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Down to two, Karen and Mary make steady progress

Half of the year is complete for Karen Leonard and Mary Burridge as their July workouts have begun. June was an interesting month with some unusual twists. For whatever reason, the summer months have been “make or break” time over the previous years of this program. The warm and humid months are the hardest to exercise outside and participants must decide how they want to go forward and how hard they will work.

Michael Hallett has left the program, at least for the time being. Scheduling regular workouts is challenging for fitness enthusiasts and even more so for those trying to get going again. Limiting caloric intake is harder than expected.

My constant reminders during warm months about hydration have had mixed response. Karen, Oak Park Activities Director, started making progress again, and said she was drinking plenty of water. Turns out that Karen, who enjoys running outside, had been drinking less than half of the required fluids per day. Mary, Smart Start Project Manager, said she keeps water with her all the time. That is good, but I suspect the volume actually used is well short of requirements for warm weather exercise. All successful fitness programs, especially during the summer, require plenty of hydration.

Mary said, “As a rule, a person should drink half their body weight in ounces of water each day. For me this means that I should drink nearly 140 ounces a day. The easiest way for me to track my intake is to drink a 20 oz. bottle of water and refill it consistently when it is empty. I average seven (20 oz) bottles of water a day. Some people say that drinking water is hard for them because it is nasty. Fortunately, I do not have this problem.”

Based on her reports, Karen is doing an outstanding job with her food intake. Her daily diet has a sameness that is easy to track and excessive eating doesn’t appear to be a problem.

Mary reports that she is tracking her calories as well. Both ladies are on a 1500 calorie a day maximum.

Both ladies have been encouraged to take group classes and try new activities. Karen said, “I took a Zumba class at the Forum this month. I enjoyed the class and plan on starting the Zumba Strong class at the Y as well to help supplement the bike and running workouts.” Mary has yet to take any classes, citing scheduling issues. Suggestions include any of the body pump, core and general strength classes available at either the Forum or the Hurley YMCA. Regular workouts right now for both include the treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical and running outside.

While both ladies need to do five workouts a week, they have been inconsistent at reaching this goal. Karen has set a goal of losing five pounds in July while Mary wants to drop 10.

Dropping one pound means that 3500 calories were either not eaten or burned off. Karen wants to lose 20 more pounds during the next six months and Mary added, “While I didn’t meet my goal this month, I am still shooting to lose 10 pounds each month until the end of the program in December.”

Mary expressed some more points that I enjoyed hearing. She said, “I plan on involving my children in my fitness routine and diet. I often feed them something completely different from what I eat. If this new lifestyle is going to stick, then I need to make it a healthy family focus. I am sticking to a 1500 calorie diet and it isn’t as hard as it was at the beginning. I can tell that my body has adapted to receiving more nutritious foods. Cravings for not-so-good foods have decreased substantially. When I do have a craving for something not-so-good, let’s say an ice-cream sandwich, I will work for it. Meaning that I will ramp up the exercise that day to make up for the added calories that I may take in.”

With half the year done, Mary has lost 28 pounds and Karen has lost 12. While those results aren’t quite what they want, both have increased their cardiovascular fitness significantly.

With six more months to go, Mary said it best, “Ramping up the exercises. Increasing intensity and trying new things. I realize this goal is high, but I am committed.”
See you back here at the end of July!

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