I do not claim to hold the ultimate truth in such matters as weight loss. I have, however, figured out what works for me. It took a great deal of trying before I set on the formula that I can use in my day-to-day life. It lets me enjoy life and maintain the weight that I am comfortable with. What is important, it has proven to work for me through a pregnancy and having a new born, as well as holiday seasons, parties, etc. I want to share it here so you could give it a try if you wanted, tweaking to fit your own lifestyle.
What worked for me:
- Rethinking the way I eat and settling on this basic approach (not invented by me, obviously, but I adapted it): lean protein+ minimal carbs+portion control. I will elaborate on this eating approach in a separate post. But as I mentioned before, it came with a lot of discoveries and learning. When I started out, it looked very unrealistic and not doable. Good news– I was wrong!
- Gradually but surely easing into an exercising routine. The key was to start slow (slow and steady wins the race:) ), and figure out what type of physical activity I
hate the least like the most. I have never been a fitness freak, or a runner. PE was my least favorite subject in school. And growing up, I would prefer staying inside reading to playing outside any day. A few years ago I started power walking followed by a short core and weight training routine, about three times a week. Then I added Pilates work outs that I did at home using a DVD (which I absolutely love), a couple times a week. It was a struggle to finish a short walk, I could only do about 5 push-ups, and Pilates moves looked like no normal human being could possible complete them. That was me back then. I was enjoying working out though. I think it was the feeling of accomplishment and doing something really good for myself that kept me going. I am not by any means an accomplished athlete, but I am the most fit and toned and healthy as I have ever been in my grown life. I look forward to my work outs, on most days. If you had told me that a few years ago, I’d say– you don’t know me at all. Well, I didn’t know myself that well. It is human to make changes to your life. That’s so empowering!
- Being flexible and creative with my daily routine, to make healthy living a priority: when I started out, I was a single mother of three, working full-time. I didn’t have much time for anything outside of work, taking care of the kids and maintaining the house. So I had to get creative with when and how to fit the work outs, as well as think ahead and plan meals and grocery shopping. With changes in my life (marriage, a new baby) I had to adjust my routine and the way I, and my whole family, ate. It took some tweaking, but I am good for now. I am sure in a few months the routine will change again– such is life. But keeping my options open and working around day-to-day demands helps me to go on with my work outs and healthy eating.
What did not work for me:
- Short-term diets, fads, and such. I have tried my fair share. Back in my twenties when I lived in Russia, I actually tried a 21-day “American” diet. No idea why it was called “American”. But it worked! I lost a lot of extra pounds….And quickly gained them back. I tired similar diets several times since then. I tried slimming tea. And then I decided that’s not working for me and switched to a whole new approach to eating (described above in a nutshell).
- Too rigorous exercising, too soon: I would start running, or doing aerobics class, or swimming, expecting immediate results. The only immediate result I got was a complete burn-out. Again, baby steps and learning my natural inclinations was the way to go for me.
I will break down each of these ideas in more detail in future posts, as each of them deserve more attention.
Do you have a story of your struggle/success to be fit? Please share.