Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dropping the pounds!

Last week I put myself on a weight-loss program because I had the misfortune of stepping on a scale - big mistake! But there is something motivating about seeing a number (such a high one at that) that you don't like. So I put together a plan and will following it for 16 weeks until my trip to Las Vegas in May.

The first part of my plan involved re-vamping my exercise schedule and what I do. My wife and I recently joined the Trotter Family YMCA and it is a clean facility with a wide variety of equipment. Going to a new health club (I still have my membership to Bally Total Fitness) has jarred my workouts and that has proven to be helpful. I've cut the amount of weight I lift, but upped the number of sets and the number of reps in each set. My goals are to tone & shape (I'm way too bulky). I've also radically increased the amount of cardio exercise that I do. I religiously do between 40 and 75 minutes of cardio at a target heart rate of 65-80% of my maximum heart rate (this according to the America Heart Association). I do interval training that not only keeps the intensity high, but the after-burn effect (meaning I'm still burning calories even after I've stopped exercising) is greater. Sometimes after a long cardio session I'll just sit there and think how tired I am (and that's a good feeling).

I've also adjusted my eating habits. I've actually been good about eating breakfast every day (even on weekends). During the work week, I'm taking in two eggs or oatmeal plus a glass of water with vitamin C powder in it. The biggest adjustment for me has been with coffee. Instead of the mammoth cup I used to have, I've replaced it with a small cup no bigger than what espresso is served in. This has cut down dramatically on the amount of sugar I take in every day (I will never use artificial sweetener in my coffee!). I still eat donuts, but I've cut the number in half (if I feel like four, I order two; if I want two, I order only one). Something else I've done is stopped eating out so much (my wife's suggestion). As soon as I come home from work, I generally eat something then & there (which I didn't do before - we'd drive to the Bally Total Fitness, then eat after exercising). Weekends are a bit tougher on this, but if five nights out of seven I eat at home around 5:00 PM, the number of calories I take in late at night has been dramatically cut.

So what is next for me? The YMCA has a pool so I'm planning on swimming. I'm also going to cut the amount of sweets that I eat (everyone says this). I'm good about eating fruits, but not vegetables so I can increase that. I can always increase the time I spend doing cardio exercises. I need to find the right mix of weight lifting exercises. As with everything else in life, this is a process. There will be setbacks. My goal is 40 lbs. in 16 weeks.


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