Feb 24, 2011

We are not looking for perfection. We are looking for progress.

Imagine you are at a race that you have been excited for, anxiously waiting for even, for quite some time. This race is THE race. The A-race of your life. You seeked it out, registered, and got all set for it. Come race day there you are toeing the line ready to go.

*BANG!* The gun pops and you are off! You are running as fast as your legs can carry you. You are kicking asphalt! Go you, go! The problem is that while you are going hard and fast and making like the wind, you have to keep this pace up... forever.

That is hardly sustainable.
So why do we do this with goals? Resolutions? We obviously want to achieve them, otherwise we wouldn't approach them with such gusto and dedication - the sprint. So why do we burn ourselves out instead of breaking things down and tackling them day by day - the marathon?
I think that it is in our human nature. We want to achieve something, so we focus on the end result, the finish line. But what about all the steps during the race we must take? What about all the preperation we must do in order to even toe that starting line to begin with? All of these steps are cumulative, and the summation of them will equal either success, or failure.

If we are working towards goals, I think that we need to break them down into smaller, day to day goals. You cannot eat an elephant in one bite, so why do we try to lose 50 pounds in one month?

We need to focus on making wins every day. This does not mean nailing every single workout, every single meal. What this means is focusing on one habit to change, one area of improvement to work on each day. Win today and then do it again tomorrow. The weightloss, the fitness, it will come. Remember - this is a cumulative process. It all adds up.

In addition to exercise, the other part of weightloss is food consumption. Unlike some diets will have you believe, for truse sustainability (to get you through the marathon not the sprint) you need both. I love math, and most everything can be broken down into some formula. Lucky for us, the formula for weighloss is pretty easy to remember!

Calories In - Calories Out = Net Caolric gain/loss

We need to create a deficit in our bodies in order to lose weight. The key thing here is that the deficit dows not mean to starve yourself or spend hours each day in the gym burning them off. No, that will end in a bad situation.

We need to take into consideration resting metobolic rate in addition to caloric consumption, calories burned due to physical activities (outside of existing). We also need to think about where we want to be. You need to have a goal.

Some advise out there says that we should eat today the amount of calories that we will need given our current RMR and lifestyle (sednetary, moderately active, active) to sustain our goal weight.

What this means is look at the number of calories that we would need to maintain the weight we want to be at. Aim for this to be our goal and we will naturally hit our target weight.

The concern I see here is that if we have a substantial weightloss goal, the caloric needs of the goal weight may be so drastically different from our caloric needs for current weight, that our body goes into starvation protection mode.

In my research, I found this great resource where it gives us caloric goals for each level of weight loss. So, we consume xxxxx calories until you hit a specific weight, then you consume the next level of calories (less) until you hit a specific weight, and so on and so on untilo goal weight is achieved.

This to me seems to be the best approach, because it gently reduces our caloric intake because as we weight less, we need less calories to survive.

Part of knowing what our numbers are - the calories in and the caolries out - we need to track them. Ugh, I know. That is tedious and rediculous and I am just not the type of person who wants to track all of that information.

Well, that is all fine and dandy, but we are serious about getting into shape, we have to know where we are on the nutrition side. I think that if we track religiously now, it will become habit. So I am making my goal 30 days of caloric tracking, as it takes about that long for something to become habit.

I am using dailymile.com and beginnertriathlete.com to track my workouts, and I am using myfitnesspal application on my phone to track my nutrition. There are a lot of great sites and applications made specifically for the purpose of making tracking very easy for us. We should use them!

What I did was try a few different sites and applications until I found the ones that worked for me. Trial and error. In a world so full of options, we need to exand our minds and allow for some fo those options to not work, however we should not give up all together.

One step at a time!

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