The beginning

Cheesecake for your body and soul

Since losing 65 pounds, I have been repeatedly asked how I did it, what diet did I use, what work out did I do.  My answer is always the same.  I changed my way of life and how I looked at it.  I basically got tired of being fat and feeling ugly and gross.  I joined a gym, rediscovered my love of yoga and pushed myself to get out of my comfort zone.  I worked out religiously for a year and lost 5 pounds.  To say I was discouraged is an understatement.

While I was discouraged, I kept going because, let’s face it, as a stay at home mom, it was the only way I was going to be able to get some alone time.  During one of my classes, my instructor was talking about this program she was trying where she hooked her heart rate monitor up to this website that counted calories.  Sounds amazing right?  Well it was, and it was $500 for the program and the watch.  I decided that that was insane, so I went home and Googled “calorie counter”.

I found a free one, obviously aimed at senior citizens with diabetes, but whatever, it did what I wanted it to do at the right cost.  So what if I had to create my own work outs because the only work out it had listed was chair yoga.  At least it had a create your own workout function where you could tabulate the calories you burned, therefore allowing you more calories in a day.

What the calorie counter showed me, was that my caloric intake was on track for losing 2 pounds a week.  Well if that was the case, why had I only lost 5 pound in a year?  I looked further into the breakdown and realized that while my caloric intake was fine, my sugar intake was 2-3 times what it should be.  I wasn’t eating candy and I was eating healthy so I was SHOCKED!

I realized then, that in order to obtain my goal of not being “fat” I needed to redesign my meal plans and how I was pairing items.  Instead of cereal for breakfast, which tends to have sugar, and then you add the milk that has at least 6 grams per serving, I would have toast.  Instead of a banana for a snack, I’d have carrots, and so on.  If I wanted cereal, I’d have that, but make sure none of the other foods I was eating that day were high in sugar.  My goal for sugar was to be under 30 grams a day.  The key was looking the food up, BEFORE I ate it to see how many grams each food had.

Once I cut sugar out I realized my energy levels were higher, and I was losing weight like crazy.  Suddenly I was having to buy new clothes and I was being told I looked like a new woman, it was AWESOME!

Now that the weight is off, I get people asking me how I keep it off.  The answer is simple.  I keep watching what I eat, I don’t diet, and I don’t deny myself food, I am just aware of the combinations of food I eat.

The problem with diets is they are unrealistic.  There is no way you are going to only drink 2 shakes and eat one meal for the rest of your life, so of course, once you hit your “goal” and go off the diet you are going to gain the weight back.  You didn’t learn anything on the diet, you just did a quick fix.

The key to keeping the weight off is not only giving my body the food it needs, but enjoying life as well.  If I crave something I’m more likely to binge on it, so if I get a sugar tooth, I will eat something sweet, I try to first douse the urge with fruit or something low in sugar, but if I want cheesecake, you better believe I’m gonna get a slice.  Usually, after a bite or two, I realize the urge has passed and I give it to my kids.  The idea is to stop the craving at the urge stage before it becomes an obsession where you will inhale the entire cheesecake.

Why I called this “Cheesecake for the body and soul”

When I think of cheesecake the following comes to mind, “creamy, sweet, graham cracker crust”.  A work out should have the same kind of feel to it.

I often see people choose “hard” work outs for their first workouts thinking the more they sweat and the more sore they are, the quicker they will lose the weight.  This is not only inaccurate, it’s dangerous.  It is very important to remember that a workout is a treat for your body, not a punishment for being out of shape or overweight.  During every work out you should be enjoying yourself.  If you find yourself holding your breath or hating it, then back off.  That is your mind telling your body it’s not ready for that physical excursion.

This is a belief that is familiar to anyone who does yoga, but sadly, has not transcended to the mainstream work outs.  I see these ads for boot camps, and other intense work outs.  I hear about the god awful diets that trainers have people on and all I can think is how sad it is that the person I’m talking to is punishing themselves instead of treating themselves.

A workout should always feel “sweet” the pain or difficulty of the exercise should always feel good.  Afterwards, you should feel “creamy” that way you know you pushed yourself enough, but not too much.   The graham cracker crust comes in when you have to push to do something, but it’s still sweet.

You should never leave a workout feeling like you hated it, it should always be a feeling of wanting to do that again.

I have gotten ½ mile into my normal 4-6 mile run and stopped because I wasn’t enjoying myself.  I’ve also started out thinking I’m  just going to run a mile so I don’t feel guilty, and ended up running 5 because after a mile I felt like I wanted more.  Whatever work out you are choosing to do, make sure you are listening to your body.  If you are taking a class, make sure it’s the level you want.  If it’s too easy ask for variations, if it’s too hard, back off.  Everyday your body is different, so every day your workout will be a little different.

My work outs of choice (I phrase it like that because I’m seriously addicted to all three) are running, Yoga and Pole Fitness.  All three speak to my soul and bring me balance like nothing else.  If I’m in a funk, or sad or even just blah, I know I can do any of the three and find my center again.  You may find me refering to things in a Yoga-ish way.  I find that Yoga is not only an type of work out, but it’s something you have in you.  I have been doing yoga in one form or another since I was 4, so naturally, after 30 years of something, it’s a part of you.  I find yoga in my rning and my pole fitness.  Hopefully this way of looking at the world speaks to you the way it does to me.  I find through the yoga philosophy the world seems brighter and funnier.  Mostly because in order to do yoga in the first place, you can’t take yourself to seriouse.  30 years of experience and I still fall sometimes, or look awkward.  They key ingrediant to life, is to laugh at yourself, yoga teaches this to you, which you can then bring to any sport you choose.

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