Losing weight and being healthy the “right way” – part 1 exercise

Some times I want to flinch when people promote these intense and hard core work outs and diets as if it is the only way to lose weight or be healthy. If intense diets and work outs work for you, that’s great. I’m sure it’s a great time for weight lifters or marathon runners to live on high protein and low carb diets. And I don’t mean that sarcastically, my mother runs marathons and she qualified for Boston, marathon runners are great, committed people. But that’s just it – running a marathon takes a crazy level of commitment, and quite frankly I have little to no interest in ever running a marathon, which is a sentiment most people seem to share with me. I can run about 10 kilometres and then, quite frankly, I am just bored and want to go home so I can sit on my couch and watch tv. I do love biking and CrossFit, Krav Maga and other such things so I’m definitely not advocating NOT being committed to fitness in some way. I’m more just saying that you don’t have to go to the lengths of running marathons and embarking on hardcore diets in order to be healthy.

I don’t think there is any one way to be healthy. One of the biggest things I can advocate is to look at what you can maintain. If you don’t think you can stop eating bread for the rest of your life, then I would seriously question why you think you need to do this in order to lose weight. Losing weight needs to be looked at as a life long journey. I believe it’s better to look at it this way because it’ll last longer. So many people do intense things to lose weight, but when they reach their goal they revert to many of their old habits and gain some (or all) of the weight back, which I would say was untrue except that I’ve seen happen to a number of people.

So, for example, if you really hate running, then committing to running 10 miles a day, 3 times a week with 2-3 shorter runs on the side probably isn’t for you. And I really don’t think you should despise every moment of every workout. It’s true that I some times grudgingly force myself to the gym (there’s something on my PVR, come on) but ultimately I go and feel better. Or sometimes I’m just having a bad day and my workout sucks, but ultimately I’ve never had a workout that made my day worse. I usually feel better after a good workout. Adrenaline and all that. And I think that’s because, ultimately, I choose to do things that I like. If I really hated running, then I’m pretty sure the wonderful perks of a good jog would be lost on me. A,though quite honestly I rather like running.

If you, however, much prefer walking, maybe you can commit to walking 30 minutes a day and then start hiking or something. Or maybe you have a burning desire to try yoga. When I started trying to get in shape, I thought I possessed such a desire for yoga. Turns out I don’t. Turns out I kind of think yoga is boring and lame, but so many other people love it so what ever. Lesson learned, I moved on. I would like to pass on my wisdom. Just try things out until you find what you like. For example, I also tried playing tennis (lost interest), golf (intermittent-a-few-times-summer-player), running (my interest comes and goes, I do intend to train for a half marathon when I get a chance though), Krav Maga (no gym where I currently live) and crossfit (which is truly spectacular) and snowboarding (love it, certified instructor) and cross country skiing (it is fabulous) and biking (tres cool).

With exercise, you need to choose things you enjoy and at an intensity you enjoy. Like if you want to walk, then walk, if you want to sprint, then sprint. Although it helps if you do these things around 3 to 6 days a week. Again, it’s not one of those things where you need to do wicked tough work outs every single day. I’d say that if you can commit to doing a good workout 4-5 days a week, then that’s ideal. People have jobs, or are in school, or have kids. Sometimes we suddenly get wicked busy and can’t maintain the same amount of exercising as usual, and not all of us are willing to wake up at 5 in the morning to go for a 10 mile run. Personally, it’s not a matter of willingness, it’s a matter of  I physically cannot manage to wake up at 5 am and go for a successful run, I’ve tried. But nonetheless, in this instance you give yourself a break during those periods and just readjust, and simply strive to (positively) work out around 4-5 times a week when you can.

There is no sense in focusing on the losing weight goal as just a numbers and pounds endeavour and trying to make it happen as fast as possible. It’s a life long commitment that takes time and dedication and when you are doing it through means you find enjoyable then this commitment to be your best, and most healthy self is no longer torture. It can be enjoyable. It might take longer, but honestly that’s ok. So what if it takes 1 year instead of 2 months. If you can make the change forever and not constantly have to go back onto some other extreme diet to lose weight yet again wouldn’t that be better?

I’ll carry on with the diet part later.

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