I have been struggling the last couple of years to lose weight. There are many factors that contribute to this struggle; I have been pregnant, I suffered the loss of a child, and stress and anxiety have been out of control as well. Recently I started a new journey to lose this pesky 30 pounds that has taken up residence in my body. I have never been interested in trying any fad diets, the science (or lack thereof) just doesn’t make sense. I have enough knowledge in the topic to know that balance is key to losing weight and keeping it off. A balance between weight training, cardiovascular exercises, and caloric intake seem to work the best. Aside from that, I needed to find out the balance that was correct for me and my goals. I used a fitness app to figure out my daily caloric intake and based on my age, weight, weight loss goals, and activity level, I am able to consume 1500 calories a day and lose weight.
I did a little research on what activity levels are good for weight loss. Experts suggest that 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (cardio), 75 minutes of vigorous activity (weight training), or a combination of both with the addition of a balanced diet (proteins, carbs, fats, and fiber) will be sufficient (Laskowski, 2016). I decided that a combination of cardio and weight training was what I needed. Not only do you get to work all the major muscle groups but it mixes up the routine so did doesn’t become monotonous.
According to the Center for Disease Control (2015), “evidence shows that people who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping that weight off.” So that is something I keep at the forefront of my thoughts, “If I want to lose weight and keep it off, I need to do it slowly.” There is also a little math involved. If a person wants to lose weight, they need to burn more calories than they take in (CDC, 2015). Here’s where the math comes in; one pound equals 3,500 calories, in order to lose one pound a week you must reduce your caloric intake by 500–1000 calories a day.
Setting goals are also an integral part of long term weight loss. Being specific about the goals you want to achieve are easier to meet versus trying to attain broad range goals (WebMD, 2014). An example of a specific goal is running two miles, twice a week, without stopping. This goal is not only specific but it is measurable. You can use a chart to track weekly progress. Which brings me to my next topic, charting progress.
In order to be successful in losing weight and keeping it off is having a visual aid that shows your progress. There are several ways to keep track of how you are doing; writing a journal, making a chart with milestones achieved, using a fitness app, or just writing notes freehand (WebMD, 2014). I have been using a fitness app on my phone to track my workout goals, water intake, and daily caloric count. It has really helped to see where I am making progress and where I need to focus on more.
Establishing a workout regimen and healthy eating habits is not only great for weight loss but it has other benefits as well. Health benefits include improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars (CDC, 2015). By improving these areas, it lowers the risks for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other preventable diseases. Losing weight also is beneficial to other areas of your daily life. For example, experts have found that people who work out on a regular basis had improvements in their energy levels, physical mobility, general mood, and self-confidence (CDC, 2015).
While I am working towards a better me, I have found there are numerous benefits to working out and eating healthier. I will live longer, reduce the risks of preventable health related diseases, and generally improve my mental wellbeing. Education is important to achieving goals. The research that I have done as given me many great recommendations on how to be successful in my weight loss journey. I now have more confidence that I will be able to lose the extra weight and keep it off.
Long-term Weight Loss: 5 Tips. (2014, October). Retrieved September 19, 2016 from www.m.webmd.com/diet/losing-weight-long-term
Laskowski, E.R., M.D. (2016, August 20). Fitness. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/exercise/faq-20057916
Losing Weight. (2015, May 15). Retrieved September 22, 2016, from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/