Updated: May 28, 2020
Written by Heather Picardat
So you want to lose weight?
It takes a lot of gumption to decide to begin losing weight. You have to want to do it, but you also have to have enough determination to actually stick to it. We want to celebrate one success story from right here in our very own office. Ryan Hall, an HPA Wellness Coordinator is an excellent example of how motivation and perseverance really can help you not only lose the extra weight, but keep it off.
Within the span of 1 year, Ryan was able to drop nearly 80 pounds by eating right and exercising regularly. His weight loss journey started because he felt he had really let himself go and he wasn’t going to be unhappy in his skin any longer. Ryan said that when he started, he didn’t have a weight loss goal; rather he had a goal to reach a positive self-image and a healthier disposition. “I was disgusted by what I let myself become and I knew that I had to change or I was not going to be happy… The longer I waited, the harder it would be to change it,” Ryan said. So, in 2004 when he began losing weight, he had to make some major changes to his diet and exercise routines.
What and how much should you eat?
One of the greatest challenges of losing weight is maintaining not only what you eat, but how much you eat. “Eating healthy will always be a struggle for me,” Ryan said. “I grew up in a household that ate a lot and most of it was not healthy.” Ryan said he has a ridiculous sweet tooth, but focusing on what too many sweets can do to you has been a great motivator in his sugar intake. Like anything else, the key to curbing these cravings, at least for Ryan is learning not to overindulge: everything in moderation. “I go back to the eating more healthy meals than unhealthy meals,” He said. “If I have a day where I have eaten pretty clean, then I don’t have a problem indulging a little bit.”
Food has proven to be a huge challenge for Ryan. “Many of my coworkers have heard me talk about dairy and its effects on weight loss,” He said. “Research shows that dairy is one of the best products on the market to promote weight gain. If this is the case, why is it marketed as a weight loss aid. Protein shakes, protein bars, cheese sticks, and calcium rich milk are all promoted as helping with weight loss, but they are all dairy derivatives which stimulate fat storage. To be clear, I’m not saying to never eat these things again, but if your goal is weight loss, you might want to consider alternative sources of calories.” As Ryan has struggled with eating the right things in the past, he really stresses the importance of choosing healthy, balanced meals. “I consistently preach to coaching clients and almost anyone that asks me, to eat as natural as possible.” He said. “Focus on eating fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats.” Now, Ryan’s got a pretty good handle on selecting nutrient rich foods and following a routine meal plan.
Here’s what a typical week day looks like:
Breakfast: 2 Egg omelet with fresh veggies
Lunch: Grilled chicken breast with steamed peas and olive oil
Afternoon Snack: Baby carrots with Hummus and 2 Apples
The importance of exercise.
It’s not all about the food though. Exercising can be just as important in weight loss especially because routine plays such an integral role in weight loss , and there are thousands of different exercises that you can do. For Ryan, one of the challenges he faced was finding an exercise routine that both yielded results and that he enjoyed doing. “I have tried all different forms of exercise routines.”
Ryan said. “HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts, group classes, power lifting techniques… so on. But what I enjoy the most and see the best results with is the classic body building style.” Currently, he is committed to 4 or 5 days of cardio, typically in the morning followed by strength training at lunch Monday through Friday. Usually once during the weekend, he will also do strength training. He follows a routine and sticks to it. “Cardio is typically a moderate intensity, steady state that I do for 30 – 45 minutes.” Ryan said. And his strength training? “I follow more of a body building routine that focuses on each major muscle group: chest, back, legs, shoulders, arms, and core.” It keeps him focused and active so that he can reap the benefits of higher energy levels throughout the day.
“Weight loss is 30% what you do and 70% what you eat…”
Ryan’s advice to those who are just starting their weight loss journey is: find a niche that best suits them. There is no one size fits all program and making a consistent routine can be tricky, but simply following it will help you yield results. “Weight loss is 30% what you do (exercise) and 70% what you eat (diet).” Ryan said. “Learning how to plan and prep meals, navigate a grocery store effectively, and cook food properly is essential to any form of weight loss.”