Monthly Archives: March 2012

Weight loss on a budget

Standard

Ooh, gurl, if I had a million dollars! I’d have a personal chef who would make me divine meals with hardly any calories and a personal trainer who would motivate me to move my butt…but I don’t. Which makes me wonder why Oprah isn’t the skinniest woman on the planet by now. Well, there’s your proof. Money doesn’t buy weight loss. I can spend money on myself for clothes, but when it comes to weight loss, I am a penny pincher. After all, it should cost LESS to eat less and walking is FREE so why would I pay money to lose weight?

 

There are things that I have spent money on in the battle of the bulge. So have you. Pills and supplements, workout gear and equipment, gym memberships, personal trainer sessions, diet foods, exercise DVDs and protein shakes are just some of these. See tip #21 in my Top 25 Weight Loss Tips; everyone is trying to lose weight and everyone else is trying to make money off of them! There is no magic pill. There just isn’t. My doctor has said it; “diet and exercise” is really the healthiest way to do it. And honestly, it’s the cheapest too! But no one wants to hear that. We want to hear that this one thing that was just discovered is the new cure for fat.

 

So weight loss for free can be yours if you act now! Literally, act now. Get up and move. Move during commercials, take the dog for a walk, do pushups against the counter by the microwave, do leg lifts while brushing your teeth, suck in your belly, lift soup cans for weights, walk a few laps around the grocery store, park further away, take the stairs, fidget in your chair, do jumping jacks, run or flex your arms and pose like Arnold! These are totally free (except for the soup cans and sneakers) and burn calories. Use your own body weight for resistance with squats, lunges, sit-ups, pushups, and pull-ups on monkey bars. Stretching is free too.

 

Playing sports usually requires equipment, which means money spent. Unless you know that you already like the sport, try renting equipment before you buy or buy second hand if you must own your equipment.

 

Now a DVD on the other hand is a good investment in my book. You spend $20 or less and get eternal use out of it. Once you learn the moves, you can do it anywhere, even without the DVD. Find some friends who have some DVDs that you might like and create a workout DVD library to borrow from. You will get bored with yours and they will too. Now you can mix it up and avoid spending money on that Zumba class since your friend has the DVD. And they can avoid buying the yoga DVD since they can borrow yours. If you have cheapskate weight loss tips to share, please share the wealth of your knowledge so we can all keep our pennies in our purses!

Visualize yourself thin

Standard

Although picturing yourself and how good you will look and feel in your skinny jeans once you lose the weight is helpful, that’s not what I’m referring to here. What I mean by visualizing yourself thin is to use your imagination to trick yourself out of those cravings for foods that will sabotage your weight loss.

A warning to the faint of stomach here. You may think that what I am about to describe is horrifyingly disgusting, so please skip this article if you are squeamish. I’ll have other tips for you later on.

I have a few foods that are my weaknesses. Ice cream movie popcorn, soda, and cookies are all pitfalls for me. They are comforting, desirable, and almost impossible to resist, especially if they present themselves to me. You can probably easily think of your own downfall foods. Maybe your list is huge, maybe it’s small. That’s not important. The important thing here is to be able to identify your own favorite high-calorie foods. These are the ones that if someone walked up to you with a plate of, you would inhale them without even a second thought. Give it a little thought and picture them now. Mmm, yummy, right?

Now that you know what those foods are, the second step in this technique requires some imagination. If you are a person who cringes and says “Eww!” when you hear someone talk about something gross, you are already there. No further work is needed. If that is you, skip ahead to the next paragraph. If you’re still reading, you need to work on your visualization techniques. Let’s try a sample visualization. Picture a cockroach crawling across the counter in the kitchen. Now picture it stopping and let’s look in detail at it. Zoom in. Can you see it’s feelers twitching? The little hairs on it’s legs? The darker shell and teeny little black eyes? Maybe there’s some crumbs or sticky substance on its’ legs. Is it making some little noises as its’ legs touch the surface of the counter? Does it smell like garbage? OK I think you get it so let’s move on.

We are going to use a technique that is similar to aversion therapy. You are going to learn to associate something gross with your favorite food. This will help you to learn to have control over the downfall foods. This works very well for me so I hope it’s a technique that you could use as well. Let’s say that you are on track with your weight loss and someone invites you out to a movie where you know that you will popcorn! You have great memories of movie popcorn and it is associated with fun and laughter as well as some delicious warm buttery calories. You would like to resist the popcorn in order to stay on track with your weight loss. Here comes the visualization.

Picture that a cockroach got into the movie popcorn overnight. It crawled all over the popcorn and feasted on it, even laid eggs somewhere in that movie popcorn trolley. I bet you don’t want any now, do you? You’re probably sick to your stomach and about to vomit at the though of eating that. Well, it worked!

Now, you have to learn to control this or you’ll never eat again so remember, before you thought of that cockroach, you would have eaten that popcorn and really, you made up the cockroach. It was never there at all. Movie theaters have measures to protect food and make sure that this isn’t likely. However, that cockroach can come back any time you need help avoiding your downfall foods so use him, with a little caution. Whatever works for you. Someone who made the food and didn’t wash their hands after picking their nose, vomit, etc. Whatever works to make you feel a need to avoid the food. We will need to learn moderation so that we can have small amounts of the foods we love in the future. But we aren’t ready for that yet.

