Last April, I decided it was time for a lifestyle reset. Maintaining my weight seemed nearly impossible, and slowly but surely, my go-to clothes all seemed to have elastic waistbands and lots of stretch.
After an emergency appendectomy, however, I knew something needed to happen. I've always been active, but my workout routine was unstructured—I walked 20 to 45 minutes a day and did some weight training here and there as an afterthought. And it had been decades since I counted calories.
I needed a systematic plan that would set me on course for the next 30 years—losing weight, maintaining strength and improving flexibility, while eating healthy food that doesn't taste like cardboard.
I'd never considered an online training program, but I decided to try it out—I used SHAPE's Virtual Trainer—and input my measurements. The results revealed that I wasn't an hourglass, an apple, or a pear—I was a tree trunk! I had a long way to go. It's been two months, and I've been sticking to it. Along the way, I've discovered some major benefits of an online program—beyond losing inches and pounds. Here are the top three things that made it easy for me to stay on track:
1. Online Training Benefit #1: Tracking calories is simple online…and no math!
I knew that consistently tracking my food and workouts would help me figure out what changes I needed to make, so I started signing in to the Virtual Trainer every day to input how many calories I consumed and burned. Simply typing in my information was so much easier than carrying around a food journal all day. Plus, it did all the math for me!
2. Online Training Benefit #2: It's easy to adjust for setbacks
Two weeks into the program, I pushed myself too hard and end up at an orthopedist for knee pain. Then just when I thought it was getting better, I tripped over my laptop plug and end up with leg spasms—and in physical therapy. I couldn't exercise for two weeks, but instead of throwing in the towel, I logged in and simply adjusted my daily calorie needs accordingly, so it was easy to figure out a diet based on my lowered activity level.
3. Online Training Benefit #3: There's a built-in support group
As I've worked to overcome my knee problems, my online circle of friends has been very supportive and helpful. Shape's Virtual Trainer has a "virtual" community were we can talk to and support each other. I'm 62, and while I initially thought I was too old for the online fitness world, I realized that age didn't matter in the virtual community.
It's been eight weeks since I signed up for Virtual Trainer, and I've already lost five pounds and two inches off my waist. I can zip up skirts and pants I haven't worn in years! I love the compliments I get from my family, and I even inspired my husband to get healthier and drop weight.
But above all, the program has helped me take the necessary steps to re-set my diet and exercise routines so I'll stay fit and healthy for the next 30 years—and that's been the biggest reward!