I had decided that 2010 was the year I wanted to get healthy, and stay healthy. I joined my local YMCA and started the grueling process of working out, eating right, and getting more rest. Find your local YMCA at www.ymca.net.
Nearly three months later, I found that my initial regimen just wasn't cutting it. It took me nearly 20 minutes of huffing and puffing it to get a mile racked up on the Elliptical, and more willpower than I could muster to walk away from the junk food. Now, with ease, I can run 1.5 miles in under 14 minutes and StairMaster my way to a mile in 12 minutes. And I'm proud of it.
However, I wasn't prepared for the ravenous hunger that I experience with working out 5+ hours a week. I found it was easier to pass on the junk food, but when my everyday menu was looking more like an appetizer, I knew I was in trouble.
Through research, I found that I need to be eating more. Eat more to lose weight? Insert confusion here. I keep a daily food journal, and after looking it over, I was eating what I thought was enough. Now, I find, that I need to continue to eat my 3 meals, but include healthy small snacks throughout my day. The key to small is portion control. In doing this, I keep my metabolism up and my crazed hunger at bay.
Snacking can get out of hand quickly if you aren't prepared for it. To keep control, I use the #7J55 Easy Find Lids 1/2 cup containers; they are great for maintaining my snacking. In these, I pack a serving of almonds to eat with a piece of fruit or a small serving of low-fat cottage cheese to pair with whole wheat crackers. I noticed that if I packed the same amount of food in a larger container, I felt as though I wasn't eating as much. It's a visionary trick I play on my stomach, and I can eat the proper portions while making it look as though I was eating much more.
I have spent a lot of time on the internet finding suggestions for healthy snacks, the proper way to eat 5-6 times a day, and stumbled across a few helpful websites:
- To track and count calories: http://caloriecount.about.com/
- 6 meals a day and the benefits regarding cholesterol: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/askdietician/ask4_02.aspx
- Pros and Cons of eating 6 meals a day: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=56254
- Healthy snack suggestions: http://www.self.com/fooddiet/2009/06/30-healthy-snacks and http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-diet/HQ01396
Finding my niche in the gym is the hardest thing I could do. Persistence did pay off and I know now what my body can handle, responds to, and my limits. If your gym has a personal trainer available, many offer a free session that you can utilize to get whatever questions you may have answered.
Here's to a healthy 2010, and the start to a happy new lifestyle!