VigorOne of the most dangerous things you can do as a dieter and fitness fan is to overdo it. In our society we are in love with the extreme and so you see people who work out at the most vigorous routines every day, eat practically nothing, and eventually they have a habit of disappearing forever. Don’t let that be you. I have seen the overdoer after a couple of years and they really ruined the experience and sometimes their health, too.

One crucial fact you need is to know what your limits are and to be able to measure how close you come to the limit. At the very least you should consult a chart to tell you what your target and upper heart rate are when you exercise for your: height, weight, age, and gender. Find those numbers and stick to them.

Now how would you know what your heart is doing as you exercise? Get a heart rate monitor. A good one is from about $60-100 on the average, and you can get a good one at a local sports store (like Dick’s), a big box  (like Target), or on line (like Though they are not free, they are critical to your success. Look at it like it’s an investment, because that is what it is. I like the kind which counts calories while you exercise as well.

Get a heart rate monitor with a chest strap. The ones which you touch to get your heart rate interrupt your workout too much. I have found that Polar makes an excellent monitor, but I have a New Balance which I am very pleased with, too. But my favorite is the Digifit app for iPhone (and I am sure for Android, too) with its Polar Bluetooth chest strap. You buy the strap for about $65 ( and it broadcasts your heart rate to your phone. It will give you a marvelous picture of where you are regarding your heart rate and calories burned, also a graph showing you your rate over the course of your workout which can be an invaluable tool to stay in your target range.

You might feel macho for going over your target heart rate BUT that is not a wise idea. At the very least you will feel so wrung out, and that the workout was so unpleasant, that you might not want to continue. At worst, you might develop a heart problem and that is 100% counterproductive. So, monitor your heart and stay in your limits. That will keep things fun and productive for you, and keep you coming back.

Not every class or trainer is right for you, too. So, try them out but don’t let either one bully you into going too fast. If you find yourself inching into the danger zone, pull back and say something. If your trainer or class doesn’t adjust to your needs, find another one. You are not there to please them, it’s the other way around.

And don’t be ashamed if you do pull out of an overly strenuous class or trainer session. You are not really meant to be beaten on ESPECIALLY by yourself. There are plenty of classes and trainers who are right for you, go out and find them!

Also, for the under-eating…please don’t. You need ready fuel to go on with. I would again suggest that you use a fitness app like Sparkpeople, LoseIt, or MyFitnessPal to keep track of your calories and to encourage you to eat good food in moderation, not quit eating or fill up on junk food. Again, punishing yourself isn’t going to yield big benefits, it’s only going to hurt you and that gets you no where. You may think that the pain indicates that you are making progress but that is false.

I guess the big message of this blog today is that even though you have strayed a bit and picked up a few unwanted pounds, being smart and gentle with yourself is going to get you to your goal faster and better than being cruel to yourself (starving and working out too hard). You don’t need to punish yourself for gaining weight, and it comes off faster and easier in the long run with a bit of kindness and good sense.

Fabienne lost 30 lbs 1 1/2 years ago and kept it off. She is going to write a series of essays about how she did it and how she maintains it on this blog, brought to you by Possets Perfume (Bottled Happiness) where the fabulous Yule perfumes are still available for sale at fabulous prices! See for yourself!

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