In my last post back in December, I talked about having gained a lot of weight and wanting to embark on a self improvement and weight loss program. Although I was not "fat" by most standards, I could no longer fit into most of my pants and I felt sluggish. One year earlier I had tried to lost ten pounds and failed to do so. In fact I gained a couple extra pounds during the year. This time, I vowed to make it work.
I joined a free on line diet and fitness website called SparkPeople.com. This site was recommended to me by a friend. SparkPeople.com provides numerous resources to enable you to successfully build a program that will work for you. There are many health articles, fitness videos, and nutrition articles on SparkPeople. One of the features of the site is the ability of the members to create their own "teams" of people with similar needs or interests. There are literally hundreds of these teams to choose from if you wish to join a team, or you can go on your own. I tried several teams before I found the right one for me and once I did, it was very helpful.
When you join SparkPeople, you enter your current weight and your weight loss goal. Then SparkPeople sets a recommended daily calorie intake and a recommended number of weekly fitness minutes for you to achieve your goal. For me, the calorie range was 1200-1550 calories a day, which is easily doable without feeling deprived. They recommend that no one ever go below 1200 calories a day. While SparkPeople does not recommend losing more than two pounds per week, they do recommend that if you want to increase rate of weight loss, you should increase your exercise levels, not decrease calorie intake.
Although it is not required, for three months, I faithfully logged all my food and beverages every day to track my calories and my eating patterns. At times, this was very burdensome, but it was also enlightening. I started the day after Thanksgiving and within two weeks realized that a disproportionate amount of my calories was coming from sweets. I love cookies and pie. The calories from those items along with snack foods like chips, added up real fast.
I had already cut out the chips, but realized that if I were to be successful, I would need to give up sweets. My goal was not to eat refined sugar five days a week. However, after making it through three days of misery from withdrawal effects of sugar, I decided to forgo refined sugar altogether. That was my single biggest change and the one that ended up making the most difference.
In my next blog, I will talk more about my weight loss and fitness programs and where I am today.