• 10 months ago

    Need a change; weightloss, muscle build!

    I'm 37, father of 5, husband and an overweight and out of shape officer. I NEED to change things, but I struggle with ongoing motivation, what to do and most importantly, I don't have a lot of extra means (Money) for the food I should be eating or the gym. I have a kettlebell and heavy bag. I struggle with portion control and have a terrible sweet tooth.

    5 years ago, I was 170 with defined pecs, abs, arms and a defined jaw line. Now I'm ridiculed for being the fat guy in a little coat (Tommy Boy movie reference) I get made fun of and laughed at, and instead of change, I eat to cope. I need help.

    I am looking for motivation, what to do to lose weight (mostly belly) and gain some solid muscle with a very low budget and not much "extra time" for exercise. Who's up for the challenge to help me?!?!


  • 9 months ago

    RE: Need a change; weightloss, muscle build!

    Wow!! I totally relate, only from a female perspective. I was gorgeous in my young years, until about 30 or so. The weight had been creeping up, though, and I was an emotional compulsive overeater with a BIG sweet tooth. For this last half of my life, I’ve fought obesity constantly and gaining and losing hundreds of pounds over and over. But in the last 3 or so years, I’ve finally got a grasp on things. I’ve SLOWLY lost 40 lbs. and have about 20 to go. But the thing is, it’s staying off. I feel soooo much better!!! Here are some of the things that I’ve found to help me with my success:

    1. I didn’t set my expectations too high. A 2-3 lb. weight loss/month is all you should strive for. Once I let go of the fact that I wasn’t going to lose 10 lbs. in 10 days, or something like that, it took away the pressure and the feeling that I needed to starve myself into thinness. Once that pressure was off, I’ve had a much easier time coping with weight loss as an issue. I had to realize that I hadn’t gotten fat overnight, so it was going to take some time to lose it.

    2. I got my thyroid checked. I found as I got older, my thyroid wasn’t working the best. A good endocrinologist can determine if you need to take thyroid medication. It’s always a POSSIBILITY that there could be a problem. Most insurance will cover it.

    3. Weighing—I always weigh on the same scale once a month, on the same day and time of day, with as close to the same type of clothes as the last time. Weighing everyday made me frustrated because your weight changes daily with the amount you eat, drink, go to the bathroom, and the clothes you wear. So some days it was up, maybe even 5 lbs., or down much lower. I was getting anxious and if it was up, I felt the need to starve, which screws with your metabolism and can actually make you gain weight in the long run. I’ve found this is the best way to weigh yourself (once a month). This takes a lot of the pressure off. Also, go by how loose your clothes are getting as you lose. This, in a way, is a better indication that the weight is coming off.

    4. I stopped drinking diet soda. I would diet and diet, but as long as I drank diet soda, the lbs. stayed on. I didn’t know why until recently, when I started to read about sugar in the diet and how artificial sweeteners react just like sugar in your body to produce insulin and affect fat storage. This was a real eye-opener for me!! I knew 3 years ago, that I needed to drink more water...a lot more...to lose weight, too. So what I do is soak herbal tea bags in bottled water and make “iced tea”. I got several 1/2 gallon bottles and placed several herbal tea bags in them and fill them with water and refrigerate for 45 minutes. It doesn’t have to be bottled water. Tap water is obviously cheaper, by a lot, and it’s better for your teeth (fluoride). I change the flavors of tea periodically to keep from getting bored and I’ll combine flavors to make something interesting, like lemon tea and ginger tea, or mint and orange, etc. you don’t have to buy expensive tea to make this. It makes water much more palatable and I always have a glass of tea in my hand all day. It will also fill you up!!

    5. Self-talk—i talk to myself about my hunger and what I’m eating. Not out loud, just in my head. When I have hunger,I ask myself, “is this real hunger, or am I just wanting food or something sweet because something is bothering me, or I’m bored?” Half the time, I find myself realizing that I’m running to the refrigerator because I’m bored. Or maybe someone hurt my feelings (that happens a lot to me, especially comments about my weight). I tell myself that it’s really the other person’s problem because they’re rude and insensitive and it really doesn’t have anything to do with me directly and I don’t need that sweet thing to compensate. You can learn a lot about self-talk in therapy, which has helped me a lot to cope with being overweight. A lot of insurance covers it. If insurance is a problem, try a support group, or form your own support group. All it takes is 2 people that want to lose weight and supporting each other with phone calls and talk. It’s always great to have someone to commiserate with when you’re feeling low. And that WILL happen at times. A therapist or support person is your ally. Make sure it’s someone you can rely on.

