Monday, July 29, 2013

A Fitness Post

 Well, hi there! I should be going to bed right now, because I have a huge math test to study for tomorrow, and my huge term project due in English on Tuesday (that I just barely started yesterday.... whoopsie!). I need my beauty rest. But sometimes, I just need some alone time, you know? So, I sacrifice my sleep so I can have peace and quiet, and not listen to children asking me for something..... I guess I wouldn't hear that if I were sleeping, but it made more sense in my head. Anyway...

I have been asked by SO many people just how I have managed to lose my weight over the past year. I decided to do a post with the basic information. Now, I am not a dietician, and I am not a health or fitness expert. However, I am well-informed, and I have studied and looked into these things that I am going to talk about in this post. Basically, I lost my weight the old-fashioned way. Healthy, controlled eating (which is NOT a diet.... it is a complete lifestyle change, which means FOREVER!), and some major exercise. 

This takes discipline and time. But, I know I am worth it and after awhile, it just becomes habit and it gets easier.

The first thing I am going to talk about is food. One of my favorite quotes from a gym instructor is, "You can't out-exercise and unhealthy diet" which means no matter how much you exercise, if you are eating crappy, you will not lose weight or see results.

One of the things that worked for me was 5 small meals a day (emphasis on the small). I have a go-to list of snacks that I eat in between meals, and I make sure I have those things on hand at the beginning of each week. Some of my favorite snacks are:
-Cottage cheese with fresh tomatoes, lots of salt and pepper, and whole wheat toast w/butter
-Cucumber salad
-Chobani greek yogurt
-string cheese
-laughing cow cheese slathered onto a piece of celery
-veggies dipped in hummus
-hard-boiled eggs (I throw-away the yolk) and a grapefruit
-apples dipped in peanut butter

Notice anything? I eat a protein with a carb. It helps slow your digestion, which makes you feel full longer. It also helps keep your metabolism up throughout the day. I don't do this only at snack-time, but at all my meals.

Another thing I do is use My Fitness Pal. I am so in the habit of using it, I automatically pull my phone out while I am eating a meal, and enter my calories into it. It has helped me so much to see exactly what I am eating, and where I am messing up. I also love it, because when I am having a great food day, I can tell if I have enough calories left over to have a treat. Also, while using My Fitness Pal, it helps keep me accountable with measuring my food. I literally measured everything when I started, but now I can pretty much eyeball it. It also helps remind me to drink water. I drink 2 cups of water with every meal, and that also keeps me full. I have noticed a huge improvement with headaches and chapped lips since doing this as well. Water is amazing!

Next on the list... exercise. You guys... exercise is FABULOUS! I love the way it makes me feel. I love feeling strong and capable. I would recommend getting a heart rate monitor. It tracks your calories burned,  amount of time worked out, heart rate, average heart rate after a workout, and more. They come as complex or simple as you like. Mine is a mid-range, and it does the job just fine.
 This was my calories burned after a 2 hour bike ride

 Another thing I would tell people... it is okay to work hard. It is good for your heart, and good for your metabolism. You should try to max out (meaning push yourself to your absolute limit) once or even twice during a workout. As long as you feel okay (not lightheaded, dizzy, or blacking out), it is okay to push yourself. Your body will thank you, and you will have results.
 This is my heart rate after running up a huge hill

Some of my favorite workouts include biking, running, doing strenth-training classes (with weights) at my gym, zumba, ballet bar class at the gym, and the stairmaster. Don't be afraid of bulking up with weights. Weight-lifting is low impact and good for you. It will keep your metabolism high all day long. Women create long and lean muscles, because that is how our bodies are designed. You will not get huge and bulky like a man.

It is good to switch up your routine. Cardio every day is fine if that is what you prefer, but you will see faster results with a varied workout schedule.

Lastly, work up a sweat! Because it just makes you feel good to know you are working so hard :)
No, I did not pour water on my arm. Pure sweat from 45 minutes on the stairmaster, is what that is!

This information may seem a little overwhelming, but if you want to change your lifestyle, take one element at a time, and start incorporating it into your daily routine. Soon enough (roughly 3 weeks to a month of doing something every day), it will become a habit.

I love the way I feel. I love working out and eating healthy, and I can definitely tell a difference when I am slacking or not exercising like I should. I realize that this may seem obsessive to some people, but for me, it is what has finally worked. I have never felt better since being diagnosed with my auto-immune disease almost 5 years ago, and that alone is worth it to me. 

Good luck!


Ashlie said...

This was a great post...I needed some good healthy choices for snacks and ideas of working out now that I am trying get my body back:o) You look amazing!

Liz and Logan said...

We really should go on a bike ride together! You may want to give me a few weeks though so I don't slow you down too much! I definitely concur about the 5 small meals a day was hard for me at first but it's getting a lot easier!

Sarah said...

Oh Ashlie, you always look terrific!

Liz, yes! Let's do it soon!