My top 25 tips for weight loss

Standard

1)    Find a partner to challenge you, talk you down when you might overindulge or remind you of how good you’ll feel when you lose the weight

2)    When you have a craving or rush for the vending machine, try to think of something gross to prevent you from eating it (like cockroaches crawling over the food)

3)    Don’t carry any spare change or small bills in your wallet so you can’t get something from the vending machine

4)    Find a substitute that is almost as good as the real thing. Like frozen yogurt for ice cream

5)    Don’t check the scale daily. Your weight can change a lot from day to day. Try once a week or every few days.

6)    Exercise: find it where you can! Do glute squeezes at your desk or in the car, leg lifts while brushing your teeth and squats while waiting for the microwave

7)    Keep a food journal so you can see how much you truly eat daily. Use a calorie count guide to see what your daily average is. Then try to reduce it by 200 cal or more per day

8)    Don’t be afraid to ask other people who you admire how they stay fit or how they’ve lost weight. You might get some good tips.

9)    Read or listen to “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think” by Brian Wansink, PhD

10)  Get your family/roommates to stop sabotaging you by bringing temptation into the house. Tell them that you’re trying to lose weight and ask them top stop bringing home potato chips or other unhealthy snacks

11)  Find your motivator. Does fast music get you moving? Crank up the tunes! Does money motivate you? Place a bet with a friend.

12)  There’s no magic wand. Weight loss is hard work. Commit to it every day. It might be the hardest thing you’ve ever done but it will be worth it.

13)  Make rules and follow them. For example, I can eat one piece of chocolate when I get home from work today if I eat a healthy lunch

14)  If you can’t eliminate unhealthy food from the house, make it hard to get to. Put it in a sealed container in the back of the freezer under everything else and wrap it in aluminum foil so it is not visible

15)  Make healthy snacks plentiful and have a big variety of them around.

16)  Find a free online helper like Sparkpeople.com

17)  Get in a swimsuit and take your own “before” photo or have someone do it for you. Post it somewhere you’ll see it and be inspired to take action to be an “after”

18)  Watch inspiring TV like The Biggest Loser and do some exercises while you watch

19)  Trade/share workout DVDs with friends. You get tired of your routine after a while so try something different to keep it fresh

20)  If you hate exercise, find something you do like to do that gets you moving. If jogging isn’t your thing, try cycling, swimming, jazzercise or dancing.

21)  So many people want to lose weight and so many other people want to make money off of them. Don’t fall for product pitches for fast weight loss. There is no magic pill.

22)  Get educated. Read magazines or books on weight lifting, fitness, healthy living, nutrition, yoga, body building, etc.

23)  Don’t deny yourself anything. As soon as you tell yourself that you can’t have a food, you become obsessed with it. Instead, try to limit your intake of it to once every 2 weeks or only 3 bites of it.

24)  When you go to a restaurant, ask for a to-go box as soon as your food comes. Put half of your meal in the box before you even start eating.

25)   Try stickk.com “Put a contract out on yourself” Set a goal and set a $ amount that you have to pay if you don’t reach your goal.

Work fewer muscles for bigger weight loss results

Standard

If you’re like most women, we don’t want to “bulk up” so we avoid a lot of strength training, although we all want to be toned and lean. We have all heard that muscle burns calories faster and burning calories will help us lose weight. So it makes sense that we need to do some muscle work to get the lean figure that we want and to drop the weight.

I decided that if I focused on the biggest muscles in my body that I would get bigger results with my weight loss. Plus, these muscles tended to be the areas that I needed work with most: my butt, belly, and thighs.

 

Move your butt

Buttocks, gluteus maximus, tush, rear end, behind, bum, etc. These are two of the largest muscles in the body so strengthening them yields bigger calorie burn and bigger results with less effort. Try it now, squeeze your buttocks together while you sit and read this. Easy, right? You can do this all day long if you want to. I’ve had a very sedentary job most of my life and I love to eat. These tow things led to a lot of my weight gain. So burning calories while sitting made sense for me to be able to add activity into my day to help lose the weight.

 

Flat tummy

Abdominals, tummy, belly, stomach, abs, etc. The same thing goes for your abs. This is a large muscle group that you can work while sitting still and burn calories. Go ahead and suck in your stomach now. Now do it even deeper. You need to be able to breathe while doing this, don’t hold your breath. Now squeeze them until your stomach is being held in so tightly that you think you can touch your spine with your stomach. Can you feel the burn?

I would do this throughout the day and challenge myself to little contests. “Let’s see if I can hold in my stomach until the end of this song on the radio.” Then I discovered that I felt better results or a deeper “burn” when I held in my abs but released them in little pulses, pulling them in tighter after the release. So the 4 count of a song was “1, 2, 3, 4, release & tighten (in one beat) 2, 3, 4, release & tighten 2, 3, 4.” I could work out while I commuted or at my desk. It was a great way to add physical activity to an otherwise sedentary activity without needing any additional time to workout.

Eventually I bought an inflatable exercise or balance ball and started doing crunches at home in the living room. I loved the way it made my stomach hurt a little. The soreness was a reminder of my goal and losing the fat around my belly which always bothered me. Again, try it now, suck in your tummy. You can do it no matter where you are of what you’re doing. Bravo! You’re working out!

Once I had established this as a habit, it was easy to incorporate it into my daily life and I was adding exercise even without needing to get dressed and go to the gym, without needing time to shower and do my hair, and without sweating. Anyone can do this! I hope you have the results that you are looking for by adding this tip into your daily activity.