Get Back on Track with Slim in 6 Series

This is that time where people have fallen off the new year resolution train. I know I have. Not when it comes to fitness, however, because I learned how to make it my priority and to never use excuses. But I’ve faltered in my creative writing goals.

One of my writing goals this year was to get back to blogging, build my blogger community, and yadda yadda. Well, it didn’t take long for my busy schedule to overwhelm me and I stopped blogging for almost two months.

At one time, I allowed that to happen with my fitness. I’d say, “I’m just too busy,” or “I don’t have time,” or “I’m too tired.”

Regardless of the goals, we tend to do that. In fact, the year I started my weight loss journey, I actually quit in the same way, at the same time, and restarted that goal in May after my 40th birthday. Thanks to all the many trainers I work out to and follow, I no longer allow myself to make excuses. They remind me daily that I can’t say, “I think I’ll work out tomorrow at 8.” Instead, I have to say, “I’ll work out to so and so at 8 p.m.” They also reminded me to surround myself around people who have similar goals, and to get my family on board with this change in my life, which I did. 

In other words, to accomplish something, I simply had to just do it.

Admittedly, this has been another tough week, so it’s not as simple as I make it sound–as many of you know. It’s not always easy making time for ourselves when we work, have families, and tons of other obligations. For me, I’ve been averaging three hours of sleep a night for the last few months because of a bad round of insomnia, so just keeping straight on my fitness path has been challenging, much less keeping up with writing that doesn’t pay the bills.

I had to remind myself this week that this blog may not pay the bills, but I have a purpose for it. Not only am I sharing my writing on this site, but I’m also trying to be that person others need to be around so they can stand firm in making that important life change–a change that has made such a difference in my own life.

So with that being said, I say we jump back in together. We get back on track, and I encourage you to do a workout that I really enjoy, the Slim in 6 Series.

The Slim in 6 series is low impact, but very effective. You will work out every part of your body. Now, when some people see the time of these workouts, they may say, “No way do I have 60 – 80 minutes to workout!” I know I used to. However, because the workout is lower impact, it doesn’t feel long at all. If anything, I always feel great after doing one of the workouts because I work all my body. If time is an issue though, you can break them up and do half one day and the other half the next. No worries.

For some time, I tried to figure out what it was that drew me to this workout. I’m definitely not crazy about the music, and I’m more for the Zumba, Les Mills Combat, and other fast, fun, and intense workouts. But then it hit me. This workout reminds me of the good ol’ Jane Fonda workouts. For those of you my age, you’ll remember those days. I was in junior high when I found my mom’s VHS workout, hit play on the VCR, and fell in love with fitness.

Jane Fonda’s workouts were low impact but effective, and the Slim in 6 Series and Coach Debbie Sieber are both modern versions of that fitness regime so you can’t go wrong.

All you really need to get started are the videos or streaming access to Teambeachbody on Demand, light weights, and a strength training band. Visit teambeachbody.com for the first, and you can find the other two at any sports store.

But I got one better for you. This week, to help you get on track, I will be giving away the Slim in 6 Series, three pound dumbbells, and a box of Shakeology to help re-jumpstart your fitness. To enter into this drawing, you must comment on this post or on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/brandyraeramirez/, and tell me what has been your biggest challenge in keeping with your goal of losing weight.

Not only will your comments help someone else realize they are not alone in their struggle, but your name will be entered into this great giveaway drawing. I will be announcing the winner next Saturday afternoon, April 15. I look forward to hearing your responses!

– Posted by Brandy Rae: Copyright 2017

Location:San Angelo, Texas

Weighing in On Weight-Loss Surgery

My sister Tanya, me, and my brother Steven

Recently, my sister told me some big news. News that has to do with weight-loss surgery.

Thursday, she had her consultation, and learned she is low-risk for the gastric sleeve procedure. This is a newer practice, and an alternative to gastric bypass or gastric banding.

According to U.S. Health News, as of 2013, bariatric weight loss surgery peaked at 200,000, and that number grows yearly as obesity continues to overwhelm the U.S.

Since we were kids, my sister Tanya has struggled with her weight. She has always suffered from self-doubt, and had to fight against the meanness of kids, and many adults. Although she wasn’t extremely obese, she was large enough to suffer the negativity society places on kids who aren’t thin.

