Saturday, March 3, 2012

Losing Weight, Feeling Great: Five Things You Can Do

This is the 2nd article in my weight loss series 
to read the 1st one, follow this link.

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Because I’m not a negative person by nature & would rather seek out the positive in life; I chose to keep my focus on what I can do instead of what I cannot.
 
About a year ago, I started making some changes in my life in order to feel better & in all honesty I was hoping to see smaller numbers when I stepped on the scale. Some of my motivations for wanting to lose weight were:
      • To rid myself of back pain 
      • To be able to jump, run, & play with my kids
      • To hike the Long Trail with my honey
      • To feel better in general
 
In order to accomplish my weight loss goals, I created the following task list...

1)  Take an inventory of your pantry – Donate anything and everything that is going to hold you back, keep you down, or knock you out. Send it to your local food bank, church or a neighbor in need.
I took inventory of my pantry and refrigerator and the results were frightful; boxes of sugary cereals, cookies/crackers, a myriad of carbs, and prepared meals high in preservatives. The list just went on from there and only got worse. It was no wonder I was still hanging onto the weight I had gained with the pregnancy of our 6th baby.
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2)  Plan your meals ahead of time – It will help keep you from making unhealthy food choices on a whim; and the bonus is, you will save money, because it cost less to cook your own food, than to buy prepared meals, grabbing food at the gas station, or dining out.
Are you Meal Planning Yet?I invested in a life-time subscription to Menu Planning Central from Christine Steendahl at TheMenuMom.com. It took me awhile to get used to the website; but once I got into the swing of things, I began to save time and money with Christine’s easy to print recipes, menu planning tools, and grocery shopping lists. Christine also has available a selection of e-books to assist the gourmet-challenged. After having used her site for just a couple months and perusing through some of her e-books, my initial investment had paid for itself in the savings we recouped in our monthly grocery budget.

3)  Keep a stash of healthy snacks available in your pantry, your purse/diaper bag, your work desk, and on the go. 

  • I like to purchase a large bag of raw almonds and portion them out in sandwich baggies for an easy to grab snack on the go; walnuts are great too.
  • Cottage cheese is a good protein booster to keep handy and full of energy. It is less expensive to purchase the quart size containers and portion out in single servings to have ready to grab when a craving hits. For those with a sweet-tooth, you can add fresh or frozen fruit.
  • I have also ventured into making my own granola (which can have any number of dried fruit and nuts added to it) and yogurt. In the words of Rachael Ray, “Yummo”.
4)  Begin a workout regimen – If you’re just not sure where to start, go to your local gym and ask to speak to a personal trainer. See how much it would cost to just have one session in which they can do a basic assessment and help you to form a weekly workout routine that you can do at home.

In this arena, I did a few things: I contacted local trainer, Liza Rooney and asked her to do a fitness assessment on me and I began attending her Pilates classes. After having enjoyed Pilates for about 6 months, I was eager to try more of Liza’s classes. So I built up the nerve to go to her Body Pump class. Almost instantly, I began seeing a difference in how my clothes fit and my stature.

She really is an amazing trainer and knowledgeable in weight loss and nutrition; I highly recommend her to anyone in the northern Vermont area.

5)  Stay hydrated – Carry with you a reusable bottle and continually drink and refill it with water.

This was difficult for me, because I was in the habit of going through the drive-thru to grab a soda each time I left the house.  I had to train myself to take sips from the water bottle whenever I would get those soda cravings. I found that after a couple days, it began to feel more natural and less forced. I also found that I really like the flavor of cucumber/lemon infused water. 
Place 3-4 slices each of fresh cucumber and lemon into your water bottle at night and place it in the refrigerator. It makes it easy to grab on your way out in the morning instead of a cup coffee (or after the coffee, if you haven’t broke that habit yet). 
  
When I started out on this trek last year, I began using My Fitness Pal app & linked it to my blog so youcould see my progress. I’ve made some friends on the app that help to keep me motivated as time goes on. Feel free to check my progress on the side-bar; I started out with 30 pounds to lose.

"Make the decision, then do something - no matter how small - toward accomplishing what you want."
Author Unknown

Please leave a comment below,
I'd love to hear all about your weight loss challanges and successes.

More to come…
    • Goal setting & progress tracking printouts
    • The “Can Dos” of my new healthy fitness lifestyle 
    • The Benefits of Meal Planning 

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