Monthly Archives: April 2009

Getting Started, Staying on Track and Seeing Results

Here are some things that I’ve learned along the way, but they are also things I also need to remind myself of as well. As I’ve said before sometimes the process of keeping the weight off, after you have lost it is as much of a challenge as losing it in the first place.

CALORIES

Calories are the fuel that keeps us going and they are so important to our bodies. Although it seems like depriving yourself of calories to the extreme will yield positive results in the weight-loss area; that is far from the truth. Calories are a critical part of the weight loss equation. You just need to know how to work with them.

So how do you determine exactly what calorie intake is right for you? Here’s a little trick I learned.

To determine your approximate caloric needs, you can easily figure out your “basal metabolic rate” or BMR. This is the number of calories your body needs to maintain its basic functions and to maintain your current weight. So if you figure out this number, then you know how to adjust your food and calorie consumption to achieve weight loss results.

Calculate your calories on a daily basis and record your weight at the end of each week. If your weight is the same as when you started, then you are at your BMR. If it is higher, then you are eating more than your BMR. This is a helpful way to assess where you are and where you want to be.

To determine your BMR just multiply your current weight by 10. So if you weigh 180 pounds, then eating 1,800 calories a day would be your BMR. If you want to maintain that 180 pounds, keep your calories at that same level. If not, adjust it accordingly but reasonably.

It’s important to know however, that this simple calculation doesn’t take into account exercise or your activity level. Someone who exercises on a regular basis can consume more calories and still be at their maintenance weight. So keep that in mind when you are doing your calculation. But in general, this is a good rule of thumb—and a good place to get started.

ACCOUNTABILITY

I think it’s a great idea when you are just getting started on any kind of weight-loss regime to keep a food journal. Write down everything you eat and drink every day.

A food journal is also a great way to help you plan your meals with your allotted calories in mind.

Any deduction in calories will eventually lead to results. Don’t go overboard. And be smart about your decisions. Remember, this is your health we’re talking about. And also remember, the slower you lose the weight the better your chances of keeping it off.

But just consider this fact: 3,500 calories is equal to one pound. So if you reduce your caloric intake by as little as 250 calories a day and exercise enough to burn an additional 250 calories a day you could lose approximately one pound per week. And that’s a great reality!

Just remember, anything worth having is worth working for. And a new healthy you is certainly one of those things!

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Staying Motivated

I just received an email from a sweet lady who wanted to know my “program” (or schedule) and what keeps me motivated.

Motivation is a subject I think we all struggle with from time to time. For me, it was easy (well, not easy—but easier) to be motivated while I was on The Biggest Loser. I had constant reminders of the goal set before me. There was a big monetary prize at the end of the finish line, but more importantly there was a new life awaiting me. During that time, though the “work” was hard, the motivation was clear.

So since then I have had to adopt a similar—although modified—attitude. I still have to set goals to remain motivated and focused. They can be little. And they can be goals that are known to only me. Not too long ago I had a goal of running a local 5k marathon. And now, I am looking forward to traveling to Los Angeles in a couple of weeks for The Biggest Loser Season 7 Finale. That will be a fun time, but also a time to be reacquainted with Jillian and Bob and many of my former teammates. Now that’s motivation.

I’ve said before that my “program” or exercise regime at one time (on the show) included 4-6 or more hours of working out daily. That’s just not practical for a busy wife and mother like many of us. But I do exercise five days a week. It’s something I must do for myself. For my physical and mental health and so that I can be prepared to meet all the demands of daily living. Don’t let yourself buy the lie that you don’t have time to exercise. You may view it as a necessary evil, but believe me it is necessary.

I take the weekends off from scheduled exercise but still try to be active and do something fun with my family. And I enjoy a “high calorie” meal once a week. Not that I go crazy with it, but I know that if I can enjoy a favorite meal or a treat once a week I don’t feel deprived and it keeps me on track.

Ultimately each person has to find what works for them. But for me, this is my “program” and what keeps me motivated.


What I Learned on Spring Break

I love being a mom. I adore my kids. But our recent spring break has given me a growing appreciation for teachers. After several days of a house full of kids, my admiration for educators who manage multiple children all at once—everyday—rose to new levels.

Frankly, kids are a lot of work. But they are so fun. And I always learn something from my kids. Spring break this week opened my eyes once again.

My oldest son, Noah, is eight. And for fun we allowed him to invited a couple of his closest buddies for an overnight stay…which turned into a multiple night stay. They were having such a great time and entertained themselves very well.

But I noticed eventually that these three little boys had somehow turned into a house full of eight children. I laughed as I watched them play and interact. But I also took note of some important things I observed in them; things that we can all use a reminder of.

1. Kids really only eat when they are hungry and so should adults.
I noticed this week that the children didn’t graze all day like adults sometimes do. They are so busy playing and being active that they truly treat food as its intended purpose: FUEL. They eat so that they can fuel back up and run back outside to play.

2. Our bodies really were made to move.
Just watching these children run and jump and play was motivational to me. They played freeze tag and chase and hardly stopped to take a breath. They can’t move slowly. Everything is done at a sprint.

As I watched their energy I marveled that they probably burned more calories in one game of dodge ball, than I do in a week of workouts in the gym. But how wonderful that outside activities took precedence over being glued to the TV.

3. Nothing quenches your thirst like water.
We try not to have sugary drinks around the house. But for spring break I did get some little juice boxes and things that I thought our guests might enjoy. I was pleasantly surprised to find that when the little tribe of boys ran through the house wanting a drink that they asked for water! It really is the most refreshing beverage. When you are thirsty, its what your body craves. As adults we should all adopt that habit.

4. Nothing beats a good night’s sleep.
I was afraid after opening up our home to a group of little boys that I’d regret that decision when it came night time. I envisioned them wanting to stay up until all hours of the night and being loud and waking the baby. What I found was that because they had put in a hard day of activity when 9:00 pm rolled around they all crashed. And that sleep was essential to giving them the energy they needed to wake up the next day and do it all over again.

5. Physical activity is contagious.
I started out with a conservative number of kids in the house. But as I said soon three little boys grew to a group of eight. And I saw in them that physical activity is fun and it is contagious!

Energy is more fun to exert with a group. And there’s an accountability there too. Do you think one of those kids could have sat around and been lazy while all the others were energetically bouncing around having fun? No way. This reinforced the importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded positive influences that will encourage us to get up and get moving.

As I said, I am always learning great things or being reminded of important things from my kids. This spring break was no exception.