My Weight Loss Journey: The Tools I’m Using

My weight loss journey involves more than nutrition and exercise

As I embark on my journey to lose 40 lbs and hopefully help alleviate some of my arthritis pain, I’m using a few tools I thought I’d share with you.

First and foremost, I’ve accepted and confessed to myself that my number one problem is using food as a coping mechanism. So while I’m increasing my physical activity and decreasing my caloric intake, I’m also working on the psychological part: finding different ways to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression. So the tools I’m using address mental health, exercise, and nutrition.

Tools for Weight Loss: Mental Health

A long time ago, I started reading the book Mind Over Mood, and at the time, it seemed helpful. I then abandoned the book for various reasons. I’m starting to read the book again, and I believe it will help me in finding healthier ways to cope with difficult situations and time periods. So Mind Over Mood is tool #1 for the mental health part of my weight loss journey.

Tool #2 also addresses emotional needs: I’ll be making a point of journalling for a minimum of 5 minutes a day. Writing is my escape, and it has helped me since I was a small child. Writing can be really therapeutical, so I’m going to prioritize those 5 minutes during my day.

Tools for Weight Loss: Exercise

The hardest part of adopting an exercise routine for me isn’t about the physical aspect—it’s about the emotional one. I worked for eight years as a Kinesiologist specializing in exercise for people with chronic illnesses. I know exactly what I have to do to adapt workouts so I can do them without creating further damage to my unstable joints… but it’s so hard to accept that this is what I have to do.

It’s hard to go from doing triathlons to calling a half-hour walk (while wearing braces) a workout. So I suppose the exercise portion of my weight loss plan is also emotional. I’ve finally accepted that I can’t work out like I used to (at least not right away, anyway). So I started with a simple goal: walk for 30 minutes 3 days per week for the first week.

I’m happy to say I’ve surpassed that goal and was able to walk for 30 minutes all 7 days last week. I also did all my physiotherapy exercises every day last week. The plan going forward is to add 5 minutes to the walk each week, until I’m walking for a solid hour, as long as my body can take it. I might also alternate some bike rides in there if I feel like it.

The only physical tool I’m using for my exercise, for now, is a physiotherapy band and stress balls for my physio.

The tools I'm using for my weight loss journey

Tools for Weight Loss: Nutrition

Now for the nutrition part. Firstly, let me say this: there are always people trying to tell me that I need to give up this or that nutrient to “cure” my chronic illnesses and/or to lose weight. This is one of the main reasons I don’t often talk or write about my chronic illnesses, and one of the reasons I left the fitness industry. Too many “experts.”

So let me clear from the get-go: when I get comments about what I should or shouldn’t eat, what exercise regimen I should adopt, or any other medical advice from non-medical professionals, I’m simply not going to answer those comments.

I’m a former Registered Kinesiologist and my sister is a Dietitian. I know good nutrition information when I see it (and it generally doesn’t come from lay people with no formal training).

There is a tonne of misinformation out there about how nutrition works, and the constant barrage of people telling professionals that they know more about nutrition and exercise than the professionals do (because they’ve read the “latest research”—usually on a blog) gets really tiring, really fast. <end rant.>

So, moving on. Despite what the credential-less “experts” have to say, weight loss, while a complex issue, comes down to one thing in the end: calories in, calories out. You burn more calories than you take in, you lose weight. Do the opposite, and you gain. Take in the same amount as you burn, and you maintain. It’s that simple. And it’s that hard.

While I know that counting calories is what every single weight loss plan is based on (despite the lies marketers tell you), I find it cumbersome and tiresome to try and calculate calories all the time. So I’m using a tool to do the job for me. Eatthismuch.com is a great website where you can enter your goals and how many meals you’d like to have in a day. It then gives you how many calories you need to reach your goals, and generates a meal plan with the exact calories you need. You can change things around and do all sorts of neat things with it, too. I’ll be using this website as I plan my meals for the weeks ahead.

If anyone’s wondering, I won’t be following a particular diet or restricting any particular foods. I’m simply going to eat the amount of calories I need to try to reach my goal by the end of December—which is a reasonable amount of time to lose the amount of weight I’ve set as a goal.

The only restrictions I’ll have are not eating meat, because that’s something I already do (not for weight loss, but for other reasons), and I might take cheese completely out, because I have no discipline around it (and because it gives me gas!) Otherwise, I’m eating normal food—yes, including sugar and carbs.

You can lose weight eating anything, as long as your caloric output is greater than your input. I don’t recommend a diet of Twinkies and Doritos, but the fact that you can lose weight on that diet emphasizes my point.

If you’re curious, I’ll mostly be eating vegetables, eggs, hummus, fish and yes, some bread will be included, too. And yes, there will be sugar in my tea, but not a lot of it—and I won’t be drinking tea every day.

I’ll check in about how my weight loss journey is going each Sunday during my Weekly Review. And no, I don’t need nutrition and exercise advice. If I do, I’ll go to a professional in the field of nutrition or human movement.

If you’d like to read some of my thoughts on weight loss, you can read this LifeHacker article, where I was quoted as an expert back when I was a personal trainer. You can also read some of my weight loss tips here.

 

Getting back into Exercise

Trying to get back into a regular exercise routine has been frustrating, to put it mildly. During our RV adventure, I did a fair bit of hiking, but not nearly as much exercise (and not nearly as high-intensity) as in my triathlon days. I’ve given up a lot of the physical activities I love over the last few years, and getting back into exercise hasn’t been an easy journey.

