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20 Year old male looking to get healthy.. Where should I start?

All of my life I grew up hearing remarks such as 'Fatty' or 'Lazy' or other terms that put my self-esteem to an all new low.. However, as I have recently began getting my life back together..

- Working a full time job.
- Happily Married with a 3 Year old..
- Finally got my driver's license
- Looking to become a Cop

.. I've been trying to loose weight. I've done a lot of research but the main thing that sticks out in my head is this article:

It looks like something that was written just for me. I've been a gamer since the age of 7 so I've never really been that active.. I'm 5'10 and I weigh over 320lbs.. I'm just tired of having to look everywhere for pants to fit..

Some steps I plan on taking..:

- Eating healthy-er. I don't like many things that are healthy but I have been eating less than I normally do. This includes skipping fast-food and other 'obvious' places of fat. I've started eating wheat instead of white for when I bring my lunch to work... and a lot of other precautions without actually starving myself.
- Began drinking a lot of water. I've always been a coke-addict but over the past few days I've began to strictly drink Water.. and a Sprite for lunch/ dinner. Is it okay to have a good tasting drink for your lunch and dinner? If so.. which would you recommend? Are there any coke products that are not as bad as the others?
- I'm looking into buying a Gazelle. I've been wanting to get some sort of exercise equipment and I don't really have the money for something over $120.00. Are Gazelles good for Men in their early 20s?
- I do play videogames but only about 2 hours a day.. I hear that they are not THAT bad for you because it does get my adrenaline pumping. :)

I know I do plan to monitor my weight loss every week.. once I do get my Gazelle. I am planning to exercise 30 minutes a day.. 5 days a week. Is this a good schedule?

I'm really just looking for a group of people to talk about my new life change that I plan to take into effect. :) Any suggestions at all would be great.. I'm not looking to get super skinny.. just healthy. I know it's going to be a lot of work.. but my family deserves a healthy and fit husband/father.. It's so embarrassing not being able to play with my daughter because I might breakit or cannot fit..

Mon. Jun 30, 3:55pm

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Skip the exercise equipment

Good for you for deciding to make a change.

My advice: don't buy exercise equipment. You need to determine what it will take to get into a routine first. Start with walking 1 to 2 miles a day and try that for a month. Now, you'll likely not hit every single day, but if you plan for six days a week, it's likely you'll get to it at least three times that week.

I got suckered into buying a treadmill, and it ended up being used as a clothes rack. Now, I take my 2-year-old daughter for 2-mile walks around the neighborhood. It's free, it gets my blood up, and we get to bond a little bit. If you don't have a jogging stroller, I'd get one of those instead.

That's my two cents for a place to start.

Monday, June 30, 2008, 4:26 PM

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Sounds like you are making some great changes! It is a lot of work, so stick with the small goals first. For you, you will see some changes quickly. 30 min of exercise is great! Doing a mixture of cardio and weight training will really help your body and your self-confidence.

A couple other suggestions - think of things you can ADD to your diet, rather than subtract. While skipping fast food is great, you need to start finding some healthy alternatives you can live with. For example, a Subway sandwich with no cheese and light mayo. Or, a burrito in a bowl (no wrap) from Chipotle or Qdoba.

I bet there are fruits that you do like - apples, oranges, bananas, pears, plums, grapes, etc. Add these as snacks so you don't get hungry.

Good for you for drinking more water. But, keep in mind, all regular soda has sugar. A Sprite has the same number of calories as a Coke, so you might as well drink a Coke. Even juice has plenty of sugar calories. A diet soda has no calories, and would be a better substitute if you must drink soda.

If you are switching to wheat bread, make sure it is WHOLE wheat to get the added fiber. If it isn't you might as well just eat the white bread.

Monday, June 30, 2008, 4:32 PM

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I also think it's great that you are making a lifestyle change, especially because of the importance of setting a good model for your daughter.

My advice goes with the previous poster. I say don't waste your money on exercise equipment right now. Say you don't end up using it as much as your originally wished, then you give up, stay at the same weight and get discouraged with exercising. I agree that you just need to get out more. Possibly arrange a basketball league at your work or schedule a specific walking time daily to push your daughter around the block for 45mins each day. It's free and a great way to be with your daughter.

I also worry about your comment that you "plan to monitor weight-loss every week... once I do get my Gazelle." The ONCE sounds to me that you are putting off getting starting and giving too much hope on this one piece of equipment when it is only YOU that ultimately controls your weight loss. I say, now that you've made the step to join PT, you are ready to start logging your food daily and really looking to see if you are cutting down your portions or if you have been fooling yourself. Also, check out BMR calculations online and really figure out how many calories you should be eating and try stick to that. It's so easy to count calories once you start.

You are so young... know that you can lose weight so quickly once you do make real changes.

Monday, June 30, 2008, 4:38 PM

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Two very quick responses!

