My weight loss strategy + 2 awesome fitness apps

In my Inspiration Abounds post, I talked about making concrete goals and to-do lists. Well, I'm actually doing that! In the past I've simply had a desire to lose weight without really having the willpower to make it happen, and I set myself up for failure by not setting concrete goals for eating, exercise, and overall weight loss. Today I'm laying out a clear strategy I plan to follow in my effort to lose weight, get fit and healthy, and tone up.

Goal weight: 145 pounds

Current weight: 171 pounds


That's about 25 pounds to lose! It's going to be a challenge, but if I can even lose 20 pounds I'll be one happy lady.


Diet

Is it just me, or has there been a lot more diets out there than there used to be? No meat, low/no carb, gluten free, sugar free...it seems like if you take away a food group there's a faction somewhere that does it. Clean Eating is something that caught my eye a while ago, but it never really seemed like something that was possible for me until I read this post. Melissa follows an 80/20 rule with clean eating. 80% of the time (most of the day to day, especially the time spent at home) they eat clean, and 20% of the time life happens and they break it without feeling bad about it. This seems totally reasonable and like a goal that I can actually strive toward (sorry, but I love dessert too much to give it up 100% of the time). It also seems like a diet conducive to weight loss. I talked to my boyfriend about it (we living together, so our diet tends to be mostly the same) and he's totally on board with it! Right now we're not super strict, and we're making our own allowances. We don't have a wheat grinder, so we're using store bought wheat flour but we're trying to eliminate white bread as much as possible. 

In addition to trying to eat clean as much as possible, I'm limiting my calories and keeping track of what I eat with My Fitness Pal. This is a free app that allows you to keep track of your calories digitally as well as tracking your exercise. When you set up your account, it will ask you for your current and goal weights and how many pounds you would like to lose in a week, with several options. The more you want to lose in a week, the lower your daily calorie intake is. My goal calorie intake is 1200. For a woman of my size, this will (hopefully) allow me to lose 1.5 pounds a week, if I'm good. I know counting calories is no one's idea of a good time, but it honestly really opens up your eyes to how much you're eating every day and of what, as well as how much exercise you need to do in order to negate any amount of calories. I used this app several years ago in college and I did actually successfully lose weight by keeping track this way (then I stopped using it and eating right and I started gaining weight).

There will be cheat days of course, and meals out with friends, because I'm not planning on being that girl. But there will also be sacrifices, like not getting to have dessert every day, not getting to drink whatever and whenever I want (mostly referring to alcohol here, but also flavored beverages), and a big reduction on snacking. Portion sizes will have to be managed. I will be hungry for a few days, but once my body learns to function on the reduced calories and my stomach shrinks, I'll be right as rain.


Exercise

I first got turned onto the Couch to 5K thing when I came across it one day on Pinterest. I was intrigued, but it looked difficult to do yourself (the time intervals would be a bit strenuous to deal with on your own, in my opinion). I came back to it later and (lightbulb please) realized that there was surely an app for that. And there was. Actually, there were several, and after reading through the features and the reviews, I downloaded Get Running. It costs 2.99 and it's worth it. I completed the first week of the program at the beginning of the summer, and then my work schedule (and my laziness and many other excuses) made it difficult for me to run at the same time every day, so I kind of gave up on it without really meaning to. Now that summer is ending and I'll be having a regular, more convenient schedule once classes start again, I plan to get back into it.

Disclaimer: I have not completed this program. However, I want to tell you all of the things I love about this app and the program so you will download it and do it with me. 1) The program starts you out at really short running intervals. Pretty much no matter what your fitness level is, you can probably manage to slowly run for a minute (even if you're winded, sweaty, and miserable at the end of that minute, not that that happened to me or anything). 2) There is this really nice woman's voice telling you when to run and when to walk, so you never have to look down at the app to know what's going on. Plus, she gives you benchmarks, so when you're just like God, how long is a minute anyway?! she tells you fifteen more seconds and you can count them down and then it's glorious walking time. 3) There is no emphasis on distance whatsoever. The Couch to 5K thing is a bit of a misnomer in this, at least with this particular app, because the real goal of the app is to get you to run for 30 minutes by the end without stopping, not to get you to run a certain distance. Start somewhere, and at the halfway point they'll tell you to go ahead and turn back around, and if you're running at about the same speed throughout, you'll get back to where you started around the end of the program. So, you get to go as slow as you want, and in the FAQ they actually encourage you to go slowly and even walk through part or all of some of the running segments if you need to. Don't wimp out, but if you're feeling ill or like you want to quit, stop and walk until you can run again, and then do. 4) You can listen to your own music while the app runs. You do have to do this through the separate app, it's not integrated, but you can have your workout playlist or your Pandora going and you'll still get the lady's voice with the prompts. What more could you ask for?

I also plan to be doing smaller, around the house exercise, like squats, crunches, lunges, calf raises, etc. every single day to help with muscle training and toning.

Goal Summary

  • Eat 1200 calories a day or less
  • Eat clean and healthy, focusing on whole grains and fruits and vegetables
  • Log food and exercise using My Fitness Pal
  • Follow running plan laid out by Get Running app
  • Do small exercises at home every day
  • Get down to 145 pounds

What tools have helped you lose weight?

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