The best exercise for losing weight - is not what you think.
After decades of experimenting with how to balance my love of food with my desire to be happy, slim and healthy, I am filled with so many tips I want to share. Many of them go against conventional dieting and weight loss wisdom. Which is fine because experience is the best teacher.
One of my first suggestions is if you want to lose weight easily and effortlessly stop doing exercise you hate.
Yes, you read correctly. If you are doing exercise you hate, stop. Immediately.
Stop Doing Exercise You Hate
In our more is better world, it is a common assumption that if a little exercise is good than more must be better and that the best exercise for weight loss is the kind that feels punishing and painful. But have you found this to work? Do you find that your body responds well to long sessions at the gym?
Why not? I mean the solution is so simple, right? Losing weight is just a matter of calories in versus calories out.
They tell you that all you need to do is eat less and exercise more and you will have the body of your dreams! It makes perfect logical sense, so you decide to get motivated and formulate a plan...
The Typical Approach to Exercise for Weight Loss
You ask yourself, "When can I fit working out into my busy schedule?" And then you manage to find a way to squeeze in the workouts because you are desperate to lose the weight and get in shape NOW!
You begin to run and/or increase your time at the gym, even though you hate running and hate the gym.
All goes well for the first couple of weeks, and then "life happens" - you have to travel for business or work or your schedule gets out of control and there go the runs and gym time, right out the window.
You find a way to keep increasing your time at the gym, and find yourself asking "Why am I not seeing the numbers move?" when you hop (or tread ever so lightly) onto the scale. So why does the scale refuse to budge and the pounds refuse to melt when you cut the calories and are kicking your butt at the gym?
Then you reason that, "I'm doing something wrong. This is the wrong kind of exercise for losing weight or I'm creating more muscle, which weighs more than fat." And really want to believe that, but you still feel heavy and your clothes are still tight.
So you try different classes, or spend even more time at the gym or higher a personal trainer.
Weeks go by and the scale has not moved at all. Your experience is defying science and logic. Your trainer looks at you in a way that suggests, "You must be eating more." And he might be right. Or maybe your body is reacting to the incredible STRESS you're imposing on it?
Ready to try something radical?
If you don't enjoy it, stop going to the gym or engaging in any other form of exercise you hate. Exercise that feels like drudgery will cause a stress-like chemical reaction in the body, something you don't need when you are trying to lose weight. Exercise that you enjoy, on the other hand, will be perceived like sex, creating an environment much more conducive to weight loss.
So, what kind of exercise would you find fun? (I love brisk walks with my golden retriever and doing yoga.) Have you considered belly dancing, zumba, ball room dancing, swimming, biking, jumping rope, yoga, pilates or bouncing on a trampoline?
OK. Now get moving in a way that you enjoy! Just do it. Your body, mind and soul will thank you.
Let me know how it goes. I would love how to hear what effect trading in exercise you hate for movement you find enjoyable has on your health, happiness and weight.
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This post was so incredibly well-written, Martha. You've said it beautifully, and I completely agree. Doing the same exercise day in and day out (which is what I am used to doing since I'm a creature of habit) is exhausting for the mind and soul. I am following that example now, because if I don't, staying at goal this way will be a miserable existence. We who have maintained for so long have done it because we know that exercise will be a forever part of our lives. If we can't enjoy it, there's no hope!
btw, I'm a golden owner as well and they make the best workout partners, don't they?
Thanks, Ellen. Yes, I think Goldens are the best exercise partners ever!
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