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It's All About the Workout!

I started slow but consistent, exercising three times per week

By Kristen Johnson

Its All About the Workout

Although working out sometimes seems like one of the most dreaded activities to put yourself through, you can't imagine how easy it gets once you actually commit to it.

Trust me, I learned this valuable lesson first-hand.

Just like most people trying to lose weight, I knew that exercise and watching what I ate was something I had to get used to if I really wanted to be successful. Although it sounds easy enough, it takes a great deal of commitment to actually get started on your workout plan. But I promise, in the end it's more than worth it.

I started slow but consistent, working out at the gym three times a week. Most days I used the elliptical machine for 30 minutes before a round of strength training on the weight machines. In total, I was at the gym about 90 minutes each day.

On the days I wasn't at the gym, I still kept myself active. Two days a week, I performed an hour of Pilates at home. The combination of cardio and strength training were key aspects to my weight loss. I was burning calories through my cardio workouts and from the muscle I gained from weight training and Pilates. Not only was this duo helping me feel better, it gave me the variety I needed to stay focused and interested in exercising.

On top of working out, I counted calories and kept track of what I ate to make sure I was staying consistent in all aspects of my weight-loss plan. I kept my goal weight in mind and continued to push myself. I stuck to 1,400 calories a day, which was made easier by keeping a food diary. It was a key component to my weight loss because it kept me honest with myself — in turn, keeping me on the right track.

I followed this routine until I decided I needed some kind of a change. I made the decision to switch from working out at the gym to running. Even though I felt both cardio workouts benefited my weight-loss equally, running gave me a lower resting heart rate and increased my cardio strength. I was also better able to judge how many calories I was burning by keeping track of the miles I ran. I knew that running one mile burnt about 100 calories, making losing weight a simple calculation!

Its All About the Workout It was also easy enough to keep track of what I was eating in my food diary because I made a change to the meals I prepared for myself. I used to thrive on pasta, rice and pizza...basically anything that was loaded with empty carbohydrates. Silly me, I never truly realized I wasn't maintaining a healthy diet.

I now eat a variety of lean meats, fruits and vegetables. I've also become a fan of salmon, hummus and anything whole grain or whole wheat. Although it's a change from the food I was used to, I found ways to give nearly everything I prepare a comforting flair.

I do have to admit, however, that I'm a chips-and-dip kind of girl, but I knew in order to see the progress I wanted, I needed to trade in my bad habits for those my body would be more comfortable with sustaining.

I now eat whole wheat pita bread and hummus for a snack, not quite the same but tasty nonetheless. With these simple substitutions and my regular physical activity, I have lost a total of 40 pounds.

Don't get me wrong; I still eat some of my favorite foods...but in moderation. I now know that I can still enjoy pepperoni, onion and mushroom pizza, as long as I make a few adjustments to the recipe. Now that I've reached my goal weight, I realize that I can enjoy a couple traditional slices every once in a while, too.

I hope you experience the same success I've had with exercise and eating right. Losing weight is a give-and-take process; the more you give up to succeed, the more your body and future will benefit.

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