You’re worth more than your weight

We see it often: Motivated individuals looking to get into a new healthy routine working out, eating “healthier” and reaching some weight-loss goals. Often, people give this new lifestyle a try for anywhere from 1-8 weeks (sometimes more), but we hear the same thing in the end: “I’ve been working out for so-and-so many days/weeks and my weight is the same or higher! I quit!”

Health is more than just weight. Never forget that.

It’s all about intake

Some folks may want to start with eating right first and making positive nutritional changes.

I can assure you that many claim to know how people are supposed to eat, but once I hear most thoughts on this I realize that there is a lot of misinformation out there.

Shake programs are some of the worst culprits. They take nutrition out to left field, recommending replacing as much as 60% of your intake in supplement form. And while it may be true that it’s hard to find quality foods out their, to deprive our bodies of real local food could be the death of us.

When you start putting in real food like local grass-fed meats, free-ranged eggs,  vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds as a food base with herbs and spices to season, you don’t have to worry about calories if you are listening to your body and balancing out your intake with these foods as a baseline.

The local food list

Here are some great local options in the Franklin County area. We are lucky to have some great local farmers that we can benefit from their labor of love for our environment and community!

  2. Collopy Family Farm
  3. Farmer Brown
  4. Localfare Vermont

Don’t forget fitness

It is important to not only find balance in your workout activities as well as nutrition (and get good rest), but also to realize there is more going on than just weight.

Only doing cardio workouts can damage your joints and burn up the muscles that you do have leading to injury fatigue and a slower metabolism. A common mindset people have is either “I’m going to lose weight first with cardio before I do weights,” or “I want to lose weight, not bulk up.”

The truth is that adding lean body mass or muscle takes focused time and intense effort. Adding some strength training into your routine will increase your lean body mass which will in turn increase your metabolism. In a months time of training 3 days a week of strength with 2 days of cardio in the week (5 days of training), a person may lose 5 pounds of fat, gain 2 pounds of muscle, and then beat themselves up for only losing 3 pounds.

It’s not all about weight.

Take measurements

You’ll see a whole different story if you take photos and measurements of your upper torso, belly button, hip, thigh, and arm. Being down 6 inches, with an increase of 2 lbs of muscle and 3 pounds of fat loss is easy to see: Seeing your clothes baggy versus snug can be way more rewarding and motivating than thinking in terms of the scale alone.


Celebrate small victories and be aware of how you feel. For example, if you used to struggle with your warm up at 3 mph hour on the treadmill and now you’re warming up at 3.5 mph, give yourself permission to feel great about that. You’re making progress! Or if you used to only do one set of your strength routine now you are doing 3 sets, well, your strength has doubled! That’s huge!

Final thoughts

  1. Find a place to learn how to balance your healthy lifestyle with a variety of activity, trainers that care and help with support, motivation, that answer your questions.
  2. Get as much local, natural, real food intake as you can. (weed out the processed foods gradually).
  3. Drink water throughout the day. Drink room temperature water or warm tea, adding squeezes of lemons limes fresh berries, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, turmeric, and a small amount of real honey or maple for flavor and to add some extra health benefits.
  4. Get rid of other sugary drinks can save you on calories and prevent sugar cravings. Whether it’s soda or juice it will lead to more sugar cravings and effect your mood and energy in a negative way.
  5. Get some sleep. 7-9 hours is ideal, but get as close to that as you can.
  6. Do a variety of activities with classes, personal training or create your own mix as long as you are comfortable with form and technique.
  7. Be careful with the “no pain, no gain” mentality. Although it is important to get aggressive with some workouts this has to be scaled with progression to help keep you safe. It is just as  important to put in some lower intensity recovery days.
  8. Listen to how you feel before you step on the scale. Don’t let your positive healthy experience be jaded by a number on the scale. Use all of your measurement options and track what you put in your body, what you do, how you feel, your measurements, pictures, motivational quotes, goals and any other details that you think may help you succeed. Smartphone apps are great for this.

And finally, embrace progress and successes–don’t fear the achievement of reaching a goal. A healthier lifestyle has many stepping stones and believing in yourself and having fun while doing it has a lot to do with how well this works!

Remember, it’s not about getting as extreme as you can and then quitting. Enjoy the energy and your motivation for more intensity and detail when you have it, but realize that you are human (we all are) and our ultimate goal is to enjoy life to its fullest and healthiest with a strong body, mind, and immune system.

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Duke’s Fitness Center is a friendly local gym in St. Albans, Vermont.

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