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Make a Committment!
Deciding that we need to make a change to better our health is an easy decision to make. Have you ever been to the doctors and were told that you need to lose a significant amount of weight or you could possibly acquire a disease such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or even death if you remain at your current obese weight? Hearing such upsetting news would send any of us into a weightloss frenzy!
We tell ourselves that it's time to do something about our deteriorating health once and for all. We make a commitment to ourselves that this is it; this is the last time we are ever going to reach this weight, and we promise ourselves that first thing tomorrow morning, we are going to exercise and eat right. We might even cry out of fear, or feel alone if we don't have a support group. But we are determined to shed some of our weight. Our life depends on it.
The next morning comes, and we are not motivated to exercise. This in itself is a chore. If we are lucky enough to get motivated, we usually attempt some random walking program or fitness regimen that is not meant for obese individuals like us. This is frustrating, because we cannot walk more than a couple of feet. We cannot lift weights without our arms being on fire. We are quickly out of breath, and our hearts feel like they are about to explode. Running is completely out of the question, and so is HIIT or Tabata-style cardio training. There seems to be no place for us in the world of fitness.
For many of us, even if we muster up the courage to get out doors and get moving, we are still very consumed self-consciously of our outward appearance. We believe people are staring at us, or making fun of us. I know that for me personally, I felt very alone when I started walking a few years ago. I felt like all eyes were on me. The truth is, however, that most people are not even looking at you. They are busy driving, or talking to their passengers, or riding by on their bicycles, worried about getting to their next destination.
I know it can be discouraging to adapt to a lifestyle of fitness. We have to incorporate it, or we will die. That's the plain, hard truth. So let's take it slowly, and strive for progress instead of perfection. Who's with me so far? Here are some ideas to get you moving in the right direction. I have practiced every single one of the following suggestions, and I highly encourage you to follow suit. You can do this, and you are worth the effort it will take to get healthy!
1) Dress appropriately: Wear long Capri-style pants (pants that go slightly below the knee)along with a breathable t-shirt. Women, you'll want a good, supportive sports bra! Find yourself a pair of good, sturdy walking shoes. If you are unable to tie your shoes, then purchase a pair that Velcro in the front. You'll also want a good pair of walking shoe inserts to keep your arch steady. Injury prevention is key! If you have long hair, pull it back! Stay as cool as possible to prevent overheating.
2) Music is a must! Get yourself a cheap Walkman or program a playlist onto your cell phone. Music actually helps to keep my momentum going, as well as distracts me from "thinking" people are staring at, or making fun of me.
3) Start off by walking slow and low. By this I mean to set a low goal of 5 minutes per day if you are not used to walking, or if your weight prohibits you from walking any longer. I have a friend who could barely walk for one full minute until she purchased a treadmill. She quickly advanced to 10 minutes per day in just about 2 weeks time! Little by little, increase your time by 1 minute per session. If you have to start out by only walking for 1 minute, that is okay! Strive for 1 minute a day the first week, 1 minute twice a day the following week, and so forth. You'll be walking laps in no time!
4) For those of you who find it difficult to get up from your couch, chair, or bed... exercise is not impossible. You just have to commit to really putting in the effort daily to doing as many "little" things as you possibly can. All of these little things will add up to big weight loss! Purchase a Wii system and dance from your chair. Stand up and walk from one end of the couch to the other several times a day. The following week, walk down your hallway a few times a day, and work your way up to walking around your house for 10 minutes at a time. Resistance bands are wonderful for people who have a difficult time walking... you can utilize them to strengthen your legs right from your couch in the beginning!
5) Keep a journal and plan out your exercise! Try to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise weekly in the very beginning. After a few weeks, you'll be able to do much more. Write down what you eat, and commit to eating healthier and nutritional foods. Keep track of your feelings, your thoughts, and your hunger levels throughout the day. If you eat for emotional reasons, don't be ashamed about it... write about it in your journal, so that you can see where your problems areas are. Talk to someone, or call Overeater's Anonymous if you feel you have a food disorder such as binge eating or overeating. Every city has their own OA groups and meetings. I found them to be very helpful and supportive through my personal struggles and journey.
Keep up the fabulous work! You'll be amazed at how much weight you can lose just by doing small things that add up. Take care of your health, and your health will take care of you for many more years to come!
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