Since it is the start of 2012, I have been thinking about getting healthy quite a bit. Last January, I weighed my heaviest ever as a result of lots of unhealthy eating and drinking after my father passed away. When I stepped on the scale I remember thinking that I would never be able to overcome the weight gain. But, luckily, I decided to try to get healthy and lose some weight despite my skepticism and I am soooo glad that I did. In 2011, I dropped two dress sizes and over 15 lbs, I ran my first 5K and my BMI dropped down from ‘overweight’ to ‘normal’. I actually weigh less now than I did when I was 13.
For those of you out there who are starting a weight loss journey – stick with it! Reaching a healthy goal weight is one of the most satisfying lifevestments you can do for yourself. That said, it is important to reach your goals in a healthy and sustainable way. I had a goal of losing 1 lb every two weeks – I didn’t reach that goal last year but as your body fat percentage drops, losing more weight gets more difficult.
While my regime was a mixture of both exercise and nutrition, I found that my body responded much more to nutrition changes than any amount of exercise.
5 Tips for Keeping Your Eating Healthy
1. Drink LOTS of water. This is key! I carry a re-useable water bottle with me everywhere.
2. Eat your fruits & vegetables. For those of you who aren’t used to incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet 5 times a day, start by setting smaller goals. Last January I had a goal of two servings of fruits and vegetables a day, then in February I upped this to three servings and in March, four servings per day. This may sound slow but it gave me time to plan and adjust to my new lifestyle.
3. Make sure you eat lean protein. I find that the more protein I incorporate into my diet, the better I feel. Lean cuts of protein and seafood are all healthy sources of protein that you should incorporate into every meal. If you are a vegetarian incorporate lots of legumes and soy into your diet.
4. Drink tea. I have an enormous sweet tooth… or I did until last year. If you have one too, the best practice I found was to pause before grabbing a sweet and instead drink a cup of tea. If I still wanted the sweet after the tea, then I ate it but often I found that the tea filled me up and I no longer wanted that piece of chocolate.
5. Experiment. Healthy websites everywhere tell you to eat a large breakfast. While I agree with eating breakfast everyday, I often consume most of my daily calories at dinner when we go out with friends so I had to adjust this advice. I find if I have a small-ish breakfast and lunch, it helps me off-set the slightly unhealthy but realistic habit I have of going out for dinner or snacking after work. So my advice: experiment with what works for you and your lifestyle. I did everything healthy websites told me to do such as eat five meals a day, eat a big breakfast, etc but once I found what worked for me, the weight came off much easier.
The AeroPilates Home Studio Rebounder
But that said, nutrition is only half the battle. Losing weight will happen faster and show more if you tone and exercise your body properly. When I was young, I was extremely inflexible – though I was in gymnastics for three years, I was never able to do the splits. As I got older, my breast grew in and my posture started to worsen. Last January I decided that a good exercise regime for me would be to work on increasing my core strength (with additional leg and arm workouts) so I did some research and discovered pilates. Pilates is extremely useful for increasing core strength and also helps with flexibility and all-over toning. My mother had purchased an Aeropilates rebounder on QVC a few months earlier so I decided to give it a try. After one workout I was completely hooked! You can get a full-body workout with the potential to up the resistance with the tension cords. After using this machine a month, I was able to touch my toes for the first time in over a decade and I started to see some ab definition. A plus: the workouts are about stretching and resistance so I hardly even sweat but still get a killer workout.
Currently QVC has the 4-cord home studio pilates rebounder priced on clearance at $333.36 but the great thing about QVC is that they offer easy-pay and you can get the rebounder for 4-payment installations of $84.34. It sounds like a lot, but it’s less than the annual price of most gyms (at least here in Chicago) and mine has lasted through countless uses. My mom’s has lasted over two years now without any problems too.
The videos that come with the AeroPilates are good but are taped with a weird pace. What I do is watch the workouts until I have them memorized and now I can do my full workout at my own pace (with higher resistance) without the videos. The nice thing is that AeroPilates makes several levels of tapes so once you have worked through the Level 1 workout enough, you can buy Level 2 and Level 3 DVDs which change-up the workout and increase the intensity.
What are your tips and tricks for getting healthy in the new year?