[Hooping.org columnist Shannon Herrington charts a realistic plan for success.]
It’s January 2012. It’s a brand new year. If you have a gym membership, you’ve probably noticed your gym is full of new people. Most of those people won’t even last a month according to the New York Times. Maybe you are new to hooping.org because you got a hoop as a holiday gift or you heard it was an awesome workout. Weight loss is more than simply picking up a hoop though, especially if you have more than a few vanity pounds to get rid of. Last year, on January 3rd, I started a failed quest to lose weight with the hoop. While I became obsessed with the idea of hooping for fitness, and even though I read all these little articles about hooping as a fantastic workout, when I gave the hoop a spin, I forgot to spin more than just the hoop. So before you grab your hoop in excitement to whittle your waist for the new year, here are a few tips that might help you keep your fitness hooping goal and maybe even lose a few pounds inside the circle.
1. Healthy eating: Diet is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Researchers have figured out that what we eat is more important than exercise when it comes to weight loss. You don’t necessarily have to give up your favorite foods. Remember the biggest key is to eat in moderation. There is no reason to be on a starvation diet, in fact starvation diets fail. Some nutritionists suggest that you should aim for at least 75% healthy meals in your week. Maybe you can do even more. One of my friends lost eighty pounds through hooping and changing her diet to whole foods. Remember, quality food isn’t just good for you, it can fuel an amazing hooping session.
2. Avoid Lofty Goals: Every day we are bombarded with ads that scream, “lose 30 pounds in one week” and “diet without exercise.” Shows like The Biggest Loser show 15 pound weight losses every week. Expecting fast weight loss can be a recipe for disaster. Healthy weight loss can be a pound to two pounds a week. Slower weight loss also means it’s easier for your body to recover without losing your precious muscles. If the scale isn’t moving, check to see if you are losing inches on your body too. You might be gaining muscle.
3. Reflect: Have you successfully lost any weight before? Did your extra weight pile on after college? Are you moving less? What are your trigger foods? This is a time to figure out what has worked for you before and what has changed in your life to be aware of. If a starvation diet with no exercise didn’t work before, it’s not going to work now either.
4. Design Your Strategies: Many people want to lose weight, but you need a plan. The best way to resist temptation is having a strategy when that buffet is tempting you. In the book The Thin Commandments: The Ten No-Fail Strategies for Permanent Weight Loss they explain that naturally thin people and successful weight loss losers are more equipped with strategies to prevent massive weight gain. They’re more equipped! To lose weight we need to be more equipped as well. Use your reflections to make your strategies to be successful. Plan in advance for food and exercise emergencies. Make small goals that are easily achievable while maintaining large goals to keep you motivated at all times.
5. No Food Related Rewards: One of your strategies should focus on rewards. When you’ve finished your half hour of hooping in our New Year 30/30 Hooping Challenge, you might want to reward yourself with a treat. That’s fine, just don’t make it food. Watch a TV show you like. Take a hot bath with candles. Call someone you love. There are many rewards out there that don’t have any calories at all.
6. Positive affirmations: Positive affirmations can change your life by reworking the wiring in your brain. Negative self talk can zap your motivation in an instant. Precise and positive affirmations repeated ten times in the morning and ten times in the evening can radically change your weight loss journey. Affirmations don’t have to be focused entirely on weight loss either. You can use positive affirmations in all facets in your life, even with your hooping practice. I’m currently using positive affirmations to facilitate learning the hoop skills that are harder for me.
7. Daily Hooping Practice: Hooping will help you burn as many calories as a bootcamp workout. A half hour of hooping will burn 210 calories. In fact it is a total body workout that can increase your flexibility and tone your body. We need at least three to four days of thirty minutes of exercise to get the maximum benefit for your heart health, but we can do more. You can experiment with tabata or interval training sessions with your hoop too or combine hooping with yoga.
8 ) Community: It takes a village, and together we can make things happen we could never do alone. Whether you’re a part of the 30/30 Challenge or not, checking in with others in our Daily Practice Forum and sharing your day to day journey can do wonders. It helps keep us publicly accountable to someone other than just ourselves and opens our hearts and eyes to the healing love of others.
Weight loss seems simple on paper, yet the obesity epidemic in America keeps rising. Instead of focusing on the number on the scale, we need to focus on how we are feeling, how our clothes fit and how our fitness is improving. Even some researchers are finding that physically active overweight people are less likely to have heart complications than our thinner, non-active peers. So jump in your hoop this year and together let’s conquer our resolutions. Together we can do it.