Rosann Cunningham is a Christian Author, wife to the man of her dreams, and stay-at-home mom to two delightful little girls. When she’s not out for a jog or having energy burning dance parties with her daughters, she can be found writing for her blog ChristianSuperMom, and ministering to women whose husbands are in a season of unemployment, at her other website UnEMPLOYED Faith. Her writing inspiration for both projects comes from a strong desire to glorify God while sharing the heart of her journey through a life of faith.
Three 30-minute sessions per week was all the exercise I could muster at the time. I’d just given birth to my 2nd child only 8 weeks earlier. I was sleep deprived, hungry, nursing, and had a bad case of mommy brain going on as I learned to navigate life with two children. Still, I was painfully aware the extra baby weight wasn’t shedding off as easily as it did after my first child was born. This time it was holding on to my thighs, rear, and tummy with stubborn resolve. I was trying not to be impatient, but I knew I had a solid 35 pounds I would need to lose if I was going to fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans.
Not wanting me to angst over my weight, my husband suggested we invest in hiring a personal trainer at our local gym. Hesitantly, I agreed. His name was Dean and just looking at him was motivation to exercise. He was muscular, athletic, knowledgeable, and ruthless in holding me accountable to my goal.
The first week Dean was pretty easy on me, letting me continue my three 30-minute cardio sessions while adding strength training to my fitness load. But the following Monday, when I reported my lack of weight loss in a frustrated tone of voice, Dean began to change my way of life with words I will never forget,
“If you really want to lose weight, you need to remember this fact. To lose 1 pound of fat, you need to burn 3500 calories. Are your three workouts each week burning 3500 calories or more?”
Dean’s point was that if I wanted it badly enough, I would need to put more serious effort into achieving my goal. Exercising only three days per week was good for maintaining weight, but it wasn’t going to help me lose weight. He also taught me that you can’t improve what you don’t measure. I would need to keep a daily log of calories consumed versus calories burned, as well as track my body measurements because some weeks the win would come in inches rather than pounds.
Again, at my husband’s suggestion, I started using a software program called VidaOne Health & Fitness. It proved to be a fantastic way of staying aware of what I was eating each day and how many calories I was burning, while also keeping track of my weekly weigh ins. I then increased my workouts to 5 days per week of 1-hour cardio (I like to run) and 3 days per week of 30-minute strength training sessions. Six months later, I reached my 35 pound weight loss goal and had gained a beautifully, muscular, toned body to go with it. At 35 years old, I was in the best shape I’d ever been in.
Investing in a personal trainer is costly, but it works. Taking your weight loss goals seriously is painful and exhausting, but it works. Keeping track of calories consumed versus calories burned is tedious and takes time, but it works.
And here’s one more thing that works. Reward yourself!
I exercised hard and stayed focused all week long, but I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted on Sunday’s. It was my cheat day. The funny thing is, the healthier I got, the less I wanted to cheat. With that said, here’s my favorite sweet treat idea that I discovered in my Biggest Loser Family Cookbook, slightly altered. The original recipe calls for a layer of peanut butter on the graham crackers, but even though I love peanut butter, I prefer to leave it off. This way, it tastes just like a classic ice cream sandwich. Delicious!
Go ahead, eat both of them! You’ll feel like you’re totally splurging, yet you’ll only be consuming a grand total of 155 calories of chocolaty goodness.