Burn your way to fit in 2013


By Sarah Peachey

It’s that time of year where maintaining or losing weight can be difficult. With so many delicious temptations like chocolaty leftover Halloween candy, pumpkin flavored goodies at Thanksgiving and delicious Christmas sweets, it isn’t surprising if your waistband gets a little tight. Your body naturally holds more weight over winter, so blame biology. It’s nature’s way of saying you need to stay warm by holding onto fat, says The average person gains between three and four pounds during the winter months, but don’t think you need to pack on those pounds just because it’s a bit cooler outside.

Earlier this summer, I started my own health and fitness regiment I called, “Burning to a Beach Bod.” I wanted to lose some weight and get fit before a September beach trip. I worked out every day, focusing on different areas of the body. I lost more than 10 pounds without setting foot in a gym and toned most of my “problem areas.” So how did I do it?

I didn’t diet at all. I don’t like fad diets and I don’t think they really work for people. Yes, you’ll lose the weight, but eating right is a lifestyle change, as is exercise. Most people don’t maintain fad diets for their entire life. By eating right, you’ll get used to healthy options that will keep you full for less calories, while becoming a natural part of your life.

I found two great apps using my smartphone so I could track my weight loss and exercise progress, as well as keeping track of calories and fat content in the foods I ate. The best part about these apps is they’re free.

The first app I used daily was MyFitnessPal. It’s a calorie-counting app that tracks everything you eat and how many calories you burn during exercise. To being the app, enter your current weight, your goal weight and information about your lifestyle. The app will calculate your calorie intake to reach your goal. You should speak to your doctor, to make sure you have the right calorie intake. Make sure you have measuring cups on hand to calculate your serving size. You’ll need to make sure you have measuring cups on hand to make sure you have the correct sizes.

The app is easy to use, scanning the packaging of everything you consume, whether it’s a drink, a meal or a multivitamin. When you make breakfast scan the barcode of what you’re eating and input the appropriate serving size. You may need to adjust the suggested size if you eat more. Here’s an example: You’re having whole-wheat toast and the suggested serving size is one piece of bread. Scan the barcode and then change your serving size to two instead of one. If you put peanut butter or margarine on your toast, scan those barcodes and adjust the serving size as needed. You’ll do this for everything you consume in a day — including what you drink.

It sounds like a lot of scanning and adjusting, but it gets easier — especially because you can even save whole meals. If you eat the same thing for breakfast every day, you can save those items and simply select the saved meal.

At the end of the day, you can view how much fat, sugar, protein, fiber, calories, vitamins and minerals you’ve had, and whether you’re over or under the required amounts. You’ll want look at this to ensure you’re taking in enough of the good stuff and few enough of the bad stuff.

The app is simple to use once you get started. If something doesn’t have a barcode, such as fresh fruits and veggies, you can search within the app to find those calorie counts. The hardest part is tracking everything. Weigh yourself once a week and you’ll see what you’re losing.

The second app I used for fitness was Nike Training Club. It’s also a free app. Download it and sign it to get started. You can select workouts for your specific needs, such as getting lean or toned, strength training or focusing on certain areas of your body. Once you select your option, you’ll go to a new screen that asks about your fitness. Your options are beginner (4-5 workouts per month), intermediate (2-3 workouts per weeks) and advanced (3-5+ workouts per week). Then you select your workout for the day, ranging from 30-45 minutes. There are about seven workout regiments per fitness level to choose from. Then you get started!

Click your workout for the day and you’ll see what exercises are on the agenda. If you don’t know how to do something, like a burpee or a slide and glide, you can click that specific exercise and see a video of how to do it. When you’re ready, touch “do workout.” It’s that simple.

With this app you can also review your recent workouts, track your progress and gain rewards, which unlock additional regiments.  Some exercises do require other items like dumbbells and a medicine ball, but you can buy those things on Amazon or at your local Exchange.

If you have trouble understanding healthy alternatives, try the book, “The Eat This Not That No-Diet Diet.”  It not only tells you how to balance your calories between meals, but it also has suggestions for making your own smoothies and snacks as well as healthy alternatives at restaurants and fast food joints. It can help change up your meals so you don’t get bored and reach for those tempting Christmas cookies.

Rather than packing on the pounds this winter and making yet another New Year’s resolution to lose weight, try getting healthy now and carrying that into a new lifestyle in 2013. Burn your way to fit!

If you have a favorite fitness app to share, post it in the comments section below.