“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”
~ Julia Child
You might remember that quote from my post, The B Word, back in July 2009. At the time, I didn’t realize that in just a few months I’d be in the best shape of my life since probably high school. It started with a casual experiment to start counting my daily calories in order to try to lose some of that post-pregnancy baby weight. As one who’s never been fond of diets or anything that requires eliminating certain foods (or entire food groups for that matter), recording what I ate each day seemed like a good compromise without having to actually be on a so-called diet.
When you’re a stay-at-home-mom, no matter how planned or organized you are you always feel at least two days behind. Minimum. In retrospect, I think I was just trying to find something I could readily control and obsess over when everything else in my day-to-day felt chaotic.
As I was keeping track of every single thing I consumed using the iPhone app – Lose It! – I learned a few things.
- I was supposed to consume approx 1600 calories a day for my height and weight in order to reach my goal weight. I decided my goal was something a little less than my pre-pregnancy weight. Why? Well if you’re going to shoot for the stars, you might as well shoot way the hell out there in deep space for some extra bragging rights. And maybe there were some weddings coming up that I’d have to show up for. Not in sweats.
- It is not smart or pleasant to set a lower calorie allowance in hopes of losing weight faster. It only makes your husband look like a honey glazed ham as you’re trying to fall asleep.
- Logging all your calories for the day makes you aware of how many calories are actually in the food you eat. Pretty surprising. See #4.
- You can eat a crap load of broccoli because it has like -5 calories. I mean you can eat a pile the size of all the diapers your baby has ejected into God’s green earth and still eat 100 times that amount before you have to log a single broccoli calorie.
- On the other hand, soda is so not worth the calories. Just pretend it’s anthrax and call it a day.
- But most importantly, my conclusion was that exercising is a much faster way to lose weight than dieting, especially if you’re not normally a binge eating kind of person.
Which brings me to the exercising part. I logged my calories for a couple months … trying to consume as little as I could to the point of wanting to seppuku myself (commit seppuku? seppuku’d? If only I were a samurai I’d know how to use that word correctly… Then again, if I were a samurai I wouldn’t be writing this post about exercise. I would have been crazy fit already. I also wouldn’t have been pregnant at one point because that would be dangerous. For the fetus.) Yet, I really wasn’t losing any baby weight or fitting into my pre-prego jeans. And yes, ladies and gentleman, that is the ultimate goal.
It was when I added on Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred workout into my daily routine that I started seeing the difference. The jeans were on the horizon. You might be thinking, Duh, Noob Mommy. Obviously we all know by now that you have to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Tell me something I don’t already know and ignore without pause.
Well, trust me, I’ve had it in my mind all these years to put the calories on a pedestal, so to speak. I thought dieting or counting calories would definitely play a big factor in weight loss when it finally came time to bust it out of the (much dreaded) arsenal. But in all actuality, that part of the magic fitness equation was just a drop in the bucket. It was the working out – every single day for 30 days for 30 minutes each day that made the difference in my physique. You better believe I just referred to my body as “my physique.” Mmmmyesss.
All the calorie budgeting and starving myself (trying to eat less than 1300 calories each day) barely budged my weight. It most certainly didn’t change how I was fitting in my clothes. Just as the fitness and health experts say… yo-yo dieting is temporary and only makes you feel lousy.
It’s exercising – consistently – that will bring you the noticeable changes you want.
Yes, of course eating right makes a difference. But it’s the correct kind of exercise regimen that will blast that fat fast (I think I just stole a line from JM). You can have your cake and eat it too, but you cannot give up the workout! At least that’s what I learned. And there is a right kind of workout. Contrary to what I always believed (just lots and lots of cardio), you need to have the strength training to make the magic happen.
Now that I’m starting to sound like a Shake Weight infomercial, I think I’ll leave the rest of my fitness “success story” for the next post. Trust me, I’ve got a lot more I’m excited to share with you. Now don’t be a noob…. Pre-order your tickets to the gun show today!
Do you count calories or use a Weight Watchers system? Has it worked for you or just made you hungry and irritable? What workout programs do you love or want to try? I’d love to hear what works and doesn’t for you.