To the first: I would love to walk around my neighborhood but it's not really all that safe. I live on the lake so there are a lot of teenagers out causing trouble. Just last week we had every other mailbox smashed in by bats!

So I began looking into home exercise equipment. After reading a lot about the Gazelle I'm not too sure if it's what I'm looking for. I need something that will last me.. but people are saying after a few months it gets old because there is no tension control.

Also, my wife is buying me a weight bench for my birthday which is in late August. I will then be able to do the famous 3, Cardio, Weight, and Diet.

Do you have any recommendation for any home Cardio equipment for around $150~?

To the second poster-

You're right, I love fruit. Probably more than anything but it's so expensive these days! I pretty much love every type of fruit.. but is it just as good as eating Vegetables?

I honestly didn't know that about Soda.. Is Powerade just as bad? :)

As for the bread.. I think it is Honey Whole Wheat.. I'll have to look at it once I get home from work.

Thanks so much for the quick replys...

Monday, June 30, 2008, 4:44 PM

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To the third response..

I fully agree that it does sound like I'm putting it off.. when reality I have been eating better this past week.. I just didn't expect to see any results until once I put Cardio in my routine.

Is it easy to monitor your calorie intake? From my understanding.. as long as you eat less than your BMR you loose weight? Or something similar to that.

Monday, June 30, 2008, 4:47 PM

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3rd Responder Here

I'm at work and not a lot to do, so I did a quick search for your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) or the number of calories you burn without including exercise. With the weight, sex, height, age you gave me I calculated your BMR to be 2,825 calories/day. Adding in light physical activity as you are now not exercising much this raises your calories burned each day to 2900. As a general rule, when people are trying to lose weight they typically subtract 300-500cals from their BMR. That means, without even exercising, if you cut down to 2600-2400 cals/day you will lose weight.

Counting calories are easy too... especially with this website to help. Do some reading online too about nutrition. You will learn so much and find whats good and what's bad for you... all while keeping your health and your family in mind. And remember, once you do start exercising you get to recalculate your BMR and eat a little more... so that's even more incentive!! Hope you stick to it because I know at your age you can lose it so quickly.

Good luck!

Monday, June 30, 2008, 5:12 PM

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Buy a Wii!
Gaming and exercise combined? Oh Yeah!

Monday, June 30, 2008, 5:26 PM

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You might find and their Belly Off or Abs Diet clubs motivating. Lots of guys just like you who have changed their ways and gotten in great shape.

I'll bet as you get in better shape you'll want to spend less time playing video games. Even getting out and going for a walk with your daughter (or playing hopscotch, whatever!) would be time much better spent.

Save drinks like Powerade for really long, strenuous workouts - otherwise it's just wasted calories. I wouldn't be surprised if you dropped a fair amount of weight right off the bat just by eliminating the soda habit.

Good for you and keep us posted!

Monday, June 30, 2008, 7:54 PM

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Good for you for realizing that you need a change not only for yourself, but for your family. I agree with a pp that a Wii fit would be a great way to combine working out and gaming. But, if you want to get started on some cardio stuff really cheap, invest in a jumprope! You can also do jumping jacks. Maybe get a yoga mat where you could start on some crunches or sit ups. You really don't need a whole lot of expensive equipment to get going. As far as diet is concerned, I drink Propel (which is just flavored water) or Crystal light. Both have very little calories and is a nice alternative to soda. I used to drink a six pack of coke a day and had to wean myself off of it, or I would get really bad headaches. So be careful. Also I would try to eat 5 or 6 small meals a day instead of the typical B, L, & D. It's good that you like fruit, but try not to eat grapes or pineapple ~ they are loaded with sugar. Good luck to you!!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008, 10:57 AM

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Fruit has tons of antioxidants and necessary vitamins and minerals. If you eat it whole (aka not juice) you also get lots of fiber! It is not a total substitute for veggies, but it is an important part of a nutritious diet.

I don't think there are really any fruits and veggies you should try not to eat, just be mindful of the calories and sugar content vs the nutrition. has great charts that weigh these factors against each other. But I can almost guarantee that you aren't going to get fat eating fruit.

Here are some quick facts to keep in mind for now. I'm putting some fruits that are popular and typically about the same price.

Apple - about 80 calories, 3g fiber, Vitamin C
Banana - about 100 calories, 3g fiber, 1g protein, Vitamin C, B6 and Potassium
Orange - about 60 calories, 3g fiber, 1g protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Folate
Grapes - about 60 calories/cup, 1g fiber, 1g protein
Strawberries - 110 calories/pint, 7g fiber, 2g protein, Vitamin C, Folate
Peaches - about 60 calories, 3g fiber, 2g protein, Vitamin A and C, Potassium

Also, veggies aren't as tough as you think. Try eating them in sauces first, or cut into smaller pieces. Go with the familiar ones first. Carrots, celery, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, green peppers, lettuce, cucumber. Try some different dips and spreads, like hummus.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008, 11:16 AM

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