    6. Food—you don’t have to spend a lot to eat healthy. I don’t eat prepackaged or special diet food, except in a pinch. It’s expensive and I don’t find it satisfying enough, ie. not enough to eat to fill you for the calories. I also shop in the perimeter areas of a supermarket where the healthier food is...produce, meat, etc. i try and avoid the aisles of a store because that is where a lot to the temptation is. A farmer’s market is a great place to get inexpensive, possibly organic, produce that is locally grown and fresher. I try to buy the best food I can afford and spend less on other things. I find it’s worth it. All the things they say about whole grain, organic, unprocessed, is all beneficial to weight loss for me, I’ve found. I find the purer the food, the better it makes me feel. I know that some of this costs money, but I consider it an investment in my FUTURE...future health, future weight loss, future looking and feeling better. It’s an investment!!! I’m sure junk food can be a problem, so my solution—just don’t bring it in the house. If you really want it that badly, you’ll have to get dressed and go out and get it, and most of the time, it’s not worth the hassle. If you have kids, that makes it all the harder. But get them to understand that you are on a mission and if they want to help you achieve your goals, they’ll have to eat their junk food outside of the house and away from you. If they insist on eating junk in front of you, walk away. Just self-talk yourself into leaving the area of temptation. It’s critical for me to do this a lot of the time because it’s really hard to eat fruit when someone is having cake or ice cream in front of you. Just walk away. If you get questioned, just say you have a digestion problem.

    7. Treats—I couldn’t give up sweets altogether and I think it’s unreasonable to do so. I adore chocolate, so I switched to dark chocolate as a treat, on occasion, and I eat it slowly and make a point of really tasting it so I get the maximum enjoyment out of it. And this is something I spend a bit of money on because I want the most bang for the buck. If you love ice cream, try a GOOD frozen yogurt. Read labels, which you should do all the time to find hidden sugar and salt, to find the healthiest alternative. Just buy a little bit, like one box of bars instead of a pint, and ONCE IN A WHILE reward yourself. If you had a good weigh-in, reward yourself. If your down a size in clothes, reward yourself, etc. but the key is not to binge. That’s why you only buy 1 bar of chocolate at a time and maybe once a week. Self-talk comes into play here, too, because when the temptation to eat the whole box of bars happens, you really have to talk yourself out of it. To be honest, I don’t know any other way to do it, and it’s easier said than done. When you’ve been working on your eating for awhile, things get easier and the temptations may not be so great. But in the beginning, keep temptation out of reach, except for the occasional reward tiny quantities.

    8. Getting off-track—I’ts going to happen. We are human and imperfect. There is no perfection in weight loss. But the key for me has been not to beat myself up over it. Be kind to yourself. That doesn’t mean indulge yourself, just try not to feel bad about getting off-track. I hate the word “cheating”. It sounds like you’re a bad person. And you’re not!! There’s nothing bad about straying off the path once in awhile. Never tell yourself you’re bad. The key is to get right back on the horse, so to speak. So you had a night of indulging or you ate something fattening at breakfast...stop it right there and resume your better eating habits. Don’t let it get away from you! Tell yourself, “So, I had a little binge. So now relax because it’s over and get on with it.” Be purposeful, meaning seriously think about what you are doing as you eat. Taste each bite with relish. Enjoy your food as much as you can. Experiment with flavors, like putting dried or fresh fruit in a green salad, and adding nuts to it. That little bit of natural sweet makes a salad taste fantastic instead of like rabbit food. If you don’t cook, you might want to take cooking classes. That way, you learn how to use fresh herbs and spices to your advantage. And don’t worry...the food they usually prepare in cooking classes is usually served in very small portions, so you won’t overdo it. In fact, you can make your class a reward for learning better habits. Sometimes community colleges offer cooking classes, so you don’t have to spend a lot. Also cookware stores may offer classes. And one other thing I do is not eat in front of the TV set, computer, reading, etc. It distracts me from what I’m supposed to be doing, and that is nourishing my body with something I want to enjoy!! Just relax!! Focus and enjoy your food!! Eating should be a pleasure and not a pain!!!

