Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why Exercise Alone is Not Enough

     The inspiration from this post comes from the incredible number of times in the past month or so that I've heard people say "All I want to do is exercise and then eat whatever I want." Well, to all those of you who have ever said this (I include my past self in this category) this one is for you! (To those of you who think I may have heard this from you in the last month or so, thanks for inspiring the post and I hope you enjoy this. :))

     The unfortunate truth is that as we age so does our metabolism and sometimes our metabolism does not age well. Those of us who have had children are quickly finding that out and it is a rude awakening. And so unfair. :) In high school and maybe even in college we could eat whatever we wanted, exercise a little, and stay nice and trim. Not so much anymore, am I right? I found this out the hard way (the very hard way) after a high school athletic career and a college major that allowed me to play sports most, if not all days of the week for several hours at a time. I could eat whatever I wanted and it made no difference! I loved it! And then I had a miracle come into my life weighing in at a mere 7lbs 4oz. I, on the other hand, was weighing in at well over 200lbs (prior to my pregnancy I was about 158). No big deal, I though. I'm still in school which means sports every day, this will come off in no time. A year and a half later I weighed 215lbs and I was miserable. I'd never been so overweight in my life and I could not handle it. I was so depressed. I was convinced that it had nothing to do with my diet because this is the way I always ate and I never was fat before! I didn't eat unhealthy foods, I just ate a lot of food.

     I tried everything. I kicked my exercise routine into high gear, doing intense cardio workouts for about an hour every morning while my daughter was still asleep. Nothing. I threw in a weight training routine. Nothing. I switched to fat free or reduced fat foods (while still eating the same amount). Nothing. What in the world was I suppose to do? Well, I opted for a complete lifestyle change and and tried *gasp* portion control. Yes. I finally came to see that it was my diet. And you know what, eating less caused me to drop over 30lbs in about four months. Most weeks I lost about 2lbs a week, some weeks were 5 o 6 lbs. Honestly it felt like instant weight loss. I ate the same things I'd always eaten (remember, I didn't eat tons of junk food, just a lot of food in general) but I reduced the amount of food I ate and viola! Say goodbye to 30lbs!

     It took me a year and a half to recognize that my workouts were not enough by themselves. Did I stay strong? Yes. Was I in great shape despite my extra fat? Yes. Could I leap tall buildings in a single bound? I sure felt like it. But nothing I was doing was enough to get rid of that extra fat my body had stored until I changed what I was putting into my body.

     That being said, you can refer to all of my previous posts on nutrition and weight loss to help you figure out how to do this. As I mentioned above, I had to make the decision to make a lifestyle change. Diets don't work and the reason they don't work is because you treat it like a temporary fix to help you lose a few pounds and then you go right back into your old habits. You have to make a lifestyle change. If you're not ready to make that change now, maybe 20lbs from now you'll believe me and you'll be ready.

     Dieting usually involves depriving yourself of foods you like (because let's face it, most of our favorite foods are high fat and high calorie) and forcing you to eat foods you don't like (brussel sprouts for dinner? Yuck!). When you make a lifestyle change your finding the right balance of foods to eat that help you stay healthy and help you lose or maintain your weight. Do I still have ice cream? Sure do, but not always and I measure it out now. Do I make cookies still? You bet, but I portion them out. I still enjoy my favorite foods and I even have pizza for dinner a few times a month but I always, always use portion control and I cut out fat wherever possible. It's a lot easier than you think once you get the hang of it. It's become such second nature to me that I don't even think about what I'm going to eat or how I can squeeze in more fruits and veggies because it's just what I do. It's a part of my routine and it's easy now.

     My inbox is always open to you, so email me at if you have questions about how to fit in healthier foods to your routine and help you make the lifestyle change that you need to get yourself into a healthy weight zone, stay there, and be happy about the way you eat.

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