I've been stewing on this subject for awhile. It's not something that I "haven't" talked about; so much as, it's something I haven't shared all my "personal thoughts" about. As I started writing this morning, over 3,000 words quickly spilled out. Generally, I don't like to share cliff notes as I think something gets lost in the translation (and why I am in serious need of an editor). But I'm taking a risk that you'll understand the abbreviated (still long) version without judgment. If you've been following, you already know that I'm all about the fact that this journey is different for everyone and we each have to figure out what works best for US…there's no one 'right way'…it's all about learning about choices so you can make the best ones for you.
I've spent a little time reading blogs (wow, no way I can totally catch up) and I've noticed some trends…it's the start of a New Year and that means rededication to weight loss for most of us (geez, how many diets have started every January, me included).
- Weight gain: Weight put on over the holidays (personally, I gained 3-4 lbs., but still under goal), lots of talk about getting it off, new scales bought (I love you, my Scale Whores), I'm shocked at the number of bloggers coming back to blogging after a long time away having gained a big chunk of weight back (or ones that have now disappeared after this happened), and lots of self-deprecation from everyone with a little 'stop beating myself up' sprinkled in here and there.
- Exercise: The gym rats are trying to help others with information on their love of exercise or hate of it but do it anyway, many are joining gyms, some have started programs like CT5K, others are buying new equipment and electronic monitors, and many are beating themselves up with how they can't stick with it with a little 'stop beating myself up' sprinkled in here and there.
If there's one 'choice' I haven't explored in depth here, it's this…
Here the thing, and I realize that this is going to be controversial…
You don't need to exercise to lose weight.
The cliff notes are: it's true…I'm living proof…period. Other than some short lived sessions and gardening in the summer, I haven't done any regular exercise.
There's a whole chapter about why…nope, I'm making no apologies, or excuses, so don't roll your eyes just yet…but the bottom line is that NOT exercising didn't leave me with excuses to fail. With past diet/exercise programs, I did just that….I couldn't sustain the diet or the intense exercise (usually an injury) and that was my excuse to start gaining. This time was different…no strict diet…nothing off limits…and no regular exercise program…just me…and LOTS of headband work…if the Lap Band did it's part, then I was my only barrier to success.
I'm not sure how to state this in the way it's intended…I'll have to say that although I don't 'generalize' this journey, sometimes I read blogs and I worry about those who have suddenly become gym rats once they got the Lap Band. I worry that they'll have an injury, or they'll start having kids/or kids/life get busier and put themselves last on the list (all things I did), and that once they can't sustain this level of exercise that they'll start gaining the weight back (me again)…because they'll think that the exercise is the only way to lose/keep the weight off.
Learn from me…it isn't.
Exercise, or lack of it can't be your excuse…you may have to adjust your intake if your level of exercise reduces for any reason, but you can still lose/maintain your weight…I have…for seven months now. No, I'm not recommending everyone do what I did, we each make our choices.
If you've been following, you know I'm no stranger to exercise (taught up to eight aerobics classes a week in my younger life). So here's the other thing:
You need to exercise to be healthy.
Let me quell some of the comments by agreeing with what you're furiously typing right now:
- You can lose faster with exercise.
- The more muscle you build the more calories you can eat.
- You can be skinny and not healthy.
- There are many other benefits to exercise, like increased energy.
- But sorry, no, my body would NOT look noticeably better with exercise (age, genetics, and amount of excess skin).
I'm believing that I can maintain and I've done everything else to get healthy. It's winter here…no gardening to do…time to find another way to get moving. Just like I promised not to be the perfect Bander, I'm swearing right here that I'm NOT going to be the perfect fitness example (Lord knows I'm the antithesis of it now). Just like my WL, it's going to be a tough journey and I'll have setbacks along the way and times I fall off the wagon…that, I can promise. I have no intentions of even wanting to become a gym rat again (been there....and good for those of you that do...I know, never say never)…but, I DO want to continue my quest to get healthy…and that means a little regular exercise…time to put together some goals. I'm starting the same way I'm going to end…slowly…in a way that I can continue and maintain forever…one step at a time…a few minutes at a time.
Now, who wants to join me?