Continue reading “Getting back into Exercise”

The Best Exercise

What is the best exercise everyone should be doing?

The best kind of exercise isn’t one single activity.

Anyone who’s known me since my personal training days knows that I don’t fit into the all-or-nothing thinking that plagues the industry. We all know that bodies are so diverse that there simply isn’t one diet that could work for every body on the planet, and the same goes for exercise. But there is one type of exercise that everyone should definitely be doing. Ready for it?

The Best Exercise Everyone Should Be Doing, www.marianamcdougall.com, person walking in black shoes, Photo by Marcus Wallis on Unsplash
The best exercise everyone should be doing is the one they enjoy and that works best for them. -click to tweet

Whether ultra marathons make you happy, or HIIT exercise floats your boat, whether lifting heavy things puts a smile on your face  (and leaves your spine intact), or yoga centers you, the trick is to find the exercise that you enjoy (and therefore will stick to).

Exercise shouldn’t feel like a chore; it should make you happy and have you feeling strong. Try different kinds of exercise and find the one that works for you. And remember to discuss any new exercise program with a doctor, registered kinesiologist, or certified physiologist, especially if you have health conditions that can be impacted by exercise.

What’s your favourite type of exercise?

Why Exercise Should Be Your Top Priority in 2017

Last year, I decided to go on a journey to the best health of my life. Looking back at 2016, I didn’t do a very good job. As a homeschooling mom of three kids six and under, plus trying to run a business on the side, I ignored my health a little too readily and a little too often. The problem is, while nothing bad happened this year, I know that I can’t continue on this downward spiral.

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How to stay motivated to exercise in 2017

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something after following a link on this post, I may receive a small commission. Rest assured that I only recommend products and services that I use and love, or that I want to use in the near future.

Although I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, there’s no denying that come the last week of December 2016, #resolutions will be everywhere on social media. “Losing weight” and “staying fit” top the charts for the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Yet, very few people who make resolutions of any kind actually see them through to the end of the year. If one of your resolutions is getting fit or exercising more, here are some ways to stay motivated to keep that goal going all year-round. Continue reading “How to stay motivated to exercise in 2017”

Get Fit in 2017 – 5 Ways to Achieve Your Fittest Year Ever!

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Get Fit in 2017!

A lot of people make New Year’s Resolutions to get fit. Unfortunately, a lot of these resolutions end up in a drawer and don’t actually happen. Some folks exercise all through January, a few times in February, and lose steam by March. Others don’t even get started at all.

To make your fittest year ever happen, you need to choose exercises that you actually enjoy—that’s how you’ll get fit. Remember: the most effective exercise is the one you’ll actually do.

If you choose exercises that you can do anywhere, you’re even more likely to stick to getting active. If you need some ideas, here they are 🙂

Continue reading “Get Fit in 2017 – 5 Ways to Achieve Your Fittest Year Ever!”

FREE Beginner Bodyweight Workout #4

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How many times did you get to the gym this week? None? I totally get it. Life gets busy, and sometimes exercise goes down to the bottom of the priority list. But there are some workouts that make it hard for you to find an excuse, since they can be done anywhere.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been giving you just that—exercises that can be done anywhere, any time, with no equipment.

Here’s the 4th workout in the series. If this is your first time here, don’t forget to check out Workout #1, Workout #2, and Workout #3, since they are meant to be progressive. Start at #1 and move on from there.

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FREE Beginner Bodyweight Workout #3

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something after following a link on this post, I may receive a small commission. Rest assured that I only recommend products and services that I use and love, or that I want to use in the near future.

How are you doing on your quest to become more active? As I always say, mindful eating is superior to any restrictive diet, and you should concentrate on the amazing things your body can do, rather than on what it looks like.

Continue reading “FREE Beginner Bodyweight Workout #3”

FREE Beginner bodyweight workout #2

 

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something after following a link on this post, I may receive a small commission. Rest assured that I only recommend products and services that I use and love, or that I want to use in the near future.

If you want to get more active, but are not interested in joining a gym, or money is tight, or you don’t have access to equipment, bodyweight training may be for you. If you’ve tried the first bodyweight training workout suggested here, let me know in the comments. I welcome feedback to make this site better for you.

Please keep in mind that the workouts I am posting are meant to be progressive, so it’s best to start with the first workout posted and move on from there.

Bodyweight Workout #2

Continue reading “FREE Beginner bodyweight workout #2”

Race to the Finish: fall in love with a sport

 

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something after following a link on this post, I may receive a small commission. Rest assured that I only recommend products and services that I use and love, or that I want to use in the near future.

I’m working on a lifestyle overhaul to achieve the best health of my life. I’m starting with exercise because it’s important, fun, and something I have full control over.

As I said in my last post, life threw a curve-ball at me for the last couple of weeks with the whole family coming down with some sort of nasty virus, and I got a bit backtracked on my timeline (but never on my priorities).

Now that everyone’s on the mend, I can concentrate a bit more intensely on getting ready to take my fitness to the next level. I recently wrote an article about the No 1 way to stay motivated to work out. It explains that for me (and many others), just saying “I want to lose weight” or “I want to look better” doesn’t cut it for actually embracing and maintaining an active lifestyle. For me, falling in love with a sport is what does it.

Continue reading “Race to the Finish: fall in love with a sport”