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A Healthier Me {7, Fitness}…

March 2, 2011

Since wrapping up my series on improving my health, I’ve had some inquiries on exercise. Duh, I should have seen this one coming. Clearly this would come up. My apologies.

Here’s my theory on this, which some may or may not agree with. I’m busy. With a full-time job, two blogs, countless wedding projects and occasionally a social life (oh yeah, and a jewelry company), time slots for the gym are few and far between.  I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels like this, and I also know others are better at this than I am.

When the weather is nice Josh and I often jog together (we’ve even been that obnoxious couple doing sit-ups in the park, you know, that couple). I love to run outdoors but I detest treadmills, so my desire to go down and stare at a TV in our fitness center during the winter is like….zero. I also find that when I exercise I crave carbs, and that ultimately it results in me eating more.

So, when I set out on losing 19.75 pounds, I knew I had to do it in a manner that didn’t require me to drastically increase my activity level. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be getting somewhat regular exercise, but you shouldn’t have to increase it in order to lose excess body fat. So, if you regularly work out, keep it up, if you regularly don’t, keep it up. At least while you are reducing your weight. Once the weight starts to come off you will feel so great that you will naturally want to be more active.

For reducing my weight I found eating balanced, healthy meals far more important than pumping iron or running 6 miles, so I stayed focused on that. However, I’m an abs person, so I have still done the ab routine I’ve done for years, nothing outrageous. Sometimes I do wall sits when I’m riding in the elevator. Sometimes I do sit-ups on a yoga ball when I’m making dinner.  At work I use the bathroom on the floor above us so that I get up and move more often. I fit in exercise when it works for me, and now that I am almost at my goal weight I’m excited to get a more regular routine started and I cannot wait for the running paths across from our apartment to open up. Moral of the story: I didn’t change my activity level during my diet, and you shouldn’t have to either.

If you’re eating healthy, balanced meals and following the rules and suggestions listed in the previous posts, you should be able to drop a healthy 1-2.5 pounds per week. If you do the math I have lost roughly 2.46 pounds per week or .35 pounds per day. I’m not saying people don’t lose weight by working out more often, it just wasn’t what worked for me.

Like the items above? Find them here: Shorts, Sports Bra, Water Bottle, Yoga Ball, Shoes.

This blog is part of A Heathier Me, a series about my experience achieving a healthier lifestyle. Click the following links to read the first post, 16.5 Pounds, the second post, The Rules, the third post, Evolution, the fourth post Food Rules, the fifth post Prepare, the sixth post Restaurants or the seventh post Snacks.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2011 19:39

    LOVEEEEE the water bottle!!! Had to google it and find a way to order it in the US! Great idea!!!

  2. Sarah permalink
    March 4, 2011 22:32

    I enjoy your blog, but completely disagree with this. You may be able to lose weight, but you are making very few health gains if you don’t increase your fitness level. You are probably losing muscle mass since that is the first thing to go, and therefore slowing your metabolism. Building lean muscle is very important to a healthier body, and the only way to do that is through an increase in activity.

  3. March 5, 2011 10:03

    Yes, I’ve been patiently waiting for one of these :-) First off, as stated throughout this series, I am simply recounting what has worked for me. Secondly, I’ve done this under the close supervision of a nutritionist, so please don’t think that I would do it any way but the healthy way, and I definitely wouldn’t encourage other people to try it if I thought it was unhealthy.

    The simple rule of thumb for weight loss is to consume less calories than we burn. Bottom line. Experts agree that this can be done in two ways: Eat less calories or burn more calories. You are correct that if you eat substantially fewer calories, and are not getting the appropriate types of foods your body needs, it will begin to break down muscle tissue. Which is why protein, vegetables and fruits are so vital to this diet, and also why it is supplemented with a multi-vitamin and fish oil. This diet isn’t that low calorie, it is designed to reduce calories by roughly 500-800 per day. So, it really comes down to personal preference: Is it easier for you to not put those 500 calories in your mouth? Or is it easier for you to burn them off at the gym? Keep in mind that it would take about 60 minutes of non-stop running (per day) to burn those 500 calories, or 90 minutes (per day) of non-stop walking. End of the day, it’s easier for me to avoid that extra piece of bread, the cheese on my sandwich, the soda and the bowl of granola I had for breakfast. But again, personal preference. I’m sure there are people that would rather spend the 60 minutes running, and that’s fine. And they can write a blog about it. But this one is about what worked for me.

    There is also a lot of research out there that clearly states that we do NOT need extensive exercise to lose weight, and a lot of experts even agree that exercise can actually have adverse affects on weight loss—-because when we do intense cardio workouts, our body naturally craves carbs and sugars (the two things you want to avoid when trying to lose weight).

    The point here is that if you are eating healthy, balanced meals (not starving yourself) and giving your body the fuel it needs throughout the day, you will burn fat, and not muscle. I also never said that I didn’t think people should exercise. I simply said that people should maintain their current level of activity, and that more than likely your activity level will increase as the weight comes off. It’s a natural inclination (evolution again, yay). I do agree, however, that increasing your activity level is important to long-term weigh loss success, and since I reached my goal weight on Friday (yay!) my next step is to integrate more regular exercise into my daily routine. There’ll be more blogs about that.

    Thanks for your input, I love to hear other people’s opinion and I do agree with the facts you stated if applied to someone who is drastically reducing their calorie intake or starving their body of vital nutrients. Here is an article from Times titled “Why Exercise Won’t Make you Thin” that I found extremely interesting, it has a lot of great research cited in it. If you have other questions or concerns feel free to post again or email me at dani@lifes-a-journal.com

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1914857-1,00.html

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