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When it comes to losing weight we tend to have the “All or Nothing” mentality.  We think if we cut calories and kick butt in our workouts for a week, month, 3 months that we should have a six pack, sculpted legs/arms and be a size 4.  For the majority of people looking to lose weight this is NOT the case.  There isn’t a magic pill, a magic diet or device that you can strap on that will make all of the unwanted weight go away.  Losing weight takes dedication, lifestyle change, planning, research, support and above all else a REASON.

The first question you should ask yourself before even starting a weight loss program is  “How did you get to this point”.  The pounds just didn’t sneak up on you over night.  It possibly took months or years for you to get to where you are today but WHY?  Why do you eat the way you do?  Without these answers, chances are you will gain whatever weight you lose back and possibly more.  I don’t want to hear that you have to keep snacks in the house because your family enjoys them or that you have a desk job or there’s just not enough time in the day to get everything done.  These are not reasons why you have become overweight.  Let’s take a look at these three in more depth since these are popular “reasons” why people gain weight.

“I have to keep snacks in my house because my family enjoys them”: Really? Why? If you are trying to become healthy and be a role model for your family then why purchase these items? Instead buy veggies and fruits.  Come home from the grocery store and wash, cut and store them in the refrigerator in snack bags at eye level so that your family can grab and go.  Buy nuts or seeds and store them in snack bags in the pantry for easy portion control.  If you do buy snacks then choose wisely.  Buy whole wheat pretzels and again portion them into snack size bags so that when the family grabs for these they are getting the correct portion and not the entire bag.

“I have a desk job”: A lot of people do.  Park further away from the door, instead of emailing a co-worker a question get up and go ask the person, during your breaks or lunch get a fast walk in, set a timer on your phone to remind yourself to get up and move around.  If it’s raining outside and you can’t get a walk in then climb the stairs for 15 minutes during a break.

“There’s just not enough time in the day”: The bottom line on this one is that you have to make time.  Try waking up earlier before the rest of the house does, do more activities outside with the family like hiking, biking, playing catch or a walk after dinner.  If your family enjoys video games play active ones with the Wii or Xbox Kinect.  When doing laundry stand up while folding clothes, carry each persons clothes one at a time and put them away instead of using a laundry basket.

As you can see from just these three examples there are ways to get moving and that’s the idea.  These are not reasons why you have become overweight.  Maybe eating is the only thing that you feel that you have control over, maybe you are afraid to lose weight because what if you can’t keep it off, or maybe you reach your goal and then you still aren’t happy with yourself.  A food addict is no different then an alcoholic or a gambler.  Food is used to comfort the person, to replace the void that we have in our lives that we don’t want to face.

Are you ready to take the first steps to becoming healthy? journalIf so then grab a piece of paper and a pen and brainstorm as to why you eat.  For the next week keep a food journal and write down everything you eat, the time you ate, and how you were feeling.  All of this will give you valuable information to achieve your weight loss goal once and for all and to do it successfully.

OK….now that you know WHY you are wanting to lose weight, what’s next?  Commit to yourself during this process.  In the past you may have put your needs aside so that you could tend to others or consumed yourself in your career.  This is the part where you decide that you MUST set time for yourself and your well being.  If you believe it or not, it’s OK to take 30-60 min a day for yourself.  That is NOT being selfish!  It’s actually doing the complete opposite.  By you taking time for yourself you are releasing stress, regaining energy, focusing on what you want out of life.  This makes you a better, more positive person!  You will finally feel like you are working towards something instead of just going through day to day motions.

I’m going to be honest.  This is not going to be easy.  You may want to give up, in fact there will be times that you will want to give up BUT will you? NO!  You are a strong person and you must want to better yourself and your health because you are here.  You are taking the first step to a better you by reading this.  I know that you have inner strength, willpower, self discipline deep inside you.  This process will not happen overnight but it WILL happen.  I am your personal cheerleader and I believe in you!

Let’s get to the good stuff.  I want you to go to the following site: http://www.freedieting.com  On the left hand side you will see a section of calculators.  Choose “Daily Calorie Need”.  Complete the data and click on “calculate”.  The “Fat Loss” number will be how many calories you should be eating to have a healthy weight loss.  The “Extreme Fat Loss” number is the lowest amount of calories that you should consume.  One thing to remember: When selecting the frequency of workouts, BE HONEST! Don’t choose 5 days a week if you know that you can only do 3.  Choose what you KNOW you can do and if you can fit in more then great.  You will be ahead of the game then.

After you know how many calories you need to consume click on “Nutrient Ratios”.  Enter the amount of calories, choose moderate diet ratio (this will allow you to have a balance diet), and choose how many meals per day you will be eating.  I suggest having 5 (breakfast, AM snack, lunch, PM snack and dinner).  Once the data is entered click on “calculate”.  You will see your results for carbs, protein and fat.

In order to ensure you are staying on track with your eating I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a food diary.  You can use a notebook or there are many free online websites that will help you log your food.  I recommend My Fitness Pal.  You can use it on the web or on any SmartPhone or iPhone.  http://www.myfitnesspal.com

You now have everything that you need.  You know your food intake goals, workout goals and even a tool to help you keep track.  So what are you waiting for?  Lace up those shoes and get moving!  Today is the first day to the brand new you!

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