Something different this week and this time I have to listen to my own advice!
Getting exercise has always been my Achilles heel. My daughter Sarah has been on at me about integrated marketing: I can’t promote Fat Chance! The no-going-back Weight Loss Workbook if I am not practising it myself. And of course, she is right!
I have always hated exercise and this is where I personally need to practise changing my inner dialogue and habits – everything I tell others to do! Welcome to the seventh Fat Chance! weight loss blog. (I use the term ‘activity’ below for all those who, like me, hate exercise.)
So why is activity so important for weight loss? The answer is because:
- Activity burns calories
- Activity builds muscle, and muscle burns more calories
- Activity improves your ability to burn fat
- Activity suppresses your appetite
- Activity raises your metabolic rate, even at rest, which burns more calories
Diets fail because they cause the body to think it is being starved. To compensate, the body slows its metabolic rate to conserve energy (the ‘famine reaction’). That low rate is maintained even after the ‘famine’ (diet) is over, so when the body starts to eat ‘normally’ again the calories are not burned as energy (as before) but stored as fat and the weight piles back on, even more than before. So the answer is:
- Do not diet
- Get active to maintain your metabolic rate
- Get more active to raise your metabolic rate higher
So I spent some time thinking about what sort of activity I do like. I like dancing and swimming. I hate gyms and machines, and I especially hate the boredom. But I do love the outdoors, plants, nature, colours and beautiful views. I have a dream of walking outdoor tracks. So I have set myself the goal of walking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing this summer with Sarah and my husband.
But how am I going to make this come to pass? Well, I have got myself a personal trainer! Mark and I now go to outdoor parks and playgrounds twice a week for a 30-minute workout (rain or shine). He makes me do things with heavy balls, climb on the equipment, box with him… and he works me really hard. The first week I was stiff for two days afterwards. That has decreased now but I still know I have had a good workout.
I am also using it to put into practice a better inner dialogue. I use the feelings of exhilaration and accomplishment to encourage myself when I don’t want to go next time (to counter my old resistance to exercise). I remind myself how much I really enjoy being outdoors in nature and how surprised I am that I can actually do a lot more with my body than I expected (to counter the negative dialogue telling me I couldn’t do it). And every session is a bit different. As well as varying the activities, we go to different parks. I never know what Mark has planned so I don’t get bored. I found what works for me and I’ve given it priority in my life.
Activity has many other benefits as well, which you can use to create a more positive inner dialogue to encourage yourself to get active. Which of these inspire you?
Activity gives you more energy, stamina, strength and flexibility, so you can enjoy physical activities with family and friends as well as accomplish daily activities with greater ease.
Activity improves your health – you breathe better and it improves the flow of oxygen throughout your body. It strengthens your bones, heart and immune system, lowers cholesterol and reduces heart disease, diabetes and ill health generally.
Activity makes you feel good (through the release of natural endorphins), gives you a sense of achievement and increases your confidence.
Activity helps you to think better, see things more clearly, solve problems and improve your concentration and creativity.
Activity gives you a better body shape, posture and clearer skin.
Activity decreases stress and helps you to deal with frustrations. It reduces depression. You sleep better.
Activity saves you time because you develop the energy and physical ability to accomplish more.
- Activity improves your physical abilities so you can experience more. It improves and invigorates your whole quality of life!
See you on the Tongariro Crossing one day soon!
Susan Maiava PhD is the author of Fat Chance! The no-going-back Weight Loss Workbook, available from Paper Plus, Whitcoulls, independent bookshops and Online at www.fatchance.co.nz (free delivery in NZ). RRP $39.99. Fat Chance! is ideal for groups. Professional enquiries also welcome.