If you haven't done so already, read The Plan Part 1.
Discovering that I had never had a weight loss problem, but instead had a weight gain problem, was a turning point in both my attitude and my behavior. I had mastered the art of weight loss and proved that I could lose weight again. This time I would figure out how NOT to gain weight. If only I could do that, then I was sure the remaining pounds would fall into place, or more accurately off my butt.
So I went to the library, the bookstore, the internet and my doctor. Anywhere that might have "reliable" information. (please, for your own sanity, do not Google weight loss). What I found was not a surprise, because I had been hearing it all my life.
Eat less, Move more
There's no way around it people. If you do not want to gain weight you need to use the fuel, (calories) you consume. And how does your body use fuel? By moving. Unused fuel turns to fat. So what you take in, you have to expend out.
There were many misteps along the way. I'm sure I will use them as Blog Fodder in later posts. Long story short after much trial and error I learned a beautiful and simple truth. The only way change your life is if you not only enjoy the results from your change (ie weight loss, toned body, better mood), but enjoy the act of changing in itself. (ie healthier foods, exercise)
Why is it that most people know they need to live healthier but don't? Because it's no fun! If you gag on tofu everyday and kill yourself working out at the gym, do you think you are likely to continue that lifestyle indefinitely? Hell no! That's why diets are miserable too. Because you are trying to do too much to achieve max results. And let's be honest, not many people really like living in the extremes. Working out 3 hours a day, eating totally vegan or raw. No way. The exception being if you like it. That's the key. If you love the way working out for 3 hours feels, Go for it! If you feel like you've been run over afterwords? Don't do it!
Here's the secret. You have to find a way to be healthier that makes you happy. When you are happy all sorts of wonderful magical things happen. Most of the chemical reactions I can't explain, but when you are unhappy or stressed you release more cortisol, which makes you fat. When you're happy you get all those wonderful endorphins that for me at least, made it so I could stop taking the antidepressants I had been on for 14 years.
So go try everything. The best exercise is the one you enjoy. Finding an exercise that burns alot of calories but you hate to do is counter-productive because if you hate it, you won't do it. Then you'll be burning 0 calories. So forget about maximizing the calories burned for a minute and find something that gets you moving that you like! For me it's running and Zumba. I have no coordination, but a love for music and it gets me moving. It makes me want to exercise. Gasp! I never thought I'd want to exercise. But I like spending time doing things that make me happy.
Follow the logic? Need to spend time exercising ----> Find exercise you enjoy ----> Doing things you enjoy makes you happy-----> So now exercising makes you happy.
Never thought you'd be saying that huh?
Next time we will look at the other half of the equation, what to eat.