Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Healthy Habits Challenge: January Weight Loss, Part 1

We're excited to introduce a new series on Pass the Fresh. With it being the New Year and all, resolutions are a "hot" item. Instead of setting yearly goals and talking about them throughout the year, we are going to set a monthly goal, or challenge, to work towards over the 30ish days in the given month. We are calling it the Healthy Habits Challenge and they will will focus on three things-- food, fitness and family. During these challenges, we encourage you to participate if you're so inclined and the monthly challenge is something you'd like to work towards as well. We'll be using the comments as a way to rally together and help each other succeed. So leave your questions, your feedback, venting, or roadblocks that you'd like to discuss. We look forward to making 2014 the best year yet! We'll hand the floor over to Deb to kick off this month's challenge...

In the last 4 months, I've really cracked the whip on my workout schedule and eating habits. I've lost over 15 pounds and after three children, I'm proud to say that I'm lower in weight than I was before I had my first baby. It hasn't come without a lot of hard work and sacrifice, though. Every Wednesday this month, I'd like to share how I've lost weight, and how I'm still shedding. (I have about 7 more pounds I'd like to lose).

If losing weight is one of your goals for the year, join along with me. We can cheer each other on! I'll be sharing useful tips every week along with a weekly challenge at the bottom of each post. In the comments, I'd love to hear more about you and your goals with losing weight and hitting the gym. Also, if you have specific things you'd like to know over the coming weeks, ask me in the comments. I will say that I'm not a personal trainer, but I have been down this road so I am here for you!

Now let's rock 2014 like no tomorrow! This is our year!! And if you can tell by the socks below, I'm serious about this! :)

Just so you know my story, let me back up a little bit...  I've had about every scenario in the last 6 years. I've had 3 babies, we've lived in 3 different states, I've worked part-time, full-time, and now I don't "work" at all. I've been a part of every gym imaginable. I've worked out at home in the evenings, I've joined a box gym with no classes or childcare, a rec center with minimal childcare, and a local family-owned facility with classes and great childcare. After I've had each of my children, I've gone to the gym (or have worked out at home) in hopes that I'm able to get back to where I once was. Each time I've gotten close, but not nearly as close as I have this time. I want to share with you what has worked for me in hopes that it helps you with your weight loss goals.

Here are my 3 tips for you to focus on this week:
1. Commit to losing weight. This may sound silly, but you need to decide and commit to losing weight. If I ever hit a day that I don't want to go to the gym, or I don't want to fix a healthy meal, I tell myself, "This weight isn't going to lose itself." And it's true. It would be great if I could go back to my college days and eat an entire bucket of ice cream without any consequence, but here I am at age 34 and I have to work to keep my body strong and healthy. After I weaned baby #3, I decided I wanted to lose weight and hit that number that I've been trying to hit for years. I was going to stick to that goal.

Do whatever it takes to remind yourself of your goal. We all are motivated differently, and you probably know what works for you. Build your weight loss plan around that. Here are a few motivational ideas:
  • Hang sticky notes on your mirror with inspirational quotes.
  • Put a picture of yourself on the refrigerator.
  • Keep a list of go-to snacks so that when you're hungry you'll skip over the chocolate chips in your cupboard and go for some carrot sticks or yogurt instead.
  • Give yourself prizes for meeting goals along the way. Maybe you get a new pair of workout pants when you've gone to the gym 20 days in a month. Or maybe it's when you lose 10 pounds.
Figure out what you're motivated by and write up a workout plan. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate, but I would recommend at least three things.
  • Write down what weight you want to be.
  • How many pounds you want to lose a week (1-2 is recommended).
  • How often you are going to go to workout.
2. Pick a place to workout. We all have different schedules and needs so you can decide what is right for you. Do you want to workout in a gym or at home? If you'd like to workout in a gym, I've been a member of just about every type of gym out there. My advice is to figure out what is important to you in a gym and make sure you find the right fit. I promise you will be more motivated if you pick something that is exactly what you were looking for. Here are some examples of things you want to think about:
  • Do you want a pool? 
  • Do you want classes? If so, what kind? 
  • Do you require childcare? If so, how long per workout? Also, what ages are your children? Do they have an age limit? Is childcare an extra charge? Are the older children (i.e. 8+) in a separate room, like a game room?
  • Do they have the equipment you want? Free weights? Kettlebells? Ellipticals? Stair Climbers?
Check out gyms in your area at the time you'd normally workout to get the best feel for what it will really be like when you go. See if they offer a guest pass for a few days so you can give it a trial run to make sure you like it.

If you're working out at home, make sure you set aside an area specifically for working out. There are many home workouts that you can do with minimal equipment, but I would suggest investing in a cardio machine- like an octane, elliptical or treadmill. Running outside is also a great option as well as stairs to do workouts. If you're handy, there are many items you can build or use with minimal investment. I would also suggest investing in some hand weights. If you're just starting out, 5-6 lb. weights would be perfect or if you're an intermediate, go for 8-10 lb. You can usually buy these at Target for $10 each, or $20 for the pair.