    9. Hunger pains—I hate the word “pain” and use the word “signal”. So, my mom used to always say, “make hunger your friend.” And I didn’t know what she was talking about for the longest time, until I finally got wise to myself. Let’s face it, hunger is uncomfortable. But I started to tune in to my hunger. I let myself feel real hunger before I ate anything. I listened to my gut, not just gurgles and growls, but I let it tell me if I’m really NEEDING something to eat. When I’ve felt my hunger signals for awhile and determined that it was REALLY time to eat, then I go and satisfy that hunger with a small meal or snack. I eat, but not until I’m full, because by then I’ve often eaten too much. Instead, I eat my small meal or snack and wait until it settles, listening to my gut to tell me it’s full. It takes about 20 minutes, they say, for food to reach your stomach. So I eat slow, savoring each bite, and by the time I wash the plates, etc., afterward, the food has usually settled and I’m full. Your body tells you all kinds of things if you watch it’s signals, so I tune in to what it’s doing all the time. What’s this feeling? How is it going to affect me? Do I need to do something about it or will it pass? Maybe this sounds too self-oriented to you, but if you want to lose weight, it’s my opinion that you should know as much about your body as you can, how it works, and nutrition. No one said it will be easy. Nothing you earn is easy. It DOES take work. If you’re not willing to work at it, you won’t be successful. THERE IS NO EASY WAY TO WEIGHT LOSS, but you can minimize the discomfort and mental anguish by focusing and being purposeful. At least that’s what has worked for me. And relax!! Breathe deep. It’s all going to be OK. And give yourself lots and lots of time. Nothing good happens overnight!!! Remember that patience is a virtue!!

    10. Exercise—I haven’t been able to consistently exercise over the years because of being disabled. But when I’ve done it when I could, I’ve felt better in the long run and it definitely helps you burn calories and speeds up the process. ANY movement is better than no movement. It sounds like you’re motivated, so keep doing what you’re doing. You don’t need special equipment or a gym membership. In fact, just walking gives you plenty of aerobic exercise. And it’s free!! You have to make time for it. It’s part of your investment in yourself. Just think...you’re investing in your retirement plan for comfort in your old age, so invest in your body to keep you comfortable in your old age. It’s a long-term process. And you always do the best you can in both situations. Try and get outside on the weekends. Be active with your kids. Enjoy a walk with your wife. The more you can do, the better you’ll do. I hate it when I get nagged about exercise, and I just tune the nagger out because I know I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got. We’ve all gotten the message about exercise being good for you. Stay motivated, but relax!! You are complaining about your tummy. I’ve got one too. Cutting out diet soda and processed carbs will help a lot. And crunches help and they’re free!!! Also raising your legs while lying on your back and then slowly lowering them to a count of 15 or even 20. The slower you lower them, the more work on your gut. Work your way up on the count. Exercise for losing your tummy will slowly help, but think of how hard you used to work to stay buff before! Nothing worth anything is easy!! My only experience is that you have to plug away at it. I know that’s small consolation. Just remember—do the best you can!!!

    I hope these suggestions will help you. I truly commiserate with your predicament because I’ve been there, and in a way, still am. When you lose the weight, don’t make the mistake of thinking the worst is over and you can eat any way you want to now and slack off on moving around. This is a life-long battle. If you can make these suggestions into habits, I think your life will be easier in the long run. It’s never over. Just don’t lose faith and remember to get back on track as soon as you can after a slip. Good luck and God bless!!
      • 9 months ago
        thank u for telling ur experiences I found it very interesting read, congrats for pulling it of an loosing 40lbs that is brilliant, u have done really well
      • 9 months ago
        I feel encouraged by what you said. Thank you for sharing!
      • 9 months ago
        great read...so much information and great tips. Thank you.
      • 6 months ago
        Hi!! I am blown away by your writing!! I need you in my life, I hope that you are still on here. Looking forward to hearing back from you. Paula