How:

I ride a fixed gear bicycle. My average is about 12 miles per day. I would do more but I must limit my workout (and shower) to one hour or less. The cycling workout takes me about 40 minutes. I push myself as hard as I can.

I have a set of dumbells and a bench in the basement. I do upper body workouts twice per week. Cycling takes care of my legs.

Why:

It helps keep my weight under control, which in turn mitigates some associated health problems. It also helps me sleep at night, as I often suffer from insomnia. But the best reason: It feels great. That feeling well-being stays with me for hours.

I like bicycles. They're the most forgiving form of exercise. No matter how heavy or out of shape the cyclist, s/he can jump on a bike and go for miles, getting an excellent workout for little perceived exertion. It's also fun.

Goals:

Drop twenty pounds and keep it off.
Extend my lifespan by being healthier.
Get off the medication I take.

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Hi Gallup,

Thank you for contributing to my new group!!

Drop twenty pounds and keep it off.
Extend my lifespan by being healthier.
Get off the medication I take.

With a teeny little bit of awareness this is very doable and possible.

The first thing you need to know is your base metabolic rate (BMR) This will tell youhow many calories you need as if you were just sitting doing nothing but breathing all day. You (or anyone reading this with interest) should never consume less calories than this because it has adverse effects on your health and contributes to weight gain...

A note about our BMR: This changes due to many things. It can change with the seasons and/or the weather, and it can change with elevated stress levels etc...

The point isn't to get too hung up on the numbers because that's just not sustainable for most people. But becoming aware of this number is step one...

Then factor in the daily activity you do. Let's say that you burn 500 calories excercising in one day. You simply add that to your BMR and that sum total becomes the new amount of calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight. There is no one size fits all approach to this, because everyone's activity level in a day looks different. If you skip working out one day and are not burning those extra calories, but you eat the same amount of food or more then your body is getting extra energy it doesn't need and can store it as fat. If you do this allotment up to 3500 calories...the result is that you gain 1 pound.

If your goal is to lose weight you do not want to drop more than 1-2 pounds a week if you're trying to keep it off long term....notice the bolded underlined letters there. So After you calculate your BMR, and the calories you consume with excercise, you can subtract 500 calories from the total and that is what you need to eat that day if you want to try to lose 1 pound that week. If you are ambitious, you can cut up to 1000 off the top and that will result in a loss of 2 pounds that week, as long as it doesn't bring you under your BMR, (the minimum calories your body needs based on age, height, weight etc just to survive.)

A best practice I do is I calculate my numbers in a week and figure out what days I'm going to work out - those days I need to eat more calories but I know exactly how many more. So I have my total number of calories needed to be consumed per day. I divide that number by 5 and that is the total number of calories I'm allotted per meal. Usually mine ends up being between 300 and 350 calories per meal. 

Then I base my weekly meal plan off of food that is divided into 350 calorie increments. There are TONS of options...

The only way to keep pounds off and to lose weight is to consume less calories than you burn. If you don't want to be as meticulous as I am, it's not truly necessary, as long as you're not consuming more calories than your burn - if you do, you will gain weight.

It's also important for each mean to have a good balance of carbs, protein and fat. The good fats that is...If you plan your meals in advance and prepare them all one or two days a week and have them ready to eat and know what you're eating that day it makes it pretty easy to stick with the plan. I've had great success in this. 

I have so many more tips and tricks, but that's a good starting point from what I've learned this past year in my own quest for health.

For me?..

How: I swim for 90 minutes 4 days a week, and do intense weight training/cardio/zumba/HIIT work outs 3 days a week. In addition I take my son out to play many different sports together. Soccer...baseball....basketball....you name it.  

Why: For me it's a matter of life and death. My health went significantly downhill throughout my adult life and especially while I was pregnant. I suffered many difficulties after my son was born. I was not able to walk after his birth. I underwent months of physical therapy and rehabilitation. I was diagnosed with Myofascial Pain Syndrome, and was told by a physiatrist that I needed to address my sexual assault past/issues etc....I laughed it off at the time but it turns out she was right. After I suffered more trauma to my body through car accidents, sexual assaults, and physical abuse from my ex-husband, my body was literally.....worn out. Excercise was non-existent in my life.

After I took hold of my emotional health first, I suddenly became able to start working out again. I pushed aside the idea of having surgery even though I was eligible. I decided that even though the statistics were all stacked up against me that I wasn't going to let that derail my efforts. I have the base of being a life long athlete and my muscular development has not gone away despite many injuries. 

I joined the YMCA and started first just swimming...swimming...swimming...It was the only thing I could do that didn't hurt after I was assaulted and sustained injuries to my knee and wrists. Slowly I've built up my regimen, and now I work out intensely to the point where I put athletes to shame. 

I am still fighting my genetics. Since I have Native American DNA...it shows. I'm still working on it, but I've come a long....long....long way. 

I had to let go of what the culture expected me to be. The culture expects women to be thin as a rail with no tits, lol...or something like that. When I was a teenager I looked like that. But now I am a mother, and i have to balance my life. Working out is a central part of my life and has taken prescedent over a lot of other things, but never at the expense of spending time with my son. 

I had to accept the fact that I may never be "skinny" again. The important thing is that I'm healthy. If my blood work shows healthy numbers, that is what is important, and not the weight on a scale. Lots of women who have Native American background do not even go back to being skinny. Time will tell. The important thing is that I've made lifestyle changes that are now just second nature and they are sustainable. 

I think that men are becoming accustomed to thinking that women need to look like anorexic Russian models to be considered beautiful. I emphatically disagree. I look damn sexy and men do turn their heads. But I'm still overlooked as "girlfriend" material because...well....I do carry a few extra pounds. But I'm strong and my body is healing from the many injuries it's sustained over the years. I push through them and don't use them as an excuse not to work out. On the contrary. I want to be an old grandma someday enjoying my great grandchildren. If I let my ethnicity get the best of me and succumb to diabetes..which I now know runs in my family....then I won't be of any use to anybody. I will be a burden instead on my son. No fucking way am I going to let that happen! 

So my motivation is to LIVE...to really live.

And if the men around me want a toothpick for a girlfriend then I'll remain single for the rest of my life. A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle anyway, haha!

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