When I officially decided to join the 18% of Americans Gallup surveyed who wanted to lose “a lot” of weight 15 months ago, I wasn’t exactly sure what my first move would be. How would I up my fitness?
The picture I saw of myself next to my skinny friends was my eye-opening trigger, but I knew that wasn’t going to sustain my enthusiasm much. It actually took a chess set of tools and various moves to kick off this journey. Here are a few key ones that helped, among others I’ll talk about in future posts:
A strong health care program – My company really focuses on wellness. I recently completed their annual biometric screening, and due to some out of whack BMI and cholesterol scores, I qualified for my healthcare plan’s Real Appeal program. This program is outer limits – you receive a huge box of “weight loss Christmas,” including a small smoothie blender, food and human scales, pedometer, videos, a food portion plate, books and a bunch of other fitness goodies.
The Real Appeal app helps you track every single loving thing you put in your mouth, your weight, activity and steps, water intake and other metrics – the app is also where you join a weekly Skype-style live group to watch videos on various topics and discuss our goals and challenges. There are others out there with similar capabilities, like MyFitnessPal and Lose It! (the latter I’ve also used before and liked).
A Fitbit – I have had a Fitbit activity tracker on my wrist for nearly three years now, but it took special focus on fitness “challenges” for me to actually use it to its fullest capacity. It helped that there were others at work and in my community who also had an interest in being challenged (more on my good friend the FitBit, challenging, and doing laps at 11:30 p.m. around my kitchen island in the future :)
A commitment to a lot of stepping, often with a buddy – Step goals are the new metric of success. Getting 10K of those in a day was key, everyone said. But to get this done for me, this meant getting up early…like 4:40 a.m. early. My friend Kelley and I realized early on we lived close and both had only a certain time of day where we could knock out a 3 mile walk before kid school routine, early morning conference calls, and the rest of the workday took over. We were toast by the evening, so pre-dawn had to do. Kelley also became my in person go-to friend to discuss weight loss challenges and celebrate successes, and I’d text her weekly how my weigh-in’s went from the next item below.
A weight loss competition – Around the time this all started, my friend Summer the fitness instructor put on Facebook that she wanted to start up a competition between friends to see who can lose the most percentage of weight in a certain period of weeks. We all chipped in ~$20, privately sent pix of each of us standing on a scale every Friday to her to track progress, and then received encouraging words in return. First place was $200 or so, and I got second, so around $150! It helps that money talks and I don’t like losing. ☺
There are so many other things I want to say about how I got started, but I think it’s important to emphasize that I don’t think there’s a magic formula to starting. Except for maybe including a good app for tracking, and incorporating live accountability. If I didn’t have those, my start would probably have had a quick finish.
Blogging about this stuff is getting fun, guys! I love reading your comments – please share your stories about your starts (or re-starts), and what’s working for you so far. Until next time!