Like so many people, I exercised regularly as a kid, teenager and into my 20’s. And then, life hit me. With the stress of a job and family, I started to put on the pounds.
By my mid 30’s, I was starting to have chest pains and realized that I was about 5-10 years away from a heart attack. I need to make changes. Otherwise, I was going to go to bed one night, and not wake up.
So I made the decision that I had to change. And like many people, I needed to find the exercises to lose weight quickly. And like most people, I set the New Year’s Resolution. But unlike most people, I stuck to it. I guess that’s what having a health scare will do to you.
But how do you do it? I asked the same questions that you did, such as:
- How do I eat right?
- Am I healthy enough to start?
- Where will I find the time to work out?
- What are the exercises to lose weight but in a healthy fashion? I didn’t want to do a crash diet and just put the weight back on.
So, On January 1, 2008 I woke and immediately weighed myself (252 lbs) and measured my 'Point of Maximum Girth' (48"). This is my own little measuring stick, measured at the naval and will include all of the 'love handles' that we love to hate. And I have made it a point to measure both indices every Sunday morning.
So, here is what I did:
First of all, I got educated. It’s been said that if you want to get healthy, study health. So I did. I read dozens of books on health and fitness. Some of the titles included:
- Fitness For Dummies
- The Healthy Heart For Dummies
- Weight Training For Dummies
- Healthy At 100
You get the idea. And in addition to looking for the exercises to lose weight quickly, I have become a 'disciple' of Dean Ornish.
He is the first person to scientifically prove, with FDA backing, that it is possible to REVERSE heart disease by instituting a very low fat, vegetarian diet, backed up by moderate exercise (20-30 minutes a day) and meditation. In my opinion, his book Eat More, Weigh Less is a must read. You can find out more by visiting the Preventive Medical Research Institute.
Secondly, I used what I learned. There were a couple of points in the Dummies books which I really feel changed my life.
First of all, it takes 3500 calories to either eliminate one pound of fat from your body or add one pound of fat to your body. Most aerobic machines have some form of calorimeter which allows you to approximate the calories you burn per workout.
So, if you could burn 500 calories (that's a lofty goal to start off with, but is attainable with after a few months or so of aerobics) 3-4 days a week, that would translate into 2 lbs of fat eliminated from your body per month.
Like me, you probably spent a lot of time having a good time putting the weight on. It isn’t going to ‘just come off’. It is going to take work, and to lose weight in a healthy fashion means losing 2-3 pounds a week, at most.
If you lose more, you are losing muscle, not fat, and will be slowing your metabolism down. And when you do this, you are just setting yourself up for the inevitable yo-yo of putting the weight back on.
Secondly, I learned about your REE, Resting Energy Expenditure.
See, even if you are not moving, or even while you are sleeping, you are burning calories. For example, the #1 user of calories in your body is your brain, and it is on 24 hours a day. And the amount of calories you burn naturally over the course of the day is known as your REE. So, if you know your REE, and you can consume fewer calories than that, you will lose weight.
This simple philosophy takes all of those diets and fads and throws them out the window. It does require some discipline to count the calories, but so long as you can do that you can make it work. And anyone who tells you that it is not necessary to count your calories to lose weight is lying to you. These days, there are plenty of applications for smart phones that will help you with this goal.
And the best part is that this type of eating, combined with finding out the right exercises to lose weight quickly, does work. The weight comes off, and it can stay off if you keep it up.
Below is the formula to calculate your REE:
REE = (weight in Kg. x 11.6) + 879.
So what you do is take your weight now and divide by 2.2 to convert to kilograms. Take that number and multiply by 11.6 and add 879 to that.
So after six months I went from 252lbs. to 199 lbs., or 90.5 kilograms. 90.5 X 11.6 = 1102 + 879 = 1929 calories. That is how many calories my body will consume over the course of the day, not counting exercise.
I make sure that my calorie count is below that by consuming nutrient-rich yet calorie poor foods. Go to www.calorieking.com and it will give you the calorie count for any food you are looking to eat. I drastically cut down on the peanut butter when I saw how high the calories were in it, based on this website.
The biggest tip I can give you is to plan what you are going to eat the night before and write it down on a 3×5 index card and keep the index card in your wallet, or plan this information out in your smart phone. I will also write this plan out and put in on my kitchen cabinets so I always see it.
Planning does several things:
First of all, it allows you to count the calories
It prevents those fast food runs when you are not sure what there is to eat.
I personally eat 6 times a day, or more, and was able to lose weight quickly. Here is a sample from a typical day:
900am – 1/2 Whey Protein shake (135) and one apple (100)
1030am – Quaker Oats Weight Control Maple and Brown Sugar oatmeal (160)
1200pm – Open-Faced Turkey sandwich with spinach on whole wheat (300) 130pm ½ Whey Protein shake (135)
430pm – Vegetable platter with one Baked potato and a can of assorted veggies (300)
530pm – ½ Whey Protein shake (135)
700pm and 900 – (I split dinner into 2 portions typically. One before my workout and one after) Chicken Parmigana platter (700)
1100pm – ½ protein shake (135)
So here is the calorie count for the day: 135, 100, 160, 300, 135, 300, 135, 700, 135
That comes to an even 2100 calories. And I also need to note that in everything I do I seek out the low-or-no fat and sugar ingredients. For an example:
You could buy the regular Oatmeal which is full of sugar, but the weight control variety has one gram of sugar per serving, and you would never know it by the taste
When I use cheese, it is the low-fat or no-fat variety
I use the Barilla tomato sauce, which has, in my opinion, the best combination of taste and low sugar content
This is an estimate and on a day-to-day basis what I eat varies. And if you are exercising vigorously, as I do, there are times that I need to eat more to make up for the extra activity. But this is just a basic example for you to model.
And I have to say, it is tough to get really hungry when you are eating 8-9 times a day. See Eat More, Weigh Less by Dr. Dean Ornish for more benefits of the ‘Nibbling’ diet.
3) I hit the gym. Even though what you eat is about 85% of the equation, you gotta get the body moving.
And here is the key about the exercises to lose weight quickly. There are two ways to do this: weight training and aerobics, and you need both. Strength training is important because they increase lean muscle mass which turns your body into a more efficient calorie burning machine. Muscle burns more calories than fat.
But you have to do the cardio to burn the fat that is currently over your muscles. Doing a million sit-ups will not help you to see your abs. You need to burn the fat over the abs for you to see them.
So I would tell you to start the cardio but go easy to start out with. Before you begin you should see a doctor to have them tell you if you should be on any restrictions. But if you get the green light, begin.
And keep track of your results. One of my favorite phrases is 'Measureable progress in reasonable time.' Yes, we are all targeting those exercises to lose weight quickly, but you have to remember that 2 lbs a week is the healthy maximum for weight loss. You may lose more than that in the first few weeks, but after week 3 expect to lose 2-3 pounds a week as a healthy maximum.
So you want to see incremental improvements. I keep track of weight used, reps and sets in the weight training; and time, distance and calories burned on the cardio machines and log it all in Excel spreadsheets on my computer.
And it comes with time. The first time I got on the elliptical machine, I was ready to fall off it after 6 minutes on the lowest level of resistance. But now I can do an hour at higher levels with no problem. It just comes with time.
By Tony Rovere