Sunday, September 30, 2007
We have all been there at some point. You begin to “feel” fat. You know you are not huge but something just does not feel right. You begin to think things like, “wasn’t this skirt longer?” or “Why are these sleeves so tight?” In addition, my favorite, “they must be so tight because they just came out of the dryer.” After a while, you accept it for the truth. You are getting fat. This is where you slam on brakes and go to try on your “fat pants.” You know the ones that are the biggest size you thought you would ever be able to live comfortably at. We all know that there is a specific size or weight that you refuse to surpass. For me it is a size 16. For some of you that may seem big. I am 5’ 9” so for me it is not that big. That was until the day y size 16 “fat pants” got too tight. I saw a roll of fat bunched up inside them and one on top of the waistband. To my horror, the tag had not been switched out. There was no tailor fairy living in my closet reeking havoc. My youngest child was one year old so I could no longer blame it on her. I was not PMSing and I was not going through any emotional stress that might have caused me to over-eat. Then what was my problem? I had a very common condition. It is not easily diagnosed by physicians and is often not recognized at all by the medical community. The FDA has not approved any form of treatment for it. You probably suffer from it too. In fact, it is probably what drew you to this article. It is the main cause of excused, lies, and placing false blame on your weight issues. It is called laziness. Yes. I know it is hard to accept. Many of you may not want to read any further because you are offended because you think I am calling you lazy. I am not though. This article is about me, remember? However, if you do identify with the subject matter that is addressed here, please feel free to read on.
For those who have accepted that we are lazy when it comes to diet and exercise, let us begin. First, let us identify when you became lazy. For me it started promptly after it was no longer “required” for me to participate in PE classes in school. I think it was after eighth or ninth grade. I no longer had to decide if I wanted to get sweaty in the beginning, middle, or end of the school day. For some of you it may have been even earlier than that. Maybe you talked your parents into writing a note to “excuse” you from gym class because of your asthma or some other health issue that probably would have been helped by a little bit of physical activity. For some of you former jocks, it may have been after high school when you did not get a full athletic scholarship to college. You just stopped working out because you could. Some of you may have tried to keep up an exercise routine for even longer. Nevertheless, you stopped for some reason. Maybe you had kids, spouses, jobs or other obligations that slowly took over your time. Whatever the reason, we are all in the same boat and it is sinking, fast, under our growing weight.
I am no expert but I do know that you should consult your physician before beginning ANY weight loss program. If you do not have a physician, owe your physician money and he will not see you, or cannot afford one, then check out your local free clinic or health department. They are not just there for people with diseases. Anywho. . . Let us get down to business. What is the first thing you do when you realize your butt is way too big? Reach for the latest miracle in a bottle, patch, electronic gizmo, or awkward equipment (AKA clothes rack) WRONG. The first thing you do after you have gotten the green light from your doctor is research. Find out what method is really going to work for you. Not just right now but for the long, haul. Because after all, health is a lifestyle not a trend. Are there slight changes that you can make? Quit drinking sodas (yes, the diet ones too), walk 15 minutes a day, eat let, quit frying everything you eat. There are tons of small changes that you can make that will increase your overall health. Try making some changes for a couple of weeks at a time until you find something you can cope with.
Here are some other methods that involve a little more brainpower and greed-control. Count calories. Yes, I mean it. No, it is not that bad. It does not have to be down to a science. For example, if you eat the same things on regular bases then just look at the label and jot down the calories. You can go to www.mypyramid.gov to find out about how many calories you should take in daily and what kinds of foods are good for you. Do this just for a couple of days to start out. Write down everything that you put in your mouth. You will get a good idea of what you bee taking in and how much you need to cut back. You are pretty smart so if you see that by lunch you have already consumed 2000 calories it is definitely time to rethink your diet. To start out only count calories. Then you can begin to count fat calories. Then you can slowly begin to worry about all the other information that is on the nutritional facts label on your food. Be sure to keep the fat calories to a minimum.
Let’s say you do not want to count anything. Maybe you are an accountant and you count all day. You have another simpler option. Eat less. Do not starve yourself. Just eat less than you normally do. That can include putting less food on your plate and ordering smaller sizes when you eat out. Try skipping fatty snacks. To help with this you should also drink more water. That will help fill you up. Water does not have to be plain. There are tons of specialty waters on the market. Find one you like and drink it. Drink lots of it.
Another option you have to lose that excess stuff that makes you feel like someone is standing way too close to you is. . . . . EAT MORE! You like that huh? Yes I said eat more. Some of you have put your bodies in famine survival mode by starving yourselves. When you do not eat, your metabolism slows down and it hordes everything you eat. So what! You only ate one can of tuna all day. Now you are hungry and on top of that, your body is going to find somewhere to save that tuna. Depending on your body type, it may be added to your midsection or down a little further and a little more to the back. So eat. Eat small meals throughout the day. If you really love that tuna, then pep it up with some veggies, add two more cans of it, stretch that out throughout your day, and add some healthy snacks like fruit or granola in between. You will speed up your metabolism once your body realizes that you are not starving it anymore. If this sounds like a lot then break your snacks in half. Eat some now and save some for later.
Get up! No, I mean it. Get up off the couch. The best thing you can do to lose weight is to exercise. Do something for at least 20 minutes a day. It doesn’t have to be anything extreme, just move. If you have kids that is great. Stop using them for an excuse why you cannot lose weight. Instead, use them as weights. Pick them up. Play with them. Run with a baby on your hip. Push the stroller around the track or around the neighborhood. Go to the park and play with your kids. It will make you both feel better and you will become closer. If you do not have kids, try an exercise video (I know you have them, everybody does). Baby-sit some kids. Walk briskly around the mall or just do something physical. If you are like me and you cannot seem to squeeze in the time, I’ve got some tricks for you. Turn your everyday activities into exercise. I add weights to my ankles, put on a sweat belt around my waist and march in place while I do dishes. I exaggerate my movements while cleaning tub, sweeping, mopping, and doing laundry. The weights add some resistance, and the belt keeps me sweating out that fat. Just DO something and do it often. It would be nice if we all could have a chef, a dietician, a nutritionist, a personal trainer and a personal assistant to keep us in shape. Wake up. We do not all have that so stop waiting around for it.
Keep this sheet instead and post it where you can see it everyday as a reminder of how fat you are getting and to keep you on track. Weight yourself and update your measurements once a week on the same day starting today. Do this for the next for weeks and see how easy it is. Even if you only lose one pound you will probably feel better.
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