Okay, so Winter is here and it can be so uncomfortable to workout outside. This is the time of year, for multiple reasons, that many people put on an average of about 5 additional pounds! How much exercise do we need to be healthy? This will vary depending on your situation and goals. If you have put on a lil’ weight and have kind of let yourself go, don’t feel so down on yourself. There is hope! Just start doing something about it.
As a pharmacist and dance instructor by trade, I can go through all of the medical studies and tell you the obvious about diet and exercise, but instead, I would like to share with you what has worked for me. Although I am not a fitness expert, nor do I have a super buff body, I know a lot about nutrition, the body and maintaining a healthy weight in a hectic lifestyle. However, I have to admit that the older I get, the more creative I have to be to maintain a healthy weight. So, here are my top 5 tips about exercise, fitness and diet.
1. Know Your Goals & Make Them Realistic
Are you trying to maintain or lose weight? Are you trying to build muscle?
If you are wanting to maintain your weight, go for moderate aerobic exercise about 30 minutes a day, five days out of the week. You can watch my Taptutor vids…all 10 and have a great moderate workout while having fun!
If you want to lose weight, rev it up with a higher intensity workout and about an hour per day. I’m working up to those videos!
Of course when it comes to building muscle, literally, no pain– no gain. It takes a bit more commitment, but start slow with 2.5 pound dumb-bells and leg weights or resistance training, then work your way up to a more intense workout. The key is to add over a period of time so as to not burn yourself out. It will become more like YOUR lifestyle instead of forced.
2. Don’t Deprive Yourself
If you eat a sensible diet that is high in fiber (adults up to age 50 need 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men), you will eliminate regularly and take in the nutrients and vitamins you need, feel fuller and are less likely to crave the things that sabotage us. Water is most definitely important as well. Generally 2-3 Liters or more per day for adults and you may need more as you lose fluids with exercise.
Don’t deprive yourself of goodies. Let’s face it, if I see ice cream on my left and an apple on my right, I am going to most likely want the ice cream every time. We have to choose wisely depending on the time of day and how we have eaten during the day. DON’T eat the ice cream at 10 PM because we know it will just go straight to our gut and butt. I’m just sayin’. Have half of the typical serving size and if you are still not satisfied, go for the apple. Works for me almost 100% of the time (Almost). The times that I do “comfort eating” are getting less and less and when I know I have had a frustrating day, this seems to be a trigger. I’m learning to keep my guard up and anticipate my need to resort to foods that are either very sweet or salty such as chips.
3. Have a Workout Buddy and Support System
I have recently started working out with a few fabulous ladies and they have been a great support and keep me encouraged in meeting my goal to be more toned. It costs me no money, it’s so much more enjoyable than if I were to do the workout alone and I know if I start to get discouraged, I have someone to encourage me and not let me give in so easily.
4. Change your mindset of what you call exercise….be practical
- You can take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Walk to the store and back instead of driving (or ride your bike instead of driving)
- Wash your own car instead of going to the car wash.
- Get a 30 minute, daily house-cleaning routine to your favorite music. Dusting, mopping, sweeping and cleaning the windows can work up a sweat and be a good and unexpected cardio workout.
- Dance while you cook your favorite meal (make sure you actually finish your cooking….if you are like me, you may get a little carried away with those old line dances)
5. Make these changes for life
Don’t keep the things that sabotage you in your house. I know…..easier said than done. When you go to the grocery store, REFUSE to put more than 1 item that has been pre-packaged into your cart. I usually make my own desserts and my family has become used to not even checking the cabinet for a “snack”. They know that it is truly a treat to have a manufactured item from the store such as chips, cookies, cakes or other items. This makes us come out of the habit of eating just to be eating. When I make dessert, it forces me to think of what I am putting into it and questioning if it is the best thing for our bodies. Are we just eating out of habit….or are we really hungry?
Also, make it a goal to eat just 100 calories less per day and replace 10-20% of your fat intake with something high in fiber. It’s not much and it’s a good way to get started as a change to make for life. You can continue to increase your fiber, decrease the fat calories and decrease your calories as you see what works best for you.
Leave a comment and share your healthy tips for maintaining or losing weight and how you have changed your diet!
Disclaimer: As always, my articles are food for thought…no pun intended. Please consult your healthcare provider before making any dietary or exercise changes.