My sister Tanya and Mother in May 2016.

Tanya found a way to cope with the meanness. She fought back, and she became the bully. Lord knows it was better to be a bully than to be bullied. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not condoning her actions, but watching what my sister faced, and being a victim of bullying myself in elementary and the beginning of middle school, I understand the dynamics. You can either get beat up, or you can do the beating up when you’re not what society deems “perfect.”

That continues to be an issue today. Obesity is an overpowering epidemic that leads to serious medical problems, depression, and, in some cases, suicide.

Where my sister struggled with some weight issues in her earlier years, she’s now at her heaviest weight. Therefore, her battle isn’t just with mean people; it’s with her health. She’s a mother with young kids in her mid-40s, and she suffers from health problems related to obesity, including high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and she thinks she may be developing diabetes.

Tanya recently told me she wishes she could be like me and just put her mind to losing weight and doing it. However, what Tanya doesn’t realize is her battle differs from mine. This is actually a common misconception many people have.

It’s so easy for people who did not grow up obese, or who have never battled weight issues, or only struggled with minor weight gain, to say, “If you’re tired of being fat, then do something about it!”

Sadly, I used to be one of these people, but then I gained substantial weight in my 30s, primarily after having a hysterectomy. I got to learn first-hand what obesity can do to the mind and to one’s overall self-esteem.

Which brings me to my point.

Because I didn’t grow up struggling with weight the way my sister did, I didn’t lack self-esteem, even when I was overweight. I’ve always had a strong sense of self. Even though I was heavier than I had ever been prior to my weight loss journey, I knew deep down that I could fix it. I did it in the past, and with the right effort, I could do it again. And that’s what I did.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it’s easy; it’s not, but when you have self-esteem and motivation on your side, that does make challenges easier to overcome.

The reality is, I had the benefit of people saying, “Wow Brandy! You look amazing!” I recalled what it felt like being thin, and the benefits that come with it, especially the internal boost.

My sister never had that. Instead, she had to hear, “Wow, Tanya! You’ve gained a lot of weight!” Or, “You’re going to eat that? Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Or, “You know, you have a pretty face, but….”

I could go on and on with the statements I’ve heard thrown her way. It’s no wonder she’s always struggled with self-doubt and low self-esteem. People have put her down all her life.

Now, Tanya talks to me all the time about what it would be like being thin, but she can’t recall the reality of that. That feeling that prompts motivation.

Then there’s the medical aspect of her weight. Tanya suffers from a thyroid issue, so when she loses weight, she tends to gain it right back when her thyroid is off. She also tires out easily, so it’s so easy to say, “I’ll work out tomorrow.” But then that never happens. Thyroid issues can easily throw people off balance.

Unfortunately, many overweight people have this problem, especially women our age. I too have a thyroid issue, but with weight loss, I have brought my thyroid under control. I have to still take medicine, but it’s a lighter dosage. I have also had the luxury of eliminating many medications I took when I was heavier. That too feels great, but again, my sister hasn’t had that experience.

With that being said, many people today are critical of those individuals who decide to go with bariatric bypass surgery. They claim, “It’s the easy way out.” It’s just like thinking there’s a magical pill.

Thus, this is not an easy choice, nor is it the easy way out. They too have to exercise to eliminate the excess skin that accompanies the surgery. Even though there are follow-up surgeries to help remove that excess skin, these individuals still have to maintain their forms through exercise and healthy living. All this surgery does is give them a chance to do what they have not been successful at doing, and that’s having the self-esteem and motivation to start the process of losing weight, and succeeding.

I have met so many people who have had the surgery, and they tell me how much their lives have changed as a result. They have more energy. They feel wonderful. They develop a new sense of self identity and self-esteem. They are motivated to eat and stay healthy, and to get off the couch to get in their daily walk/run and exercise. In other words, they do what those of us who have found our fitness do. They also look amazing!

Overall, I am proud of my sister for taking the necessary steps to get this surgery done. She hesitated at first because she has to give up a lot of habits she has developed over the years. She has to get her family on board with this as well because they will be eating healthy with her, so she can maintain her fitness. It will be good for them in the long run, too, but not all kids or partners are willing to sacrifice their enjoyments for the benefit of others. Tanya also admitted to being scared. Surgery is a big deal, and there are complications, but she’s willing to take a chance.

