Monday, February 8, 2016

February Funk

So it's Week Six of 2016.  How are you doing with your New Year's Resolutions and / or goals?  By this week, either you are well on your way towards accomplishing them OR you're just about ready to give up, if you have not already.

Here's a little litmus test to see if what you are doing is helping you achieve your goals...

1)  Do you remember your goals?  (What did you want to accomplish this year?  Why did you want to accomplish them?)

2)  What steps have you taken to accomplish them?

3)  Have you made a sincere effort?

4)  Are you satisfied with your results?

If you are trying and you are not satisfied with the results you are seeing, then you need to reevaluate.  Either your expectations are unrealistic or your strategy needs a new approach.

Unrealistic Expectations

If you want to lose 80 lbs. this year and you are not satisfied because you've only lost 10 lbs. so far, your expectations are too high.  This isn't a TV show you're living.  If you don't want to gain all the weight back, then 10 lbs. is a fantastic way to start.  You should be happy with those results.

A New Approach

Look at what you're doing to accomplish your goals.  Are you trying?  Is your effort truly genuine?  Maybe you need to come at this a different way.  Most of my friends who started this year trying to lose weight are doing things their own way.  They say things to me like, "Tracey, I just can't count calories like you do"  or  "I can't do meal prep like you do.  I just can't" and "I don't like to work out like you do.  I can't go to the gym every day."

So first think about your nutrition...

Food / Meal prep is a successful strategy for me.  What is far more important than food prep is meal planning.  It's not necessary to fix all my meals on Sundays for the following week.  But I do need to know on Sunday what the game plan is for dinner for the week and I do need to make sure I have enough items on hand for breakfast, lunch and snacks.   Planning is the most critical aspect of my nutrition.

Every night I make my breakfast and lunch for the next day and plan my snacks.  That's meal prep for me!
So, if you can't deal with food prep, just think through your meals for the week.  What will you have for dinner Sunday - Thursday?  Friday and Saturday are easy because you can have left overs or deal with those meals when you go grocery shopping.  This week, it's Taco Salad on Sunday, Italian on Monday and Wednesday, Tuesday will be chicken breasts with lentils and vegetables, Thursday will be a Rotisserie chicken from Costco with roasted sweet potatoes and vegetables.  BAM.  Done.  It's that easy.

Counting calories works for me.  I have seen the results.  But most people have a misguided notion of what I mean by counting calories.  I don't use a pen and paper to count my calories.  It takes minimal effort for me.  I scan the bar codes of the food I eat into MyFitnessPal and I add foods that have no bar code (meat and produce).  Because most of the food I eat is the same, I can just tell the app that I ate the same thing yesterday or click on the most recent food items.  It's very easy and takes the maximum of one minute for each meal.

But if you aren't ready for that yet, review my posts on nutrition.  Learning about the foods you eat and how they affect you will help you with your program.  (The links are at the bottom of this page.)

If you do nothing else, make sure to significantly increase your protein and try to cut down as much as you can on simple carbohydrates, especially things like pasta, white breads and sweets.  Eat lots of vegetables.  You can substitute zucchini or spaghetti squash for pasta.  Choose whole grain bread instead of white.

Have a sweet tooth?  Eat fruit instead of cookies and cake.  Buy some Skinny Cow ice creams to get you through the ice cream cravings.

If you are hungry between meals, have healthy snack options available such as fresh fruit, almonds, Greek yogurt, carrot and celery sticks.

Practice portion control.

Drink LOTS of water.

There are not shortcuts or quick fixes.  Sudden and rapid weight loss at the beginning of a diet is typical.  But if you have more than 25 lbs. to lose, it is easy to be discouraged after the first 10 lbs. come off.  Don't give up.  Just step back and reevaluate.

Next, re-examine your workout routine...

