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A Workout Plan to Lose Weight When You Are a Caregiver

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Who Cares for Mom? We Do!

It’s Ap-Parent We Care

Dear Fun & Fit: My friend Patti and I have pledged to lose 50 pounds between us by March! As motivation, we have submitted to present about our success at a conference in March! Yikes! Now we REALLY have to do it! We are both caregivers for our parents who live with us. So we need tips and ideas to get fit and lose weight between our working and caregiving moments. Help!! Amy

 

Good news Amy – you and Patti are already doing a number of things that will help you reach your goal. Take a look at these 5 action items:

1. Set a realistic goal that includes mini-goals

You don’t say how the 50 pounds are split, so let’s assume 25 each. You have seven months to lose 25 pounds, which means you have to drop just under 4 pounds a month. People who have been successful at losing and keeping weight off lose no more than 1.5 – 2 pounds per week. You only need to shed 1 pound a week. Make that your mini-goal; it’s less daunting than focusing on 25 pounds.

2. Exercise

Because you have until March, you can choose low, moderate or high intensity cardio. If you are caregivers for your parents, we think you are probably past 40, which means you may have knee or hip joint issues. High intensity is the most time-saving method for burning calories, yet you may not wish to do high impact. The link to our post on losing weight via high intensity, lower impact activity includes a video. You two will also need to add some strength training (hand weights, tubes or your own body weight work great). The combination of cardio movement and resistance training will have you burning calories at a higher rate even when you’re finally sleeping at the end of your very long days! You might like to take a look at this post from a woman who wanted to lose 100 pounds. The focus is on choosing movement you enjoy.

3. Create a record

Successful “losers” write things down, especially their goals and food intake. You’ve already publicly stated your goal, so you’re halfway through this one. A fun fit fact: just the act of writing down your food intake can cause you to lose weight! How? The mind (whooooo eeeee oooo)! If you tell yourself that you’re just taking stock, not judging or eliminating, it’s easier to make an honest, complete record. And you don’t get stuck in that mental loop of wanting what you think you “can’t” have. Yet once it’s written down, you unconsciously will find yourself dropping some of the unhelpful foods out of your daily intake.

Healthy Food Good for Weight Loss4. Change your diet in increments

Again, the mind is the leader in weight loss, as well as the saboteur. You cannot go from 1 – 10 without going through 2, 3, 4… Drastic changes or denials don’t lead to success. Figure out what the increments look like. Do you switch out one soda a day for water? Do you cut one high-calorie, low nutrient food in half before eating it? Change the mental, “I can’t have this,” to “I choose to not eat this because it gets in my way.” Another fun fit fact: when you find yourself about to eat something that will not help you reach your goal, give yourself permission to eat it…in 5 minutes. In five minutes you’ll either eat it or you will have moved on to something else. But telling yourself “Yes” instead of “No” tricks your brain into losing interest. We have some other incremental tips in this post about overeating at the holidays.

Steps to Exercise By

Little Steps Lead to Big Changes. Lots of Them – Changes & Steps

5. Get time to work with, not against you

As women who work and provide care, your time is probably precious and quite limited. Maybe you can’t go to an hour-long group fitness class (our favorite), but can you go for a 3 minute walk several times a day? It doesn’t have to be outside – pacing your kitchen for 3 minutes works just as well. Do you have stairs? That is the #1 weight loss tool in your home. Add in an extra set up and down a few times daily. Pace when you’re on the phone. Fidget when you are seated. When you go to sit down, pause just before your seat hits the seat, stand back up, then sit down. That one extra squat each time you go to sit adds up to thousands of squats, which adds up to calories burned. Circle your car 3 times before you get in to drive to work. You get the idea. I, Alexandra, like to crank up the Led Zeppelin songs and dance while I sweep and iron. What works for you?

Kymberly and Alexandra Friends and Sisters

6. Bonus Tip – Team up with a friend

Boom. You have this one down, done and did!! Whether you team up in person or via text messages, having a support system is key. Schedule regular accountability check-ins with each other to stay on track.

Math Problem: Working + Caregiving = Stress. Stress can actually make you gain weight. Within the demands of your life, choose some actions that help you relax. This can be as quick and simple as clenching your fists as tightly as possible for 5 seconds, then completely relaxing your hands. You cannot physiologically be stressed and relaxed simultaneously.