She’s ready to remember what it feels like to fit into a size 10 pair of pants, and not shop in what she calls “the fat people’s section.” She will go out job hunting with confidence and won’t have to wonder if people aren’t hiring her because she’s obese and a health risk to the company (Many studies have proved employers will choose thin candidates over obese ones, and Tanya just graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Business.). Sadly, my sister graduated in May, but has yet to obtain a job in her field.

I pray this surgery is the boost she needs to find her fitness. I would love for those of you who have  advice or stories to share those with Tanya and help ease her mind and fears over this surgery. My sister is my soulmate. All I have ever wanted is for her to feel that she’s worth the hard work.

Note

I apologize for my brief absence, but the news business and some employee changes at San Angelo LIVE! have kept me working non-stop. Because of some of these delays, I’m adding a few more days to the Beachbody 3-Day Refresh and Shakeology packets giveaway.

For those of you who missed my social media posts on this, all you have to do is follow me on one of my social media sites. You can follow me on Facebook here, Twitter here, or follow me through San Angelo LIVE! here and here. There are other ways to link to my social media sites by clicking on the icons on this page. I will be checking them all. So, follow one of those pages, like one, or all of my posts with information on the giveaway, and I will add you to the drawing.

Originally, I was going to announce the winner this evening, but, because of my inability to engage on social media like I originally planned, I’m extending the deadline to midnight Sunday (CST) and will announce the winner on Monday.

Keep in mind, anyone in the U.S. can enter to win. I’m happy to ship the product to you wherever you’re at.

Make Sure to Follow Me

Even beyond this giveaway, you’ll want to keep tabs on my blog and social media because I have lots of great giveaways coming up, including an Apple Watch Series 1 Rose Gold 38mm. This is a $269 value.

As I stated before, my goal is to help you find and maintain your fitness, and I have some fun things planned, including the Group of Accountability, so be on the lookout for that.

Good luck, and as two of my favorite trainers Rachael Newsham and Dan Cohen with Les Mills Body Combat always say, “Keep it real, and stay with the fight!”

Posted by Brandy Rae: Copyright 2017

Location: San Angelo, Texas, United States

So You Had a Bad Day; Get Over It!

It’s now the second week of the new year, and for those people still going strong with their workout routines and focus to lose weight, good for them! For some people, however, they might be getting into that stage where the passion for losing weight is starting to fizz out. Chances are they’re missing that soda, all that bread, or those nice salty chips. They may have also faltered in their daily goal of eating healthy, or missed a workout.

If this sounds like you, get over it, regroup and move on.

Too many times, people use having a bad eating day or missing a workout as an excuse to give up changing their lives. They tell themselves they’ll make up for it the next day, but then that day turns into the next, and so on. What that really means though is they weren’t really ready for change. As usual, it all sounds good in theory, but as one of my favorite fitness instructors, Dan Cohen, says, “There are no magical pills.” You have to do the work and feel the burn to get results.

Even I have faltered with some of my goals since the start of the new year, but I’m not giving up just because I may have missed something one day. Instead, I’m approaching my goals like I approached my health and fitness change.

First, instead of trying to accomplish every goal at one time, I’m working my way into each one. Prime examples, last week, I mentioned that if you haven’t worked out in some time, diving into a workout like Insanity is going to have you running the other way in a day or two. Things take time to build up, especially if you’re trying to find a balance in your routine. Although I have found a balance with my fitness, I still struggle with other personal and business goals from time to time, so it’s part of the process.

Next, when I miss something important, I figure out what I can do better next time to ensure that doesn’t happen again, or what I need to move around on my schedule to ensure I meet my goal, even if it’s only a partial meeting of it. I remember when I first started my health change, I tried working out in the morning, and I’m not a morning person. I hit the snooze on my alarm continually, and came up with 101 reasons why I would do it the next day. So when I realized that was hindering me from accomplishing my goals, I changed my workouts to the evenings. I set my workout time for 8:30 p.m. every night. And as another of my favorite fitness trainers, Chalene Johnson, says, “You have to make a date with your workout and stick with it.” Even if that means you find someone to tend to the kids, or put something else on hold. You never break your date with your workout, even if you work out for 20 minutes, or even 10 minutes–no matter what, you fit something in.

