Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Secrets to Being Fit and Fab:Take Stock and Be Prepared to Change

PHS Editor and Harlequin Historical Author Michelle Styles shares some of the things she has learnt about losing weight and keeping it off. This month  -- the importance of taking stock and being prepared to make adjustments.

A year ago precisely 23 August 2011, I was on my hands and knees in tears because I could see my weight blooming up again and knew I needed a change to my regime. I ordered Tracy Anderson's The 30 Day Method and my life totally changed.
For the past year, I have doing 60 min of dance cardio on most days. However, recently I have noticed that my snacking had become uncontrollable, and it wasn't just scones or cakes but I was quite willing to eat baked sweet potatos and bowl after bowl of soup. In other words, I was physically not emotionally hungry. It is important to figure out your body's needs.
I changed my routine to the new one for my current programme and also started repeating the arms and abs section as there was no more bonus arms. Anyway, I died at about the 45 min mark. Because I do want to exercise when I first wake up, I decided to cut back on the dance cardio, going to 30 min. Interestingly my huge cravings disappeared. After 3 weeks of following this, I feel far more in control of my body and eating habits. The cravings for sweet food have gone. It was starting to creep up on me -- the desire for sweets and the blood sugar hits. Once you start on the sweet food with refined sugar, and fat mixed with carb, it is very hard to increase your exercise enough to compensate.
In additon to the dance cardio, I also garden and walk the dogs, so my body was rebelling about the amount of calories and I really like my food. I have never been good at starvation.very hungry, you might want to take a serious look at your cardio. It needs to be somewhere between 30 -60 minutes 6 x week where you are moving continously to get serious benefit. 60 min was fine for awhile but it needed adjusting.
It is always a balancing act -- getting the right amount of cardio combined with a healthy diet. And in order to maintain that balance, you need to reassess periodically and see if you are content with the balance, or if tweaks need to be made.

A recent study by Brigham Young university showed that men who did their cardio straght before doing resistance training had in creased metabolic rate for 72 hours after doing the exercise. If they did the restance training first or did the two types of exercises sepeartely, the increase in the metabolic rate wasn't there. This echoes my experience -- when I was trying to lose I did the dance cardio first so I could really perform it, and the pounds melted off. When I started doing the dance cardio second, the weight loss slowed and then stopped and I have been able to maintain.
I throw this fact out, in case anyone is tempted to see if they can slow down or speed up their metabolism in this fashion.

Being a year in and maintaining my weight feels wonderful. Weight loss is never a quick fix solution. It is a matter of sheer determination and hard lonely work but it does feel good And time always passes. It is about making exercise and eating healthy as much part of your dailiy life as brushing your teeth -- something you just do.

PHS Editor Michelle Styles weighed approximately 200 lbs and wore a US size 20 (UK size 24) in August 2010. She decided to do something about it and by October 2011, she had reached 135 lbs and a US size 4 (UK 8). She has been maintaining her size ever since. You can read more about Michelle's warm, witty and intimate historical romances at her website

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