do get are good calories.
Another good example, pop tarts. Did you know that two of the “whole grain” brown sugar and cinnamon pop tarts has 400 calories?!?! Who would have ever thought something so little could have so much in them? My advice, on your day off, prepare all your meals for the week. If it's already there and just needs to be pulled out and reheated. You are more likely to stay on track. 
P.S. Don't drastically cut your calories either! Your body will go into starvation mode and will actually hold onto your weight. Never eat less than about 1500 calories a day if you are not extremely active. If you are extremely active you may actually need to eat more calories! So, just keep that in mind when you are pondering calories.

7) Get educated. I'm sure you're shaking your head, unsure what I mean but, start buying books on food. For example, The End of Overeating – Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David A Kessler, MD or Mindless Eating – Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink., Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. All very eye opening books. Not willing to go that radical? Then even go out and by those Eat This Not That books! In the backs of those books, he even gives you recipes for a better, healthier food. Read anything that gets you thinking and you might just learn that the reason that you or someone else you care for is so big, it really can be out of their control. They have to know to do something about it.

8) Lead by example. If you're eating an open bag of chips for breakfast, your children will eventually mimic this behavior. So, alright we're not all into brussel sprouts, I confess I'm a hit and miss kind of girl with them myself. That's alright, find the veggies you truly love and make sure that your kids see you eating them at least once or twice a day. Work your way up to 3 – 5 times.

9) Here comes the silly advice. :) Not all of us are blessed to be able to afford gyms or time for the gym and truth is a lot of America is so out of shape we'd almost kill ourselves in a gym. I say out of shape by the way because it is quite possible to be overweight and in better shape than a skinnier cousin, sister or neighbor! Anyway, ready for the silly, get up and move. Now, this is a duh statement but, I meant start small and while doing other tasks around the house. Remember the Buns of Steel lady always talking about doing bum squeezes while sitting down? It's kind of the same thing. Waiting that 30-40 seconds for that thing in the microwave? Do push ups off of the wall. Doing dishes by hand burns more calories than the dishwasher! Lol So, do dishes and push up and down on the balls of your feet to work your calves. If dishes is just not going to happen, then when you load and unload the dishwasher, do squats on the way down and work the calves on the way up. Sitting at your desk do leg extensions if you've got the room. Vary the space between your legs, whether or not you point your toes, how high, how long you lift them, etc. My favorite thing to do, pick up your toddler or wee one (if they let you) and dance around the room! It doesn't have to be something fast either, even a slow dance. Picking up that extra weight and giving it a go will remind you of what you don't want to put on!

10) Lastly, a kind of secret to the movement thing I mention above. If you truly want to challenge your body or have hit a plateau it's most likely because of one thing. Your body has caught on. Your body is an extremely smart piece of machinery, it knows what you expect from it and will eventually plateau out. Your job then is to keep it on it's toes. By this I mean after 3 weeks or 3 months of doing the same workout video or training sequence, your body quits building new muscle, it adjusts to only needing so many calories and will begin to just sit there. So, the best piece of advice that I ever got, was to keep changing your routine. Keep your body confused as to what you're doing. Trust me, MMA training is HARD and the only way you get in shape is to keep pushing your body. Each workout still hurts, there is no getting used to a workout. You are pushed to your limits each time. If you ever look at those athletes, and yes they are athletes, they are the real deal. This is how they do it.

These are the simple tricks that my trainer taught me, that when I was actively training and working on some MMA moves I learned and they worked too! Now, having imparted some of the vast amounts of fitness wisdom out there. Again, I share these not from a fitness guru standpoint but, as someone who has been there fit and good and then really let myself go and working my way back up. I've lost 40+ lbs (and not of muscle) in the last two and a half months. To prove that what I say works, I am BRAVELY going to post two pics. :S One taken a couple months back and one taken just last week.  No laughing, well you may chuckle silently if you need to! :P 


I've still got about 35 more lbs before I am at what my starting training weight was and then there is working my way back down but, keep in mind, I am NOT training right now. This was done in two months without extreme dieting, with doing the 10 tips I just gave you!

Alright, I am done being all preachy now. :P Hope you can forgive me this once. I will now go back to your regularly scheduled Blue Collar Way. :) I hope for those out there that need it, this helps you in some small way.

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