by Jason Jaquays-Tarbox, Elevate Fitness Marketing Director and Certified Spinning Instructor
Previously I wrote about how I lost 15 pounds in 40 days. Well, I’m now another week in (47 days total) and down a total of 17.5 pounds and wanted to share some things I’ve learned along the way.
First, let me reiterate how this entire process has been about finally getting my efforts focused on my fitness and my nutrition at the same time (I’m great at working out really hard while eating badly or eating super clean for weeks without ever breaking a sweat). If I hadn’t made the commitment to both increasing my activity level AND getting a handle on some bad eating habits, I’d not be seeing the results I’m seeing, and I know that from experience.
I also knew that because I was already active (having recently gotten re-certified as a Spinning instructor I was teaching and taking a lot of Spin classes, often burning in the neighborhood of 1,000 calories) that it wouldn’t be enough to just start eating better – I’d have to up my activity. Having experienced a lot of joy as a runner in the past, even completing an ultra-marathon, it seemed like running would be a good addition to my strategy.
So here are the five most important things I’ve learned about losing weight in my mid-forties:
- As you age, your metabolism becomes MUCH less forgiving. You absolutely have to train yourself to eat clean 95% of the time and to really limit the treats, cheats, and sweets to the remaining 5% of the time. This was tough for me at first, but I think I’m finally at a point where I can eat clean 6.5 days of the week knowing I’m going to have something “off-plan” eventually. And when I say eating clean, I mean really taking a look at how hard you can push yourself. Personally, I’m vegan, gluten-free, caffeine-free, and sugar-free 95% of the time. It’s not exciting – but it makes that other 5% of my eating that much more enjoyable!
- You can’t phone in your workouts. You have to be mentally present enough when you’re working out to actually push yourself a little further and to accomplish a little more. I mentioned that I’ve been running. Running didn’t happen at the beginning of my 47-day journey – I actually only started adding runs to my workouts 17 days ago, running a minimum of 5K ever day for a running total of 90 miles so far. I only accomplished this many miles because when I feel like I want to stop, I push myself another mile or two or three. And I’ve gone from about a 13-minute mile (super slow) to an 11-minute mile (kinda slow) in those 17 days. Not bad, and the weight is still dropping – so it must be working!
- Accountability is imperative. Everyone in my life knows what I’m doing and how I’m accomplishing it. And that’s necessary to avoid someone approaching me at a July 4th barbeque and offering me potato chips or a hotdog. Not only does it help me avoid unnecessary (but not all) temptation – it creates a level of accountability that I’m constantly focused on. Because everyone knows that I’m not eating meat or dairy, I hold myself to that lest I be seen eating chicken nuggets and exposing myself as a fraud.
- You shouldn’t use just a single metric to determine your success. Some days I get on the scanner (I do Fit3D Scans several times a week to track my progress) and I’ve gained a pound instead of losing a pound, but usually, on those days my BodyFat percentage is lower. Sometimes I find my win on the scale, some days I find it on the trail by running a little further or a little faster. Or some days the win is in how many minutes I’ve been able to be active. There is ALWAYS a win when you’re moving forward – you just have to be open to looking for it.
- Every day won’t be perfect. Okay – so this is clearly a theme in the lessons I’ve learned. But it’s so important. Not every meal will meet my program (dinner with my father-in-law meant gluten and dairy with dinner) and not every workout will meet my expectations (only burned 600 calories in spin class last week for example) and I won’t always like what the scanner tells me is happening in my body (how’d I gain two pounds since yesterday when I ate virtually nothing since my last scan?). And it most certainly won’t always be pretty. But I’m taking care of myself, and for that reason, it will always be worth it.
I’ll check-in and share my results and discoveries with you in another week or so!
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