How Much Water Should I Drink for Weight Loss Success?

Water

Sometimes when we try to lose weight we make things too complicated and lose sight of the simple things.  Making sure you get enough water is vital to your general health and to your weight loss progress.

Benefits of Staying Tanked Up on Water:

According to the Mayo Clinic, the body is 60% water.  Every cell in the body needs water to function effectively.  Water is an essential component of blood which carries oxygen and nutrients to the body.  It is necessary for healthy skin which is the body’s largest organ.  Water is a natural lubricant for joints and also helps us maintain a healthy core temperature. Your brain is up to 90% water.  Your brain needs water to function effectively.  Water helps us us to eliminate toxins and waste and to digest and absorb nutrients from the food we eat.  Water intake can reduce hunger which can help you meet your weight loss goals.

How much water should I drink & when should I drink it?

We do get some water from our food – especially fruits and vegetables.  It is best to drink pure water since it is calorie-free and is easily absorbed.  Even though drinks like diet soda may be calorie free, they sometimes act as a diuretic and you lose more water than you got in the drink.  Thirst is not a reliable indicator of how much to drink.  By the time you are thirsty you are already somewhat dehydrated.  Also, sometimes thirst is translated by your body as hunger and you end up eating when you don’t need to.  A general guideline is to drink 8 – 9 glasses of water per day.  That may not be enough for some people, especially if you weigh more than average.  Another way to track your water intake is to take your weight in pounds and divide it in half.  Then drink that many ounces of water per day.  So for a 200 pound person the calculation would be 200/2 = 100 ounces.  You may need more water if you do strenuous exercise or on particularly hot days when you sweat more.  An easy way to gauge if your getting enough water is to look at your urine.  It should be clear to light yellow.  Dark yellow or orange urine may indicate dehydration.

A great time to drink your first glass of water is first thing in the morning.  Drink a cup of water 30 minutes before each meal to help you feel full faster.  Drink water before, during and after exercise to keep your body functioning at maximum performance and to replace water lost through perspiration and increased respiration.  Use a water bottle or a cup with measurement lines to track your intake.  I use a cup that holds 4 cups of water so it’s easy to stay on track.

Risks of dehydration

We lose water from our bodies throughout the day.  One obvious way is through urination.  We also lose water in bowel movements, breathing and perspiration.  Dehydration can cause many unpleasant symptoms and can be dangerous.  It can cause fatigue, migraines, constipation, muscle cramps, low blood pressure, kidney problems and dry skin.  If it is severe it can lead to death.

Ready, set….go drink some water!

Can’t Lose Weight? Little Changes – Big Results

Small ChangesMaking changes when you feel like you can’t lose weight.

Sometimes we get overwhelmed by the number of pounds that we want to lose or how far we feel we are from our fitness goals.  I know in the past this has caused me to stay stuck.  Please know that even small changes can make a big difference.   I firmly believe that these small changes are the most important piece of the puzzle for permanent change.  Fad diets help people lose weight but then they gain it back again – many times with even more weight than before.

JH is one of my fitness challenge members.  He also happens to be my son.  He is on a journey to lose around 100 pounds.  He originally planned to do the Les Mills Pump workout, but life got in the way and he had to move out of the home he was renting and rent a room from a friend.  Because of this he doesn’t have the space to do that particular workout.  But he didn’t let that stop him!  Here is his story in his own words,

“I have been stuck for about three weeks feeling like I was getting enough exercise. Yet not losing any weight. So this week I started walking a few miles every day and on top of that I’m walking to work. So far 3 pounds gone. And! I finally passed my miniature goal.. This is officially 2 pounds lighter than I’ve been at any point in the last 3 years. Lost 25 pounds since December and more to come 🙂 point is don’t lose hope just try switching up your normal routine. Good luck.”

 

Another challenge member, JM  let me know that she has made changes in her life over the last month – eating regularly and walking. She was able to fit into jeans that she hasn’t been able to wear in 3 years! She says

“Have not felt this healthy in a couple years, and am seeing awesome results in a short time-Thanks for motivating me!!”

