My Program

I’ve been asked the question, “What exactly are you doing to lose weight?” My quick answer would be that I am living a healthier lifestyle. The specifics on that healthier lifestyle, however, are a little lengthier. I have used certain tools throughout my weight-loss journey which have been instrumental in obtaining my weight-loss goals, thus far.
January 2013 -- 35 lbs. Down!
Tool #1 – Sparkpeople.com
I use Sparkpeople.com to track my food consumption for each day. By initially submitting some key information, such as height, current weight, goal weight; Sparkpeople.com calculates the amount of calories, fat, carbohydrates and protein you should consume each day in order to lose the weight to obtain your goal. These nutrition ranges are offset by the amount of exercise you plan to do for the week, as well.
Here is an example of the formula used by Sparkpeople.com:
Weighing in at 240 lbs, with a weight loss goal of 40 pounds in 8 months, and a goal to exercise for 90 minutes each week, while burning 900 calories through exercise in the week, Sparkpeople.com gave me the nutritional ranges of eating between 1310-1660 calories; 147-270 carbs; 29-65 grams of fat; and, 60-145 grams of protein per day.

By using these nutritional ranges, I am not limited in what foods I may consume. This more about portion control, which does take self control. This brings me to my next tool in my weight-loss journey.
Tool #2 – Information Gathering
If you are looking to start a weight-loss program, my advice to you is to gain as much information as you can. Information is a powerful thing. Something that I have learned throughout my weight-loss journey is that I am not willing to make any changes to my diet that I am not able to maintain for the remainder of my life. I am not willing to drink two shakes a day or give up carbs. Knowing this has saved me a lot of time and money. How did I come to this very fine and basic conclusion? It was by gaining information from the experiences of others. For example, when Suzy did something drastic to lose weight quickly; she gained the weight back just as fast once she returned to her normal lifestyle. By gathering this information, I learned that I didn’t want to be on a diet for the rest of my life. Rather, I wanted to lose weight by practicing a healthier lifestyle.  I learned that you should eat lean protein at breakfast, and I learned what foods were considered lean protein. Through information gathering, I have learned that the amount sleep that you get in a night effects weight-loss; that you really should be drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day; and, that it is possible and could be potentially harmful to drink too much water in a day. I gained as much information as possible to make my daily life and my weight-loss journey as healthy and safe as possible. I even learned about my next tool for weight-loss while gaining information from a healthy living book.
Tool #3 – The Hawthorne Effect
January 2013 -- 35 lbs. Down!
According to Wikipedia, the Hawthorne Effect is a form of reactivity whereby subjects improve or modify an aspect of their behavior while being experimentally measured simply in response to the fact that they know they are being studied, not in response to any particular experimental manipulation.
Basically, if I declare on my blog that I am going to be working out tonight, I am more likely to do it (and do it well) because I know that my readers are aware of my plan to work out and that they may be looking for my follow-up  the very next day. It’s much easier to not go to the gym when I am the only one who knew that I was thinking of going. The Hawthorne Effect has been a big influence on me throughout my weight-loss journey.
Tool #4 – Challenges
It’s quite possible that you may lose motivation throughout the course of your weight-loss journey, especially if you are taking the time to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable manner.  The way that I have gotten around the occasional motivation loss is through challenges. I love to challenge myself, and by using tool #3 (the Hawthorne Effect) I have been successful in regaining motivation through my personal, yet public, challenges.  If you are interested in formulating your own challenge, you are welcome to use some ideas from the links to my current and past challenges, below:

The April 5K Challenge

Through Thick and Thin Challenge
Cruise Challenge

Thank you for taking the time to read about my program and what has worked for me! I do hope that you find some of these tools/tips useful in your own journey. If you have any other questions for me, feel free to send me an email at goaloflosing (at) yahoo (dot) com.

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