Losing weight is only part of the equation. The number on the scale is important, but equally important is how healthy and fit you are. Morbid obesity plagued me like a bad dream, and my unfit body was a constant reminder of how bad I looked. Lack of energy, low self confidence and depression just added to my feelings of low self esteem.
Finally losing weight by implementing my Fit to the Finish plan outlined in my book, gave me a renewed sense of self worth and confidence. I could have just lost weight by cutting my calories to an acceptable level. After all, it is possible to lose weight without exercise, but unless your doctor forbids exercise, I wouldn’t recommend dieting alone as a means to an end.
As my weight dropped, I never stopped exercising. In fact, I increased the time and intensity of my exercise routine, and made certain to regularly add strength training into my schedule. Slow walking turned into fast walking. Fast walking turned into speed walking, and speed walking turned into occasional jogging. The one pound weights I started with quickly became too light, and I gradually increased the poundage, until I was working with weights that were much heavier.
The number on the scale decreased, and my fitness level increased. Whereas I previously was unable to climb a flight of stairs without becoming winded, I now could run up stairs easily and quickly. Why was this important to me? It was important because I didn’t just want to be happy with the size dress I wore, but I also wanted to be happy with my level of physical fitness. I didn’t want to be thin but unfit. I wanted to be thin and fit.
Here are some tips to help you keep your body in shape, and improve your fitness level while losing weight.
1. Set a Fitness Goal – Rather larger or small, setting a goal and striving to reach it will help you as your improve your fitness level and lose weight at the same time. A series of small goals is often easier to digest than just one large goal. For example, at first my goal was just to be able to walk up and down my street without feeling like I was going to fall over! Eventually I set a goal for myself to complete a 5K, which I have done several times now.
2. Schedule Your Exercise – Make an appointment with yourself, just like you schedule a dental or hair appointment. Make fitness a priority. I could have used the fact that I have a lot of children to stand in the way of exercising. Instead, I either went early while John was still home to watch the children, or I took them with me. We need to take time for ourselves, and by doing so, will be more available for our family both physically and emotionally.
3. Be Accountable – If you have a friend to exercise with – all the better. By being accountable to each other, you will both go farther towards reaching your goals.
4. Conquer Your Fears – Don’t be afraid of exercise. Believe me, no one will laugh at you – at least not to your face! I was afraid to exercise in public, but once I got over the fear, I could focus on me, not on other people.
5. Try Something New – If you are getting burned out on walking, try something else. Join a gym, go to your local YMCA or take up a new sport, like tennis or swimming or jogging. Rent or purchase a fitness DVD and try it out. The possibilities are endless – just use your imagination.
6. Commit to Improving – Never let “ok” be enough. Rather with walking or weights, always strive to improve your form, increase your distance, or pump up your speed. Our bodies quickly adjust to exercise, and you need to challenge your body!
Try some of these ideas this week as you work towards reaching your weight loss goals. One amazing thing about our bodies is that even when we allow them to get extremely obese, totally sedentary and completely out of shape, there is always the possibility for vast improvement. Take time for yourself this week, and schedule a date for fitness. Diane