Last time, I promised to give you a list of tools you would need to get started on your weight-loss adventure. I hope you didn’t run out to Lowe’s. The tools you need will not cost any money, and you may have some of what is needed already.
Weight loss is not easy, and you may be tempted to take the easy way out. There are a number of pills on the market that promise instant weight loss. They are expensive, but worth every penny, as the celebrity they have hired to push their product will tell you. You will see all kinds of people, from all walks of life raving about how this product has helped them. Don’t believe a word of it. I’ve tried the green coffee beans, Garcinia Cambogia, and the Raspberry Ketone. Don’t be sucked in with new breakthroughs like TestX180. Their advertisements sound good but not one of them work and they can cost you hundreds of dollars. The only proven weight reducing plan is diet and exercise. This may mean changing your life style significantly. It will take hard work, so the first tool you will need is commitment. Make up your mind that this is what you want, and nothing will stand in your way.
Assuming commitment is not a problem, the next requirement is will power. A lot of people don’t have will power, but I think it can be developed. Will power is really brain power. It gives you the ability to push beyond what you thought you could do. That one more sit-up, that extra mile, that extra whatever it takes to complete your goals. It is also, saying no to that piece of cake, or maybe convincing yourself that you like salads a lot better now.
If you think you may have trouble with commitment and will power, try this. Stand in front of a full length mirror in the nude. If you like what you see, then there’s no need to fix what’s not broke. If you don’t like what you see, it’s time to get angry; get angry with yourself for allowing you to get the way you are. When you’re angry it’s easier to take action. Be your own worst critic.
Increase your knowledge about your new life style. Use books and the internet to get the real facts about how things work. You can also use the internet to research food information like calorie counts, or grams of protein contained in certain foods, and let’s not forget low calorie recipes. You will need to come to an understanding about the foods you eat.
So commitment, will power, and knowledge are the tools you need to get started. Human beings are habitual by nature. I’m not talking about drugs or alcohol, though they are certainly habit forming, I’m speaking in general terms. Why do parents scold their children? The obvious reason is for correction, but the under-laying reason is to help them form good habits. Remember what you had to do to learn the multiplication tables in school? For weeks you were badgered trying to commit them to memory. Pick up your toys, brush your teeth, are typical good habits we want to teach our kids. But if you think about it just about everything we do involves a habit we have developed over the span of our lives. Things like “Stop on red,” or “Use your turn signals” start out as a rule then quickly become habits that we no longer really think about. Now we have to develop habits that will help us to make good decisions about our health, and well being. Habits, good and bad are built though repetition. At first, they may be hard then soon you are doing them without any thought. We need to develop good habits about diet and exercise, but first you will have to find food, a doctor, and a gym.
Food: I’ve already told you that low fat, sugar, and calorie content is a must. You should also look for foods that will give you enough protein (your doctor can help you with that). A lot of plans offer food as a part of their program, but you should be able to find what you are looking for in your local supermarket; I did. Brand names like Smart Ones, Lean Cuisine, and Healthy Choice are all good. They offer everything you are looking for and give you variety. “Variety is the spice of life”, as they say, so always be on the lookout for different foods. I never buy any of these products that have more than 270 calories. As I told you earlier, my limit is 350 calories and I love yogurt. The yogurt I buy is Dannan Lite and Fit. It’s a good fruity pudding like desert with 80 calories and a significant amount of protein. But be careful, I found 2 different yogurts with that same brand name and calorie count but had different protein content. Protein is good for you, but there’s a limit your doctor will establish. Yogurt is also loaded with cultures that are beneficial to your stomach and digestive tract. I also found that the same foods from different manufactures can have different calorie counts and protein amounts. Find a brand that meets your needs and stick with it. I’m permitted all the fruit and vegetables I want, so I have a salad with my dinner. For breakfast there’s oat meal, cream of wheat, or any of a number of cold cereals, but watch out for the sugar. I have found that Kellogs Special K with protein is a good choice for a cold cereal. Get in the habit of reading food labels; they will help you make wise choices. I stopped buying shakes and nutrition bars from my doctor. I found others I liked better at Sam’s Club. I needed to increase my protein intake. I wasn’t used to eating all that much during the day, so I substituted lunch for a high protein shake, and that has worked out well for me. Once you have an idea of what you are doing you can tweak you own diet here and there to suit yourself. For a snack between lunch and dinner I eat a nutrition bar. They are 170 calories and have 15 grams of protein. At night I like Slim Jims. Two are only 80 calories and 3.5 grams of protein. If you take the time to look around, you will find things that you like, and that want be a problem for you.
Doctors: When I need a doctor I always start with a recommendation from my primary care physician. If you need to find a doctor on your own, there are loads of them in the yellow pages of your phone book. After you decide on one to try, here are some things I think you should look for:
1. If the waiting room has a number of patients waiting to see the doctor it could be a good sign. If others think he’s good, maybe you will too.
2. Take a good look at the office. Is it well staffed? Is it clean and in good order. These are things that you would notice in a successful doctor’s office.
3. Does the doctor take time with you, or do you get the feeling he’s trying to give you the “bum’s rush”?
4. Does he answer your questions elaborately, or does he give you short yes or no answers?
5. Do you feel comfortable talking to him, or do you have the feeling you can’t wait to get out of the office?
When you get home, if you didn’t do this before seeing him, look on the internet. Who is this doctor? Are there complaints against him? How do others rate his skills? Do other doctor’s concur with the advice he has given you?
All doctors are not cut from the same cloth. You need to have confidence in this person who will come to find out so much about you.
Gym: Before considering any Gym, go to your doctor for a complete check up including an EKG. If you are not in good health, exercise could do more harm than good. I’ve already told you about Planet Fitness and why I like it, but there are many of good gyms to choose from. Here are some things to consider:
1. Are they within your price range? Some gyms can be very expensive. Typically, the more they have to offer, the more they cost. Also watch for hidden costs, like bottled water, or the use of this or that.
2. Do their operating hours suit your schedule? A gym that is open 24/7 allows you to go whenever your schedule permits. If elements in your life change you will not find yourself faced with finding a new gym.
3. Is the gym clean, and stocked with enough apparatus to suit your needs? You don’t want to be sitting or laying in filth, or continually waiting for someone else to get done their exercises.
4. Is the staff friendly, and do they try to help you? Do they answer your questions, and show you how things work?
Here are some things I learned about exercising that you might find helpful.
1. If you are in your final set, and doing the last couple of repetitions, and you have to push harder to finish then you are probably using the correct weight. If you don’t have to push yourself a little harder at the end, wait until the next time you come. If it’s still easy, it’s time to increase your weight. You are different every time come to the gym. One time an exercise will be hard, and the next time it may be easier. Your frame of mind, how much sleep you got, or just how you happen to feel are all factors.
2. Rest between sets: this gives your body a chance to prepare for what’s left to come. If you rest more than 2 minutes between sets you will not get the full benefit of the exercise.
3. While exercising it’s normal to feel a little burning in your muscles, but if you feel a sharp pain, stop immediately. You can try again the next time you come, but if you get the same result, see your doctor.
4. Once you start a set don’t stop until the set is complete.
5. Don’t be influenced by other people. The person beside you might be 20 years your senior and he’s using 100 pounds. That don’t mean you should be using 120 pounds. He could be in better health than you; he might have been working out all his life. Do what you can do. Trying to “keep up with the Jones’s”, will get you hurt.
6. Always seek help and guidance from trusted sources.
Now you have about all you will need. The next time I want to take you through some of the things that I found useful.