I'm sure you can guess how this one ends. Yep, turns out the scale is right. After they left a few people tried their own scales at home and low and behold, the same damn result. Sad times for us hikers. None of us are overweight or anything, but weight gain post-hike is an interesting fear for us all so even 5 lbs makes us feel like we're on a slippery slope. On the trail, we spent months working out for 8-10 hours every single day. We ate constantly and we were still at our lowest weight with amazing muscle tone. It's hard to adjust back to normal life and not think about how much your body is changing.
Side note, if you're interested in reading more about post-trail nutrition I encourage you to read this post by our friend, Badger.
Anyway, I ramble. But the point is, we all had a sad little dose of reality and I'm not really excited about those extra pounds. Hence Jillian's return to my life. My game plan is usually the same when I need to whip myself into shape. I've tried all kinds of workouts and eating plans over the years and this one always works for me. Probably because it's just basic science and hard work. These are the guidelines that I use, in order of importance.
Count calories. I know it sounds like a pain, but it's so helpful. I use the Lose It app on my phone and it really doesn't take much effort. There is a barcode scanner and a huge database of restaurant and grocery store foods that make logging everything pretty simple. It saves your previous meals so if you eat the same thing for breakfast everyday (for instance) you don't have to log in repeatedly.
Eat whole, healthy foods. When you're trying to lose weight, "calories in" vs. "calories out" is king. But, it's more than that if you want to lose weight AND be healthy. My goal isn't just weight loss or maintenance. I want to feel good and I want to get the right nutrients into my body. I could troll the frozen food aisle and pick up a bunch of lean cuisines, stay in my calorie range and lose weight. But what would I really be doing for myself? I'd rather take the time to buy the ingredients and make meals from scratch so I know exactly what's going in to my body. Personal choice, but one I think is important for my overall well being.
Weights and yoga. Sure, I burn more calories when I run or hike, but I see changes faster when I lift weights. My clothes fit better and my metabolism picks up. The scale moves faster when I focus on cardio, but I care more about how I look and feel than how much I weigh. So I lift weights and listen to my girl Jillian. Her DVDs rock my world. Yoga is another must for me. I start my day with this routine and I stretch my back whenever I feel like I've been sitting at a desk for too long. Simple steps that really help me feel good.
Cardio. If I only have time for one, I choose weights over cardio, but ideally I work both in. I actually like running and find it to be a big stress reliever. And I like spending time with Rooney - he's an awesome running buddy. He's so happy to be outside and keeps his pace the whole time so he definitely lets you know when you're dragging. Since it's freezing in Chicago now I'm not sure how often I'll get out to run, but I want to try to work it in when I can. I'm not a fan of gyms so mother nature calls the shots for me.
Find motivation. Only you can make the choice to eat well and workout, but it helps to surround yourself with others who are doing the same. Have a friend whose fitness is enviable? Ask her/him if you can text them when you need a kick in the pants or arrange to check in with her/him once a week to compare workouts. It helps to have someone that you're accountable to. If you aren't into having a virtual workout buddy, there are a TON of blogs that are motivational. I follow them on Instagram and they always seem to be working out which makes me want to move too. Here are a few of my favorites that I follow.
So that's it. That's my tried and true plan. It's not mind-blowing or a new concept by any means, but it helps me to lay it out and remind myself of my goals. The first week is always tough and after the holiday "stuff my face" marathon I know I'll be hungry and annoyed these first few days. But once I break through that wall, I'll feel great and be back to my old self. Which leads me to this proactive little apology, for those who might bump into me in the coming days ;-)