I knew a lady... who had never struggled with her weight, but gained an abundance amount of weight after her and her husband split. It was the husband's decision to call the marriage off and you can imagine the bitterness that followed a 36-year marriage and then divorce. Without going into much detail about the split, she went through many stages, similar to the stages of grief, in which she gained a lot of weight. She fell deep into her depression and was unable to get herself out of it. She wasn’t eating very often, (but wait, you said she gained weight…) she was eating once every two days and what she was consuming were things such as burgers and fries and a plethora of unhealthy meal choices that contained tons of unsaturated fats and oils.
Your bodies natural reaction to that type of eating habit is to store EVERYTHING because your body knows that it will not get any other nutrients until days later. Much like animals in the wild who don’t always have access to food. Their bodies store food as fat and then slowly release as energy until it can find its next meal. Think of the hibernating bear. Our bodies will do the same thing it is truly incredible what our bodies will do! When it knows that food storage is low it will store the nutrients as fats and sugars as a means of protecting the body from starvation. As a result, after going a long period without eating, once a person decides to eat, the body will store every piece of that meal.
"...bodies store food as fat and then slowly release as
energy, until it can find
the next meal."
Studies show that the most effective “diet” plans are those that require you to eat smaller meals, maybe three meals-six times a day. You are more likely to lose weight by doing that because your body is convinced it does not need to keep the fats and sugars but expel them as energy. Especially during your next workout.
By eating only a few times a week and by eliminating all exercise, this women gained a total of 100 pounds over the course of two years. This, you might be thinking, is not only a fitness issue but perhaps a mental issue as well. You would be correct and we made sure she addressed that factor. What is important to note from this story is that, in her search for peace and getting her life back in order, she learned that physical fitness was a key part to her transformation both mentally and physically.
"What started as a 2-3 mile walk evolved into a 3-4 mile walk each evening and eventually an 8 mile walk."
She started off with a 1 mile walk each night for a week. The next week, 2 miles a day. She eventually met a gentleman who convinced her to join him on his afternoon strolls. What started as a 2-3 mile walk evolved into a 3-4 mile walk each evening and eventually an 8 mile walk. She lost 80 pounds in 10.5 months and all because of her commitment to change her eating habits and by incorporating physical fitness into her daily routine. Not only that, by allowing herself time to mourn, and time to exercise she opened up an opportunity for another relationship that she may not have encountered had she still been enveloped in feelings of loneliness, low self worth and even her bitterness about the divorce from her ex-husband.
Fitness affects so much of our lives: increased blood circulation and oxygen so that we can start thinking straight again, just to name a couple. Fitness could be the ripple effect that you need to start meeting your goals and getting things accomplished in your life.
Now you might be thinking, 8 miles an evening, that’s 15 minutes per mile…”Holy cow, 2 hours a night to walk? Who has that kind of time?” Not all of us have the time in the evening to go for an 8 mile walk but the question is what CAN you do to make fitness a way of life? It’s not “Can I do it?” the question is “HOW can I do it?”
Fitness is not just about how you look, but rather how you feel. It’s sharing that amazing feeling with your family and other loved ones and being a better person for yourself and for those you care so much about. It is necessary in life to adhere to principles of self care. Yes, we all shower, we all wash our hair, we clip our nails, we clean our ears, but self care encompasses so much more then the physical. It is about the mental wellness that fitness provides.
6 Easy Things you can do to be more active:
1. Always have a pair of walking shoes in your car. It's time to take advantage of those 15 minute breaks. With an 8 hour work day and two 15 minute breaks and also your 30 minute to 1 hr lunch break, you could finish your 8 miles a day while you are at work. How neat is that? Case out a spot where you will accomplish your steps. You could even drive it in the morning before you clock in to get an estimate of where your start and stopping point will be. You will complete your eight miles in no time at all! You might be thinking, “When do I eat?” This bring us to number two.
2. Bring your lunch and snacks to work! It will not only save you money but it will save you time. Your goal is to knock out 8 miles in your workday and so you must make the most out of your time. You will be the envy of all your friends, and don’t be surprised if some of them join you on your journey. This could be a great way to develop a support system for yourself in your pursuits of physical fitness aka mental fitness. Think about the foods you want to eat the weekend before, even the night before; pack your lunch and take it with you.
3. Empty your milk gallon jug, fill it with water and take it with you to work. A person should consume at a minimum of 3 liters of water and at the pace you’ll be walking, you’re going to need it! This gallon is for your entire day. You could set line markings so that you know where you should be before lunch, after lunch and before you head home. Some of my girlfriends live by this model. Never a shortage of water! Use the jug a few days and then find another to replace it. Or if you so choose, buy a reusable water jug that measure a litre or a gallon to help you with your daily water intake.
4. Get up from your chair and squat it out! Some of my friends like to set a timer on their phone for every hour. They will get up from their seat and knock out 30-50 air squats. It not only gets you out of that chair but the benefits are endless this includes improving blood circulation. Do you ever notice that after sitting for so long your butt and legs go numb? I know I have, that means it's definitely time to get moving.
5. How far is your office from the bathroom? Well guess what, you’re going to lunge to the bathroom too! Ok, some people will probably look at you weird when you’re doing this but they will be super jealous when that booty is sitting two inches higher than theirs. I’m just being real…Ok?!
6. Before or after dinner, take some time to go for a family walk. This is a great opportunity to get some fresh air and involve your family too. Your children have been at school all day, and your spouse at work all day too. Leave the phones at home and go for a 30-minute walk with them. Get to know about their day. You’ll find that your kiddos are more likely to share things with you as they scoop up rocks off the side of the street and walk beside you. Turn off the electronics and go outside, the time to be active is now!
It’s your turn to start incorporating more fitness into your life. Whether it’s to get beyond old heartaches, looking forward to more invigorating new relationships, and enjoying your family or maybe just to get the necessary time to yourself once and for all--
Good luck on your journey!