Even now, living a nice healthy life as an athlete, I grab an extra snack now and then. Instead of grabbing chips or bread, however, I grab fruit, or frozen yogurt bars that taste like ice cream (Yasso yogurt bars are my favorite). At least that way, you don’t feel as bad for eating more than your five or six meals.

Worse case, if you have an all out bad day, again, suck it up, and don’t wait to start again the following week. Start again the next day. The longer you wait, the more excuses you’ll make.

With that being said, as my people at Les Mills Combat like to chant, “Keep it real and stay with the fight!”

Speaking of keeping on track, I realize I’m just getting back into blogging, and building my audience on this site. So asking people to post videos may have been a little over zealous on my part (I blame it all on the new year “I’m going to dive right in” rush!). I still have the Beachbody 3-Day Refresh Challenge Pack to give away, which is a $69.95 value.

For those of you who would like to kickstart your weight loss, or give it a nice boost, got to my Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/brandyraeramirez/, “Like” it, share it with your friends, and write three words to describe how this challenge would help you. I will then do a drawing and announce the winner next Tuesday night with my next fitness update.

In the meantime, check out my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, Pinterest, and Linkedin pages for daily fitness motivation, updates on giveaways, random thoughts and ideas, and details on my creative works. If you want to chat about your most frustrating fitness woes, please feel free to comment below or reach out to me on social media. Another way to avoid giving up before you truly begin your transformation is to surround yourself with people who have the same focus and goals as you. You’re an athlete now, and you want to interact with other athletes, and I’m here to help.

I look forward to our discussions.

Five Fun Workouts to Find Your Fitness

Well, this is it. The week where many people are working hard at their goal of losing weight. As I stated in my previous post, however, many people will fail fast; especially, if they misinterpret their approach to weight loss.

Many people believe they have to start the new year with a bang by hitting the gym for an hour a day, or running/jogging for 5 miles, but that’s not true. Easing into something new is a better option because people are less likely to burn out as fast. 

If you’re a person who hasn’t spent the majority of your life exercising, or who has been away from it for a long time, you definitely don’t want to spend your first week of the new year working out for hours at the gym, or at home. You’ll be crying to quit in a few days. Instead, you want to find workouts that you will enjoy and will help ease you into your fitness. You also want workouts that will help strengthen your body and burn calories, but not in a stressful way. Additionally, if you suffer from some type of injury, or body issue, you want to start your body transformation with a lower impact workout.

For those of you working out at home, there are a number of programs on the market that will keep you moving from 20 to 30 minutes, and slowly ease you into longer routines. To help you narrow down your search, I’m going to share five fun workouts that will keep you moving and motivated to come back for more.

#1 Zumba

Photo provided by Zumba.com

Okay, first and foremost, Zumba is my favorite workout routine of all time, which is why it’s my number one. For beginners, there are fun routines that slowly build over time as you grow and strengthen. Over the years, I have invested in all the programs, and I can tell you that I never get bored, even now that I’m at an advanced level. I always find time to fit Zumba in my schedule, especially on the days when I lack motivation to work out. The music and trainers of all backgrounds and sizes will motivate you to shake those hips and shimmy those shoulders.

Some people tell me, “But I can’t dance!”

That doesn’t matter, which is why this program works. In the privacy of your home, there’s no reason to hold back. Do your best to follow along, and don’t think about the movements or what you look like. Just let go and let flow.

For beginners, I suggest the Zumba Exhilarate. There are a few DVDs that help you ease into the program. From there, then I suggest advancing into the more focused programs of Zumba Incredible Results, or the more focused programs offered like Incredible Slim Down 5 and Tone Up 5 DVD. For XBOX and Wii Users, there are also Zumba programs that work with with those game consoles. You can get Zumba Exhilarate DVD packages for $40 or $50.

There’s also Zumba Gold Live it Up for people in their 50s or older, which is a great way to help keep that age group in shape as well.

The only downside to these workouts is not all of them have warm-up or cool down routines included in the workouts. Instead, you have to follow the suggestions outlined in the fitness books provided by Zumba. With some of the more current videos, however, that has changed.

For more details, click here.

#2 Country Heat

Photo provided by Team Beachbody.com

My favorite website I use is teambeachbody.com. This website offers so many different workouts for people of different fitness levels, and one of the fun workouts that will help you find your fitness and keep you moving and grooving is Country Heat.

