As we begin the month of March, we have already noticed the days getting warmer, rain instead of snow, and blue skies. You know what that means, spring break is approaching…and even better, summer! It also means it’s time to get in shape and shed some unwanted pounds to prepare ourselves for bikini season.
Beginning today, March 1st, I have decided to make up my own fitness and weight loss plan. I will keep my readers updated with a post every Tuesday. By experimenting and doing some research I will hopefully be able to devise a plan that works, while at the same time, easy to fit into a busy schedule.
Let’s start with the basics. You can’t lose weight without exercise. You can lose weight by cutting calories. I will have to devise a plan that works best for my lifestyle, which incorporates daily exercise and cutting my daily calorie intake. When you think about it, it is really as simple as that. I don’t believe there is any one right diet out there for anybody. It has to fit your lifestyle comfortably enough to work and not cause you much stress.
For example, The Special K Challenge seems rather unrealistic to me. The plan has you eating one serving of Special K cereal for breakfast with skim milk and a piece of fruit. Then, you must replace another meal with a Special K “meal replacement” bar. Your third meal, probably dinner, is allowed to be a meal of your choice, but it has to be sensible, delicious and nutritious. The plan also allows you to eat 2 snacks a day, of which have to be one of the Special K snack choices. In addition, the consumption of fruits and veggies are encouraged.
This plan does not seem sensible to me. Yes, it can work. I can’t argue that. Anytime you cut calories from your diet you are sure to lose some weight. However I see two things wrong with it.
First, it is expensive! If you are a broke college kid like me, you don’t want to go out and buy special foods to meet your dietary needs. After purchasing the cereal, protein bars, and snack options, let’s say for a month’s worth of supplies, it adds up!
Second, there is little variety. Not enough variety leads to boredom, and boredom takes away from enthusiasm and then you may soon find yourself relapsing into your old eating habits.
A review I recently read about the diet goes on to explain why Special K isn’t so healthy for you after all. The author explains that Special K foods are highly processed (and we all know how I feel about processed foods.) Because Special K is so refined, it has a high glycemic load meaning that “the carbohydrates in Special K are rapidly digested by the body and spike insulin levels, which can leave you hungry and low-on-energy later in the day.”
Here’s what I say. Sit down and think about your daily life, what may work, and what may not work for you. Don’t eat the same thing for breakfast every morning, lunch every day and so on. For instance, my personal plan is going to require me to eat 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Less carbs equals more weight loss. I’m not going to tell myself what to eat and when, but here’s a rough idea for you.
Breakfast: Yogurt, Slim Fast drink, or cereal mixing it up every morning. Each morning though, I will include fruit to whatever I choose, and I may choose one morning to eat an egg for breakfast as well.
Lunch: Salad, fruit, veggie gyro, yogurt, and the list could go on. Basically I want to try to use my lunch to get in some of those fruit and veggie servings. Like I said, I want to cut back on carbs as much as possible, so I don’t want to eat a whole wheat sandwich if I had cereal for breakfast.
Dinner: Half a plate’s worth of fruit/veggies, a portion of meat the size of my palm (making sure to cut back on red meat), possibly a carb like pasta or rice and a nice tall glass of milk.
Snacks: Again, another option to squeeze in my fruit and veggie servings, possibly a protein or granola bar.
As usual I will be drinking plenty of water as water helps to transport nutrients in and out of your cells and aids with weight loss.
As for exercise, it will be important to exercise once every day. Cardio, abs and strength training will be a must, though I haven’t quite figured out the best way to spread it out. As of now, I’m going to begin doing a cardio workout every day, finishing with a brief abdominal routine. I will incorporate 3-4 days of strength training a week.
One last tip I wanted to share to kick off my diet plan is to keep a diet journal. I think maybe it will help me stay on top of my goals and keep things in order. Each day I will record what I ate and the amount of time I spent exercising. If you do choose to keep a diet journal, I would recommend keeping it simple and short. Anything too long or in depth will make you want to put it off, or forget about doing it all together.
Log on every Tuesday to check my progress and see what other reviews/research about dieting I come up with to help coordinate my own, and yours!