Trying to be healthy
My struggle for health has not been easy. Believe it or not I really do not like the way I look in almost every sense. Now this isn't me needing your affirmations as to how you see me. I realized to be happy I needed to change myself. I got to this place of such low self esteem for years of bullying but mostly for not giving myself any worth. In 4 years I let myself gain about 60 pounds and many pant sizes and realized I wasn't watching how I ate at all. I only drank pop and ate fast food. I hit a point where I removed mirrors from my room and I knew I needed to change. I decided new year new me can work. This January I gave up pop and crappy food. I now watch calorie consumption and drink mostly water. I realized my sugar addiction and I still battle it but I am improving. Here is where I need a little help. I have hit a plateau at about 14 pounds weight lost. How have any of you improved your fitness or health. I don't exercise much and I don't know where to start so any suggestions would be great.
It's great that you've started. That was actually the hardest part for me. The other hard part was sticking to it.
The quick version of what has worked for me: My journey to being healthy started with martial arts, but for the last two years I've been at a CrossFit gym. The benefit to both of these is there's a consistent group of people working toward similar goals in a "classroom" type environment. There are trained coaches leading and making sure things are done correctly to avoid injury. We all see each other nearly every day and notice when one person isn't there. Haven't been there in a couple days? Someone is sending a message or calling to make sure everything is ok. A good CrossFit community is like the Icrontic community, except instead of computers, board games, conversations, friendship, good food, and alcohol, it's exercising, conversations, friendship, good food, and alcohol.
All that said, just do something that gets you moving - go for a walk to start, then move to jogging, then running. If you want to get stronger start with body weight movements like sit ups, push ups, squats, running. For best results, use a combination of both strength and conditioning.
If you're not looking to join a gym, you can always go to any sporting goods store and get some light weights if you need them.
Counting calories is fine, but make sure you're getting enough to fuel your body. There isn't a universal number that works for everyone, but there are some pretty good guidelines out there. Perhaps @Thrax could point you to some good resources. Also be sure to look at @HumerusMeg's food blog for some really good recipes.
Try not to get discouraged when you hit a plateau. Just remember you're making yourself better than you were yesterday, even if a number doesn't go up or down like you want it to.
That sugar craving disappears eventually.
I've got zero experience with weight loss, but I did recently jump on the fitness wagon. I started trying to regularly work out at 25 on a previous promise to myself but it was very hard to get anything to stick. So last year my company participated in the Vancouver Sun Run in April and I walked with a few of my coworkers. It was pretty fun, beautiful day, got to see the city, raised some money for charity, but this year for some reason I just decided I really wanted to challenge myself to run. I hated running. Like really hated it, I kept saying "I really don't know why i'm doing this" (I still don't know what compelled me). Yet I managed to drag a group of about a dozen or so coworkers into training three times a week with a couch-to-10k app I found. Others have sped up or slowed down at their own pace but I'm now nine weeks into a fourteen week program which has thoroughly kicked my ass many times over so far, but I feel absolutely amazing and now I love it. I look forward to it every day. Today I even hit a bit of a personal milestone - 5k without stopping and I am so pumped. I am now running four days a week, starting to cycle on weekends and thinking about what to do about my upper body; but the amazing difference is that now I actually WANT to do these things.
So there are a couple of things I think helped; one was picking something which challenged me. In the past I tried work out programs but mostly they were boring and moved slowly and while I did feel stronger after a month, it just wasn't that compelling to continue. The running challenges me every day and I know every day that if I don't complete it, I probably won't be able to do the next one so I push myself to keep up. When I do make it, it's super inspiring. It also really helps to have that 10k end goal on April 23rd. I have to be ready then and I am very excited to see how well I do especially as it gets closer. I guess the moral is don't be scared away from something just because you're pretty sure you won't like it haha. Thirty day challenges are great for this; try something new for 30 days and if you don't like it, kick it and try something else. This provides you with lots of little challenges; just make it to that thirty days. Get creative with what you choose to try. I feel like martial arts would be a ton of fun, and you'll meet people too. Even if you don't find a thing to stick with right away, you're still getting active. Don't focus too much on getting the most effective workout for weight loss, instead try to find something you'll enjoy and the rest may come naturally. If not, you can always add in some other things to help move it along later down the line. I definitely want to work some upper body stuff in at some point but I'm not worried right now, I'm just enjoying myself and seeing how far I can go. One step at a time.
The other thing is that I have a little support group of coworkers. I go around 11:30 in the morning and sometimes alone (there are also only two treadmills in our office gym) but we talk to each other every day about our progress, we share what we've learned from Googling and the experienced runners help out the new ones with tips and such. We give each other props for sticking with it and we pester when someone is skipping their sessions (though obviously only gently hehe). If you have a goal, and you have people to motivate you and share your progress with, I think you can find a way to get moving. Don't worry if it won't stick at first, it took me til 27yo to kick my own ass into working out. You have time, set challenges, enjoy the company and solidarity of friends and remember to enjoy life :-) If you're not happy, keeping active is a lot harder.
1) Find your TDEE. Unless you work a highly active job, assume "sedentary" when calculating it.
2) Eat 500 calories per day less than your TDEE. Count everything that goes into your mouth.
3) If you do XXX calories of cardio. Add that to your TDEE, then see #2.
4) Do this for a long time.
Cardio just allows you to eat more food while maintaining a certain amount of weekly weight loss. It's good for your health, and you should do it, but murdering yourself with cardio will not make you lose weight. Size is made in the kitchen.
These five steps are legitimately the only thing you have to do to lose 1 pound per week.
This was a big one for me. I was utterly unable to 'workout' with only 'getting fit' as motivation. it just doesn't work for me. I have to either find things that are workouts while also being games or skills that I enjoy learning, like racquetball, or that are workout versions of things i was going to have to do anyway, like biking to pick up my son from school.
I'll third finding something active you really like. For me crossfit has been a huge help in staying active. Great community, different every day, always a challenge.
@Linc I would love to go to your dojo. I think I will start biking on my lunch breaks. I love to just bike around.
@Thrax I actually eat about 1400 calories which is around what your method takes me to. My diet hasn't been super strict but I am getting better.
And to everyone and your suggestions, I appreciate all your words. I am going to try a bunny 5K for easter as a semi challenge. Just that walking alone would be a great start. I decided to start biking on my work breaks. I already got it ok'd by my boss. I will also try being more strict with my food. We shall see how I fare.
I have dropped down to a Size 0/2 dress size from being a Size 20. I did my weight loss mostly by long-distance running which isn't for everyone. I enjoy getting out and letting my mind go where it will. I eat three meals per day; no fast-food and no junk food. I don't eat dairy (too much of an immunological load for a woman). I eat mostly protein, few carbs and drink loads of black French Roast coffee (my addiction). I love that my resting heart rate is 50 and that I have trouble even maintaining my weight which is pretty thin for my 5'8" height. The key to my weight loss was to keep moving. I started out walking and then running. I'm not fast but I get the distances 6-8 miles per day and longer runs on weekends. As long as I run, I can eat what I want but I just don't eat tons of food.