Posts filed under ‘getting started’
Men’s Health started an online weight-loss community called the “Belly Off! Club” back in 2002, and since then, club members have lost almost 2 million pounds. Yowsa! That’s alotta pounds!! Their book, The Belly Off! Diet, is not due out ‘til April, but MSN is giving us a preview of some of tips contained in it.
- Cut out refined grains and sugar
- Eat more protein, healthy fats, fiber-rich fruits & veggies, and whole grains
- Eat breakfast every day
- Lift weights at least three times a week.
- Do cardio workouts, especially interval training
None of these are particularly new methods for slimming down, but it never hurts to reinforce good techniques through repetition. And, because this books is written by men for men, it might reach a whole new audience that doesn’t always respond to more typical diet plans.
My lifestyle change began when I started Weight Watchers in September 2002 with a group of coworkers. But, right from the get-go, I knew I couldn’t just limit my focus to eating. I had to include exercise as well. The Weight Watchers Points System that I was following encouraged exercise and even granted additional points for the amount of exercise done, but it was never a strong emphasis.
I started exercising by working out to video tapes in the storage room at my work. I’ve chosen some unconventional routes on my journey. One of them was bringing in my own TV and VCR to the storage room at my place of employment and working out there during the day – without asking permission! I just did it. In hindsight, I probably should have asked first. In fact, if you decide to try this yourself, I’d be remiss if I didn’t advise you to ask first. There are potential worker’s compensation issues involved as well as other concerns. But, in my case, it didn’t even occur to me to ask. I figured I was bringing in my own equipment, I was doing it during my lunch hour, so what harm could there be? Ignorance truly was bliss because I just plowed ahead with what I needed to do instead of being stopped before I got started.
One of my keys to success has been exercising at a time and in a manner that works for me. At the time I began my lifestyle change, I was married to a man who was not interested in making the changes I was making. While he wasn’t outwardly discouraging, he would subtly attempt to sabotage my efforts to eat better and exercise. So, I knew if I was going to stick with it, I had to exercise during my work day, rather than at home in the morning or evening. I also knew that if I treated exercise like it was part of my job, I would be more inclined to do it regularly. After all, I wouldn’t not show up for work unless I was very sick. So, if I was there at work, I had no excuse not to show up to exercise.
Quirkiness, while often charming, can be challenging if you’re the quirky girl. When I started exercising in the storage room, I was treated a bit like a zoo animal by my coworkers. I would change my clothes and head down to the room to begin my workout. It was situated at the back of a very busy department on the first floor of the company I worked at. That meant I had to walk past all those employees in my exercise clothes with all of them knowing I was going into the storage room to work out. Some of them needed to retrieve items from the room while I was in there. They not only saw me looking less than stellar in Spandex, but they also saw me huffing and puffing through the routine. It was often embarrassing, but I refused to let that keep me from doing it.
It was also embarrassing when folks would line up outside the door and watch me work out. They didn’t need anything in the storage room; they just wanted to see the show. I joked with them that I should be charging admission. That got a good laugh, and eventually folks lost interest.
And I continued doing my quirky thing, dropping pounds and gaining muscle the whole way.
Tips for You to Get Sassy, Sexy & Shapely
- Customize the plan for you. Don’t feel you have to restrict yourself to one way of doing things. Any plan you consider, for both eating and exercise, can be modified to your tastes, interests, time constraints and more. Make it your own, and you will be able to do it forever.
- Resist peer pressure. Even well intended friends can put pressure on you to do what they’re doing. Unfortunately, what they’re doing may not be what you need or want to do. It’s okay to say “no” and follow your own path.
- Don’t be afraid of embarrassment. At first, I was embarrassed about having people watch me work out. But, I survived the gawking. Even better, the more I stuck with it and treated it like it was no big deal, the less people were interested. After just a few weeks, they moved on to other things, and I was able to focus on my goals.
My dad, on the other hand, was very strict about my eating. When my parents were married, I dreaded mealtimes, especially if spinach was involved. I absolutely hated spinach, and my dad would make me eat it even though I gagged through the entire process. Halloween was not a fun holiday for me. After trick-or-treating, my dad would take all my candy but one item that he let me choose. The rest would be thrown away. Easter wasn’t much better. My Easter Egg hunts resulted the dubious reward of colored plastic eggs filled with sugarless gum.
The dichotomy was even more pronounced when my parents divorced. I lived with my mum, so most of the time my food consumption was not extensively monitored. But, when I was with my dad, everything I ate was noted and commented on. The way I looked was also noted and commented on.
As an adult, I finally decided to accept myself the way I was and live with as much gusto as possible. I joined NAAFA, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, a fat advocacy group. It was an amazing experience. For the first time, I was with people that understood what I’d been through growing up, many of them having gone through much worse. It was also the first time I heard the term “super size“, a description for severely overweight people (morbidly obese in today’s vernacular).
The group was liberating because everyone ate with enthusiasm; no one judged you for how much you consumed or how you looked. I met my husband in that group, a “super size” guy who had suffered more than his share of discrimination based on his size.
For a time, we were a great fit. He functioned quite well early on despite his size, but as the years went by, his weight took a significant toll on his health. We tried various diets, including low-fat and low-carb regimens. We even moved across country to a warm, dry climate so that he could get out more and not be in so much pain. None of it helped. By the time we divorced, he was practically housebound and had suffered a very severe illness – in addition to his diabetes and degenerative joint disease – that lasted almost a year.
But, seeing his decline was a wake-up call for me. I started Weight Watchers and doing exercise videos in the storage room of my work in September 2002. There have been lots of twists and turns along the way, but that ultimately led me to where I am today: 114 pounds gone, down from a size 22/24 to a size 6, and able to free climb the Red Rocks of Nevada.