I want to kick into a topic that will start becoming near and dear to many people here in the month of January. Resolutions. Mainly, health based resolutions. Yes, 'tis the season to make those resolutions. "I want to lose x amount of pounds." "I want to make it to the gym x amount of times a week." "I want to be more healthy." In theory, these are great goals, but you need to actually quantitate them or they won't happen.
I would know.
My realization and resolution started in October 2011 in the form of a picture. This picture I now consider my BEFORE picture. I believe if you have any form of health/weight loss based goal, you need to have a BEFORE picture. Mine was a goofy shot taken while standing next to my brother. At the time, I didn't see my gut. It wasn't until a few months later while perusing pictures for a project when I stopped at that picture. That was all I could see. You better believe I kickstarted my health plan. Immediately.
I started WeightWatchers. It was what I needed at the time, and a great foundation to start from. A weekly weigh-in. Someone telling me what a portion truly was. And I lost weight. My family and friends took notice. It was a great feeling.
Work It OutI was working out occasionally. I could easily do half hour on the elliptical and a half hour on the stair stepper. For some reason, I decided to switch it up and attempt running. Not two minutes into it and I was incredibly winded. I love challenges, so I started running more frequently.
I was told to invest in a pair of good running shoes. Truer words have never been spoken. I went to a local shoe shop and was told that it's good to get running shoes half to a whole size bigger than my normal shoe size. I invested in a pair of Asics Gel-Kayano shoes (http://www.asicsamerica.com/footwear/running-shoes/gel-kayano-19-t350n-womens/).
They were around $130, but, my feet/back/legs don't hurt after a run due to arch support. They're fantastic and I highly recommend investing in a pair of good running shoes, as well as exercise clothes. Nothing like sinking $150-$300 on workout apparel to get you motivated!
Start small. Don't expect to go from sedentary to running a marathon immediately. It is gradual. It is a process. When I started working out, I didn't enjoy it. I hated it. I used to HATE running. Any form of it whatsoever. Running the mile in high school was my most dreaded moment. Now I run three miles at a time. I can't go two days without working out. I've found that I sleep better, am less stressed, and more happy now that I am active.
In order to view my progress, I downloaded the app, RunKeeper on my iPhone. I LOVE this app. You're able to track activities such as running, cross country skiing, mountain biking, etc. It does track via GPS, so if you're using gym equipment, I would advise taking a picture of the tracker that counts the duration and distance, so you're able to track it post activity. It's very rewarding to be able to see that I've burned x amount of calories going x amount of miles. My goal for the month of November was to run 50 miles; and I did just that. My resolution for 2013 is to run 450 miles by December 31. Plus, you can sync it to your social networking outlets.
I try and run at least 3 miles every other day, while including a weight lifting rotation in my routine. It is important to incorporate weights in order to build muscle. Muscle burns fat continuously throughout the day. Plus, you look toned!
Overall, a workout may be painful for half hour, but it will end. It may burn, and you may be uncomfortable, but it is temporary!
The main complaint that I've heard about eating healthy is how expensive it is. Yes, a combo meal at McDonald's may cost $3, but, you feel like shit afterwards. Let's be honest. Yes, I like to occasionally indulge in my guilty pleasure; a McDonald's cheeseburger. Key word, OCCASIONALLY. If I do, I like to balance it out with an apple and fresh carrots. Overall, would you rather spend a few more dollars on healthy food and feel good, refreshed? Or would you spend a little amount, feel and look terrible?
Core Components to Add to the Grocery List
- GREAT to snack on. Veggies have lots of fiber, which keep you fuller longer.
- I like to keep sliced cucumbers, baby carrots, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes around at all times.
- Potatoes, peas, and corn are delicious, and very popular. However, these are good in moderation. They have a higher starch content, and higher in calories than carrots or celery.
- Try and exchange yellow potatoes for sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins, and are very good when made into a savory version.
- I have an apple and a banana everyday. Apples are loaded with fiber and are delicious. Bananas are great to have post-workout as they have been described as the super-fruit; balanced with the perfect amount calories, carbs, and fat.
- Berries are a great thing to keep on hand to indulge in when you need something sweet. Berries are also loaded in antioxidants.
- I am a firm believer in this: Don't deprive yourself. Some people think if you cut out bread completely, that you'll drop weight. You may drop weight, but what if you thoroughly enjoy a piece of sourdough from time to time? That is okay. In moderation. HOWEVER. Attempt to exclude white bread from your diet. It basically acts like a brick in your stomach, and your system struggles to turn this into energy. Exchange it for whole wheat items.
- Oatmeal is a super food. It's full of fiber and has good carbs.
- Utilize eggs. Egg whites are a fairly bland based and packed with protein, which helps to keep you full. Adding in spices can really transform egg whites. Occasionally having a hard boiled egg for a snack is a great tool to keep you full.
- I love Greek yogurt, especially mixed with fresh fruit, spices, pumpkin puree, etc.
Overall, don't deprive yourself. It's all about moderation. I hope that this is some form of motivation, and if there's something you'd like to see posted, please let me know!
As always, thanks for reading!