Amy Culver - The Queen of Lean
January 14, 2011    

Creating a live-able plan

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Amy Culver

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Creating a live-able plan

So, here you are, the holidays are over and you're wondering how to get started on a weight loss plan.  It's tempting to go all out, eat very little, exercise a lot and get it all off in two months, right?

And you know that won't work any better now than it has in the past.  Your best bet, long term, is to create a live-able plan for yourself, a plan that you can truly live with.

The first question you need to ask is:  "Do I want to create a solid, healthy lifestyle for myself?"  I hope the answer is a resounding YES!

If this is the case, then you need to start right where you are and move forward at a comfortable pace.  Make small changes that add up and in just a couple of months you will be well on your way to a new, healthier you.

Let's start with exercise.  If you are currently sedentary, don't plan for an hour a day, five days a week.  Start with 20-30 minutes per day, three times a week.  Look for something you can enjoy, or at least tolerate.  I have a friend who recently tried a spinning class.  She called to tell me how much she hated it.  I was surprised and asked why.  It turns out she was pushing herself too hard.  I suggested that she mellow her pace a bit; work at a level of 6-8 on a scale of 10, staying closer to a 6 at first.  She tried it and called me back a week or so later to tell me that she now enjoyed the class a lot more. 

If you are already exercising but need to increase it a bit to get the weight loss moving, make one change at a time.  Use the F.I.T. formula:  Frequency – Intensity – Time.  Change only one at a time.  Frequency is how often you work out.  You can add one or two days a week, if there is room.  Intensity is how hard you work out.  Time is how long your workout sessions are.  If you are at 20-30 minutes, try adding 10-15 minutes to your workout time.

Regarding food, be careful about trying to restrict yourself too much.  The most important first step you can take is to start logging everything you eat.  This includes snacks and all of the "nibbles" you eat.  Most people have no idea how many calories they consume in a day.  Everything counts whether you count it or not.  Once you know how much you are consuming, you can make appropriate changes.  Remember, one pound is 3,500 calories.  If you are currently maintaining your weight, you can cut 500 calories per day and lose 1 pound per week.  That may not seem like much, but how does 52 pounds by next January sound?  I think most of us would be quite happy with that kind of success.

Take a look at what you are eating.  What can you eliminate?  How about some of the snacks and nibbles?  Can you cut back on some portions?  How about making some substitutions, such as low-fat for full-fat, or baked for fried?  If you try to remake your entire menu all at once, you will get overwhelmed.  Start with the foods you like and make them healthier with better ingredients.  Continue reworking and refining them over time and you will soon have a fantastic, healthy meal plan.

Remember:  don't turn your world upside down in a week.  That's not a plan you can stick to.  If you create a live-able plan, one step at a time, you will end up with something you can live with for the rest of your life.


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