 3. Set a workout schedule. If you can pick the same time to workout everyday, do it. If not, sit down and figure out a schedule that will work for your needs. If you set the intention that you are going to go workout, you are more likely to succeed.

If you're just starting out, pick 3-4 times a week that you can workout for 30-45 minutes. If you're intermediate, shoot for 4-5 days a week for 45-60 minutes. If you're ready to kick this into high gear, pick 5-6 times a week for 60-75 minutes. If you're curious what I did this time around, I picked 6 times a week to work out, knowing one of them probably wouldn't pan out due to life happening. I usually hit the gym 5 times a week for 75 minutes for each workout. Each workout, I mix up what I do to keep my body guessing. If I keep my body on its toes, I will not only burn more calories, but I strengthen my body in the process too. Next week, I'll focus on workouts a lot more so you have a catalog of workout ideas at your finger tips.

At this time, just focus on getting at least 30-45 minutes of cardio in. Do more if that's already what you're already doing. When it comes to losing weight, it's all about making your outtake more than your intake. Burning more calories is increasing that outtake. So the cardio must be bumped up! As much as I love Yoga and Barre, I don't count these as one of my 5 workouts right now. They can be done in addition to my 5 workouts, but that's it. Though they are great for strengthening the core and making a lean body, burning calories is where it's at for overall weight loss. In a 60 minute HIIT class, I burn 480-600 calories (plus it provides a 24 hour additional burn). With yoga, I burn about 200 calories in 60 minutes. So you can see why I choose the HIIT for now.

If you get bored on machines like I do, it's okay to machine hop. On my cardio-only days, I usually do something like 20 minutes on the octane (like an elliptical), 20 minutes on the treadmill and 10 minutes on the stair climber and in between each machine hop, I do 1 1/2 minutes on the Jacob's Ladder. If you're not sure what intensity to do for now, you need to be pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. That level will be different for everyone. If you're just starting out, walk on the treadmill for 30 solid minutes. You can bump up the incline to provide more resistance if you need a little bit more, but are not comfortable running yet. As promised, I will have great workout ideas for you next week. In the meantime, just get to the gym and be active. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below.

If you're joining me in this challenge, comment below so we can all keep tabs on each other. Use this post to ask questions, vent frustrations, or bounce ideas off each other. See you next Wednesday!

To keep following along, here are the other posts apart of this month's Weight Loss Challenge:
Part Two- Workout Routines 
Part Three-Tracking Calories, Reading Nutrition Labels, Quitting Soda, Curb Cravings 
Part Four- Portion Control, Meal Plans & Indulgence 


Anonymous said...

I would like to join your challenge. I will work out 3 times a week by either walking or doing a video for 30 minutes ea day.


Tammy said...

Hi Deb! I was just talking with my husband about wanting to lose weight...just 15 lbs. I have been working out some, but it got sporadic over the holidays, so now I need to get on track. This is the first time in my life I have had a weight loss goal, so we'll see if I can do it. I will try to follow your guidelines. I am planning to work out at the gym for 60 minutes two nights a week and at home 5-6 days a week for 30-45 minutes.
Thanks for your help!

Kori said...

Hi Deb! I have been waiting for my body to get a clue and lose weight, but it isn't working! I think it's time for me to get serious myself! I am going to try to find two times a week to hit the gym. The rest will be at home as well as running outside when it's not freezing out. My goal is to get up and exercise first thing--it has been a challenge with the dark, cold mornings of winter. Thanks for your inspiration!

Deb said...

Yay!! So happy to have you Sheila! What kind of videos will you be doing?

Deb said...

Hi Tammy! That's an amazing goal! So glad to have you as part of the challenge!

Deb said...

I hear you Kori! These dark mornings kill me! All I want to do is curl up in a blanket and stay warm. :) Why can't we just hitch a ride on your husband's bike rides and call that a workout. :) Make sure you are trying to schedule it into your day. I know you have a lot going on, but maybe even have the kiddos exercise with you for 30 minutes. Would that be possible? I suggest that, but I know it wouldn't be possible for me. It would end in 5 minutes with kids tackling and running all over me. So if it's not, that's okay. Maybe commit to sitting down every Sunday and planning your workout times for the week... maybe then you'll be more likely to stick to it...?? Just throwing ideas out there. So happy to have you joining the challenge!!

Sean McMahon said...

Hi Deb,

I am a teacher. I'm amazed at how we gain weight as teachers...I mean, I swear I'm on my feet all day long, but I've still put on weight since becoming a teacher.

It must be the stress. I have been researching about what exercise would be more effective and interesting for me and I found this informative infograph -
I think I will go for Swimming or Zumba classes.

Deb said...

This is such a great resource, Sean. Thanks for sharing!!


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