Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Our Weight Loss Approach

First off let me just start off this blog post with giving you some information about myself.  I grew up as a teenager in high school working at McDonald's.  Since I was friends with some of the managers and worked there a lot I ate a lot of crap food.  This coupled with my lack of self control or attitude towards food (I'll always be big/overweight and as long as I don't die, that's fine with me) I gained weight to the tune of 265 lbs.  Now, I know that many of you may say that that is not overweight since I am so tall. However, that weight equates to a BMI (Body Mass Index) of just over 34.  You are considered obese when you have a BMI over 30, overweight if it is over 25.  I wanted to write this post to give those of you who have voiced a need for inspiration and those of you who I may never meet, some insight into our weight loss approach.  I by no means am saying that I am an expert in the field of weight loss; I can only give you tips and hints for what has worked for my wife and me.  So here goes, take what you want and I hope you are able to apply it in your lives.

As many people know you can lose weight by any number of ways: diet & exercise, fad diets, crazy diets, pills, etc.  I believe that the only one that actually works is the first grouping on that list: Diet & Exercise.  My thoughts on this are fad diets, crazy diets, and pills are ways to try and take the easy way out.  I am by no means putting anyone down who has tried these methods or who has had success with these methods I can only give you my opinion and tell you what has worked for me.  Another thought on the above mentioned diets and pills is that once you lose the weight you will either have to continue to take the pills/fad diet for the rest of your life or you will have to learn how to eat healthy, which would put you in the same boat as if you had started out with diet & exercise.

I can just hear some of you now, ok so how do I do this Mr. Smartypants since you think you're so good.  Well, first I am not Mr. Smartypants (just ask my wife and I am sure she will tell you that I am not always right, even if I somewhat think I am, it's a male trait and we all have it)!  Secondly, here are some tips to help you along in your (what I hope is) diet & exercise success:
  1. Working out with a partner seems to be the best idea - If you can find a partner to work out with that seems to help and keep both of you going.  There have been times that my wife or I have not wanted to either go to the gym or wanted to give up and cut our workout short and that other person has been there to root/challenge/coach the other person on so use the Buddy System, it's not just for little kids anymore!
  2. Start out small - I am not saying that you have to go out and start running 5-10 miles to start losing weight but you should start out small so that you can build up your endurance and your stamina to eventually be able to work out longer.  Also starting out small gives you the chance to work towards smaller goals that along the way will provide inspiration and support to you in your journey.  Just a walk around the block is a good start.
  3. Find workout regiments that you like - Don't go to the gym and go to spin class if you hate spinning.  Find something that you enjoy and chose that to do.  Myself, I like to run so that it what I do.  My goal is to run a 1/2 marathon by the end of the year and I am up to running 5 miles straight without stopping to walk/catch my breath.  Now I still have another 7 miles to go but hey you can't do this overnight!
  4. Find things that are inspirational and use them to help you further yourself along this journey - This one I added since it has seemed that over the past 4 months my wife and I have really gained motivation and strength from watch NBC's hit show The Biggest Loser.  So find that inspiration and use it.
I would like to provide some healthy eating tips as well.  I know there are some out there who know me that say, ha Greg is giving people diet tips, hello pot, this is kettle, you're black! However, I think that I have come a long way since that kid who worked at McDonald's and I would say that if you listen you would agree, too!
  1. Make sure to read labels of what you're eating - In the pictures to the right you can see some items that we have around the apartment: Diet Pepsi, Propel, Mixed Nuts, and Soy Crisps.  The reason I show these is because these are some healthy snacks that, when done in moderation can be a healthy alternative to a half a bag of chips, which I won't lie I could eat without even trying.  The Soy Crisps are 110 calories per serving and they have protein in them which helps you feel fuller longer (try the Ranch flavor first; I think they are the best).  The mixed nuts have protein in them as well but you have to watch how many you eat and make sure to measure out those servings.  The diet Pepsi and Propel are healthy alternatives to regular Pepsi and sports drinks like Power-Ade, which I love but you can drink 1 serving of Power-Aid and get 50 calories to 10 for the Propel.
  2. Pre-plan your meals for the week - This seems to be a key thing that I had no idea would impact how I eat as much as it did.  Melissa and I on Sunday's pre-make breakfast burritos for the week and freeze them.  This then gives us something to eat every morning, its good, only about 300 calories, and it keeps you full.  I won't even tell you what happened the one day we didn't have burrito's made, let's just say there was a small bag of chili cheese Fritos and WAY, WAY too many calories for breakfast.
  3. Also be careful of serving sizes - Look in the picture of mixed nuts to the right and tell me how many servings of mixed nuts that is. If you guessed 1/4 of a cup of nuts which equals 1 serving you are correct.  Now tell me how many calories are in that 1 serving?  200 Calories!!!  May not seem like a lot but think of how many "servings" of mixed nuts you could have without even trying: 1, 2, and 3 even?  Be careful of those serving sizes.
  4. Finally you will have an off day - I know everyone is going to say:  "You can't watch what you eat all the time!"  and you know what they are right.  You are going to have a day or two (hopefully only a few) where you slip up or you are celebrating someone's birthday, anniversary, wedding, etc... Just approach those days with an open mind, think before you eat and hey you can always eat anything you want but just remember that treadmill, stair master, bicycle in the gym may end up being your friend for a very long time the next day so just be smart about what you eat.
So I hope this has given you some guidance to our approach and you take the pieces that will work for you and use them on your weight loss journey.  Both Melissa & I will be here to answer any questions you may have and if we don't know it we loved to Google so we will try and find an answer for you.  Feel free to use the links below to help you on your journey.  Good luck and I wish you success.

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