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.
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!