Let us know what works for you and Patti as you lose, then maintain your weight. We love to share good tips and successes.

Once you reach your goal, read this post about maintaining weight loss. The steps are different, yet the mind is still in charge.

Hire us for your next meeting or conference, or to write your clever blog posts.  Call us at (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Be a winner while losing, and subscribe to our YouTube channel to access short videos that will improve your fitness level and make you happy! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

 

About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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11 Responses to A Workout Plan to Lose Weight When You Are a Caregiver

  1. Pamela Hernandez August 2, 2013 at 4:19 am #

    Great advice on self care for a caregiver. Thanks ladies!
    Pamela Hernandez recently posted..3 Ways to Keep Your Workouts ChallengingMy Profile

    • Fun and Fit August 2, 2013 at 8:02 am #

      You are welcome Thrive Fit. We hope our readers check out your linked post on keeping workouts challenging. It’s a perfect pair to our advice about adding some resistance training.
      Fun and Fit recently posted..6 Practical Fitness Tips for Older AdultsMy Profile

  2. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast August 2, 2013 at 6:05 am #

    I’ve found with my clients that mini-goals and small, incremental changes are huge! Great tips!

  3. Tamara August 2, 2013 at 6:59 am #

    Most excellent tips! Many of them apply to moms of young children too; caregivers at the other end of things!

    How did I not know that Alexandra was a Led Zeppelin fan???
    Tamara recently posted..Introducing a 10-week Online Group Fitness Program for 40+ FemalesMy Profile

    • Fun and Fit August 2, 2013 at 8:10 am #

      You found out our secret – most exercise advice is relevant to all ages! Alexandra being a Led Zeppelin fan is not such a secret. Her bad singing along with them might be … until she opens her windows and projects. PS We encourage our readers to click on your post link and SIGN UP>
      Fun and Fit recently posted..Replace Health Cares with Healthy Habits (from BlogHer)My Profile

  4. Jody - Fit at 55 August 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    GREAT POST! I think this is what everyone should do! Once I got past my stupid stage when I was young & knew a lot less, this is what I did to lose my weight! It works as we age too. When peri to menopause hit, I cut the food & changed the types of food in increments to lose the weight & also to maintain. It is such a better way to do it PLUS you see how your bod reacts if you do it in mini steps like that.

    I also use the for me it is the 10-15 minute rule… if I want to stress or depress or I am upset eat, I wait 10-15 minutes. If I still want it – I own it & move on. Most times I talk to myself & realize why I am doing it, why it is not worth it & don’t eat it. The 1%, I reat & move on! :)

    Thx for a wonderful post as always!
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted..IMPORTANT August Blog News – Things are Changing!My Profile

  5. Elle@thewaybyelle August 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    Thank you for sharing! Too often when someone becomes the primary caregiver of a family member, it means that his/her health suffers. Great tips!
    Elle@thewaybyelle recently posted..50 Healthy Food and Exercise Comment Luv BlogsMy Profile

  6. Calla Gold August 9, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

    Being a caregiver is tough work, but these are some great tips for make self care more doable.
    Calla Gold recently posted..Gems of Wisdom: Kahlil Gibran and Cushion Cut DiamondMy Profile

  7. Deborah Davis August 15, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    This post really hits home (literally)! I am caring for my wonderful, disabled dad and balancing a ton of other responsibilities like most adults, so it is no surprise that exercise gets pushed to the end of the list of priorities, more often than I care to admit. Of course, I know what I should be doing, but it is great to be reminded again and again. Somehow, the tips will stick.
    Actually, since caregiving can be very hard work, I am able to integrate fitness benefits into daily rituals. For example, lifting dad’s legs and arms 20 times each for circulation is a good weightlifting exercise for me since his limbs weigh a lot.
    Running up and down the stairs to do laundry and chores counts too. Walking to the shopping mall for groceries and pushing the loaded cart home–instead of driving works as well.
    We caregivers need to take good care of ourselves, so we can take care of others.
    Deborah Davis recently posted..8 Super Summer Foods That Taste Good And Are Good for You TooMy Profile

  8. Joy Stapple August 27, 2013 at 3:28 am #

    It is very important to follow a schedule whenever you are going to execute a weight loss plan. Doing regular exercise and consumption of low calorie foods are the two main considerations to reduce weight. These are really very useful weight loss tips especially for caregiver.

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