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I need to do something before I become Jabba the Hutt.

I was doing fairly well with my eating yesterday until I decided to eat a bowl of ice cream.

Still, I seem to have come in under my calorie limit for the day.

This morning I finished reading a four-part article about fighting obesity, and it had some really good information.

Some people don’t have to live the same battle of the bulge as you do. They are either genetically lucky or have adopted healthy habits that make living lean easy. If they overeat, they exercise enough that they suffer no weight gain. If they get by with minimal amounts of exercise, it’s because they’ve accrued a life of activity that allows them to cut back yet maintain their fitness.

You may not have this luxury. At least not right now. You may have to do more, work harder and be more patient than other people. Life is not always fair. But it’s better to know where you stand so that you realize what you need to do, rather than fool yourself into thinking that you’ll see results from minimal or short-lived efforts.

The article also provided some straightforward reminders that if I don’t get off my ass, I’m going to stop being able to do things, and I’ll die earlier.

Every day that you sit more than you move is another day that you allow your healthy body to deteriorate. If you can no longer tie your shoes, if you avoid getting on the floor because it is too difficult to get back up, or if doing something simple like grocery shopping tires you out, then you have reached a point where you are losing natural functions. It will only get worse.

I’m not there yet, but I’m on that road. The article mentions that people in their teens, 20s, and 30s aren’t very forward-thinking and therefore fall into the obesity rut very easily, and I’m a living testament to that.

The article moves on to present guidelines on what to do to get out of that rut. One of the tips that is sticking with me is the idea of eating as many fruits and vegetables as possible. I know I’ve heard this before, but somehow it seems like a dramatic revelation. Maybe even though I knew it intuitively, I never had any real facts to back it up. Such as:

Never limit your vegetables. Veggies have so few calories and are so ripe in nutrients and fiber that you should eat them at every meal, every day. Picture this: three giant dinner plates filled with 1 cup of broccoli, 1 cup of cauliflower, 1 cup of baby carrots, 1 cup of yellow squash, 1 cup of cucumbers, 1 cup of spinach, 1 cup of red peppers, 1 cup of tomatoes and one portobello mushroom …this heaping slab of vegetables has about 200 calories! Yet you could probably not eat all of it at one sitting–you’d be too full.

But you could easily drink one super-sized soda and take in almost three times as many calories, or eat a small cheeseburger and take in 400 calories. Add fries and a shake and you’d eat about five times as many calories as you’d get from that veggie smorgasbord. Get the picture? If you need to feel full when you eat, the key is to fill up with good stuff.

Another interesting tip was “munch on nuts every day”.

It was very sobering to read the exercise tips for the severely obese. Take this, for example:

Exercise in bed. Lie on your bed and move your arms and legs as if you were swimming. Lifting them one at a time is less stressful than lifting two arms or two legs at a time. Keep the movement smooth and continuous, starting with two minutes of moving and adding 30 seconds per day. If you need to rest, that’s OK. Move for one minute, then relax for one to two, and repeat.

Just…holy crap. That could be me someday, finding it tiring just to move my arm around.

I have got to make sure that doesn’t happen.

One big message from the article that I think is something I need to absorb so I don’t fall off the wagon yet again is the fact that true weight loss can only be done gradually. I can’t adopt a radical lifestyle change and expect that to work. In fact:

Your first instinct may be to take an all-or-nothing approach. You’ll block out temptation by being strict about exercising and following a very specific food plan. But I can promise you, you won’t have long-term success that way. Instead, you should take it slower and smarter. You will need to make subtle changes in your life rather than drastic, temporary ones. This may feel more frustrating, as you teeter on the edge of discomfort long past the point where you feel motivated to make a change. But you’ll need to keep making better food choices and prodding yourself to move more when you don’t feel like it. This is where the mental hurdles start.

The good news is that once you’ve converted to a lean life, it does become easy. But in the beginning, especially after your first few weeks or months of feeling motivated, it will feel like a struggle, and you will have to push through that rough spot to succeed.

But the biggest point of all in the article was move more. Start small, but build up. Add one minute a week to whatever exercise I end up doing.

I’ve been going to the Y during lunch and doing the elliptical for 25 minutes (I actually worked up from 5 minutes) but I haven’t been going every day, and the rest of my day is very sedentary. I need to find more ways to add activity to my life.

Like right now–I happen to be up early, but all I’m doing with my extra time is goofing off on the computer, when I could be walking or riding my bike, or, since it looks like it’s been raining, working out at the big Y down the street.

I still have time. I’m going to go.