VigorPeople HATE counting calories. Maybe they seem nebulous, maybe it’s hard to do, maybe it’s shocking to see how quickly they add up and how few of them you are allowed in a day to maintain your weight. Well, kids, that’s life. You are going to have to get used to the fact that you can’t exist on cupcakes and maintain your svelte booty. So, let’s act like grown ups here, and make a bit of progress and lose weight!

Every day I do 400 calories worth of exercise in addition to my daily activities. It does not matter if it’s vigorous or gentle it just has to be exercise over and above what I would normally do. By vigorous I mean on the level of a hard turbo kick class or a bootcamp/calorie crusher. By gentle, I mean walking at a brisk pace, not sauntering along. You have to feel exertion and you have to feel like you are sweating. Yoga and Tai Chi don’t count. They are wonderful for stretching and balance and getting in touch with your spiritual side but compare them to what you rack up with a calorie burn during a fast walk outdoors up and down hills and there isn’t any contest. Be devoted to yoga, make time for your practice, don’t ask it to help you lose weight…that isn’t what it’s for.

The most effective way I have to maintain my weight is to eat less, but it’s imperative to move more as well. Some people fall into the trap of putting aside an hour to work out. They work out for an hour. They do this most days, they skip a few but there are extenuating circumstances. They gain back and feel defeated.

I don’t work out for an hour. I don’t do one weightlifting class and go home because I lifted a lot of weight and now I can eat cookies. I do what everyone really hates: I work out for 400 calories and I do it every day. I have maintained my weight and that is because I use the one benchmark which is pretty infallable: calorie burn.

Many times I lift weights and I burn between 250-300 calories. Then I take part of a cardio class until I reach 400 and then I have finished my workout for the day. Simple and it works.

How do you know how many calories you have burned? Get a heart rate monitor and use it. Just about all of them will count the calories you have burned based on the information you put in about yourself. Your height, weight, age, and gender determine how many calories you burn when you exercise, and that is reckoned from how fast your heart beats. Measure the heart beats and measure the calorie burn.

If you suspect that this isn’t perfectly accurate, hear this: it doesn’t have to be. That’s right, all you have to do is to make sure that your monitor is in working order and use the same one every day. If you use the same instrument to measure your work every day, you will get a consistent result and so you can measure with very good accuracy.

Do you have to do a 400 calorie burn every day? Is that right for you? I don’t know, you are the judge of that. Start off with 400 calories or look up the number of calories you have to burn per day to maintain a healthy (goal) weight. I am sure you can find a place to do that on the internet. Then start to work out for an hour a day and measure how many calories that burns. If you are not maintaining your weight with a sensible diet, add 25 more calories per day until you get to a maintaining plateau. This will take some time but it’s worth it.

Counting calories is not fun but it is an excellent benchmark for you to help you lose and maintain weight. I didn’t think I could maintain a solid weight loss, but I did with the help of my heart rate monitor.

Best of luck to you. Keeping weight off is a daily thing which needs to become part of your routine and that you look forward to. I hope I can give you a few tips on how to do that most difficult but rewarding parts of losing weight.

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