After giving birth to six beautiful children, I have noticed that I am not in as good of shape as I was at one point in my life.  I can attribute a good deal of the weight to having several children close together, and I know I gained the most weight with my two girls who were my last two babies and the closest together in age.  However, this does not mean that I don't feel somewhat compelled to do something about trying to lose weight.

I have developed my own personal 7 step plan for attempting to meet the weight loss that I want.  Many people may look at my plan and think that it isn't for them because it is not going to take the weight off as fast as they would like.  I would also love to lose weight fast, but I understand enough about myself to know that I am not going to stick with anything that involves dramatic changes that happen quickly.  For me, slow and steady wins the race.  I am more likely to stick to my changes if they happen one at a time and I have some time in between to adjust.

Step 1:  Truthfully, step one is creating the plan to lose weight, but instead of starting from there I am going to start at the point where the plan is actually being put into action.  The first step is to pick an hour a week to get up and be active.  Even if it is just a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood, any activity for an hour straight once a week.

The truth is that I get lots of activity in while I am running up and down the stairs to do laundry for my family throughout the week, but it is not that continuous.  It is just short bursts of activity which are not as beneficial as longer periods of exercise.  My plan is to start by simply walking around the neighborhood or along the river-walk in town for an hour.

Step 2:  Once I have gotten used to that activity level, the next change to make is to my diet.  For me, this will most likely involve eating smaller amounts more often and not waiting till dinner time and having that be my only meal of the day.  This will help me in many ways.  Primarily, it will prevent me from overeating at dinner time.  I will have time to use more of the calories that I take in each day instead of taking most of them in so close to bed time every night, and I will be able to lose weight more easily.

Step 3:  Here is where I am going to add in another hour of activity each week.  This does not have to be consecutive to the other hour.  As a matter of fact, I intend to separate the two activity sessions so that I don't end up as tired afterward.  The more often I am able to work periods of activity into my schedule, the more energy I will have overall and the more easily I will lose weight.  This will also help to keep my mental alertness at its peak too.

Step 4:  This will be one of the most difficult steps for me to complete.  I am a huge caffeine addict.  I rarely ever drink any beverages that do not contain caffeine.  I start my mornings off with a cup of coffee, and usually finish at least half to three-quarters of the pot to myself.  Therefore, this step will be cutting down of the amount of caffeine that I take in each day.

I am not going to cut out all caffeine as would be recommended by a doctor, even though this would probably be the healthier option.  I believe that even when trying to lose weight it is all about moderation and not elimination.  Not only that, but I am hoping that if I work on this part slowly I will not have as bad of a headache from the caffeine withdrawal.

Step 5:  This is where I am going to add in another hour of activity.  Again, this will be separate from the other two exercise times that I have already made the time for.  About three hours of exercise a week is perfect as long as it is in sessions of continuous activity.  The truth is that I get at least three hours a week in as it is, but it is not doing anything for me because I am not active for a long enough period at once to make a difference.

Step 6:  This will be another one that is going to be very difficult for me.  This is the point where I am going to try to quit smoking.  It is a horrible habit to have, and I know that it has a very dramatic effect on my daily life.  I am also aware that it is effecting my children negatively as well.  These health concerns as well as my understanding that this is a contributing factor to my lack of activity are the primary reasons why I am intending to quit.

There are a number of people who would think that this step should have come earlier in my process, but again these are changes that I need to make slowly in order for this to work for me.  I understand that for many this would be something that they would try to do as early on as possible, but I am not a person who does change very well.  This is one of those "to each their own" situations.

Step 7:  I only hope that I am going to be able to make it this far into my plan.  If I have accomplished to get here, then the only thing left for me to do is to amp up the level of activity in my three sessions of an hour each.  After cutting out smoking and caffeine, I should be able to have more intense workout sessions without nearly as many issues.

Just to ensure that the point is completely understood, this is not something that is going to happen quickly.  Just because it is a 7 step plan to lose weight does not mean that it will all be done in 7 days.  It probably won't even be done in 7 weeks.  However, I do expect that it will be done long before I get to 7 months.  I am intending to give myself a week to adjust to the added activity steps.  Changing the way that I eat will be another one that gets a week.  That is already 4 weeks.  The weaning from caffeine is something that I am going to allow about 2 weeks for the change before making another.  The quitting smoking will be somewhere in the 2 to 3 week range.  My final step which is increasing the intensity of my activity will be something that is an ongoing thing that will have a week or two in between depending on how long it takes my body to adjust.

I will do my best to try to stay up to date with any updates that I do.  I will write about my progress, and publish any changes that I make to my plan along the way.  If anyone else chooses to follow this plan to try to lose weight themselves, then I would love to have some feedback and see how well it is working for others.  I hope to be able to make it all the way through, and look forward to seeing the results that I can get if I do.