This is a newer release low-impact dance workout, but after trying it out once, it’s now one of my favorites as well. Like Zumba, it starts out light, and as you strengthen and grow, you can kick up the heat. Most of the workouts are 30 minutes, and for people who love country music and dancing, you’ll feel like your two-stepping rather than exercising.

I particularly like how the trainer, Autumn Calabrese, breaks down all the moves for each routine; and once you learn them, you get to put them into action with the rest of the class–well on your television that is. There’s no stress, and she warms you up and cools you down.

Overall, there are 13 routines to get through. For approximately $60, you can get the Country Heat basic package, which also includes portion-control containers, a calendar that maps your routine, a Shakeology Shaker cup, and an eating plan. Of course, you can always upgrade to larger packages as well for a little more money.

For more on Country Heat, click here.

#3 PiYo

Photo provided by Team Beachbody.com

To step away from the dance workouts for a moment (Don’t worry; I’ll get back to them.), one workout that strengthens you in a fun and relaxing way is PiYo. This low-impact workout will have you feeling leaner, longer, and stronger in no time. Plus, you work your flexibility in a way that will help build your strength to move on to the higher impact workouts.

Chalene Johnson is another of my favorite trainers. I use all her programs, including Turbo Jam and Chalene Extreme. Her PiYo workouts range anywhere from 20 – 45 minutes, and they work out every muscle in your body. For most of those workouts, all you need is a mat and no shoes. Overall, this workout combines Pilates and Yoga with low-impact cardio.

The only frustration you might feel with this program is your lack of flexibility in the beginning. However, Chalene is one of the best motivators to keep you moving and coming back for more. It’s amazing how fast you’ll find yourself stretching farther and engaging your body in some interesting ways. I find it also does wonders for my injured left leg. The stretching of the muscles and movements of these routines help with mobility and stamina.

Right now, for Team Beachbody Members, PiYo is on sale at 10 percent off for $59.85. You get seven workouts, tools for success, and more. For information on this program, click here.

#4 Figure 8 Fitness

Photo provided by Figure8 Fitness.

Recently, I invested in Figure 8 Fitness and immediately fell in love. If you haven’t noticed, I’m big on dance workout routines, especially because of my bum leg. Granted, I’m now at an advanced fitness level, but on days when I’m hurting, dance workouts help keep me moving.

Fitness 8 combines ballroom dancing with cardio in a fun and unique way. Jaana Kunitz is very intense in her motivation. In some chatroom forums, however, I read some complaints about her screaming and yelling during the routines, but she’s simply trying to motivate. I find her energy contagious.

The great thing about this program is, for about $47, you have access to the online programs, or you can pay an additional $9.99 for the videos as well. There are two different ways to use the videos. Because some beginners may find the routines a little difficult, Jaana offers shorter segment workouts to help people build their fitness level. Whether you’re working out for 20 minutes or 50, your abs are constantly moving and tightening, so expect to feel that burn.

For more on Figure 8, click here.

#5 Cize

Photo provided by Team Beachbody.com

When it comes to Shaun T, he is the master of dance exercise. Whether you’re using Hip Hob Abs, or his newest dance routine CIZE, another of my favorites, you feel like you should be on the dance floor, and not on your living room floor.

This workout is like Zumba. It doesn’t matter if you’re not the best dancer. Shaun T will walk you through every routine, and repeat them over and over until you’re dancing like a star. When I get on some of the chat forums through teambeachbody.com, I find that people of all backgrounds, ages, and fitness levels love CIZE.

Granted, this program has a more hip hop urban feel to it, but you can go from beginner to dance star in a short time if you stick with it.

Also, what’s great about all these workouts is there’s one person who modifies the program. That way if you’re not feeling strong enough, or on track quite yet, you can follow that person to keep things even more low-impact. Then, when you’re feeling stronger, you pick up the pace.

The CIZE program is roughly $60, and comes with several tools for success like a meal planner, portion-control containers, a workout calendar, and more. For details, click here.

This Week’s Fitness Giveaway

Photo/Brandy Ramirez

As promised in my last post, I am giving away a fitness tool every week to help you stay on track. I’ve been lucky to invest in the fitness programs and machines that I have, but I know how expensive things can get; so I want to help.