It was just about this time two years ago when I realized what I was doing was not working and I needed to change things up.  I would go into the gym a couple times a week and use the cardio machines for 30 minutes.  I hated that.  I did.  The pain in my knee kept me from doing anything else for fear of further injury.  This is when I got a personal trainer.  Having a trainer is an expensive commitment, and I understand that not everyone is able to do that.
I look kind of mad when I'm at the gym.  But seriously, this is my happy.  I'm in the zone.  I love to workout!
I will tell you, this.  I did NOT lose weight by using the cardio machines for 30 minutes every day.  I do NOT go to the gym for an hour every day to run on the treadmill, kill myself on the Stair Master or be bored on the elliptical.  In fact, I hate those machines and stay away from them at just about all costs.  That's right.  I hate the elliptical machine and I'm not afraid to say it.

Dare to do things differently.  

Take some aerobics classes.  Try yoga.  Do interval training.  LIFT WEIGHTS. 
I FINALLY can bench 100 lbs.  I can only do about 1 - 2 reps, but I can do it!!!  That's progress!!!  Dmitriy won't let me do them alone anymore though, so I have to have a spotter when I do them.  He doesn't want me to kill myself getting caught under the bar.  Okay, safety first!!!
Many women have the misconception that they won't lose weight if they lift weights and that if they do, they will look like a man.  There's also the belief by most overweight people that they need to lose weight FIRST before they lift weights or they will have muscles under their fat.  I'm not even sure what that means.  This kind of thinking is completely irrational.  If you're like I was two years ago and don't know how to do anything besides cardio, ask one of the fitness professionals at your local health club for a free assessment.  Usually they will give you some tips on how to get started.  Visit my favorite website, BodyBuilding.com and check out their beginner workouts.  This one has a a lengthy list of exercises, which would probably cover two days of working out:  Best Beginner Weight-Training Guide.  They have multiple beginner workout suggestions with instructional videos and tips on how to do each exercise correctly and mistakes to avoid.
I've been working on core strengthening lately.  Core strengthening helps to improve my endurance and my performance on other lifts.
If you are in a funk, it's time to dig your heels in and refuse to give up.  This is the test to see if your resolution for 2016 is going to fail like every other resolution or if it will become a lifestyle change.  What will it be?

Read my post, "Getting Started" for some real inspiration on sticking with it!

Here are links to my posts on nutrition.  They are worth a second (or first) view if you need some suggestions on how to lose weight and keep it off.

Carbs:  The first post about carbohydrates.  What are they and why do we need them?

Carbs 2:  The second post about carbohydrates.   What are good carbs?  What's better? And what's best eaten sparingly?  And WHY are they such a struggle?

Nutrition Hot Topic:  Is it bad?:  Thinking about food choices.  What's good?  What's not?

Fabulous Fiber:  A brief discussion about the benefits of a high fiber diet.

Successful Secrets:  Two simple strategies I practice every day which helped me to lose weight and to now keep it off.

Successful Secrets: Part Two:  How planning my week's meals helps me to stay on track.  Menu and recipe ideas.

Nutrition 101, I talk about meal prep and provided you with several recipes and meal suggestions to get you started.  Check it out!

Flexible Dieting Basics:  A basic explanation of flexible dieting...how tracking calories and macronutrients has been the most successful way for me to lose weight and keep it off.

Tracking Calories with MFP:  Some features of MyFitnessPal (MFP) explained.  This post has some tricks of the trade.

Foods to Try:  These are foods I try to always keep on hand and a couple recipes too.

Cravings:  Some tips on how to stave off and handle cravings when they hit.  

Wonder Woman:  I explain how I got the nickname "Wonder Woman" by tracking all my calories and macronutrients.  I give a brief explanation of macros here.

A Calorie is Not a Calorie:  This post talks about the different effect foods have on you.


Questions for you:
(Answer in the comment section below.)

Did you watch the Superbowl?  Did your team win?
What's one thing you are going to do differently this week to accomplish your goals?

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