Monday, August 20, 2012

Fitness/Weight Loss Q&A

-30 pounds before & after (as of the time of posting I've lost just over 40lbs.)
 Hi guys!

A couple weeks ago I invited you all to ask me any questions that have to do with fitness and weight loss, and here they are!  Before I start, I feel the need to say that I'm neither a professional dietitian nor a personal trainer, but I'm willing to share what worked for me because my approach is very positive, healthy, and effective (if I do say so myself).  I think what I've done can totally work for most people provided they're willing to work hard, and they don't have any health issues that affect their weight.

Most importantly, I want to encourage everyone who wants to make a change in their lifestyle and to let them know that it can be done, because really, if I can do it, anyone can.  Even if you feel like you have a long way to go, the hardest part honestly is the beginning.  Once you have committed to living healthier and you take that first step, the road will get smoother.

Hope you'll find this helpful and feel free to ask me more questions here, via email, Facebook, or Twitter!

Here are your questions:

How did you do it?  What are your special tricks?
I accomplished this doing the exact same thing that 90%* of "successful weight losers" have done - I ate healthy food and exercised.  Boring, I know, but it's the only thing that works and will make you healthier - because that really should be the goal, and not a certain weight or dress size.  Anything else - any exercise machines, miracle shakes, supplements, etc., especially if they tout dramatic results in a short period of time - are almost always just fads/gimmicks and either won't work OR won't produce sustainable results. 

My special tips/tricks?
*never let yourself go hungry! (The trick is to fill up on healthy foods.)
*don't make any changes that are unsustainable, because if you ever feel deprived or sorry for yourself, even if you achieve results, they won't be long term
*take baby steps - make one small change at a time
*exercise AND eat healthy - don't try to lose weight just by doing one thing because it only goes so far, you'll achieve results more slowly, and doing both synergistically will really boost your well-being
*I highly recommend a cheat meal a week because that way you'll still get to eat your favourite foods and it will help stave off plateaux
*however, I wouldn't recommend a whole cheat day, because a lot of damage can be done in a day, depending on your personality
*find healthy foods that you like to eat; no, it won't be like eating junk food all the time but it'll be satisfying in a different way
*be committed to your goals & be prepared to work hard for it

Do you eat carbs?
Yes, I do!  I love carbs!  Let me tell you something: not eating carbs isn't a real thing, because all produce - all fruits and veggies - are carbs with fiber.  What "low carb diets" actually encourage people to do is cut out excess sugars and refined carbs, which turn into sugar and are easily converted to fat in the body.   It's important to have carbs, protein, AND fat in your diet, although the ratio/percentages are up to the person.  Me, I've heard everywhere that it should be 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat, but on a good day I'll end up with about 50% carbs, 25% protein and 25% fat.  Most of my days though, are quite carb-heavy.  Some people are carb-sensitive so they really can only consume a very, very tiny amount each day in order to lose weight successfully, but most people don't have that problem, and carbs don't "make you fat".  That's a myth.

Do you keep track of calories?
I do, though not religiously or every day.  Counting calories at the beginning is very useful in teaching you how to nourish your body.  I think I might have mentioned it somewhere before that I use the Calorie Count website.  What I like about the site is that it's got a great food database, it keeps track of nutritional intake in addition to calories so that you can learn to eat better quality foods, there are lots of good tools to show you how much energy you use every day vs. how much you should be eating to ensure that you're burning more calories than you consume, and the forums really promote healthy habits instead of crash or fad dieting.  The longer I've been doing this though, I find the more I just eat intuitively because I've developed a better sense of what's good for me and how much food I need.  But it's a fantastic tool for educating yourself.

But please don't ever eat below your BMR (basal metabolic rate, which is how much energy your body needs to just keep you alive if you were to lie in bed unmoving all day).  There's a general rule that women should never eat below 1200cals/day and men 1500cals/day, but even then, that's very low!  Don't go that low unless you're totally bedridden!

How much do you weigh, if you don't mind me asking?
I have to say - I do mind!  I might let you know after I've reached all my fitness goals, though. ;P

You lost 30 pounds before - what happened?
I gained it back and more because a) the changes I made before weren't sustainable; b) I lost weight to distract myself from my broken heart, and successful weight loss really needs to center around a positive attitude; c) the techniques I used weren't the best (e.g. I used the same exercise tape every day for about 6 months, I was a huge victim of those 100-calorie packs of junk food, etc.); and d) I moved back to Canada to my very sedentary, car-driving, suburb-living lifestyle.

This time, my technique's much more refined, I've made healthier, more sustainable changes in my life, and my attitude is much better so I've surpassed what I accomplished last time - therefore I can keep it up. :)

What kind of exercise do you do?
Please check out my post on that here!

If you could switch bodies with any celebrity, who would you choose?
Short answer: Katy Perry, Sofia Vergara, or Halle Berry - see a patttern? :P Or maybe Adriana Lima or Bar Rafaeli, because I'd like to know what it's like to be that tall, but I'd still like to have boobs.  Jennifer Lawrence also deserves an honourable mention because I'd totally give up a cup size or two for a teeny little waist and a juicy booty.  I have a bit of a butt complex, and wouldn't mind seeing what it's like to be pear-shaped for a day.

Long answer: We're all born with one body so we should take care of it and be as healthy as we can be, we can't switch bodies so there's no point thinking about it, blah blah blah.

*How did the other 10% do it?  Via fad diets, crash diets, surgery (which in some cases is necessary), other gimmicks (which aren't sustainable/healthy methods) and/or eating disorders.

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