I know, nothing more cliche than a New Years Resolution to lose weight or get in better shape but that is what I am doing and I have a plan on how I am going to do it.
I am 6’6″ so I am a pretty tall guy but I am in bad shape. I am overweight with 30 lbs to lose (I am 220 but would like to be closer to 190), I have two herniated discs in my back and for 4 or 5 years, didn’t do a lick of exercise. With my old business, I worked 80 hours a week and sat in front of a computer all day. That business failed and I no longer work those kind of hours but I still have a very sedimentary job. Last year it was my goal to get into better shape and strengthen my body so I could alleviate some of the pain I have because of my back. I purchased a Wii and the Wii fit and have been using that along with stretches, back exercises given to me by my doctor, dumbbells, push-ups and sit-ups to get back into shape.
The results? I lost 10 pounds last year and although my back is still pretty bad, it’s better than it has been in 2 years. I am slowly getting stronger but I wasn’t consistent enough with it to make the kind of difference I was looking for. This year, I am going to double my efforts. I am going to focus very hard on getting into better shape but I also want to change my eating habits and get closer to my target weight.
Losing the Weight Through Better Eating Habits
I hate the word “diet” and never liked the concept of it. Dieting is an invitation to change your habits for a short period of time to achieve a result, only to go back to old habits that take you right back to where you were before. Dieting is all I ever knew how to do. It’s all you ever read about or come across when you try to lose weight. I have always felt that eating in moderation was the best path but I have also jumped onto gimmicks or took extremes like depriving myself of all snack food which eventually leads me to jumping right off the wagon into a big pile of Frito’s while I gorge on the forbidden fruit and undo the progress I made. Guilt follows, the cycle continues.
Shortly before the new year, I had an epiphany. I was reading ProBlogger, one of the blogs I subscribe to, and read an article from the founder of 344pounds.com. It’s a blog that chronicles the weight loss efforts by a man named Shawn Tyler. He was 344 pounds when he started on his journey and while he exercises regularly now, the primary method he used to lose the weight and keep it off is something so simple, it seems too easy to be true. He counts his calories. That’s it, that is the big secret and the thing that has clicked with me the most in all the years I have tried to drop and lose the weight.
The idea is simple and sound, if you take in less calories than you burn, you will lose weight. It’s not a theory, it’s not an idea, it’s a fact. Of course, nothing is that simple. You can lose weight by eating nothing but Snickers as long as you take in less calories than you burn in a day but eating candy isn’t a balanced or healthy diet. You still have to be smart about what you put into your body and give yourself the nutrients you need to stay healthy. What appeals to me most is that you can track what you eat and not have to completely deprive yourself of the things you love. I don’t have to give up Pizza but I might need to eat a light salad for lunch if I am going to have enough calories left at the end of the day to eat Pizza for dinner. I can have a low calorie dinner and then take the kids out for ice cream as a desert without feeling guilty as long as I track my calories and either meet or stay under my daily goal. I can enjoy a healthy snack in the evening while I try to unwind, as long as I haven’t eaten too much throughout the day. With this technique, all of your options are open to you as long as you track and manage what you eat.
With today’s technology, tracking your calories has never been easier. There are a lot of web sites and a few iphone apps that will let you do it. The one I use is called MyFitnessPal. I can update my “food diary” and whatever exercises I have done for the day through their web site or through my iphone. They both sync together and allow me to plan out my meals as I go through the day.
The biggest challenge for me is my love of good craft beer. I am not a Bud or Coors guy, I drink craft beer, brewed with quality ingredients from small breweries all over the US as well as overseas. Unfortunately, craft beer has a lot of calories. If I want to enjoy a beer or three at the end of the day, I need to eat smart and anticipate those calories before I consume them. It’s a funny thing but the reality is, my love of craft beer is forcing me to be smart about what I eat throughout the day. See, beer is good for you.
Getting into Better Shape
As I mentioned earlier, I went through a long period of sitting at a computer and I am just not as strong or toned as I want to be. What makes it a bit more challenging is that I have two herniated disc’s in my back and if I overdo it, I end up in a lot of pain that lingers for awhile. I used to jog and that kept me in shape but now that kind of impact is just too much for me. I actually think that what I did during most of 2010 was a smart plan, I just need to be more consistent with it. I also want to add more outdoor activities, fun things I can share and enjoy with my wife and kids while still getting exercise. So, here is my plan for 2011:
- Workout with dumbbells, push-ups and sit-ups 3 days a week. I will create a specific plan for Monday, Wednesday and Friday so I know what muscles I should focus on each day.
- Workout with the Wii Fit for 30 – 45 minutes 2 days a week. On Tuesday’s and Thursday’s I will focus mostly on aerobics and cardiovascular exercises on the Wii.
- Do my back stretches and back exercises every day. It only takes 15 – 20 minutes and it’s an area I really need to focus on
- On the weekends, I will either go for a good walk with my wife and kids or go on a bike ride. My bike needs some work and my wife doesn’t have a bike but I am going to get my bike back to working order and get a bike for my wife so we can do this together.
Most Important Part of My Plan!
I told my wife about my plan and she jumped all over it. It’s easy and doesn’t require us to give up a lot as long as we plan and are smart about what we are putting into our bodies. We are going to tackle this New Years resolution together and there is nothing I can’t do when I have the support of my wife behind me!
Are you trying to loose weight or have lost weight in the past? What strategies do you use?