Making a conscious effort to change your lifestyle from a being a sedentary one, to one that has you being more active is a great thing. And it hasn’t happened over night! You’ve worked at it for quite some time now and have seen the fruits of your labors make some dramatic changes to the way your body is now behaving.
For one thing, the walking /exercising you’ve chosen to do each day has given you more stamina. Your breathing easier when doing more physical tasks. Your walking distance has been consistently increasing and when you’ve reached a good distance in your stepping. Say, 5-7 miles a day, you’ve upped your pace a bit so your now up to doing a 14-minute mile. You’ve toyed with the idea of even jogging or even running a bit, but the reality is, the reason your walking is that your knees and ankles just aren’t up to the impact they would endure when hitting that pavement time and time again. So, walking has become your exercise of choice.
Like I said above, good for you, since besides your physical powers of becoming more fit taking shape. You also dropped a good amount of weight. But over the past several weeks, months even. That weight-loss seems to have taken a respite for now. You’re not dropping the 3-4 pounds every few weeks or so. Not even every month, so what’s the problem? You’re still sticking to the same distance and the same amount of energy you're expending in going about your walking regimen. But no luck, the weight seems to be stuck, and I mean that figuratively around your body.
It’s really not that difficult to surmise that you’ve reached a plateau. For a lot of people, they would simply just stop here. Maintaining their daily, weekly, monthly regimen and being happy with the progress that they’ve accomplished so far, which after all has been significant. Since you’ve been hearing from friends and family just how well you’ve been looking lately.
But getting back to the fact that you’re still looking to drop a few more pounds, well… maybe more than a few. The “Key” is to change up your diet. Take a good hard look at what you’re eating, and when you’re eating it. After all, some people that work out, and don’t kid yourself, walking is your “Low-Impact” way of working out. As I said, some people think that when you're working out, you tend to get a little hungrier, and maybe, just maybe you give in to a few cravings, every now and then to some food choices that well, let’s just say are not the healthiest for you. Now, that’s ok, to treat yourself every once in a while, but NOT to make a continuous habit of it. You’ve really got more sense than that right?
The key to everything is Moderation, and “ Balance”. You need to balance the amount of exercise, (walking) you do against the amount of food you put in your mouth. For example, the calories in a candy bar equal those you would burn by walking 3 to 5 miles. A Big Mac will take at least two hours to burn off. If you have fallen into eating habits where you are taking in more calories per day than you use, you will not lose weight despite exercising for the recommended 30 to 60 minutes per day.
To lose weight steadily, you need to eat fewer calories per day than you burn off. You will need a calorie deficit of about 500 calories per day in order to see a weight loss of one pound per week. Exercise can be part of that, but you will still need to mind what you eat. The calorie goal for weight loss varies from person to person, depending on height, age, and activity level.
One thing that you can do for yourself if you’re not doing so already is tracking the amount of energy your expending against that food intake by using a good activity tracker like the Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Tracker This tracker will do more than track your steps and the distance your walking, it will also keep track of your heart rate. Besides tracking and measuring heart rate, the Charge 3 includes an SP01 sensor that measures blood oxygen (it’s a technology that’s also found in the Versa and Ionic). With the SPO2 sensor, the Charge 3 can also monitor sleep patterns. Then there’s Fitbit’s Sleep Score program, which is designed to help you sleep better and is available to owners of any Fitbit device with Pure-Pulse HR tracking. That’s taking care of measuring your expenditures.
Now the Food Intake:
Make Changes in What and How Much You Eat
Small day-to-day changes can help you control your calorie intake. Try these tips:
Eat the foods you enjoy but in smaller portions.
Replace processed snack foods with vegetables and fruit.
Eat five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. (More vegetables than fruit!)
Restaurant portions are two to four times the amount you should eat at one meal. Eat out less often and take-home half of the food on the plate when you do. Again, let's make sure its healthy food and not the kind that gives you a sugar high!
Make changes you can live with the rest of your life.
Try new foods and new recipes.
Analyze your recipes to see whether they are providing the nutrients you need without excess empty calories.
Choosing a Healthy Diet
Beyond weight loss, you also need to fuel your body with nutrient-dense foods. If you are eating fewer calories, you want them to be from foods that will provide the essentials for good health.
These are the suggested food group amounts for different calorie levels of diet to ensure you are getting the variety of nutrients your body needs, including protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Divide these total allowances for each food group between meals and snacks throughout the day. The portions listed are per day.
Daily 1200 Calorie Diet
3 ounces of lean meat/protein
4 ounces of grains with half of them whole grains
1 cup of fruit (especially whole fruits)
1 1/2 cups of vegetables (or double that amount of leafy greens)
2 1/2 cups of dairy (low fat preferred)
Like we said earlier, moderation in eating is the key along with keeping the correct balance between the amount of exercise you’re doing each day and the amount of food your eating, will go a long way in getting your weight loss back on track and have those pounds start to drop off again to where you want it to be.