Wednesday, October 1, 2014

[drumroll] The Big Weight Loss Post

First things first (I'm the realist!), I'm not a doctor, nutritionist, therapist, or anything else that would qualify me to write what I'm about to write. Consult your doctor before trying any suggestions in this post.

I've lost about 35 pounds and maintained my weight for about 10 years. I haven't written about weight loss on The Z Beat yet because Zumba Fitness isn't primarily about weight loss. Sure, it can be a tool for losing weight, but it's a format that's good for everyone regardless of weight. It helps anyone of any size get and stay healthy.

That said, I know there are a lot of people out there who do want to lose a few (or many) pounds and I thought I would share what has worked in my own experience. I definitely struggle and my weight fluctuates from time to time. Please consider this post to be sharing among friends rather than "expert advice"!

Eat the right amount of the right stuff.
Duh, I know. But for someone like me, eating appropriate portions doesn't come naturally. It's like I don't get full the same way other people do! I've used Weight Watchers over the years to help ensure I eat the right amount, and it always works for me - no meetings, just following the plan basics on my own. I also recently learned that just because no food is off limits on WW (if you eat within your points) doesn't mean you should eat whatever you want. I work really hard to eat clean food, focusing primarily on vegetables, then on healthy protein (fish, chicken, turkey). I don't believe in cutting grains out of my diet because they are inherently bad, but I do find them addictive... a dinner roll or a little pasta just makes me want more. I do eat bread, pretzels, etc., but only when I feel I can eat an appropriate portion without being tempted to eat every carb in sight.

Rethink your drink.
For the most part, I only drink water and coffee (and wine and beer a couple times a week, of course). Drinking calories just seems like a waste. I also finally found an article that explains why diet soda is bad for you in a way that convinced me to mostly lay off the stuff. My secret weapon when it comes to drinks is Sassy Water, named after Dr. Sass of Prevention magazine (for real). The recipe is here, and basically by drinking water infused with spearmint, ginger, lemon, and cucumber, you can give your digestive system a gentle jump start. I think it really works.

Create a fitness goal that's tied to an event.
When I need to kick it up a notch in the exercise department, I sign up for something like a 5k (or a half marathon - what was I thinking?). It gives me a deadline by which I need to be in shape to complete the event. I'm too frugal to pay for something and not follow through with it, so knowing that I've already invested helps. The event can be a Zumba step master class, an obstacle course, or something else - anything for which you want to be in good shape tn order to fully participate.

Connect to others.
I almost don't want to say this out loud because it seems too good to be true, but I've lost a few pounds since I started The Z Beat and I haven't changed my approach to food or fitness at all. What IS different is my ability to stick to my plan (all of which is outlined above) and I really think its because I chat with so many of you on Facebook; follow fitness related things on Twitter; and spend time enjoying this little community we have on The Z Beat. My brain is more focused on supporting all of you and the support you provide to me - a huge incentive to stick with healthy habits. I would encourage you all to take to Facebook and Twitter, creating a support system around you. You're also welcome to reach out to me ANY time for support. I would enjoy hearing from you as we figure this health thing out together.

What do you do to keep yourself on track?


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