6 Down to Earth tips on dieting, weight loss, and fitness

I’ve spent a lot of time learning about weight loss. It’s been a long journey, but I’m almost to my goal. I’d love to share some tips with my readers, because a lot of it is really awesome information that I’ve picked up along the way. Let me share a little bit about my history.

I’ve never been “thin”. In fact, for a long time I thought that I was fat. But looking back on the body I had in high school made me realize, I was NEVER fat! The highest my weight ever got in high school was the 160’s, and even then, I was only a little chubby.

When I graduated, I was 130lbs. Over the next couples years I put on a few pounds here and there, and ended up being 155 when I got married at the age of 20. Most of it had to do with being on my own and eating WAY too much fast food. After having my daughter, I was 170 lbs. My weight never budged, but I really never tried to lose it. About a year after having Emma, I got pregnant with Charlie. After giving birth to Charlie, I was a terrifying 185 lbs (212 the day I gave birth, ouch!). At this point, I was very unhappy. When he was about 3 months old, I started dieting. Through a series of diets and light at-home exercising, I got down to 150 lbs. Yes, a YEAR. It was a long road, but I made it. I hit my goal weight of 150, and I am now sitting here, 148 lbs, typing this. For some people, 148 lbs. might be fantastic. But as a teenager, I was 130, and I would LOVE to see the 130’s again. But right now, it’s not about the weight. In fact, this month, I am not going to weigh myself. Yup. My husband just signed the two of us up with gym memberships, and I worked out this morning. Not a wimpy at-home work out, but a REAL push myself to my limits gym work out. I did all the machines, and did about a mile of cardio. It felt great. I want to share this with my readers, because I know that if I put the pressure on, I WILL not quit! Although, coming as far as I have, I just can’t see myself quitting at this point. I am finally at a healthy weight for my height and age, and I am here to get FIT! I realize that even if I manage to lose another 10 lbs by dieting alone, my arms will still be sad and limp, my thighs will still be fat, and that muffin top is going nowhere. This month, I am going to tone up. I know it will take longer than a month, but I’m prepared to work on it until I have the body I want. I realize that my weight may not budge, but I KNOW I will see results. I wish I had some before pictures so I can do a before and after sequence, but I don’t. I will still do my best to post an after picture with weight stats once I’ve completed my month of fitness. At that point, I’ll set some new goals for the following month.

So here is my compiled knowledge and advice for anyone looking to lose weight.

Also, check out my Motivation and Fitness board on Pinterest for some inspiration quotes (some of which I worked into my pep talk below).

1: Eat right! Getting fit is 80% nutrition and 20% working out. There’s a LOT that you need to learn about nutrition. Don’t jump towards the lean cuisine and the “fat free” foods. Drop the pre-packaged foods, and pick up some veggies. The less processed it is, the better it is for you. Eat as many fruits and veggies as you can, and supplement with low fat dairy products, lean meats, and very few processed items.

2: Cut the calories. This is the part that no one likes to hear. There are so many damn diet pills out there, and “diets” that claim that you can eat what you want and not go hungry. Forget it. If you want to lose weight, you’re going to be hungry. That’s all there is to it. At first it will be HARD. But once your body has gotten used to eating less food, you will too. If you gained the weight, your body needs to get a little deprived in order to start digging into those fat stores. Yes, you could eat the way you always have, and work out, but your results will be slow, and there’s a good chance you’re not going to get to your goal until you change the way you eat. Make every calorie count. Eat as many nutritious foods as possible. Don’t drink your calories, and don’t waste them on starchy or sugary foods. Find yourself a calorie calculator to see how many calories your body needs to lose weight. Play around with it.

I highly suggest calorie counting. For me, it has worked amazingly. It gives me very strict boundaries that I won’t let myself cross. If I just “try to eat healthy”, I’m going to eat healthiER, but not healthy enough to lose weight. Eating the right kinds of foods are important, but when it comes to losing fat, eating LESS calories is very important. After just a few days of calorie counting, I really figured it out. If I eat foods with less calories (such as veggies), then I can eat more, which makes me feel like I’m not starving. If I slip up and decide to eat 5 cookies, weeeelllll, I’m already over my calories and I don’t get to eat the rest of the day! Calorie counting is a great way to monitor what’s going into your body. Every time I start a new diet, I remember just how many damn calories are in food! Just keep in mind, you don’t want to cut your calories too much. Find a good balance. If your body feels too deprived, it will go into starvation mode and try to hold onto any fat it can. Instead, earn yourself more calories by putting in a good work out. On days I work out, I get 200-300 more calories than on days I don’t.

3: Watch some educational videos. Read articles online. Get informed on how your body works! I find the most encouraging thing I can do when I feel like quitting is to watch a food documentary. I’m not talking about “Supersize me”. Don’t bother yourself with scare tactics. Quite honestly, a burger and fries tasted just as nice after watching Supersize me as it did before. I’m talking Forks Over Knives or Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. These were two very inspiration and educational documentaries! They had tons of information on what happens to your body when you eat fatty and processed foods, and how fruits and veggies can repair the damage. Both documentaries gave awesome information on nutrition and an improved food pyramid to follow. Not only did it inspire me to change my diet, but it gave me some awesome information and motivation to keep eating healthy. I didn’t switch my diet to a plant based diet, but I did cut out a LOT of bad things.

