Monday, March 8, 2010

8 things about getting fit

At the start of this year I made a resolution to get into better shape. At that point I felt I was in decent shape, and I was exercising on a regular basis. What I did not know was how much fitter I actually could be. Near the end of January I found this helpful IPhone app called Lose It, and decided to put it to the test. Using the apps calorie counting features I was able to see how unhealthy my eating habits were and begin making serious headway towards my goals. I started the program weighing in at a healthy 208 pounds and now I am down to 188 pounds. Losing the weight has been an interesting learning experience. I have found out a wealth of information about what to eat, what not to eat, and also I learned a lot about myself. Instead of going into a lengthy description of all of my findings I have decided to just list some of the most poignant things I have learned.

1. Losing weight actually isn’t that hard. The struggle seems to be half mental and half physical. With the right motivation and determination, you will be surprised at the ease of which you can lose weight.

2. Losing weight is actually terribly difficult. Old habits die hard and temptation is a constant antagonist. Sometimes to allure and instant satisfaction of that sugary snack or piece of candy is simply too hard to resist. I personally love bread, sweets and salty snacks, all of which car ruin a day’s calorie count if not carefully monitored.

3. Counting Calories is the best method I have found. Increasing exercise is very useful in losing weight, but the biggest results are seen when control what you eat. Counting calories allows you to enjoy the foods you love but it also lets you know what the consequences are. Want to have a beer with dinner? Go right ahead, but don’t forget that it is adding an additional 150 calories to your meal. When you actually take a hard look at what you consume you will be amazed how easy it can be to change your eating habits.

4. Water, water and water. I have become a believer in the usefulness and power of water. Most Americans simply aren’t getting enough and it can have an impact on your efforts to get into shape. By increasing your water intake, you will find that you won’t be as hungry as often, and your body will retain less water, so you will weigh less. The easiest way to increase your water intake is to get a bottle which you can refill, and pledge to refill it several times each day. I personally use a nice 26 ounce bottle and it gets emptied and refilled at least 5 times every day. Sounds daunting, but it is actually very easy.

5. Sodium is terrible for you. Sodium is something which I find a lot of people tend to overlook when they pick out foods. Most processed foods, fast foods, or canned foods contain a large amount of sodium which most people don’t even give a second glance. Beyond the obvious health effects of sodium such as high blood pressure, it can also cause your body to retain water, which will increase the number when you step on the scales.

6. Being fit is very satisfying. The great thing about working out more and controlling your diet is that if you stick with it and don’t cut corners you can meet a lot of your own personal health goals. Over these few months I have found that I can now run much farther than I could before, and lift more weight.

7. Avoid fast food like the plague. Although it may be fast and easy the amount of sodium, saturated fat, and calories make choosing fast food a bad choice. If you have to eat fast food take a good look at the nutrition facts of what is on the menu so you can make informed choices. A grilled chicken sandwich may seem like a healthy alternative but once you look at the numbers you may find it to be just as bad as the burgers. My personal favorite if I do eat out is KFC’s 395 calorie meal, which includes two pieces of their grilled chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans. Pair that with a diet soda, and you have yourself a decent meal.

8. Losing weight and counting calories will make you annoying. Counting calories by its nature is a very obsessive practice and it is far from masculine. Despite the drawbacks the benefits are well worth it.

So tell me, what sort of weight loss tips and tricks do you all have?

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