I found there are 3 ‘secrets’ to weight loss: getting motivated, creating exercise habits, and counting calories.
To begin, you need some motivation for your weight loss project. Motivation will move mountains! Some people find themselves in the unfortunate situation of getting externally motivated. Such was the case of my best friend, who got palpitations and anxiety in a business trip in Vegas at the (not so tender) age of 36. He was alone in a hotel room, away from family and friends and got an anxiety attack. “I thought I was going to die” – he confessed later – “…away from my wife and kids, never to see them again…”. He immediately went to his doctor when he got back, and got the tests, probes and questions to find out what was wrong. His doctor told him “lose 40 pounds or you’ll only get worse, and will have heart problems by 40”. His wake up call had an immediate effect on me. I thought “Wow, I’m 4 years his elder and in much worse shape”. This strong experience moved me to find out what I could do to lose the extra weight I had gained during the last 10 years. So that’s step number one, get motivated. Look for a reason to lose weight. Find a constant reminder of what you have to lose if you don’t get your health back.
Creating Exercise Habits
Believe it or not, this is the easiest part of losing weight. I was at 212 pounds on a 5’7 frame when I started (172 now and still 5’7 ). I decided to walk on the treadmill one day and see how long I could go. After 15 minutes and half a mile I was panting, and sweating, but I liked it and was watching 1/3 of an episode of Dexter on my Ipad. I decided it was good enough for me. I started walking just 3 times a week for 15 minutes (seemed like a long time at first so don’t get discouraged if you are able to do very little at first). Not a huge commitment, but it got me started.
You will need to make just 3 decisions about your exercise regimen:
- Decide how many times per week you can work out (I recommend 3 or 4 at most) so that you keep your commitment, and how long to work out (15 – 20 minutes are ok to start). In a couple of months, your body will ask for more and your schedule and the length of your regimen can change for the better.
- Decide what exercise you will engage in (Dig deep for this one, since it needs to become ‘something you do’ rather than ‘something you have to do’). I suggest walking since it comes naturally and you can watch TV or an Ipad (Netflix is highly recommended) at the same time on a well placed treadmill. You can gradually add different exercises.
- Make a schedule you can keep. I recommend the morning for 2 reasons:
- My willpower has not been used up by my work, traffic or anything else.
- After a while, you get less hungry for breakfast and can have a small one.
So in summary, you need a little workout a few times a week to start. As long as you keep on keeping on you will succeed.
This one seems a little crazy at first, but read on and you’ll find you don’t need to actually do the math, just put up with the annoyance for a few weeks initially and then you’ll have a good grasp of high carb foods and how to avoid them.
You will need a little help for this one. You can use a free web application to track your meals (there are plenty of free membership sites that will allow you to count calories). It’s easy to do but it will take a little time to learn. Don’t get super detailed because it will take a long time to find the exact food item. You can generally get away with choosing the generic for each food item. For example, Famous Amos cookies are the same as any other chocolate chip cookie in terms of calories. Getting super specific won’t make any difference.