A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Archive for the ‘weight-loss resources’ Category

Steps along the way: Arms and shoulders

When I decided to lose weight earlier this year, I took many small steps to help me get started. Over several months, I read everything I could find, asked others for tips, and collected tools that would help me reach my goals. As I learned, I put many new ideas into practice. I bought yoga pants and loose shorts for working out, found a digital scale for weigh-ins and a digital kitchen scale for weighing food portions. I bought a gym membership and set goals for working out every day. I also bought a new pair of gym shoes and downloaded various fitness-related iPhone apps.

I have the fitness tools and equipment that I need, and I feel confident that I know WHAT to do, but sometimes actually DOING it is difficult. I am motivated to eat clean and do cardio, but sticking with strength training is a challenge for me.

A few months ago, I bought a set of Jillian Michaels dumbbells. They sat in a box on the floor of my bedroom for awhile, then I finally committed to 10 minutes of strength training each day. Over the last three weeks, I completed three, 10-minute sessions. Instead of beating myself up for not reaching my goal, I am taking steps to a better path.

For the next week, my new goal is to be consistent with my strength workouts. For inspiration, I picked up a couple copies of Oxygen magazine.

In the Fall 2011 edition of Oxygen’s Collector’s Issue Off The Couch, there are a couple of great workouts for beginners:

1. Your All-Purpose Home Workout with dumbbells and a resistance band.

2. Head-to-toe fit…In just 15 minutes! which involves “5 total-body moves that don’t need any equipment.”

In the November 11 issue of Oxygen, I found this: Stunning Shoulders in Only Four Weeks. This workout requires the use of dumbbells, and most of the moves are done in a standing position.

Because I would like to improve the look of my arms and because I prefer to stand while exercising, I have decided to start with the Stunning Shoulders workout. I will also use selected parts of Your All-Purpose Home Workout for arms. As I get more confident, I plan to add additional routines for future workouts.


Weight Loss Resources

When I first started trying to lose weight, I found several calorie count apps for the iPhone. I downloaded My Fitness Pal and diligently counted calories. Unfortunately, I also built in regular “cheat” days until every day became a cheat day.

I joined the YMCA near our house and did lots of cardio, while continuing to eat almost anything I wanted. Since January of 2011, I have managed to lose 15 pounds, but I still have a ways to go to reach my goal of 50 pounds lost!

My YMCA membership expired, and I renewed it once and worked out at the gym every day, doing cardio for at least two hours, including the treadmill, the bike, and swimming laps. The second time it expired, I didn’t re-join, because by this time, we had moved, and the gym was quite a hike from our new neighborhood.

After settling in to the house, I again started my quest for weight loss in earnest. I bought a vegetable steamer and planned simple meals that I could prepare for myself while cooking huge, hearty meals for my husband. I set a goal to walk 2 miles each day, in 35 minutes time, approximately 4 miles per hour. I downloaded some fitness music from iTunes and set out with determination. Along the way, I discovered iTreadmill, a pedometer, to track my progress. I really like this app because it allows me to play the iPod in the background, while recording my time and distance.

Over the past year, I have found several resources that have encouraged me, starting with Chantel Hobbs’ book, One Day Way. I used this book as a basis for my new lifestyle plan–eating chicken, shrimp, tuna, and vegetables. Chantel lost over 200 pounds by choosing healthy foods that she enjoyed. I modeled my meal plans after her ideas, choosing things that I enjoyed eating.

I started posting my progress on Facebook, and I’ve had many friends who have encouraged me and have shared additional resources. Two that I like are: CrossFit, a website with various strength-training workouts, and Oxygen, a fitness magazine with tips and workouts for average women, not just those who are into competitive weight-training.

I am currently studying a strength workout for beginners in the current issue of Oxygen and will add the CrossFit routines as I become more advanced.

My Fitness Pal: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/

iTreadmill: http://www.itreadmill.net/iTreadmill/Home.html
Chantel Hobbs’ One Day Way: http://www.amazon.com/One-Day-Way-Today-Time-Weight/dp/0307458784
Chantel Hobbs’ Website: http://www.chantelhobbs.com/
CrossFit: http://www.crossfit.com/
Oxygen: http://www.oxygenmag.com/