4: It’s not all about the cardio. A lot of women have it in their mind that they need to burn calories to get skinny, and to do that they need cardio. Ladies, let go of what you know! Cardio is great, really, it is. But it’s not all you need. It’s better than nothing, that’s for sure, but you will PLATAUE! Running longer or more often will not necessarily get you to your goal faster. You need to build muscle! Muscle weighs more than fat, yes, but it also takes up less area on your body than fat does, which equal less bulk on your body. Don’t think of it so much as gaining muscle, but more as replacing fat with muscles. Not only that, but once you have some muscle on your body, you will burn MORE calories! Yes, even on the days you’re not working out. Muscle eats calories, way more calories than fat does. Muscular people can naturally eat more calories on a daily basis to maintain all that muscle on their bodies! Think of it as a metabolism boost. More muscle=more calories being burned=more calories you can eat without getting FAT again! So ladies, don’t get scared of bulking up or looking fatter, because working out and weight lifting will only tone the muscle under all that fat, and help shrink down the fat a little faster.

5: Step away from the scale. Yes, this is scary. It’s very scary. But do it! If you’re going to dedicate yourself to working out and eating right, take a few weeks off from the scale. Stop watching the numbers yoyo every day. Just leave it be. There is the possibility that when you start working out, you will gain a couple pounds. And there’s a good possibility that it will take a few weeks for it to start going back down. The number on the scale does NOT mean anything! Look at your body. Take before and after pictures. Measure your arms and legs and waist. Don’t set a weight loss number, but celebrate non-scale victories. Buy yourself a damn pair of jeans that are a size smaller than you are now, and congratulate yourself when you can fit into them.

6: Hit the gym. At home work outs and dvds work great for some people. But when it comes down to it, the gym is a GREAT place to be. Being a mom of 2 kids, I can reeeaaalllly testify to that. Have you ever tried working out with 2 kids climbing on you? Or tried to get into the Insanity dvd while listening to screeching and an odd “thump” every once in a while coming from the next room. I have to tell you, it’s hard to work up a sweat when you’re pausing the dvd to go check on your little hooligans locked in the room next door. I’ve done everything that I can at home. I’ve dieted. It got me 30 lbs. down. That’s great and all, but it took me an entire year of off and on dieting to get there. I’ve tried working out at home, but it just wasn’t doing it for me. I don’t have free weights, I don’t have equipment. All I have is push ups, lunges, and crunches. Do you know how easy it is to plateau that way? Once your body gets used to 80 lunges, you have to up it to 100. 100 crunches? No problem, up it to 120. But at some point, you start to realize that the 20 minutes it took you to work out when you started has turned into 30, and now you’re not really sure if your kids are even still alive in the next room. Did the older one strangle the younger one? Or maybe the younger one pooped and took off his diaper, and now they’re playing in it. Or is it just me that this happens to??? I recently got a membership to the gym, and I am PSYCHED! I finally have a place where I can work out, KID FREE, for an hour or two. It sucks that I need to set my alarm for 6 am so I can sneak out before the little devils are awake, but I find it MUCH easier to work out in the morning before I’ve had the chance to talk myself out of it, rather than dread it all day long. I also find it easier to work out on an empty stomach, than to make the mistake of eating fried chicken for dinner and have to sneak out afterward and work it off. I understand the strife of not having a gym to go to, in fact, this one JUST opened up this week. I would have started going a lot sooner, had I had a gym available. So for the last year, at home work outs were all I really had available. But if you do have a gym on hand, GO! Some have day care, some don’t. The gym we started at is the Snap Fitness. It is awwweeessoooommme. The equipment is amazing, the set up is great. It’s 24/7, and you get a little badge to swipe by the door to unlock it. It’s like being in an elite club where only YOU have the key. I don’t know if other Snap Fitness centers are as nice as this one, but I much prefer it over the YMCA. Yeah, it’s missing the day care, but it’s almost worth it to have such a grown up setting. The YMCA back where we used to live was always full of kids and teenagers who weren’t very serious about fitness. Here you come, you work out, listen to your ipod and headphones, and then you leave. And if you go late at night or early in the morning, no one is there (not even at the desk)! You let yourself in, work out in peace, and no one is there to laugh at your muffin top.

There is no magic cure for being fat. Unless you’re going to get liposuction and a tummy tuck, that is. It’s a lot of hard work and will power. Stop making excuses, and start making some changes. Don’t worry so much about loosing weight, but worry more about eating healthy and working out.


2 thoughts on “6 Down to Earth tips on dieting, weight loss, and fitness

  1. Great tips. Though I’d like to point out that it’s recommended not to work out on an empty stomach. I don’t mean after a huge meal. But it’s a good idea to snack on a bit of fruit like an apple or something while you’re getting ready for the gym. It gives you a little energy boost and keeps you willing to work for longer. I have found that out myself.

    Also don’t kill yourself while working out. Especially if you have the time. A steady pace will burn just as much calories (or build as much muscle) as killing yourself over it. Recently my friends and I went to the gym. I went a steady and comfortable pace. Got a good sweat and burnt come cals. But I had plenty of energy left over and could have stayed double the time if I hadn’t gotten bored/we had to leave. My friends pushed as hard and fast as they could on the same equipment. They burnt no more then me and were exhausted afterwards so wouldn’t have been able to continue even if we had the time.

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