Loss and Fitness Primer
At 39 I was (for the second time!) at my
record maximum weight. I decided that enough was enough. (An
incentive was that I wanted to look good at a wedding that was about 3
months away, and nothing fit!). I lost 30 pounds in that 3 months
whilst getting stronger and increasing my endurance. When I hit
forty I was in better aerobic condition and was stronger than I had ever
been, even as a 25 year old flogging heavy concert sound equipment all
over the place. You can do it too.
Food Yeas and Nays
Put down those chips! Diet sodas
only! (Yes, the leave a nasty after-taste even after months of forcing
them down. I prefer water.) No peanut butter. No fried
foods. Meat: turkey and lean ham only. No eggs (no yolks,
anyway). No cheese. Skim milk only! Fat free salad
dressings. Fat free ice cream (if you just cannot help
yourself). If it has more than 1/3 of its calories from fat, it
does not go into the grocery cart. Watch the sugar too, as it's
almost as bad as fat. (Ultra Slim Fast has a ton, as do some other
"Health" shakes I have seen.) Pretzels and baked taco
chips are ok, as are Wow potato chips (if the Olean fake fat does not
cause you digestive problems). Veggies are the best snack, and the
occasional fruit is good (veggies - yuck). Use Fleishman's fat
free "buttery" spread instead of margarine or butter (both of
which are fat = "grease"). Use fat free sour
cream. Meijer Lite Fat Free Yogurt is as tasty as any I have
tried, and it has little more sugar than the other kinds. (I am
partial to vanilla, which I eat with plain or Honey-Nut shredded wheat
(watch that sugar!), or low-fat granola without raisins).
Breakfast is one of the above cereals with
the fat free yogurt, fat free milk, or MetRx vanilla protein mix.
(If I am running late I just eat pretzel nuggets in the
car.) Lunch is sliced turkey or lean ham on whole wheat with
fat free Thousand Island, or fat free hot dogs. A few pretzels or
fat-free chips fill out the plate, or maybe a small salad (no fatty
add-ons!). Dinner after weight night is MetRx and
cereal. Dinner after walk/ride night is anything that meets
the criteria above, except for the MetRx.
You do not have to kill yourself, in fact
it's counter-productive. At least 3 times per week you should ride
a bike or walk for 45 minutes (no more, no less). Go fast
enough that it's work, but not so hard that it would be difficult to
maintain a moderately labored conversation. This will gradually
re-train the body to burn fat instead of sugar, so you loose fat.
Also three times per week, preferably in between ride/walk days, go to
the gym and work on the weight machines to tone and build your
muscles. This gives you more strength and a better appearance (you
too, gals). As an added bonus, the bigger the muscles are,
the more fuel they burn: if you have trained your body to burn fat -
tada!). Put particular emphasis on:
1) Abdominal crunches to flatten the belly
(mine refuses to respond - it did great when I got into shape back at
the age of 28). There is nothing sexier than a flat belly.
2) Lat pulldowns (behind the neck, hands
about a foot further apart than straight up). These widen
the upper back for that "hour-glass" shape.
3) Inclined presses. These fill out
the upper pectorals (for women this visually lifts the bosom) and build
up the triceps (tone the back of the upper arm).
4) Calf raises to give shape to the lower
Any thing else that you do will be icing on
the cake. One thing I wish I had discovered sooner is that after one is
into it a month or so (your arms & legs are no longer so rubbery
after a trip around all the machines that you can barely drive home) you
can do a second, third, or even a fourth set of exercises to really
speed up the process. And gals, do not worry about
"looking too masculine". You would have to work
exceedingly long and hard to get to that point. In the years I've
spent in the gym, the only women I saw who in my opinion looked
too muscular got that way on purpose - they were body builders.
Go to the library and check out Covert
Bailey's "New fit or Fat" book and tape.