About two weeks ago, I started my latest attempt to lose some weight after my latest holiday binging on far, far too much winter libations and treats. I promise to do this every year, but this year, I'm doing my best to maintain it.
My regimen, so far, looks like this.
Walking the Walk
I'm a guy, and like many guys, as previously mentioned, I like my exercise to be seasoned with a little competition. If exercise is boring, then I'm probably not doing it for long. However, these being the short, cold months of winter, there aren't a lot of great outdoor activities available that get my juices flowing, and as much as I love playing basketball, it's not always easy finding not only an open court but nine other people with the same inclinations.
Not to mention that my knees are starting to tell me that maybe all this jumping up and down on a hardwood floor may not be the best idea.
A good brisk walk, on the other hand, does get you moving, you (hopefully) see some nice scenery, and it's much easier on the joints. Why not jogging instead of walking? Did we not see the previous sentence about my knees starting to sound like popcorn popping?
Living in Bend, Oregon, I am fortunate that right in the center of town, there's a large promontory called Pilot Butte that is ideal for a quick 45-minute-or-less walk up and down that gets the heart rate pumping and is fairly knee-friendly. Even if you live in flattest Nebraska, odds are there's a nearby hill you can conquer a time or two to get the pulse rate going.
Oh, and as for needing competition, when you're getting passed by a pregnant mother pushing a stroller – and you happen to be neither pregnant nor pushing a stroller – if that doesn't encourage you to move faster, I don't know what I can tell you.
Cutting Out The Treats
Thankfully, Christmas has passed, taking with it all the sugary chocolates and other temptations, so it's easy to avoid those. When I'm hungry between meals, I'm making a conscious choice to find something that is both tasty and healthy, like carrot sticks, or my new favorite, steamed edamame. Dried fruit, like pineapple or mangos, or even a glass of water helps to fill you up and feel less hungry.
Cutting out the beer has been a little harder, but, much as the Cookie Monster once decreed that cookies are not “everyday food,” so, too, has the beer been somewhat weaned from my diet. I still enjoy it, just not as often.
Drop and Give Me...Five?
No reason watching TV has to be a time waster. During commercials, if I'm getting up to get a snack, I'll try to crank out ten quick push-ups. Or five. Or however many I can do during a commercial. Sometimes I'll make it a game; every time a certain commercial comes on, I'll do ten push-ups. That has the double bonus of a) getting exercise and b) making me want to watch less TV. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
After two weeks, where do I stand? According to my scale, I've dropped...maybe half a pound.
Normally, that would be less than optimal, but I know that sometimes it takes your body, especially not-young ones like mine, time to adapt to a new regimen, and it's possible I need to re-examine my diet further.
It's also possible that I am dropping fat and adding muscle, information a bathroom scale isn't very good at conveying. There's a number of ways to measure your body fat that vary from inexpensive and simple to complicated but more accurate. Unless you feel like spending a chunk of change on expensive biometric tests, the best way to measure body fat is a pair of body fat calipers, which can be found online for less than $10, and the old “take a picture each week” method. Hopefully you'll look like those “before and after” photos, and not the “before and before.”
Losing weight and getting back into shape is a marathon, not a sprint. Who knows, maybe in six months I'll be running a marathon. There's no great secret, just find what works, adjust as necessary, and stay with it. You may not see immediate results, but your patience can be rewarded.
By Dave Meddish, Live Superfoods
Missed Part One of this Series? You'll find it here: New Year, Old Problems: A Guy's Look At Losing Weight After New Year's