 

Now it’s your turn.  Make one small change this week that moves you closer to your goals.  I would love for you to comment below and let me know what change you are making.  Your change can inspire others and we all win!
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Cure Sore Muscles with a Foam Roller

Foam Rolling

Foam Rolling to Reduce Sore Muscles and Prevent Injury

One of the things I’ve learned from doing P90X2 is how important foam rolling can be to reduce sore muscles and keep you in top form to prevent injury. In P90X2 foam rolling is an important part of the warm up/stretch. Foam rolling is a form of self myofascial release. Myofascial release is a technique that involves using pressure to get rid of restrictions in your muscle tissue to relieve sore muscles and restore motion. Stretching is important, but it cannot fully stretch a muscle that is knotted up. Foam rolling can help reduce or eliminates the knots in the muscle allowing it to elongate like it was designed to do.

Foam rolling involves rolling slowly over a muscle group and finding the sore spot or “trigger point.”  When you find that sore spot, stay there for 30-60 seconds.  Then move on to the next painful area.  You can change your body position to increase or decrease the pressure on each muscle. Work on all your muscle groups.

This can be done before or after a workout.  It’s also a great way to start your day.  If you are doing it after your workout, make sure you cool down first.  You can view some sample foam rolling positions here.  Foam rollers are inexpensive way to keep yourself healthy.

The images below will show you two of the different types of foam rollers.  The black one is a basic foam roller.  It is great for beginners.  When you begin to use it you will find all sorts of tight and sore muscles that you didn’t even know were there.  Using it regularly will help work out the tightness.  The blue one is called a Rumble Roller.  This is the roller featured in P90X2 and it is the one I am currently using.  I have a love/hate relationship with it.  It is more like getting a deep tissue massage as compared to a Swedish massage. If you have a foam roller, here is a great guide to show you how to use it: Foam Rolling Guide.

Foam Roller

Foam Roller

 

Rumble Roller

Rumble Roller

 

Plodding Along…Thankful for My Weaknesses

StarsHave you ever felt like you’re working hard and getting nowhere?

I feel like this frequently.  Tonight I was doing my walk/run after my Asylum workout.  I’m not a runner and I don’t think I’ll ever be, but I’m trying to improve my fitness in many different areas.  I walk for a few minutes and then run for one minute.  I repeat that cycle for a total of 20 minutes.  I’ll be working on increasing the run time over the next few weeks.  So, tonight I was plodding along at my usual snail’s pace (which I call running) and I was feeling a bit discouraged.  When I was almost done, I happened to look up at the sky and saw zillions of beautiful stars.  My focus changed in an instant.  It’s amazing how shifting from looking down (staring at the sidewalk and concentrating on my gasping breath) to looking up and seeing the bigger picture can change a person’s perspective.    Suddenly I was reminded of creation and a wonderful creator who placed me in it.  I could hear my children who were riding their bikes alongside me and arguing with each other and I was thankful that they were out being active and supporting my efforts.  I was even thankful for my weaknesses.  I was thankful that I struggle with eating right and exercising because it forces me to rely on God instead of on myself.  It also gives me an opportunity to help others because I truly know how hard it is.  Please contact me if I can support you in your struggles and your weaknesses or if you just want to encourage me as I work on mine!

Here is the running plan I’m working on.  Click on it to see it bigger.

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P90X2 Total Body Review

This past weekend I started a hybrid program combining P90X2 and Insanity the Asylum.  This first workout was very different from P90X.  I really liked it but it was humbling.  The moves are tough.  Instead of just weight training it combines balance moves that use your entire body.  I found it fun and VERY challenging.  I loved P90X but I was getting bored with the workouts after doing them for so long.  The exercises in X2 look simple until you try them.  The myriad of balance moves takes a simple exercise like a tricep kickback and adding a balance component which turns it into a total body exercise.  I felt pretty clumsy doing this one and I’m looking forward to making great improvements as time goes on.  The way this workout is designed is perfect for meeting my goals to work towards improving my fitness levels.

Reward for Weight Loss

reward1How do you reward yourself when you meet your fitness goals?

This has been a stumbling point for me.  Food has often been my reward.  Good report card?  Banana Split!  Lost weight? Go out to dinner!  Lived another year (i.e. had a birthday)?  Eat cake!  Someone once asked me what my short term and long term weight loss goals were.  She asked me how I was going to reward myself when I met that first short term goal.   Hmmmm….I really struggled coming up with an answer.  That fact spoke volumes to me. I eventually learned that as I lost weight I needed new clothes. That became a great reward for me.

