Last February, as tennis tournament season loomed, I knew I’d soon be switching from wintertime doubles to more intense singles. I needed to shed more than a few of the extra 30 pounds I was carrying before summer and decided to get serious about losing weight.
I knew you could lose that much weight in three months, but that usually results in a rebound because you can’t crash diet or exercise like crazy, and then stop once the weight’s off. Your body will put the weight back on. So I decided to try something new that would help me gradually lose weight without starving or killing myself with grueling workouts.
Snacks and Fun Workouts to the Rescue!
I decided to graze and cross-train. In layman’s terms, that meant adding two daily snacks to my diet and exercising differently each workout. I “forced” myself to eat breakfast each morning and then a snack around 10:30, whether I was hungry or not. My snack might be a couple of pieces of celery with peanut butter, apple slices with cheese or a cereal bar. By lunchtime, I wasn’t “starved” — I’d already eaten twice. This led to eating fewer calories. I “forced” myself to have another snack around 3:00, so by dinner I had eaten four times already. I was able to control myself at dinner and really cut down on calories.
For exercise, I’d walk one hour in my very hilly neighborhood one day, play tennis the next, do a circuit-training workout with resistance bands another, and hop on my Gazelle the next time.
Slow and Steady Won the Race
The first week I lost four pounds. I knew this would be the easiest week because you lose water weight and I was more motivated to exercise almost every day. During week two I lost two pounds (my work schedule caused me to skip some workouts), but week three saw me lose three pounds. By the end of week four, I’d lost 11 pounds without any “hard work.” My progress slowed the following months as the novelty of working out wore off and I didn’t push myself as hard, but it continued, thanks, in part, to my not overeating and mixing up my workouts.
By the end of three months, I had lost 22 pounds. I’ve kept the weight off (I had a slight rebound during the following winter when I wasn’t able to get outdoors as much), but my total weight loss has been almost 30 pounds for the year.
And it’s not coming back!