Posted by: Anon | 2009/03/18

Change body Shape

I am a 32 year old female and up until a few weeks ago I was sure that I wanted to weigh a certain amount - am currently 61kgs and 1.61m tall, however I understand that there is no ideal weight, only a range.

My goal however is to ‘ change my appearance’  - trim the excess fat and become more defined and solid as far as the muscle goes - want legs like I had in my 20s and am not so far off now so I guess while I’ m not too old I can try to set back the clock a bit.

I have joined the gym and currently go 3 times a week. I would like to do cardio at least twice a week and machines or floor/ball exercises that I have been shown at least another 2times per week. Would you say I am on the right track with the exercise as far as my goal is concerned? I believe I messed up my metabalism over the years starving, crash dieting and no exercise so I truly believe the exercise will make a big difference –  although its been 4wks and no change, bit confused as I also have my eating habits under good control - I have found what is achievable for me is to stick to a lower kilojoule, fat free, portion controlled diet 5 days of the week and then I relax a little more on the weekends. I don’ t want to go into huge diets, pills, cutting out food groups etc as I want something I can do for LIFE –  not just 2 weeks and then give up. A sample of what I eat in a day would be: cooked oats or all bran with fat free milk and sweetener for breakfast, coffee with fat free milk and 1 sweetener, lunch 4-6 provitas with scraping of lite marg, 2 mozarella cheese slices, tomotoes and 1 weigh less vienna or sandwich with peanut butter or marmite, snack later of fat free yoghurt, supper usually consists of veg and meat/chicken, steamed or grilled, but not a lot of carbs as I don’ t enjoy rice, pasta or lots of potatoes –  oh and I love red wine so at least 2 glasses a night –  should I opt to a lighter kilojoule white wine? Weekends I may have a slice of cake or chocolate bar, a steak etc –  am I relaxing too much over the weekend? Will the weekly strictness work for now to lose the excess fat? I am told that I don’ t have lots to lose so perhaps that’ s why I’ m finding it difficult? I have read all the advises on the website, but cannot see that I am too far off the track. Also, if I achieve what I want to look like, how do I maintain this? With exercise and diet? But do I have to be as strict on myself with the diet as I am at the moment or can I ease up a bit as long as I carry on the training? Please help - very confused. Thanks so much.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi W

Most of your question relates to diet, and I hate to pass the buck but it's a question you need to ask of a dietician, not me. I'd be speaking out of turn to give advice on so specific a question.

As for the exercise, I think that's going OK. I agree that four times a week should be the goal and so if you can find a fourth day and do the training you're planning to, then you'll be on track. Give that you're not overweight, I agree that your aspiration is not necessarily to lose weight, but to tone, and so I agree with the breakdown of your training as well. The only advice I would add is that the intensity of the training is really important - a lot of people train too "easy", which is not to say that you shoudl go out and smash yourself in training, but it certainly can be relatively high intensity, especially in a couple of months when you are fit and stronger. So be aware of that aspect.

So now it's really a question of doing and making sure that you get the diet right. For that, a dietician is really the best bet.

Good luck

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