My next reward:

Lately I have become enamored with crazy knee high workout socks like the sock pictured below.. I am in a Facebook group with others who inspire me to continue my weight loss and fitness journey (thank you HIT Crew). Many of the group members post their workout accountability pictures and I enjoy seeing their crazy socks. I decided that when I lose my next five pounds I’m treating myself to my own pair of wild socks. I think they will inspire me and make me smile when I wear them.

Accountability – My Recent Results

Measuring ProgressHave you ever dreaded stepping on the scale?

Have you ever done silly things before stepping on the scale?  I never used to weigh myself with wet hair.  All that water has to weigh something, right?  I had a friend who used to go to Weight Watchers and go in the bathroom to remove her bra before weigh in.  Many of my best laid plans for weight loss have been destroyed because of the number on the scale.  I used to give that number WAY too much power in my life.  Now I’m working on using other methods to measure the progress in my quest to eat better and move more.

In the last few months I have lost 10 pounds.  I am proud of the 10 pounds, but it looks like I have lost even more than that because I have gained muscle which takes up less room than the same number of pounds of fat.  I have also lost inches which makes my clothes fit so much better.  A few more inches and I will have to start shopping for new clothes!  I am currently facing a plateau but I’m not letting it derail my efforts.  As soon as the holidays are over I plan to do the Beachbody Ultimate Reset and then I will start P90X2.

My favorite way to measure my progress is to look at the increase in my fitness level.  I wrote in an earlier post that I have lost weight before but I’ve never been fit.  My first hint of fitness “wonderfulness” came when I did my second Insanity fit test.  The first fit test is the one you do before you start the exercise program.  Since I had been a couch potato for many years I was tempted to skip the fit test all together.  I’m so glad I did it even though the results were dismal.  One of the exercises on the test is called the push up jack.  To perform it you do a men’s push up, but when you go down your legs go out like a jumping jack.  On the first test I couldn’t even do one.  I attempted it, but I was just sure I was going to break my nose.  When I did the fit test after two weeks of Insanity, my numbers went up on every exercise.  I was able to do 6 of the push up  jacks.  I was so excited I was doing the happy dance.  I had never been able to do men’s push ups before, much less a PUSH UP JACK!  This one simple victory became my motivator to commit to exercising regularly – and it happened with just two weeks of consistent effort.  I have many other examples of how my fitness has improved, but the push up jack was my initial inspiration.

I would love to hear about you and your fitness journey.

 

Are You Ready to End Your Battle with Food?

Are you tired of your battle with food?  Do you want to make a healthy lifestyle change but you don’t know where to begin?  Have you been gaining and losing the same weight for years?  Are you ashamed of some of your food behaviors?

I too have struggled with these issues.  Something that has made a real difference for me is a Bible study through the book “Made to Crave.”  This book by Lysa Terkeurst is about satisfying your deepest desire with God, not food.  This book is not about a particular diet or exercise plan.  It is about learning to make peace with your body and realize that you need God’s strength, grace and mercy to overcome eating challenges.  We can’t go “cold turkey” from food, so we have to lean on God’s wisdom to be successful in managing food for health instead of using it as our source of comfort.

I am putting together a group of people who want to go through the book together.  I am doing this study online so that I can include people who may not be in my geographical area.  I have set up a private blog for us to share our goals and our answers from the weekly lessons.  No one else will be able to read the blog so that we can feel comfortable in sharing our struggles with each other.

Are you ready to make a change?  Are you willing to dig deeper and find out what drives your craving for food ?

You can get the book here: Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food
I am an Amazon affiliate and I benefit from your purchase, so if you want to get this book from your local bookstore or other source, that is fine too. Below is the official description of the book so you can see if this would be of benefit to you.

“Made to Crave is the missing link between a woman’s desire to be healthy and the spiritual empowerment necessary to make that happen. The reality is we were made to crave. Craving isn’t a bad thing. But we must realize God created us to crave more of him. Many of us have misplaced that craving by overindulging in physical pleasures instead of lasting spiritual satisfaction. If you are struggling with unhealthy eating habits, you can break the ‘I’ll start again Monday’ cycle, and start feeling good about yourself today. Learn to stop beating yourself up over the numbers on the scale. Discover that your weight loss struggle isn’t a curse but rather a blessing in the making, and replace justifications that lead to diet failure with empowering go-to scripts that lead to victory. You can reach your healthy weight goal — and grow closer to God in the process. This is not a how-to book. This is not the latest and greatest dieting plan. This book is the necessary companion for you to use alongside whatever healthy lifestyle plan you choose. This is a book and Bible study to help you find the ‘want to’ in making healthy lifestyle choices.”

