Where do you struggle the most? Hate working out? Hate clean eating? Not seeing the results you want? I am always interested in seeing where people struggle when trying to achieve their personal weight loss and/or fitness goals.
I know for me, I struggled for a while really understanding why I could work SO hard on my health and fitness, and see very little visible results in the mirror. I am healthy - and have NEVER been a person that is unhealthy in any way. I grew up healthy and have stayed healthy through high school, college, and into my adult life. Fitness has and always will be a top priority for me, but I would be a liar if I said that there weren't many times where I wanted to quit and stop my healthy habits due to the fact that I wasn't seeing the results I wanted.
Looking back, I can see clearly where I was going wrong through any and all of my struggles. Through college, if I wasn't happy with my figure at a certain time, I am pretty sure alcohol and fast food was to blame. Regardless of the grueling workouts and calorie blasting softball games in which I played, I was consuming a ton of bad food on many road trips, and spent countless weeknight and weekends celebrating victories and enjoying time with my friends. I had a great figure during college - one, at times, I would pay money to have back...ha, but I was definitely NOT the epitome of health and fitness during that time, even though I was working very hard.
Entering adult-hood I definitely slowly saw the weight creep up on me. I was still working out hard (not like college obviously) but as hard if not harder than the average adult. I never expected to be the person that had to count calories or watch ridiculously closely what I was eating in order to MAINTAIN my weight. Even with working out hard, I was still gaining weight instead of staying constant. My diet was completely to blame.
Maggie posted a while back the following important information about a huge factor in weigh management: Tip for you: find your RMR (resting metabolic rate). This is the rate at which your body burns calories at rest. My RMR is around 1,520 (probably higher now that I’m preggers!). This means that if I were to lay in bed all day, doing NOTHING, I would still burn around 1,520 calories in 24hours. Find your RMR using this online calculator. Of course you want this number to be high.
My key to having weightloss success is due to my understanding and use of a food journal to track my food in relation to my RMR mentioned above. Before using these concepts, I was spinning my wheels and working so much harder than I needed to and neglecting the most important part FOR ME: my diet.
The food journal that I like is an app on my phone called MyFitnessPal. It allows for me to keep track of EVERYTHING I eat during the day and stay under my alotted calories according to my RMR. The key to using apps like this for success is brutal honesty with yourself. You must log everything you eat, even that handful of goldfish you swipe off your kid's plate. I truly feel that those unaccounted-for calories are what so often destroyed my "healthy diet" and hindered my success in managing my weight for so long.
If you read about my 30 Day Challenge and transformation before, then you know that I found great success using MyFitnessPal and working out hard using a workout DVD: Focus T25. Even since ending my challenge, I have found myself, again, STUCK at another plateau that I can't push through. I realized that it was because I took a mini-vacation from MyFitnessPal. I needed a break from the accountability and logging of my food, but in the end have again started to spin my wheels and get nowhere. I need a good smack in the head at moments like this. Why do you want to get up at 4:45am, set your alarm to get up early and bust your butt before work, working out early, and then waste that time and effort by not taking care of my diet?! So frustrating. I haven't been eating like crap either. I have continued to eat healthy and pretty clean, but have not been CAREFUL.
You have to stay under your RMR if you are trying to LOSE weight. Plain and simple. The only way to be sure I am staying under my calorie goal for the day is to write it down, track it, enter it online - whatever works best. I can GUESS or THINK or BE PRETTY SURE I stayed under, or I can log it and BE POSITIVE I did it right. I am so much more succesful when I keep track as I go.
I think it is important to add that NO ONE is meant to live a life like this FOREVER, and this is not meant to be something I need to continue for the rest of my life - like MOST "diets" should not be. BUT, that being said, if I am TRYING to lose body fat (which I still am), then you have to watch what you are eating during that period. When I reach my goal weight/goal body - which is about 10-15 more pounds or a few more inches here and there, then I no longer have to watch as carefully what I am eating and log every calorie. No one is designed to live a life like that forever. I will easily be able to maintain my body through continuing a regular healthy lifestyle of eating pretty clean and working out 4-5 days per week. Right now I am in the deficit phase. I need to create a deficit from my RMR so that I can burn more calories than I am consuming and LOSE the fat I would like to get rid of. After I reach my goal body, I can loosen up a bit and stay where I am just by continuing to work hard and lead a fit and healthy life.
A healthy life is not meant to be a life of deprivation. My family kicks back, has fun, drinks a glass of wine, makes pots of chili and enjoys a treat with the best of them. You should be able to enjoy food and life like anyone else. If you are healthy 90% of the time, you can splurge on weekends and enjoy birthday parties and tailgates, and holiday treats. But, most people eat recklessly too often, and find themselves spinning their wheels. Most importantly, if you have a weightloss goal you are trying to reach, and you aren't being super careful about your calorie intake, please take the time to journal your food in some way. I hate to see people put in so much effort on the exercise side and not see the results they want - especially if it is due to accidental errors and misjudgements. I have been there, I have overcome it, and I am happy to help others find their successes in the lonely journey that is health and fitness.