One of the first things I learned going into this was that I would have to make a lifestyle change if it was going to work.
"A lifestyle change? What does that mean?", I wondered.
Now I can tell you the answer. I am the kind of person that likes to grab a quick snack when I have some free time, or when I am nervous, or sometimes when I get stressed and definitely when I am relaxing and catching up with my favorite TV shows.
Basically, my mind went to food often...too often. I am sure much of it stems from my Italian heritage, childhood with a mom who cooked some great meals, and relatives who loved to see kids eat and would justify large meals by saying, "He's a growing boy..."
Well, that boy kept growing and eating, and now I am having to undo much of that conditioning. I still love eating and always will, but the important word is "Moderation". We have all heard it, but acting on it is a different thing. This competition started with me joining the YMCA in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. There I met a team of trainers who were on a mission to get me fit. Part of my lifestyle change is exercise...lots of exercise! I used to go for occasional walks with my family, and you all know I love golf, but those things are not enough. To lose weight you need to burn more calories than you take in each day. It's that simple. If you take in 2000 calories a day, you need to burn 2500 or 3000 each day to lose weight.
A combination of exercises, the main one being Cardio (getting your heart rate up for long periods) helps me burn the calories. I work out three days a week, although in the first few weeks I went four days...for about 2 hours each day. Does that seem like a lot of time? That depends. Are you serious about losing weight? If so, then the time commitment is necessary. Exercise is fine, but exercise alone is not the answer.
The bigger part of that lifestyle change is a dramatic shift in my eating habits. I would easily drink a gallon of Diet Coke each day. Once I started working out I was told to drink water, and plenty of it. In the past few weeks I have gone from over a gallon of pop, to one can a day, to one every couple of days. In fact, yesterday I bought a salad at McDonald's and ordered a Diet Coke with it. Do you know I could not get halfway through that drink before I lost interest and had to dump it out? Pop has no appeal for me any more...in just two weeks!
Water is just about all I drink, including flavored (sugar-free) water. It's great! The other big change in my eating habits has been the shift away from foods with high carbohydrates, which equals high calories. My fitness team at the YMCA suggested a diet of 1500-1800 calories a day. Being a competitive person, I wanted to beat those numbers, and for the past three days I have had fewer than 1400 calories a day! It's no wonder that I have lost 9 pounds in two weeks.
While Jack is doing it with nutritional shakes, I prefer my method because I can eat regular food, as long as I keep the calorie count down and workout regularly. You would be surprise how much you can eat and still stay under 1500 calories. In coming weeks I will share some of the meals I eat so you can help yourself eat healthier and still feel full. The final part of this change is the support I am getting from family, friends, co-workers and the great folks at the YMCA. I could not do this alone...I am not disciplined enough for that.
With a good team around you, you can accomplish anything, and that's true in any part of life.
I love the way I feel!