by D. Lee Barkley

Recently, a friend of mine and fellow classmate said that after being dedicated to working out 3-4 times a week she wasn’t seeing much weight loss.

My immediate response was that it was probably just a translation of fat into muscle. I’ve seen how hard she works and her dedication and drive in class. It’s definitely not a matter of effort!

But does that explain it? In thinking of my own current body composition and goals I realized that I wasn’t seeing the Winter weight come off and she and I were in the same boat.

Women’s bodies come in so many different and beautiful variations of the human form. The key is to optimize what you have, embrace your shape and love the body you’re in. I will never impose upon you what you ‘should’ look like.

Here’s how –

– Expend more calories than you consume: If you’re looking to lose weight, you need to cut back on your calories AND exercise. It’s really that simple.

– Watch the refueling: So you had a hard BodyPump™ class and you feel like you need a whole pizza. Or the buyer with cheese, bacon and the full side of fries. Stop right there. Chances are that meal, although good, is more calories than your body needs for the day. Your workout was probably not more than 300 calories. The benefits of the workout will far exceed the calories burned however as you already know from our previous blog posts.

– Step up your game: Have you been doing the same routine for a while? Change it up by adding more to your workout. Bigger weights, an extra class a week, go for a walk at lunch, run in the morning or evening, dance while doing dishes, etc. Find a reason to move more.

– Exercise Daily: Sound like too much? I would challenge you and ask ‘Why not?’ Regardless of what you believe our origination was on this planet, we have evolved into very sedentary creatures. Our jobs are aided by computers which makes most of us sit more often than we did even just 40 years ago. The American life is over-busy and over-worked. We have obligations 24/7. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t find time to exercise every day. Can’t? Yes, you can. Try one or all of these: Park farther away from the office building, take a walk break in between meetings, cut down on 30 minutes of TV watching and go for a walk or do calisthenics (sit-ups and pushups), walk to another floor (and use the stairs) for your restroom break (rather than going to the closest one).

– Leave food on your plate: Waste not want not? No. Not with all of the storage options we have now. Often our eyes are larger than our stomach as the saying goes. You really don’t have to eat the full portion. How much can you leave after you no longer feel hungry? Notice I didn’t say full? There is a big difference between the two.

– Full vs Satiated: I once read an article that said that one of (many) subtle signs your body gives you that it’s full is to sigh during a meal. If you eat too quickly, you may not notice the subtle signs your body gives you to let you know that it has had enough calories. That is the reason we eat. Not to feel better emotionally. I’m convinced that one contributing factor to the waistline increase of our nation is that we live lives that are unfulfilled. How many times you have eaten to feel better, less bored, loved, satisfied, rewarded? It pleases the senses for a short time but leaves the body to deal with the excess. This excess throws the body out of balance and into illness. Not one of us needs to eat to our full capacity. We eat to live and can still enjoy the meals without eating more than our bodies need. The human body is innately intelligent and knows how much it needs. Eating until full is past the point and does harm to the body. Don’t believe me? Try eating only to stop feeling hungry for a couple meals.

– Thirsty or Hungry? Ever experienced a feeling like hunger 15-45 min after you eat? It might be that your body needs hydration rather than more calories/nutrition.Try a hydrating (and non-caloric) beverage and then wait 10 minutes to see how your body feels. Water is a good hydrator and so is water with a little lemon. Give it a try but don’t try lemon water in place of a meal. Starvation will set you back on your goals. I promise.

– Only eat when you’re hungry. Sometimes with scheduled meals and all of the ad-hoc snack options before us, we forget what hungry feels like. For one day, try not eating until you feel a sensation of hunger. It makes food taste better and puts your body more in control of your caloric signaling.

What now? Keep going to class and try the tips above. The more the better. You will see results. And the big thing is to have fun along the way. Don’t see it as a chore or a battle that can’t be won. It really is a journey where you find the exercises that you find fun and eat to live rather than live to eat.

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