Saturday, May 28, 2011

You Don't Have to Exercise to Lose Weight

Ha, I know that title is controversial.... but by the end of this, I hope it makes more sense.

There are a million +1 ways to lose weight. There are a million and one fad diets out there. There are countless ways people have lost weight.

I am a true believer that it is not (necessarily) HOW you lose the weight, but what you do once you lose the weight.

Because what works for some might not work for others. What works for me might not work for you. What works for you might never work for me. So you have to do what works for you (within healthy limits of course - no destructive behaviors!)

When I was 278 pounds, and even well before that, I was constantly told by my mother to "just start exercising. Start small, work your way up."

"Just go for a walk...."

And for some people, it really is *that* easy. But for me, it wasn't. Every pound I gained made it harder and more difficult to do things that others take for granted.

I tried my mother's advice several times. I just "went for a walk".... in Florida, in the 90 degree heat and humidity. And I can tell you that the times I went, I was beyond miserable. Not just during, but after. I swelled and bloated horribly. My body ached. My feet hurt, my back hurt, my legs hurt.... everything hurt. Just from a simple walk. I felt sweaty, disgusting, and out of breath. To me, this was pretty darn close to torture.

I have seen  firsthand that the ends don't  justify the means for all people. I have a friend who has been morbidly obese pretty much her entire life. She started exercising regularly in 2009, and I can tell you that she is probably in better physical shape than I am. She can likely run faster and longer than I can, and she can probably beat me at a lot of things. But... in 2 years, she has only lost about 25 pounds.

.....She still has about 125 to go!

So at that rate, does that mean that her weight loss will take 10 more years?

YES it does. If she continues in exactly the manner she is.... it will take her about 10 years (or more!) to take off that extra 125 pounds.

That is a LONG, LONG time when you are talking about your LIFE. It's an entire decade.

I have heard the argument "Well slow and steady is likely to have the bigger payoff of never putting the weight back on."

***NOT TRUE.***

It is simply NOT true. And anyone who believes that is fooling themselves.

That same friend I told you about? She broke up with her boyfriend 2 months ago. She has put back on 5 pounds of emotional eating. And if she continues this way, she will be right back where she was 2 years ago... or even heavier.

What keeps the weight off.... for people who take it off quickly or slowly... is the dedication AFTER the weight loss to keep up the healthier habits and lifestyle changes. THAT'S the key difference.

And that is where I know my true battle begins. Because so far, honestly, losing weight has been relatively easy. A lot easier than I thought, anyway!

Anyway going back to my own situation.... at 278 pounds, just going for a walk was a form of torture. So I opted for the diet route. I went to a doctor because I knew something like "Weight Watchers" would not work for me - I lacked willpower and I needed something a little more strict... at least initially. I knew what my strengths and weaknesses were, and a points system and going to group meetinsg was just not something I felt was right for me.

So far, I have had tremendous success with the medically supervised weight loss program I am on. To go from 268 pounds when I walked through the door November 9, to 177 pounds at my last weigh in... is pretty darn good! In under 7 months I have succeeded at shedding a LOT of weight.

And as I have decreased in size, my energy and my ability to do things has increased exponentially. Walking is NO problem. Heck, even running (albeit short distances) is NO problem. Being out in the heat is much less of a problem. I have mobility again. I didn't realize how much my mobility was being limited until the weight came off and I could do things I didn't realize I had lost the ability to do!

I admit I still struggle with my old ways. I became very sedentary and I still find myself having to push myself to get out the door and do something, but I DO it. Because though the old habit still lingers, the energy and mobility is the key difference. I actually have energy to do these things, and the mobility which makes it easy!!

While I still don't have a set exercise routine, I am taking steps every single day to increase my fitness level. And my husband pointed out to me, that even though I don't have a set exercise routine - I am now literally *chasing* after 3 kids... whereas prior to losing the weight I was only watching my 3 kids. So they do keep me busy.

But anyway, this post is long enough. I just want to put that out there for anyone who might be struggling with weight... or might be hesitating because the thought of running on a treadmill is exhausting.

There are many options out there. Do what works best for you and your situation. Nobody can tell you what that is. But whatever you do, make sure it is something you can stick to long-term, and resort back to if needed once your have achieved your weight loss goal.

Slow and steady may win the race for some, but others win their races by determination and going as fast and furious as they can. I don't believe there either of these methods is the wrong way. But you just have to go with the method that will work best for YOU.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this. I am feeling really BLAH because I can't exercise for long without my feet hurting for two days later. It is a vicious cycle for me, don't exercise and don't eat right either. I think I will focus just on the eating, like I did for my pregnancy. I'm so glad I found your blog today!