With that being said, for this week, I will be giving away the Beachbody 3-Day Refresh system, which is a $69.95 value through teambeachbody.com. This 3-day system will help you reset your body by cleaning out all the toxins. It will also help you jump start your weight loss. People have lost over 10 pounds while using this system, and it’s a natural way to reset your body and fill it with healthy alternatives. Because you will need Shakeology to help get you through these three days, I will also throw in the number of packets you’ll need.

However, in order to win this, you have to prove to me how serious you are about losing weight and changing your life. What I would like you to do is put together a short video, no longer than 5 minutes, and explain why you are the person who will benefit most from this system, and how it will help you with your weight-loss journey. You will then post your video to my Facebook page here, or on my Twitter page here, or on Instagram and hashtag brandyraeram.

I will accept entries through Monday, Jan. 9, and announce the winner next Tuesday on social media. So make sure to follow me on my pages.

Good luck, and let me know how these programs work out for you!

Prepping for 2017: Things You’ll Need to Transform Your Body

As I stated in my editorial this week for San Angelo LIVE! (read here), many people who are planning to lose weight starting with the new year will more than likely lose steam within the first weeks or months. This happens because they’re not ready for a life change. For those of you, however, who are ready and willing to make that life change and commit to it, there are a few tools you’ll want to invest in to help transform your body.

Please note: I am by no means a fitness trainer, nor am I a health professional, so please be sure to speak with your doctor before starting any program, or using any fitness enhancements. However, I have spent a lot of years researching weight loss, and have experienced personal failures and successes during my own weight loss journey. The information I offer on this site comes from experts and people I trust with my own health and fitness.

With that being said, for 2017, I have my own goals. Not only will I resume this blog to share my creative works, thoughts, and ideas, but I also hope to help those who want to change their health. Losing weight is hard work, and it can be frustrating. So frustrating that you’ll want to give up along the way. It’s my hope to keep you from doing that. Although I have met my own weight loss goal, staying fit is ongoing. I also have a body fat goal I’m trying to meet, so I’ll be working right along with you.

Therefore, to help you prepare for the start of your health transformation, here’s what you’ll need to start. 

Get a Fitness Journal

One important tool to get you on the path to fitness is a fitness journal. This will help you track your daily food schedule, calorie intake, calories burned, and fitness schedule. It’s a great way to plan and stay on track as well.

I actually use two journals: an online one and a small notebook version.

For the online journal, I prefer MyFitnessPal. It’s free to sign up for an account. This invaluable tool, once you input your personal information like weight, height, and set your goals, will tell you how many calories you need to maintain in order to lose weight. It will also help you track your daily exercise, food intake, and how many calories you burned working out.

This site also helps you keep track of your body measurements and weight, and will keep track of how much you’re losing along the way. You can pair up fitness trackers and other apps to sync with your MyFitnessPal account, and that will help eliminate having to manually enter some information.

Overall, your goal is to lose 1 -3 pounds a week, and this site will definitely help you monitor that.

The manual journal I use is the FitBook (see here). This journal can be found at Target or online. What I love about this journal is you can write out your food schedule, keep track of your daily exercise, fitness logs, body measurements, and it prompts you to react to your weight loss journey along the way. It’s also a great place to rant about what you did well and what you need to work on the next week.

The FitBook is a great tool to journal your weight-loss journey.

Keeping a journal is important overall because it prompts you to take responsibility for your daily actions. You’ll know if you ate too much, or too little. You’ll also know if you need to step up your fitness, and you can also use the online tool to interact with friends and other people on the same path as you.

Get a Fitness Tracker

There are tons of fitness trackers out there. Some track a lot of things, and some track only the basic things. Whatever the case, however, trackers are a great way to monitor your fitness levels.

My personal favorite is Fitbit. I started out originally with a Fitbit Charge and recently upgraded to a Fitbit Blaze. These fitness trackers are excellent. You can use the app as your online journal, or you can sync it to your MyFitnessPal account. The Fitbit keeps track of steps taken, flights of stairs climbed, sleep patterns, heart rate, and of course calories burned while resting and working out.