I’m ready to jump in and dig deeper. I think I will get even more out of going through this study one more time – this time with others who share my challenges and struggles. I’m looking forward to learning along with you.

To join the study or to ask questions, fill out the form below.

Craving God

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My Space for Working Out at Home

I feel blessed to have plenty of space to do my workouts.  Until recently I did my workouts in high traffic areas of my home.  Most recently it was in my dining room.  It was sometimes challenging for the kids to get back to their rooms when mom was doing push up jacks in the walkway.  Now I have a separate room that serves as a workout room and a craft room.  For this post I will give you a breakdown of what is in my room. If you want to read more about why I like to work out at home read my related post here.

The room we are using has a tile floor so we needed to get an area rug before we could start using it for our exercise.  We found a bargain at Lowes.  We were able to buy a display model of a discontinued rug.  We got a $200 rug for $39.  Yay for bargains!

We have been buying dumbbells little by little – one set at a time. Someday we’ll have a complete set.  We also need to build or buy a rack to store them on.  It’s not a necessity but it would be nice.  The step, ball and the resistance bands are not used for the most part in the workouts we are doing.  It is just equipment we have purchased in the past.  Occasionally I will use the resistance band looped over our pull up bar but not very often.

We moved an old TV and cheap DVD player in the room. My husband and I do Beachbody workouts like P90X and Insanity so the TV/DVD is a must. If you do your own thing, then you won’t need these items.
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If you are going to do P90X, a pull up bar is part of the necessary equipment. There are many pull up bars that can be installed easily in a door frame. Before we had our workout room, we would put up our pull up bar for the workout and then take it down afterwards. Now we can leave it up all the time which makes it very convenient. I have also purchased a pull up assist device that makes it easier for me to attempt to do pull ups and make progress. One nice thing about having this room is that my kids tend to go back there and get some exercise. I think it is so important to be an example for your kids and to encourage them to be active as well.

 

I use the tracking sheets and calendars that are provided with the workouts. Tracking sheets help me keep track of my progress. This is helpful for a couple of reasons. When I am doing a workout with dumbbells it is helpful to know what weight I used last time and whether I thought that was the right weight for me or whether I was ready to move up. The other reason I like tracking sheets is that it helps me to see my progress. Sometimes I can get discouraged when I feel like the scale isn’t moving or I feel like I had a wimpy workout. I can look at the sheets and see how far I have come.

Advantages to Working Out at Home

home workoutsWhy home workouts?

Working out in my own home has become my preferred fitness activity.  For me it has made all the difference since it eliminates many of the excuses I could come up with for not working out.  I have been able to stay on track to get at least 30 minutes of activity 6 days a week.  Recently I have been able to set up a dedicated workout room, but it has not always been that convenient.  Up until this week I have been working out in my dining room in the midst of all my family’s activities.  My son enjoys watching me do P90X “wacky jacks” and having a little giggle at Mommy’s expense.  He knows not to tease me too much or I will make him do it with me. Eventually it will double as a crafting space as well but for now I’m spoiled rotten!  Working out at home is convenient, low cost, more private than a gym and provides a great example for my family.

Convenient

  • No driving to the gym
  • I can workout any time of day – even before I’ve had my shower and I still have “bed head”
  • No waiting for equipment

Good Example

  • My kids see me working out and even join in at times
  • Encourages my husband to get his workout in for the day

Low Cost

  • No membership or class fee
  • Once I buy a workout DVD or equipment it can be used for years and for multiple family members

Private

  • No one in the gym is watching me
  • I can attempt difficult exercises (like pullups, which are my nemesis) in the privacy of my own home
  • No one in the gym is rushing me…If I am needing to take more time with an exercise, I am not feeling pressured to hurry by someone waiting for the equipment that I am using

So, do you workout at home or in a gym?  What are your favorite workouts at home?