Fri, Feb 18, 2003
I decided to write this article after several people encouraged me to share my experience. Last June, I decided to make a change, a change in myself. Like a lot of people, I was overweight.
There are lots of people selling systems or products that guarantee you'll lose weight. Who knows, maybe some of them even work. For most people, I don't think these are necessary. The only thing you really need is a will to change. Whether that will comes from recognizing the health problems that come with being overweight (like diabetes) or simply to look and feel better, doesn't matter.
I'm not an expert; this hasn't been reviewed by a doctor or nutritionist, so make up your own mind. During my weight loss I did see my doctor for an annual checkup and after a physical exam; and listening to what I was doing, his opinion was that it sounded fine.
First, a few self-evident facts. Your body has a set point that helps it to stay at a certain weight. The longer you are at a given weight, the harder it is to change because your body is used to it. You can make small changes in exercise and/or diet, and you may not see any changes because your body compensates. You need to 'shock' your body with large changes in exercise and diet to make a difference.
Exercise is good: it raises your metabolism, adds muscle, aids digestion and allows your body to recover more quickly from injury. Calories that you eat but don't burn will then turn to fat. Raising your metabolism means that you'll burn through more calories, maybe enough to use some of the stored fat.
Prior to starting on this new path, I exercised on a rowing machine for about 30 minutes, 3 times a week. I increased that to 40 minutes, every day, nearly tripling my base amount of exercise. I also went for bike rides, walks, etc., which are good--but the really important thing is the base exercise.
Choose any kind of exercise you like, but the key is to sweat. If you aren't sweating, you aren't really challenging your body. Sweating is good for another reason, in that it helps rid toxins from your body.
The duration of exercise is going to depend on the kind of exercise you are doing. You won't need to exercise as long if you are doing something like cross-country skiing, as compared to a gentle stroll, for example. Stop and start exercises are a bit tricky as well. Ideally, you want something that's a fairly continuous effort, and uses most of the muscles in your body.
Aerobics, rowing, jogging, skiing, jumping rope are good because they use your legs, arms, abdominals, back, etc. The more muscles you use at the same time the more strenuous it will be, and so the less time you need at it.
The next thing is to change how you eat. Not just what you eat, but when. Like a lot of people, my diet wasn't that great. I ate cookies and candy bars for snacks, had a can of pop during the day, and had snacks in the evening. When I decided to make a change in me, I made a change in my diet:
Pre-Breakfast: Half a lemon squeezed into a tall glass of water when you get up
Vitamins: 1000mg Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Garlic, Calcium, Multi-Vitamin (with breakfast)
Breakfast: Raisin Bran & Muesli cereals with strawberries
Lunch: One whole-wheat or multigrain sandwich with chicken or tuna, lettuce and an apple
Snack: Yogurt with some nuts
Dinner: Large salad with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, carrots, celery with vinegar-based dressing and skinless chicken or fish, one glass of milk
No snacks of any kind after dinner, and make sure you get a good amount of sleep. Drinking lots of water is very important, especially when you are exercising. Try to have a glass half an hour before each meal. Avoid drinking anything with your meal, it dilutes your stomach acids and makes things harder to digest. I'm the first one to say that this diet isn't perfect, but it worked for me. It is low in dairy and therefore calcium, so you'll need a calcium supplement. Take vitamins with your breakfast, it helps to break them down and be absorbed. The more good food substitutions you make every day, the better. Your body thrives on variety.
Well, the proof is in the pudding, as they say. Following the above-described exercise and diet changes, I went from 190 lbs down to 160 lbs in a little under two months. That's roughly half a pound a day. Monitor your weight closely; it's best if you weigh yourself every day when you awaken. Your weight will vary during the day by 5 or more pounds depending on what you drink, eat and when you last went to the bathroom. Some may say that this rate is too fast, but the question is "How do you feel?" If you feel good and strong then your body is telling you that it's ok.
So, you've made your changes and you've lost all the weight you want to. Now what? If you stay with the same regime you'll just keep losing weight. You need to once again change how you exercise and eat. Cut down a bit on the exercise, add healthy snacks, and eat larger portions. Adjust things until you stabilize at the weight that feels ideal for you. This will vary according to your height, build, age, etc. Once you've stabilized at your new weight for a while, it will get easier and easier to stay there.
1. Recommended by Katherine Marion
Copyright 2003 by SuperNaturalWoman.com