Lighten up to lose

You’re running, but your knees hurt.  You’re crunching, but the six-pack is a no-show.  You’re starving, but you won’t let yourself eat.

Sound familiar?

I see so many people working hard and not changing for the better.  Many of them are frustrated and miserable.  Why?  What are they doing wrong?  

I have a secret that could change the way you think about exercising and eating healthy.  It just might change your life.  Well, it’s not really a secret; but for some reason most people don’t want to believe it.  We’ve been brainwashed to think “eat less, work harder.”

Here’s “The Secret”:   Slow down, my friend.  Work and eat at a pace your body can handle. 

Whether you have 100 pounds to lose or 20, steady changes will get you where you want to go.  Placing your body under traumatic stress simply forces your system into panic mode.  And when panic hits, your fat stores aren’t going anywhere! 

Slowly begin your workout plan. By starting slowly, you signal to your body that all is well.  Drastic soreness and nausea are signs that you are pushing too hard, too quickly. You should feel good as your body gets moving.  You should also feel satisfied with your food choices, not hungry.  Even with regard to your nutrition, if you cut back too quickly, your body will hold onto its fat stores. 

Follow these tips and I promise you’ll feel great while your body is undergoing a transformation for the better.

1.    Get the “go ahead” from your doctor to begin an exercise routine.

2.    Always warm-up before your workout.  I find that 10 to 15 minutes is enough to get your muscles and joints ready to move. 

3.    Do some type of cardio most days; 30 minutes is all you need to get going.

4.    A workout that includes weight training will help your body burn fat faster.  You can find plenty of good strength training workouts online or from a qualified personal trainer.

5.    Improve your nutrition by eating whole, fresh foods. 

6.    Track your food intake. Use an app like or

7.    Increase your protein intake.  Eat a protein (think chicken, fish, lean beef, eggs or protein powders) whenever you have a carb (breads, oatmeal, potatoes or pasta).

8.    Drink lots of water!  The only thing your body cannot adapt to is dehydration.  A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces every day.

By making these healthy changes, your body will respond positively.  Remember, you didn’t get out of shape in a just couple of weeks.  There’s no quick fix to getting back in shape.  Enjoy the process. 

Create good habits first, and the changes will come.

Chani Overstreet is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and co-owner of Strada Fitness & Wellness Center with her husband, Luke.  Strada is a state-of-the-art fitness studio located at 3041 Churchill Drive, Suite 100, in Flower Mound, across from Lifetime Fitness.  Call 972.330.4300 or visit for more information.

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