I also have an iWatch, and it too offers a lot in the health arena. I’m actually about to upgrade to the iWatch Series 2 Nike Run. The activity app on the watch does the same as the Fitbit. It keeps track of your heart rate, calories burned, miles walked, etc.

Overall, both are excellent tools.

Invest in a Program or Gym Membership

This preparation is important because, if you choose the wrong method of working out, you’ll definitely fail. Many people think they’ll be motivated to work out if they have a gym membership, but that’s not always true. You have to be a gym person, and most people don’t know whether they are or not starting out.

Here’s how I figured it out. First, I have a very busy schedule, so taking time to dress and drive to a gym, work out, and then drive home takes more time than I have in my schedule. It’s easier to change, workout, and move on from home. I also found that I’m easily distracted when I go to the gym. I always worried about what I looked like and what other people were doing. That kept me from focusing on my workouts. At home, there can still be distractions, but that’s where I feel most comfortable and focused; I can go to another room to get away from those distractions. I also go biking or running when I want to get out of the house.

Additionally, I like solitude when I work out. This also helps with my focus. Some people, however, don’t like to workout alone. But if you’re like me with the busy schedule and easily distracted, there are people willing to work out with you at home too. You don’t need to go to a gym to find workout partners. But if you want access to a lot of workout equipment, need a partner to go with, don’t get distracted easily, and don’t mind working out around other people, the gym is a good option.

For those of you, however, who prefer to workout from home, there are great sites that give you access to many workouts for all fitness levels. I personally use Beach Body on Demand, Les Mills, and Daily Burn.

Invest in a Scale and Measurement Tape

To also help you keep track of your fitness, investing in a good scale and measurement tape is important. There are so many scales out there now that can do so much. With that being said, I suggest investing in a scale that not only monitors your weight, but also your body fat, water, and BMI.

I use the Fitbit scale, but that one is a little pricier. There are some scales that offer similar functions, and don’t cost as much. However, I do enjoy the Fitbit because it syncs with my apps.

When you start your journey, you’ll want to make sure to get your weight, measure your hips, waist, thigh, upper arms, and chest. If you use the Fitbook, you’ll be prompted weekly to measure these things. I will warn you though not to step on the scale more than once a week. Also, make sure to do it in the morning before you eat and without clothes on. That will give you the most accurate weight.

People who step on the scale non-stop and throughout the day will lose focus and become disheartened, so make sure not to fall into that trap.

Plan Out Your Meals for the Week

Keeping a food diary is important, and so is planning out your meals for the week. If you’re planning on doing things the right way, you’ll be eating five to six meals a day. The portions of those meals will depend on your starting weight versus your height and age. The MyFitnessPal app will help you determine the amount of calories you need to intake every day to burn them.

Many people believe they have to cut out carbs or protein, but by doing so, they’re starving their bodies from important nutritional value. The goal to losing weight is not how little you eat, but how well you portion your proteins, carbs, veggies, fruits, fats, and grains.

I chose to follow the Body for Life program because it’s the most common approach to weight loss the experts use. In fact, that is the the science behind Nutrisystem, which has helped many people lose weight. The only difference though is you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars for that information. Visit www.bodyforlife.com for more details and tools. It will even give you a guide for your first week’s meals, and you can find recipes. I will also be providing some meal tips along the way.

Share Your Success

Because I have had such amazing success losing weight, and feel the strongest and healthiest I have ever felt at 41, I want to witness the same for others. Making a health change, as I’ve stated, is not easy, and there will be times you’ll falter. You may eat something you shouldn’t, or even miss a workout. However, you want to keep going, and there are people, including me, who can help keep you motivated.

In fact, beginning next week, I plan on doing just that. I have several tools that have helped me with my weight loss success, and I would like to share them with those of you who are truly serious about changing your lives. So keep an eye out for my weekly posts because I will be giving away a bunch of goodies to deserving people willing to show how hard they’re working to change their health. Let’s just say those goodies include Shakeology (protein shakes), 3-Day Refresh (to help kick start your weight loss), and an Apple Watch Series 1. Because I just upgraded to a Series 2, I have my current one to give to a lucky person. This watch isn’t even a year old and comes with all its original pieces. I’ll even replace the original bands on it.

To find out how to win these things, you’ll have to follow my blog, keep track of your fitness, put in the work to change your life for the better, and share your failures and successes.

Let’s get started!