I'm out of shape. Where should I start?

I've been on the diet yo yo for a few years now and it's time to get it right. I'm back up to 244, I'm right around 35% body fat, If I keep this up I'll kill myself.

I joined my local LA Fitness, went to the gym last night for the first time in a couple years since hurting my neck. I am miserably out of shape, it's not even cute. I can barely do half a dozen decent push ups or plank for more than 30 seconds without tapping out. I've been heavier at time's but I've never felt this out of shape.

I obviously know it's time to give up sweets, start really thinking about what I'm putting into my body and get some regular exercise.

For the Icrontic guys/gals that let themselves go to eventually get fit, where is a good starting point? Should I be a little more cardio focused right now? Should I have specific meal plans? Is it safe to jump right into strength training as poor as my shape is? If so, what exercises / machines would you recommend?

I worked with a trainer last night and did not enjoy it. I could just feel her judgement upon me. I'm pathetic, I know it. I'd rather be able to work independently with the right information than have someone over my shoulder to Kill/Motivate me on each workout. Besides, I really can't afford it, I have to do it on my own with some help from my online friends.

My goal - I want to get down to 205 or so and get my body fat down to under 20%. I'm okay if this takes me a year. For today, where should I start?


  • ardichokeardichoke Icrontian
    edited November 2012
    I can only tell you what has worked for me so far (down 74.4lbs since January). First off, Weight Watchers is worthwhile if you don't mind spending some money. Where nothing else I've tried in my life has worked, WW did. That said, some basic changes I made, largely because of WW, that have resulted in my weight loss:

    1) Cut sugar out of your diet as much as possible, jettison High Fructose Corn Syrup entirely. This means diet soda any time you really need to drink it. No sugar in the coffee. Read the labels when grocery shopping. Beware "Low Fat" and "Fat Free" items, as they often compensate for a little bit of fat reduction with a lot of sugar/HFCS. Sometimes the slightly higher fat option is better than the low fat, high sugar one.

    2) Pay serious attention to your portions. At least half of your meal should be fruit and veg. I don't always succeed at this myself, but at least TRYING to live up to this has gone a long way toward me eating better and losing weight

    3) 5 servings of fruit and veg a day. Minimum. In most cases a serving is defined as 1/2 cup, though raw leafy greens or things like broccoli are 1 cup servings.

    4) If you like to snack, do it on fruit or veg. Avoid or keep to a minimum the carbs.

    5) Eat slowly, stop before you get completely "full". Before you eat something, ask yourself "am I really hungry or am I just eating because it's a certain time of the day or because I'm bored". When in doubt, drink a glass of water or have a piece of fruit or some veg and see how you feel.

    6) 64oz of water per day. Minimum.

    Finally, the biggest thing that has helped me

    7) Track everything you eat every day. Even if you don't subscribe to WW (and thus don't have access to the Points system), write it down in a food journal. This makes it easier to see where you've made mistakes in your diet and, along with regular weigh-ins, allows you to keep an eye on what works for your body and what doesn't.

    EDIT: A couple minor items I thought of after posting.

    Let yourself have a treat every now and then, you don't have to be miserable to lose weight. Just make sure you remember that a treat is a treat, it's not an every day thing.

    If you gain a bit of weight back from time to time, don't beat yourself up. Just look at what you did, identify what you messed up and fix it going forward. I gained 5lbs in one week on vacation, it was disheartening, but I looked at where I screwed up, corrected it and lost 6lbs the next week while also enjoying the other half of my vacation.

    Fiber, fiber, fiber, fiber, fiber. If you're like me and you love carbs, eat high-fiber carbs (whole grain bread, pasta, etc.). Find a local baker and get your bread fresh from there if possible. It might cost a bit more than Wonderbread, but it tastes a hell of a lot better and it is better for you. Also, look for Carba-nada noodles, if pasta is your sort of thing. Delicious, good fiber content and like half as much carb as your typical pasta.

    As for exercise, I'll leave that to other people as I have no clue what I'm doing there. Except couch to 5k.
  • I appreciate that @ardichoke - It's amazing some of the little things you forget. Like, water intake, you just kinda get out of good habbits, and you don't hydrate properly, amazing how bad that is, and when you kind of do it right for even a couple days you suddenly notice some little improvements.

    I'm going to look for that low carb pasta too. Great suggestion.
  • Yup, the water bit was a big thing for me as well. I drink 2 1L nalgene bottles every day at work. During the weekends, however, I was not drinking anywhere near enough water. Now that I keep track of how much I eat and drink each day, I've fixed that. Tracking everything really has fixed numerous issues with my diet.
  • My wife introduced me to an Android App this weekend, My Fitness Pal it's called. It's actually pretty phenomenal as a food/exercise tracker. It's free and I'm really enjoying using it in case anyone was looking for a similar tool.
  • BetsyDBetsyD Cincinnati, OH Icrontian
    You can try SparkPeople.com. @CB & I are both members over there (although he hasn't been using it as much lately). The nutrition tracker, exercise tracker and all of the resources on the site are the best that I've found.

    Good Luck :)
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