Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Tools

I like this new place, but I don't know how long I will be staying.  I'm hoping it will be permanent, but I do not trust myself, for I know my own weakness.  So I'm holding onto God who is faithful.  He is able to keep me in this place if I am willing to cooperate with Him and do my part.

I don't really have answers to weight loss.  There is no easy solution and no guarantee that tomorrow I will walk my own talk.  All I can do is share with you some habits which have produced results for me. Yet, these are only tools, which, in and of themselves, lack the power to motivate for change. In order for these tools to be effective, I have to pick them up, but then lean hard into the Lord for the strength to put them into action.   

I will be honest, it is a struggle.  Every day I fight.  But the more I train my body, the more practiced I become at making the right choices and it does get considerably easier.  But still, that does not mean I can relax and let down my guard, especially when it comes to food, for I am especially weak in that area.   

In my younger years, I could get away with eating anything.  I justified it knowing I could just run a few miles and keep a trim body.  But the older I get the more that balance is tipped the other way.  The right food matters just as much as the exercise.   That said, I've made some major changes in my diet, switching to only good fats (coconut and olive oil, fish, avacodo, walnuts/almonds) and to only complex carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes).  Protein is a building block rather than a fuel which is why I have a little with every meal and snack.

My favorite breakfast

My favorite snack
My favorite lunch or dinner.  About every 3 days, I switch to serious carbs. Then return back to this.

Refined sugar is still my biggest enemy and so I have gone off of it almost completely.  However, I still crave sweets and allow myself to have some now and then, but only with great caution since it is so addictive.  To solve this sweet tooth dilemma, I generally use Truvia instead.  It is derived from the leaf of stevia rather than chemicals and has zero calories. 

Besides the Mediterranean diet, I try to follow principles from a book called Trim Healthy Mama by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett.  Their theory is this.  Our bodies burn two kinds of fuel, fats and sugars.  (Carbs = sugars) The combination of these two fuels together is what puts on the pounds.  However, it does not mean I have to eliminate one or the other, but rather eat only one fuel source at a time leaving at least 3 hours before switching to the other.  To move back and forth from one fuel source to the other creates confusion in the body, resulting in weight loss.   I try to stick with this principle as much as possible, but I break the rules more often than I would like to admit. 

Along with my change in diet, I have also changed my method of exercise.  I used to run a slow jog for miles, but it never did anything to make me smaller.  The reason is that our muscles adapt to  continuous movement.  Furthermore, running only uses a few muscles in the body. If that is all I do, I have neglected to work other areas.  And so I've learned to mix things up to create muscle confusion.

One way I do that, is through some exercise dvds called Ten Minute Solutions published by Anchor Bay.  I do their 30 day, six day a week chart religiously, rarely missing a workout.

The program is designed to do 4-6, 10 minute sections a day.
I like this set of five dvds for several reasons.  First of all, it combines kick boxing, pilates, strength training (weights), cardio, and coordination, producing an all around fitness.  Secondly, they treat me with respect, not with a superior attitude or unrealistic expectations. Thirdly, I've repeated the cycle non stop for five months and still enjoy it.  That's saying something as I usually get bored with dvd workouts.  And lastly, I like to follow a chart.  They do the thinking for me so I don't have to figure out what I'm doing on what day.  I find great satisfaction in checking off each day, plus it records my progress. 
Seeking rapid results, I chose their 6 day/week program.  There is also a 3 day/week chart that is less intense.

Besides that, I try to get outdoors for some sunshine and cardio.  My favorites are hiking, biking, or running. (With running, I do sprint intervals and stadium stairs, never going more than three miles.)

Then I usually take a walk late evening with my husband.  This gives us a chance to talk and I hardly even realize we are exercising.    

All this exercise amounts to almost three hours a day.  You are probably wondering how on earth anyone has that much time to work out.  Most people don't and there were seasons of my life where I did not either.  Start small and build up to what your body needs.  But the key is to start.  Do something you love.  Enjoyment is the key to keeping a habit for life.  If I hate what I do, I will quit.  But it might take some suffering and discipline to work up to the place where it becomes an enjoyable activity.   If exercise is not your thing, it is possible to train yourself to like it.  An accountability system is helpful as well. 

A lot of people lose weight with no exercise at all, only dieting.  This has never worked for me.  I must have both factors incorporated into my daily life, especially as I get older.  

Often I spend time with friends while I exercise, but I am one who enjoys being alone as well.  I usually pray or memorize Scripture on my hikes or while running, and so it is not wasted time. I keep my memory work in a tiny composition book which fits in my pocket.  I take this with me wherever I go.  This helps to keep my mind fit as well. 

Whew!  Okay, that is my long answer to the question, "What is your secret to weight loss?"  It is no secret, just the same old fashioned diet and exercise answer.  I hope that satisfies the curious and will inspire others in their goals as well. 

"I can do all things through Him who gives me strength."  Phil. 4:13

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