I've been intending to do a six month follow-up post to this one, but I never got around to it. I guess seven months will have to do! It has indeed been a ride. I'm currently 31lbs down! Go me! Do the happy dance! Now, let's talk about how I did it: Lots and lots of cardio! In the past, I use to hate cardio. Well... let's clarify: I use to tell myself that I hate cardio. It was a mental thing. And one day it just clicked in my mind that if I wanted to burn fat and make the scale move backwards, then I was going to have to do some sort of cardio. I'm not a runner. I use to be, but I burned my knees and chins out on pounding on pavement. And I'm not one for the "dreadmill". So I choose the elliptical trainer to be my new best friend.
I know by now you're looking at the pictures and thinking 70 minutes on the elliptical? No way! How boring! But it's not. Not the way that I do it. I do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which involves jumping back and forth between relatively low and extremely high cardiovascular workouts. HIIT takes less time than traditional cardio workouts (even though I stretch mine), and provides the same, if not greater, results, such as raising your metabolic rate and increasing your excess post oxygen consumption. HIIT can be done on any machine that allows you to vary your speed or resistance, including an elliptical. I played with a lot of programs and then I created one that worked for me. And I've been asked often how I manage to burn so many calories within one session? Well, this is how! And I wear a Sportline pedometer which gives an accurate account of calories burned because it's keeping a real account of my actual heartrate since I'm not in constant contact with the elliptical machine. I find that when I do NOT engage the arms on the machine that I work my legs and core a lot harder and also raise my heartrate quicker.
Now, when I say I do HIIT, this isn't any of that have a conversation with your workout partner while they're on the next machine. Or flip through the latest issue of Vogue or InStyle. Or read the latest New York Times bestseller while on the elliptical. I move and I move fast! The only thing I can concentrate on is remembering to breath!
And I also do strengthtraining. I alternate days between upper and lower body. A lot of women feel that they may bulk up from lifting weights. Well, some do! I feel I needed to have a balance of fat-burning cardio mixed with strengthtraining to get me where I needed to be. Whether you do cardio on the elliptical, are a runner or a swimmer, your body NEEDS strengthtraining. I especially do as a woman over 40, because there are so many benefits to strengthtraining:
- You will burn more fat than by doing cardio alone.
- You will change the shape of your body.
- You will boost your metabolism by retaining or building more muscle.
- You will increase strength, becoming more functional.
- You will build strong bones and combat osteoporosis.
- You will improve joint stability and reduce the risk of injury.
Things I've learned:
You can NOT out exercise a poor diet. Healthy bodies are made in the kitchen and shaped in the gym! Let's go back to the title of this post about not referring to me as "dieting". I don't diet. If you want to diet, you go right ahead. But I needed to change the way I eat and exercise for life. I'm 44 years old, pretty much perimenopausal. I can't tolerate a lot of heavy, fatty foods. And working out 4-5 days a week is just a normal part of my life now. I see people saying things like they're going to fall off the wagon for whatever reason (i.e. the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday) and get back on. Enjoy and bon appétit! I'm not. I've worked too hard for a 4,500 calorie and 229 grams of fat meal in a single day! It's not that serious to me. And in January, I don't plan to add physical fitness to my New Year's resolution once again.
And going on a "diet" will only result in weight gain. Lowering your calorie intake excessively will only cause your body to go into starvation mode=slower metabolism. And all of that deprivation eating will piss you off and cause binge eating. I see and hear about this so much. And haven't you seen things that tell you that you can lose 30-40 lbs in a month?! That scares me. That's basically water weight and muscle tissue. I lost an average of 1-2 lbs a week.
What do I eat?
Whatever I want! As long as I stay within 1600-1800 calories a day! You know, within reason! I don't use meal planning... I just use common sense. I'm not about to go to Five Guys (Nothing against this company. Just an example of a bad choice for ME!) and order a bacon cheeseburger (920 calories) and fries (1474 calories)! I'm not crazy! Nor am I going on a juice or smoothie cleanse for a week either. I use the My Fitness Pal app to keep up with what I'm eating. Well, I used it for months. I don't use it as much nowadays. I know what I'm eating and how many calories are in things that I eat often. The only times I pull it out now is when I'm eating or planning something questionable.
Everyone should find something that works for them, but I just wanted to share what I do.