Now What?

You are dedicated to sweat. Four, five or even six days a week you are lifting, running and taking classes. Your washing machine is always filled with shorts and t-shirts from the previous days’ workouts and your pantry looks like a mini GNC. Yet the next 10 pounds won’t go away. To top it off, last weekend’s burger and fries (it was a long week and you deserved to relax) have suddenly appeared around your waist. If you’re doing everything you can, what are you doing wrong? Are you drinking enough? Experts go back and forth about how much water you should drink (I’d say half your body weight in ounces), but the bottom line is, if you are dehydrated, your workout will suffer. The cells in your body are composed of H2O and don’t function efficiently without it. In other words, you fatigue faster and your intensity falls. Also, you won’t recover as quickly because your body cannot repair your muscles without water. Be sure to drink before, during and after exercise.

Do you hate it? You ran five times last week and lifted weights everyday. However, Saturday and Sunday became off days because you couldn’t bear the thought of the gym or one more mile on the sidewalk and, then Monday and Tuesday were busy days at work and today…If you find your workouts tedious, boring, annoying or painful you aren’t very likely to do them, are you? For long term success, and maybe a little bit of fun, find activities you like to do. Then if you love yoga or running or your trainer, share your passion with a friend and you’ll be more likely to maintain your workouts over the long haul.

But the machine said…you burned 400 calories in only 20 minutes. If that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Recent research presented at the National Strength and Conditioning conference found elliptical trainers overestimated calories by up to 30%. If you are using the treadmill’s calorie counter to gauge your workout, you may end up disappointed in your results. A better way to measure your hard work is with a heart rate monitor. They are less expensive and easier to use than ever, and because they are programmed specifically for you, a heart rate monitor is far more accurate than most gym equipment.

The candy dish made me do it! If you want to feel better, look better and lose that jiggle when you wiggle, sugar, and it’s even more evil twin, high fructose corn syrup, have to go. Found in obvious, and not so obvious, food sources (ketchup, bread, crackers, luncheon meat, etc.) sugar and hfcs add calories to food and pounds to your bottom. Line up the foods you eat the most and you are probably consuming a lot more sugar than you imagine. Sure, the Hershey’s Kisses on your secretary’s desk are a clear enemy to your goals, but what about the ham sandwich you had for lunch?

I only have one glass of wine…usually and maybe a little more on the weekends. Occasionally, I have a beer or two, but…but butts and guts are made in this way. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram and a drink or two a day add up to thousands of extra calories in a short time. This is not to mention the fact a few drinks at dinner lowers your resistance to the sugary desserts you foreswore.

The excitement and momentum you felt a few weeks ago was not an illusion. You can get back on track again with a few small changes. The time is now to reexamine your day-to-day habits to uncover the choices you can make to get back on track.