For years and years I have struggled with my weight and have tried several times to effectively slim down without any long-term success. Finally, three years ago, I found the right way for me to reduce my weight and keep it down. Little did I know that this was also the start of a long-term learning process and a transformation, which affected not only my diet and exercising habits, but also my attitude towards the food and diet industries and, ultimately, my own formerly sedentary lifestyle. In this series of blog posts, I want to share my knowledge and sketch my path from the decision to try a new way of controlling and reducing my weight to the present.
(Important note: This is a personal decription and is not meant to be or to replace professional advice from a medical doctor or a nutrition expert.)
Loving to move your body
In the first part of this series, I introduced you to fitness apps available for your smartphone and their operating modes and stressed the importance of changes to both your diet as well as your exercising habits in order for weight loss to be healthy and permanent. In this part, I want to tell you the story about how I transformed from a coach potato into an amateur athlete and learned to love exercise of any kind.
First of all, I was never an athlete. Growing up, I always felt like my body just was not made for sports. In gym class, I was always among those pitiable kids who were the last ones to be picked for a team and I did not have a lot of confidence in my own body and athletic ability. This lack of confidence most certainly added to my misguided belief that whether you were athletic or not depended on your genes.
During my earliest weightloss-endeavors, I began to exercise regularly, for the single purpose of losing weight. I spent hours on the exercise machine in our basement and started doing yoga and pilates routines. However, I always felt like I had to force myself through the units, for the sake of that shining goal at the end of the journey, which appeared in the form of certain digits on the scale. Exercise for me equaled torture! Whenever I had reached a certain weight goal or had simply given up somewhere along the way, I stopped exercising and returned living a mainly sedentary lifestyle.
One of the mistakes I made was that I never tried many different sports and never found out, which ones I liked and disliked and which ones were more fun for me. For example, I forced myself through running stints that I absolutely hated. That practice only added to my belief that I just was not made to be an athlete, because “running seems to be the sport everyone likes”. Then “why do I hate it so much”?
After I began logging my exercise in my fitness app every day, I was motivated to try different sports, as the app offers a database of all sorts of different kinds and shows you, how many calories you burn during a certain period of time. Knowing how many calories I burned while exercising gave me a real motivation kick! I started trying different sports and looking for possibilities to exercise during my daily commitments. Initially, I merely exercised in order to be able to eat more and not go to bed with a hungry stomach, while still staying below my daily calorie limit. But after a while, I began to like moving my body and being active. I realized, how much fun I had during long bike rides or how listening to my favorite music motivated me to do an extra ten minutes on the elliptical.
It is a scientific truth that exercising triggers the distribution of serotonin in the human
brain, which is called the happiness hormone. Thus, exercise ultimately has the same effect as eating a piece of delicious chocolate, it makes you happy! After a while, I began to get used to my regular exercising units and even started to crave them after a long day sitting at school and using mostly my brain. During my free time, I tried to find new ways to move my body and to make my exercise more diverse. I began to swim, take long walks, play badminton and do units on the stepper. I even took up running again now and then and found that I had improved my general fitness, which made even this form of sports endurable. However, I still don’t like it very much.
The essence of all this is that you have to try different sports and I guarantee you that you will find at least one or two that you like. In the beginning, you have to force yourself to work through the scheduled units, but after a while you will find that your exercising routine makes you feel better about yourself and makes you happier. You might even find that you long for movement, just like I did!
Right now, I usually exercise four to five days a week. The form of exercise varies depending on the weather and my general mood. Some days, I enjoy a two-hour bike ride in the sunshine or swim for 30 minutes, on others I merely do 30 minutes of yoga, pilates and stretching routines. I also began looking for ways to move my body during my day-to-day routine. For example, when it is not pouring outside, I always ride my bike or walk to class instead of taking the bus. And whenever I have to make the tough decision between the elevator and the stairs, I mostly opt for the latter. You just have to walk through life with open eyes and you will find opportunities to move your body, even if you have a busy and tiring schedule. As actress Cameron Diaz writes in her “Body Book”, “everyone has ten minutes”. I will introduce you to her amazing enlightening book in the next part of this series.
But for now: get up, find the perfect exercises for you and MOVE YOUR BODY!
Feel free to comment about your experiences or ask me questions.
Read the first part of this series here.