Before & After
By BRITTANY TATE The Brunswick News
For Chandra Kendall, losing weight was of dire importance to her health.
"Having siblings with diabetes, losing my father to heart disease, my mother to Alzheimer's and a brother to cancer, I realized I had to do something. At 44, it was time to make some changes," Kendall said.
Since starting her journey in July 2012, Kendall has lost 20 pounds with the help of her husband and trainer. This year, she is hoping to get stronger, to get toned, to maintain the weight loss, to continue to work out five to six days a week and to help keep others motivated who want to lose weight, as well.
"Many of us think we can do it on our own, fail, and then give up. You have to be motivated to make a change, whether it is a health issue, class reunion or vacation that inspires you to want to be different," Kendall said.
Kendall says losing weight is not the easiest goal to set, as many usually do at the beginning of a new year, but it is achievable.
"I highly recommend hiring a personal trainer who can at least get you on the right track and hold you accountable. It is a lot of hard work, and a trainer can help you set a realistic goal and an eating plan."
Kendall suggests modifying your eating as a first step.
"The diet is a very important component. You can't train hard and expect to lose weight unless you change your diet accordingly," she said. "Instead of the three meals a day, eat five times a day - smaller portions. The purpose of eating that often is to increase your metabolism and keep it going."
A plan to consider is to work with a trainer two days a week and incorporate cardio for the other four days for at least 45 minutes to an hour each day.
Jan Kiss, a registered nurse and certified health and wellness coach of LifeChange Health and Wellness on St. Simons Island, agrees. She says making the decision to lose weight is not about deprivation or weight; it's about health.
She says getting acclimated to a weight management process can help individuals make more of a change that will lead to weight loss and healthier lifestyle changes.
"If you can't maintain within your lifestyles, it's not going to be sustainable," Kiss said. "It takes time for people to hardwire their brains, but once they start, the changes need to be small."
Kiss suggests a great way to start off would be making small changes in your daily routine, such as parking farther away from the store or using the stairs at work and incorporating motivators in your process.
This can turn your resolution into a long-term goal and eliminate quick weight loss plans that cause yo-yo dieting.
"People need a motivator and it can be as easy as signing up for an event. A pedometer is a great motivator and working with a buddy (works too)," she said. "Set up a goal that you can get to and you will see tangible results."
Experts say in order to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you take in.
Since one pound equals 3,500 calories, you need to reduce your caloric intake by 500 to 1,000 calories per day to lose about one to two pounds per week. This is the most effective way to lose weight and keep it off.
Research has shown reducing caloric intake can be done in many ways, including keeping low-fat, low-sugar snacks on hand. Others include eating breakfast every day, adding whole grains into your daily diet, choosing fresh fruit over fruit juice, using fats and oils sparingly, and limiting food and beverages high in sugar.
Eating right is a great way to start off your weight loss plan, but exercising is needed to complete the journey.
Eric Taylor, owner of Taylor Made Training on St. Simons Island, says moderate exercise can help the body regulate more efficiently and can even ward off health problems like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
He says jumping into intensive workout plans without preparing the body is the best way to deter real progress.
"The hypertrophy phase of any training program can make or break the individual that is new to exercise. Some tend to start too quickly without letting the body adjust to new modes and either they get injured or so sore that they stop exercising before they even begin," Taylor said. " What I recommend is that each individual begin at a slow, controlled pace, be consistent and strive to make small improvements each week."
Taylor says if we think of fitness as a ladder, we can eliminate the cart-before-the-horse scenario with new workout programs.
"The bottom rung is basic lifting fundamentals and technique. The second rung is proper cardio implementation and the third rung up is basic nutrition. Now, pretend that you skip all of those and go all the way up to the fourth rung, which is athletic or triathlon training," Taylor said.
"You are now sitting atop your ladder on the fourth rung but because of your lack of fitness education, you either injure yourself or attain minimal results. Ultimately instead of climbing down your ladder, you stumble and fall. This is usually where your new year's resolution ends each year."
Individuals who overcome the urge to hop into intensive workout programs will see results if they follow a safe and secure plan, he said.
"It may take a little more time, but my advice is to learn all you can first, try as hard as you can and safely make your way up your ladder one step at a time. Take your time and do it right this year. You will be glad you did," he said.
Here are some foolproof ways to slim down:
* Keep a food diary to track what you eat
* Make a shopping list and stick to it
* Cut down on amount of foods high in fat or sugar in your home
* Eat smaller portion sizes and eat at the table (so you don't overeat in front of the TV)
* Workout for 30 minutes three days a week
* Be realistic about weight-loss goals
* Expect setbacks and forgive yourself if you regain weight
* Add moderately intense or vigorous physical activity to weight-loss plan.