Showing posts with label fitness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fitness. Show all posts

Weight Loss and Fitness

Mar 31, 2023

I've been getting so many questions about what I eat and my fitness routine the past couple of months. I suppose it's because I've been posting photos and videos in swimwear on Instagram. Honestly, I get asked the same questions in real life on a regular basis. I have no problem sharing what works for me to anyone who is interested. Keep in mind, I am not an expert. I feel like I learn new things all the time that has me tweaking my diet and workouts. These are just things that have worked for me.

How Many Calories Can I Have a Day?

Diet is the most important factor for weight loss. It's the reason why you hear that abs are made in the kitchen. The amount of calories you need per day depends on gender, height, current weight, etc. I like this BMR calculator. I prefer to use the sedentary number as a starting point. I track my calories burned through exercise with an Apple Watch and then add those to the sedentary number for a total of how many calories I can have per day to maintain my weight. If you don't have an Apple Watch or something similar, here is a walking calculator to estimate the amount of calories burned. You'll be surprised at how fast and long you have to walk to burn a decent amount of calories!

So now you know how many calories you can have per day to maintain your weight. What about to lose weight? The general rule of thumb is that a 3,500 calorie deficit per week (or 500 calorie deficit per day) is needed to lose one pound a week. So you can decrease your calories by 500, up your workout to burn 500 extra calories a day or use a combination of diet and exercise. For example, 60 minutes of cardio at 3.5mph results in a 220 calorie deficit for me. If I reduce my calories by 280 every day as well, I will meet my 500 calorie deficit for the day. Keep in mind if you are just starting out you will probably lose a bit more due to water weight. 

What to eat? 

A plan is completely necessary. You can also eat many of the same types of food you are used to, but healthier versions. If you like hamburgers, sub the fatty ground beef for 99% lean and take off  the top bun. Try veggies instead of fries. I have spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs instead of high fat ground beef and pasta. I eat a modified club sandwich almost everyday-one toasted piece of 45 calorie low carb bread, 0 calorie spicy mustard, lettuce, tomato and 4 oz of deli turkey. Google the calories, sugar, fat and carbs of your food items and tweak until you have come up with a daily meal plan that fits your goals without feeling deprived or hungry. Check out the diet friendly versions of bread, yogurt, etc for ideas. 

Here is my favorite snack! It's a high protein, low calorie yogurt parfait. 

It's also necessary to know what you can have from a fast food place in a pinch. I rarely eat fast food, but if I do I order a grilled chicken Market salad from Chik-fil-a with light Italian. I leave off the extra nuts on the side for a total of 205 calories. The soft taco from Taco Bell with grilled chicken, lettuce and tomatoes is only 150 calories. I will have two of those and it feels like a splurge despite only being 300 calories. I will also order any grilled chicken salad from a restaurant with some type of vinaigrette dressing without worrying about calories. 

Does it matter when you eat? 

Intermittent fasting is really popular right now, but I am not a fan. I don't believe in ever going hungry. There's a difference between "I could eat" and being hungry. I can always eat, but I only eat when I'm truly hungry. I do try and eat my heavier meals during the day and go lighter/carb free (or very little carbs) at dinner time. I am sedentary at night and don't burn off the calories which results in weight gain for me. 

Can you drink alcohol? 

I drink wine every night, but not a lot. I measure it before pouring it in my glass to keep me on track. I'm personally not a fan of liquor, but there are low calorie options. I recently found a zero calorie triple sec mix to make skinny margaritas. The only calories in the drink was 60 from the one shot of tequila.

What is your workout?

I do a combination of cardio and weight training. Cardio is solely to help me meet my calorie goal when I am trying to lose weight. If I am not trying to lose weight I only do cardio for 30 minutes a few times a week. I am a fan of Beachbody on Demand for weight training, particularly the 21 Day Fix. I do the lower body, upper body, Dirty 30 and ab workouts. I skip the yoga, cardio and pilates since my goal is weight training. I also push myself to lift as heavy as possible because this is where you will see what people refer to as tone. Toning is just muscle growth. Many women have a fear that heavy weights will make them too big and they just want to "tone." You have to lift heavy weight to tone (aka muscle growth) in combination with enough protein intake. There are also calculators online to help you figure out how many grams you need per day. It's a lot, which is why many people who workout with weights opt for protein shakes. My workout routine is constantly changing as I figure out which Beachbody exercises I like and don't like. I substitute exercises for others I prefer all the time. The best part is my workout is only about 30 minutes, and then I follow it up every other day with 10 minute abs. It doesn't have to take a lot of time. Actually, my routine is done in the time it would take to drive to and from the gym. 

Why is it important to weight train?

Weight training will change your body in ways that fat loss will not. I lost quite a bit of weight a while back and was disappointed that I didn't look the way I thought I would since I got so small. I basically looked the same, but smaller. Keep in mind that if you do have a significant amount of fat to lose that the muscle development might not be as noticeable so don't be discouraged. It's also an amazing feeling once you start to get stronger. I can't even put into words at how much better I felt about myself when I could lift heavier weight or not feel as frail, particularly as I am getting older. I won't lie, it was really difficult to get through my Beachbody program the first few weeks. It's surprisingly almost too easy now. Just stick with it and modify the exercises when you need to as well. Listening to my podcasts also helps me get through it!

Does it get easier?

Yes! I actually crave the healthy foods I regularly eat. When I splurge, it rarely tastes as good as I remembered. I realized that I crave what I am used to eating. If I fall off the wagon around the holidays I find it just as hard to get back on track because I start to crave those unhealthy foods. I have splurged enough finally to realize that I don't need an entire cheat day or even a whole cheat meal. I do not deprive myself of anything I want at all. I finally feel strong enough to take a few bites of dessert and be satisfied. I didn't trust myself before not to inhale the entire cake. It helps to have someone to share it with to keep that from happening too. Also, once you get enough items/meals in your diet that you like, you can finally start to eat healthy without being so mindful and diligent. It took me a couple of years to get to this point, but it will happen. 

Here I am on my last full day in Mexico. I didn't gain any weight despite eating at an all-inclusive resort for several days. Normally, I would be hiding my stomach by now. I indulged, but in small amounts. I also made sure to fill my plate with 90% healthy foods. I didn't feel the least bit deprived. 

Weight loss can feel like the hardest thing to accomplish, and the easiest when you get the hang of it. It's also ridiculously easy to forget how to eat after a few nights out, a vacation or the holidays no matter how much you think you have a handle on it. Don't beat yourself up when you slip up. Just get back on the wagon and chalk it up to a learning experience!