Thursday, March 31, 2011

Getting Fit - The Last 5-10 Pounds

I've been working to get fit for 6+ months now, having started with exercise last fall and adding a healthy diet as a New Year's resolution. To date, I've lost between 15-20 pounds, so I know it's working. But it's working as slow as slow gets. And in everything I've read, they say the last 5-10 pounds are the hardest.

Some people say it's self-sabotage. Or that because you are close to your goal you ease up and become less disciplined. Others simply say the weight loss becomes so slow that you give up.

I'm determined to make it and to keep it off, and wanted to share some of what's worked for me so far and ask for your advice for continued success.

Here's what's worked for me so far.
  • Setting the clock weekdays for 1 hour earlier and using the time for a morning workout. I mix up the workouts too, some mornings doing yoga and ab exercises, other mornings cardio or workouts with weights.
  • Establishing my daily caloric output. There are a lot of online tools to do this, but my favorite is This site lets you plug in your body type and activity level, and calculates approximately how many calories you expend in a day. Then it gives you the opportunity to add specific activities, like yoga, bicycling, or cleaning for example. I'm sedentary, having a job where I sit most of the day, but I add in my daily workout and any additional physical activities (like when I spend 4 hours doing intense cleaning).
  • Once I know how many calories are being burned in a day, all I have to do is keep my caloric intake less than that number. And calorie count helps you track that as well (along with your nutrient intake).
Sounds simple enough. But it is hard. Hard to get up early in the morning when everyone else is sleeping. Hard to limit my caloric intake when I really would LOVE to have one of those girl scout cookies (actually I would prefer the delicious, best I've ever had in my life, coconut cupcakes that my neighbor baked and brought over recently).

So I guess the main thing is to keep plugging away at it, even after a day of blowing the caloric deficit or omitting the daily workout. The main thing is to get it right on a routine basis, and not sweat the mess ups.