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Take it Off, and Keep it Off

I hear so many tales about how people have lost weight and kept it off. One story that I found interesting tells of an active 5'6", 210-pound, 33-year-old woman. For me what I found so intriguing about her story was the fact that she did workout regularly, but somehow was continuing to gain weight.

She figured that her entire family was built on the larger side, so that was just her destiny. I'll give it to you that genetics does play a big part in the weight game, but I would hate for any of you to think that you can't improve your reality, or set and reach particular health and weight goals.

Now, I am 6'3" and weigh about 170 pounds, and I have long faced the reality that I am not built to be a size 2, 4, or 6 for that matter. With my build and bones, when I'm small I'm about an 8. If I'm lifting more and eating more calories, I can float up to about a size 12. Normally my weight variance is 2 to 3 pounds.

My point is that before you set goals, know who you are. I think at times people set themselves up by wanting something that is not a reflection of who they are or what reality they live in. The number one thing to remember before trying to jump into a lifestyle change is jumping into a lifestyle that you can live with.

OK, back to my story. How did this women lose the 54 pounds that she has now kept off for 5 years?

1. For starters, she kept the foods out of her house that she didn't want to eat. When you go buy groceries, leave the junk at the store. I find it very helpful to not shop while you are starving or depressed (I know the later may not be as controllable). However, if your partner just broke up with you, or you just got fired, maybe it's not a great idea to go food shopping right at that moment.

Where you can, sub in a better choice (i.e. water for soda, vinegar dressing for creamy, salad with proteinfor a big fat sub). Oh, and if you are eating something you really enjoy, and consider it a cheat, cut your portion in half. In other words it's not about not eating, it's about controlling the amount. Go for the fries and hamburger, then cut the portion in half. Grabbing some chocolate? Grab less.

2. Find some way of moving that you actually enjoy. Let's face it a lot of people don't enjoy exercising, but moving our bodies is a key component to losing or maintaining weight. The only way to make this a consistent part of your life is if you actually don't view exercise time as torture. Take a class (spinning, yoga, kick boxing, hip hop), walk, jog, do pilates, lift or swim, etc. Find some form of cardio and weight training that you can do at least twice a week, each.

There is no way around exercising, and to be honest if you find something you enjoy you will feel invigorated by exercise, and have an increase in energy to deal with everything else going on in your life.

3. Minimize your stress, and get some good rest. Life is hectic, but it's key to try and keep stress at bay to the best of your ability. When you start getting hit by daily stress try to ask yourself, "how much do I need to let this affect me?" See if you can be a little more proactive vs. reactive.

Some circumstances can't be helped, but in other situations you have a shot at making a choice. You just have to practice discipline in the situations that you can control, and not worry about the things that really require a full-blown, emotional response. Traffic? Let it go. Someone is sick or hurt? Let your heart take over.

4. Try to force yourself to turn off the tube or computer and get to sleep. I realize a lot of people (especially you moms out there) get all the house things done after everyone goes to sleep, but get to bed! Your entire system will function better if you are getting some rest. Can it wait? If I tell you that your metabolic system will work better when you are getting enough sleep, will you go to bed?

This women in my story has stayed successful for all of these years because she has found a balance between all of the components that affect weight, weight loss, and weight management. I know we all want to gag on the word balance, but it really is always about working our diet, exercise, stress, and sleep life into some kind of harmony that works for us.

Good luck to all of you. Remember that it starts with making a decision, and then believing in that decision. You can do it.

– Gabrielle Reece

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