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A healthier weight, a healthier you

A healthier weight, a healthier you

Submitted photo

This is my before and after shot. In photo to the left I weighed 282 pounds. A year and a half later, by using the principles in this column, I managed to lose 97 pounds putting me comfortably at 175 pounds.

First of all, welcome back to IVCC everyone. I hope that you all had a refreshing Christmas break and have had a great start to your 2013 year.
With a New Year comes new classes, new challenges, new hopes and dreams, and for some of you New Year’s resolutions.

Are you one of the millions of people who have proclaimed “This is my year” and resolved to make a change in your life? If so ask yourself, how have I been doing? Am I currently on track to becoming who I want to be?

If you are still on track congratulations, you are in the slim 20 percent margin of people who are still going strong. If, however, you are amongst the majority of the crowd and have been mowed down by words that bear little to no action, now is not the time to give up, but rather the time to get up. This is still your year and I have some tips that will help give you a starting nudge towards your goal.

Remember that this is not a temporary change, but rather an entire life overhaul. It is not an easy journey, but it is one that will give you a whole new outlook on life. Also keep in mind that this is not a race. You did not put the weight on overnight so do not expect it all to drop off overnight.

Don’t fall for scams, diet pills, or fads just because they promise quick results for you. Most of the pills simply do not work and the slim margin that do, are still unable to change the habits of the user and as a result the weight is typically put back on. Why would anybody want to put something into their body that is going to alter its chemistry in an unnatural way? Let’s be real, how many of you guys can actually pronounce half of the ingredients listed on the sides of those bottles?

Even if you were able to lose the weight quickly and managed to keep the diet within reason, you would still have a ton of extra skin just hanging there simply because the body hasn’t had the time to work its way back in to proportion. How sexy is that? If you want real results, these tips should help get off to a better way of living.

We will start off by talking about our diet. First, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I’m sure that you have heard this a thousand times but I cannot stress this point enough. If you cut the word in breakfast in half you get two words from it, “break” and “fast”.

Essentially you are doing just that, breaking a fast. Your body has been without fuel now from anywhere between 8 to 12 hours and the tank is running on E. It is essential that you start out your day with a well-rounded breakfast. Toss the pancakes and pop tarts, because you will not be getting much more than empty carbohydrates and calories from them.

Instead go with wheat toast with a little peanut butter on it and two scrambled eggs. A good substitute for this is Honey Nut Cheerios. If you read the nutrition label on the Cheerios box you will find that it is a very well balanced start to your day. Remember that you can get away with a bigger breakfast since it is early in the day and you will be burning off those calories throughout the day.

As mid-day hits along with a rumbling stomach you will need to get some lunch in you. It is still important to get healthy foods in for lunch. If at all possible, try to incorporate a fruit and or a vegetable in your lunch along with a sandwich.

Once again go with a wheat bread because it is lower in carbs. Also keep to the less fatty meats. These would include oven roasted chicken or ham.
A good alternative for a lunchmeat sandwich is a veggie burger. They are microwavable and pack quite a protein punch. Salads are also good choices for lunches as long as you are not relying heavily on the dressings for flavoring since most are high in calorie content.

As for dinner, plan ahead by writing notecards with meals that are easy to prepare in very little time. A homemade meal is much healthier for you because it has far fewer preservatives in it than a microwave meal or eating out would.  If you should decide to go out to dinner, try substituting fried foods for baked or grilled foods. I made the switch from fried chicken to baked tilapia and believe me in makes a heck of a difference.

The golden rule that I can give you here in the nutrition section is “everything in moderation.” Don’t completely deny yourself the sweets and other “guilt foods” that you are craving, but rather limit the amount of times per week that you partake in them.

You cannot lose the weight that you put on overnight and the same can be applied to your habits here. You can’t expect to cut back completely cut out certain foods but over time you will come to find that you don’t require them to feel comfortable.

Last thing for dieting is one that I still struggle with, and that is “too late after 8.” Late night snacking is more or less diet suicide since all the calories that you are taking in are not being used and therefore being converted to fat. Some healthy snacking options are listed on keepyourdietreal.com.

Your diet is only the first part of this lifestyle change though.  You must also include exercise in your new routine. Exercise can be defined in two different categories, cardiovascular training and resistance training.

Cardiovascular or Cardio for short strengthens your heart and lungs while providing a fat burning workout. Your goal here is to get your heart rate up somewhere within the 120-160 range depending on your age. There are charts available online to help you find your ideal heart rate range for an effective cardio workout.

Activities that can be included in the Cardio training are power walking, running, jogging, jumping, swimming, or riding a bicycle. Machines that can be used to accomplish this are stationary bikes, ellipticals, stair climbers, and treadmills.

As important as cardio training is, it in itself is not enough. The other half of your workout should include resistance training. Resistance training is the exercises that target the muscles in your body. The more muscle mass that you build; the more your body will burn the fat from reserves (your unwanted fat) by speeding up your metabolism. Your muscles will use this fat to fuel them in their everyday activities.

Cardio can burn fat during the activity and for a short time after, but muscle will continue this process even as you are sleeping. So what exercises can you do to strengthen up? There are tons of different resistance exercises that you can do but a few examples of them are free weights (upper body, biceps, triceps), bench pressing (chest), squats (legs and thighs), or resistance bands (entire body).

Can’t afford a fancy gym membership? Just add simple exercises into your daily routine such as sit-ups, push-ups, and wall sits.
IVCC even has a one credit wellness class that you can take on your own schedule! In fact, they will do a complete body test before and after the semester so you can track your progress.

As a participating student in this I can honestly say that the trainers are great and will help you get a safe and effective workout. They are very willing to answer any questions that you may have.

Are gyms not your cup of tea? IVCC offers a variety of clubs that provide good outlets of exercise such as the running club, paintball club, or disc golf club.

The opportunities are all in place for you to be successful in your weight loss journey. Remember that this is your year, your chance, and your life. The Foundation has been laid.

Now rebuild your healthier life upon it.

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