Today's Post: Friday, 10-14-2011
First, a quick reminder on why it’s critical to include exercise in losing fat.
(The second part is ideas on how to start and keep going with exercise.)
Back on August 2, 20011, I wrote that both eating right are needed for successful fat loss. And, I included this:
“People who only use food and drink changes to lose fat usually find that they lose muscle and other lean body mass in the weight they lose.
Even worse, they are prone to overdoing the food restriction which triggers their bodies' famine responses or they think of these changes as temporary until the fat is lost.
Then they not only gain the weight back but may gain back even more fat!
What about the reasons why they are trying to lose the fat?
Do they look better?
Do they feel better?
Do they have better self-esteem?
Is their health better?
Too often they don't achieve these things with just eating better.
2. So the people who believe or say that: "Exercise is critical for successful fat loss." are also quite correct.
There are several reasons this is true.
a) Starting with the last points first, these are important to know.
Consistent research shows that fat people who exercise are healthier than those who don't. They even test as healthier in many ways than normal weight people who do no exercise at all! Best of all, that starts happening within a week or two - well before they lose that much fat.
As they keep exercising, they begin to have better and better protection from heart disease, type 2 diabetes (see our last post), some cancers, and both Alzheimer's disease and other kinds of mental decline. Their rate of aging slows down too!
Once people begin to improve how much exercise they do and how well they do it, they immediately have better self esteem. And, in addition to that, as they develop better circulation and neurotransmitters, they begin to feel better physically too.
And, they look better. They are more alert and move better even before all the inches of fat come off. Then too as they continue to exercise and they age more slowly, they begin to look better and younger than the people who don't exercise.
b) Because exercise builds muscle and bone, strength training and interval cardio and moderate exercise done standing up like walking or tai chi mean that all or most of the weight you lose will be fat only!
c) Because such exercise reduces insulin resistance, leptin resistance, and elevated insulin levels, you will gain better appetite control and your body will store less fat.
d) The vigorous exercises and those that add some muscle mass cause you to burn more calories even when you are not exercising. They also burn a lot of calories directly even in short sessions which makes fitting in the exercise more doable. (See our last post for ideas on getting into exercise.)
e) Although exercise does not burn enough calories to allow you to pig out or eat the wrong things much more often, exercising most days every week DOES allow you to eat more and still lose fat.
That is a HUGE advantage in permanent fat loss.
It makes it far more doable for you to keep eating right when you aren't too hungry all the time.
And, of even more importance, eating that much more because more exercise allows it -- tends to eliminate having your famine response get triggered.
Why is that important?
The number one cause of failure at fat loss is too much excess hunger. And, if that hunger is driven by your famine response, keeping off the fat can be like trying to hold back a building that is falling on you.
Why go there?
If you eat enough of the things that make you healthy AND exercise AND keep your calorie restriction relatively low, you can avoid excess hunger and the famine response. That makes your upgraded lifestyle sustainable and doable.
Then the fat you lose stays off!”
How to start and keep going with exercise:
The basic strategy is simple.
Find things you can already do and begin doing them at an easy level.
Then gradually do more and add more ways to exercise.
And, find ways to keep exercising each week.
There are two basic routes for success, do morning exercise most mornings a week at home.
And, if you need to can afford it get a personal trainer or a coach or join a gym where they will get you started exercising by showing you how to set up a workout and do the exercises.
People who exercise in the morning are at least twice as likely to become regular exercisers. It’s simple. You do the exercise first or only after you get up and get started on your day. You hardly ever have a competing demand that keeps you from exercising if you do that. But later in the day, competing demands come up. And, when you come home you can be tired and hungry. So, if a needed errand gets you home late on both the evenings you planned to exercise you can miss exercising the whole week.
That’s happened to me. I’ve had weeks where I exercise as planned every one of the seven days in the morning and would up doing only one or none of my evening sessions due to this. (The solution I’ve found is to make more of an effort on such days but to only do the more important half of my routine.) But it’s easy to see how a new exerciser might never get going with evening sessions.
And, those who do so at home are twice as likely to do so because they only have the exercise time and don’t have to add travel time to a separate location.
It’s simple. You only need the time at home for a short session or the most important half of it, to get in that exercise. In my case that’s 15 minutes or half an hour. But add half an hour round trip to that each time and it would be 45 minutes or an hour.
Having a personal trainer come to your home works too. But you have to have money for it and find a trainer you work well with.
If you have a good bit of weight to lose, the bad news is that you may not be able to do much at first. And, at first you have to be a bit more careful not to overdo it.
But there are two pieces of good news too. Because you are heavy, you have already developed extra strength without realizing it. And, moving yourself may burn three times the calories that same thing will add later when the weight is gone.
That often means you can start out stronger and do more with lifting weights than you otherwise would. And, it also means that at first the not very much exercise you CAN do, is two or three times as much work and benefit as it would be for a lighter person.
The other good news is that you can begin at the most incredibly low levels and succeed!
You literally can begin with two 30 second walks with a few minutes rest in between each day at home and add one more each week until after 4 weeks you do six.
Then do three 60 second walks and add one each week the week after that.
By the end of two years you may well be able to get to walking 2 miles each day and race walking every other block.
Just do it every day you can each week. And, do just a doable bit more each week.
Dr Al Sears had one woman patient who did almost exactly that. She could only walk for 45 seconds before she had to stop at first. But she just did a bit more each week. And, after a few months, she lost over 40 pounds and had worked up to walking several sessions at a much faster pace each time.
Another way to succeed is to join a gym and get into a class or group that exercises together and get to know some of the regular members.
That worked for me once. I was weight training but not making progress and I’d work hard for a while and then after a few weeks, I’d get frustrated and stop going.
Then a friend invited me to his workout group. THAT worked. Even if I felt I was making horrible progress, I could cheer one of them on. And, even if I didn’t feel like going or exercising that day, I went anyway because I liked to see those guys.
Guess what? After a year or so of this, I had gone consistently often enough I got stronger and began to make progress!
If you exercise in the evening, here are three ways to use the time you watch TV now to find time to exercise.
Go to the gym two evenings a week instead.
Watch half as much each evening and exercise the other half of the evening.
Or, at home or at the gym, do cardio on a machine while you watch TV. Most gyms are set up for that. But if you get an exercise bike or treadmill at home, you can pick what you watch and hear it better.
This set of strategies is very valuable.
You burn fewer calories watching TV than you do sleeping. By exercising in that time instead you burn a LOT more calories.
Most commercial TV has ads for the foods and drinks that fatten you. So the less of it you watch the easier your fat loss and avoiding that stuff becomes.
Even better you can lose fat and get healthier during your favorite shows that you still watch!
An article a few days ago had several ideas to make exercising easier.
One was that if you have a family that always interrupts your favorite TV show, if you can go to the gym and workout on a cardio machine to watch it, you will actually get to see all your show too!
Another was if you go to the gym to find one first that you find you like to go to because it’s a good fit for you and the people are nice.
Another was to have a picture of someone in worse shape than you that you want to avoid being or looking like while another was to list your reasons to lose the fat. Both suggested looking at these often or when you need extra motivation to exercise.
Another said to treat your exercise sessions like a doctor’s appointment or going to work. Plan definitely to do it. And do it unless something that important comes up. If you wouldn’t cancel going to work for it, consider doing at least half of your session or doing it with lower weights if you are unusually tired or do it for a bit shorter time or distance.
That’s one reason I like my few minute first thing in the morning routine. At about the same time each morning I do the exercises I do every week on that day. When that time comes, I go into my room and do the exercises.