Well, I hit the first big milestone of the summer. My goal this year is to get down to my pre-seminary weight. 5 years of grad school saw me put on about 35 lbs. I started my workouts at Easter and I just hit the 20lb mark; which was a great psychological milestone for me. Interestingly enough, changing my diet alone didn’t do much. It wasn’t until I started exercising every day that I started losing weight. Here’s a few things I discovered:
- Start eating breakfast – Just a bagel is fine. But you’ll eat less during the day if you already ate. Starving yourself makes you eat more later, so just have more infrequent bites.
- Exercise is worth 10x dietary changes. I didn’t really start taking lbs off until I started regularly getting physical activity.
- Exerice only what you feel like – but do it every day. If you’re tired, just walk that day, if not, run. I run about 2-4 miles each night now.
- Start where you’re at. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re out of shape. Just enjoy what you can and start easy. I started the first 2-3 weeks by just walking around the neighborhood. Then jogging a lap/run a lap at the track, then running a mile, then running two. DON’T push hard – it just makes you more reluctant to do it next time. The goal is regularity, not intensity.
- Get involved in new hobbies/activities. If you’re sitting at home in front of the tube/computer – you’ll eat. Go hang out with friends or a new sport instead.
- Eat a filling light meal at night. I sit down with a huge bowl of fruit salad at night. By the end, I’m stuffed – but it was watermellon, or cherries, or melons, or the like. It adds up to almost no calories, but it feels like I ate a solid dinner.
- Drink lots of water/tea/Gatorade – drop the pop. But not so much for calories, but for hydration. I needed to drink a LOT more water to keep hydrated when I worked out every day. That and it makes you feel much more full and I think helps you lose weight.
- Don’t be a calorie counter/Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you get a craving for some salty chips – have a few. If you’re craving a pop – get one. Don’t start beating yourself up over little things you would like to eat; or keeping a count to ‘work it off’ later. That said, I don’t scarf a whole bag of potato chips or stuff a quart of Hagen-das down my neck. Moderation implies that you may eat less, but that you also equally don’t just cut certain foods off entirely. Relax, enjoy life, and slowly build healthy, sustainable habits. You may not lose weight as fast, but as long as you’re pulling a few poiunds off each week or so, you’re doing fine. Sustainability is what will keep it off later anyway.