Many people have asked me how I lost all my weight and how I keep it off. Let me tell you, it’s a constant struggle and a continuous journey. Throughout my life I have always dealt with weight issues, because I love to eat! Even in high school and college, although I was athletic, I still struggled. As I got older and had more responsibilities, my attention to my weight became even less important to me and I reached a low point after the birth of my twins.
I pretty much used every excuse or reason not to exercise or eat healthy: I was too tired from work, too tired from taking care of my twins, Chloe and Gavin, and it was just easier to grab some take out or fast food. This was a bad combination and when I hit 205 pounds, I reached my breaking point. Something had to be done; I thought to myself, “How can I promote good health and be a physician if I can not practice what I preach?” That’s when my journey began three years ago.
Eating less and exercising more is usually the combination that most individuals take to lose weight, which sometimes works. However, I feel that some people are not ready to embark on this life long journey and only want a short fix. They tend to starve themselves and work out like a mad man. That’s why most people fail on New Year’s resolutions by four to six weeks. I didn’t want to fail. So this is how I figured things out for me: It’s truly a gradual lifestyle change and being able to sustain a reasonable exercise routine.
First and foremost, the most difficult thing about losing weight and getting healthy is nutrition. I still continue to struggle with it daily and I think I may for the rest of my life. Making the right healthy nutrition choices on a daily basis is quite difficult and can be expensive. In addition, we are human and there are still indulges out there that we shouldn’t deny ourselves every once in a while. So do this gradually. Start off with portion control, but not drastic changes, maybe just a 10 to 20 percent decrease in portion size. Next, start making the right food choices. It’s amazing how many calories one can save from not drinking soda or juice.
Now here comes the easy part – exercising. Truly it is, but it also needs commitment. When most people start working out they do it for at least 45 to 90 minutes at a time. Unfortunately, most people can’t sustain that for more than a few weeks. Your body is not ready for that intensity, so my recommendation is to start slow. If you haven’t worked out at all, then start off doing 10 to 15 minutes. That doesn’t seem like much but that’s 10 to 15 minutes more than you were doing.
If you can do this consistently, without being too sore, then consider increasing your routine duration or intensity but not by much, maybe by five minutes. If you can do this weekly, you can potentially be doing 30 minutes by the end of the month or even more. Whatever exercise you do, make sure it is fun and you change it up often. Your body is quite amazing in that it adapts quickly and gets efficient in doing things on a routine basis. But in order to make gains your body has to be confused. Lastly, as you become more efficient in working out and intensity increases, so will your caloric needs to sustain the intense workouts. So don’t be afraid to eat. Lean muscle needs healthy calories. Which leads us back to nutrition. That’s why nutrition is still the most important thing.
As for the Biggest Loser contests, like we have here at OrthoIndy, I applaud each and every one of you making that decision. But try to stick to the journey even when the contest or diet is over. Too many people bounce back and gain weight after a contest or a diet ends because they don’t have something to drive them. It’s important for individuals to make goals to keep their weight off for six months, one year or even two years.
Regardless, welcome to the journey!