Reader Question: Where Do I Start?

by Kenlie Tiggeman on May 15, 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve answered a reader question on my blog so today seems like a good day for it.   I’ve received so many messages from people who want to know where to start, and I know that it can be overwhelming so I’m asking for your help in answering their questions.  Take a look at this message from a lovely lady in the area, and tell me what you would suggest to help her get started on her own journey.

Hi Kenlie! I’m local and saw an article about you in the newspaper. Congratulations on your weight loss journey and for taking a stand against discrimination of overweight people. I am 280 lbs and know I need to take control of my weight. How do I even start? Moneywise, it is so much more expensive to eat healthy. I dont have the money to go to a gym. Any suggestions on getting started are greatly appreciated! Good luck on your journey!

-A

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Hi A,

Thanks for the message. It’s nice to hear from someone local!

It sounds like we weigh almost the same right now, and I have to tell you that I’m not an expert.  With that said, I’m happy to tell you how I got started.

I lived in New York, and my first step was joining a Weight Watchers group.

Weight Watchers taught me what a serving of food should actually look like which was great because I seriously didn’t realize how much I was eating.  Seriously, even if I ate only half of my old favorite dish at Chili’s, Chicken Crispers, potatoes and corn on the cob, I’d still be eating almost an entire day’s worth of calories just in one meal.   And that’s not even including appetizers, drinks or dessert!  I could easily add another 1,000 calories to that just with chips and salsa!

Yeah, I knew I was eating more than the average woman, but Weight Watchers helped me understand just how much I was eating and how to make better choices that were still satisfying.

Add 590 calories for the loaded mashed potatoes and corn on the cob for a total of about 2,250 calories for one meal.

And speaking of empty calories I cut out soda cold turkey in 2009, and it’s by far the best thing I have ever done for my body.  It was really hard, and it sucked for months.  I told myself that I could drink one later if I really wanted to, but eventually it lost its appeal.  I remember a time in my life in which I couldn’t fathom giving up sodas, and now the thought of it is just gross.

But the eating part of healthy living is still much harder for me than the exercise part, but I’m trying to tackle it.  I started counting calories about seven weeks ago, but I still weigh-in at a local WW meeting once a month or so.  The support you receive at meetings is priceless.

And I love the gym now, but I didn’t always feel that way. When I started trying to turn things around I started walking. Seriously, I didn’t walk fast or long, but I did more than I had done previously. And as time passed it took more effort to get my heart pumping which reminded me that I was getting stronger!

In addition to walking I also bought my first Richard Simmons DVD.   I own several now, but Party Off the Pounds is still my favorite. I found my copy at Walgreens, but you can get it online here as well. And to this day it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made in fitness. I didn’t have to worry about looking ridiculous (even though I’m sure I did at first.)  And it will definitely make you sweat!

And speaking of Richard, I was on Dr. Drew's show with him last week. And out of all of the pictures I've taken with him, this is the *only* one in which we're not smiling. Of course, we were discussing a very serious issue.

So in short A, I starting with walking and aerobics worked for me, and now I love to sweat!

In regards to food, try to replace something unhealthy that you’re eating with fresh veggies. I eat a 6 cup salad for lunch most days (romaine lettuce, 1 tbsp of light Caesar and 7g of mini croutons) with chicken or salmon (on the side) or some other form of protein like egg whites.

The most important thing is just starting somewhere right now instead of waiting until tomorrow or Monday or January,  then don’t stop.  Keep trying even when it feels like you’re messing up over and over.  Most people take a few steps forward and a few back.  Don’t get discouraged, and don’t quit.

Again, I’m no expert, but I’m surrounded by them.  In my experiencethe people here know what they’re doing, and they’re always willing to help so let’s ask them.

Thanks again for reaching out, and I hope you’ll do it again soon.

Night!

Kenlie

 

So friends…What advice can you give to someone who wants to change the way they live with food and exercise?  What’s the most important step in getting started?

 

 

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