Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Writer's Guide to adding Exercise to your diet regiment

In the past few months I’ve fallen completely off my exercise routine. I was editing She Cried Wolf, making it my whole focus. When the book was released, then it was blogging, guest blogging, promoting and just dealing with life. I got lazy.  
It is unusual for me to ignore regular exercise, such as riding my bike, running or hiking. I did do some, but not seriously or on a regular routine. When I was recently in Trinidad in Northern California I was surprised how well I kept up my nieces, nephews and grandkids on hikes. But- I know if I don’t get back into it soon, that won’t be the case.
I’ve been on my Caveman or Paleo diet for over a week. I’ve lost another 4lbs on top of the 5lbs I dropped preparing for the diet. I believe the first 5lbs was simply water weight. Something to consider, the first weight you lose will be the easiest and most likely water weight as the body naturally detoxes as you ingest healthier foods. The body will react positively to the lack of the usual fatty and toxic foods.
Now that you’ve started to eat healthier and have hopefully lost a couple pounds, it’s time to step things up with exercise. Since I haven’t run seriously since May, I’m currently walking to build up to running. In one hour of brisk walking you can burn over 300 calories. Running or jogging of course burns more in the same amount of time, up to 600 calories, depending on the length of time and speed. This is why long distant runners are skin and bones.
When starting an exercise routine, take a good look at it, and examine how realistic it is for your conditioning. If you haven’t exercised in years, take it very slow. I suggest starting with walking a couple of times a day, slowly adding light weights and an exercise ball. You want to build up to a 1hr exercise program 5 to 6 days a week, for weight loss.And you've got to SWEAT in order to burn fat.
I’m not big on joining a gym right away. Gyms can be intimidating, noisy, and discouraging. You walk in and the first thing you see is a cute little girl behind the counter who is in perfect shape. Depending on the gym, there is the body builders, big, noisy and hog machines and equipment. All the classes offered are fun, but again, it is awkward, when you’re stumbling around the Zumba class feeling foolish.  
There are smaller gyms geared towards just women. Those can be much less intimidating, but can be just as expensive.
It is easy enough to start a program at home, with CD’s, walking and an inexpensive workout ball. If you have a treadmill, clean off the clothes hung there, and walk it. Once you have gotten into a regular routine, and are losing weight at a steady healthy rate, and feel better about your body, a gym might be the way to go. Make sure it’s something you’re really going to use. They usually require a contract for a year or two.
One thing I don’t advice, is push too hard in the beginning. I’m a regular fan of the Biggest Loser and am in awe of the contestants and how hard they workout. But-they are under constant doctor monitoring, with trainers, with a regular specialized diet. They lose large amounts of weight in a week, like up to 10lbs. In the real world that is unrealistic, those individuals workout up to three or four hours a day. In the real world, we have to work, deal with family, plus write, without the benefit of a luxury ranch where we’re locked away from life, and live and breathe diet and exercise.
Either find a calorie counting book, or use an app for a smart phone. The apps can be free and update regularly for products and restaurants. If you are counting calories, depending on your weight, taking in between 1000-1200 of healthy calories is considered the way to lose about 1-2lbs a week. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s considered the healthiest reasonable weight loss. The faster you lose weight, the faster it will come back on if you fall off the wagon. Think Oprah, when she went on a liquid diet, within months she was bigger than when she started the diet.   
If you are counting calories, and considering calories burned in exercise, my advice is not to consider the burned calories. What can happen is, “Oh, I burned 300 cals on that walk, so I can eat 300 extra cals.”
What happens, you’ll start to just maintain your weight, rather than lose it. Just consider the intact, not the burn.
Take your exercise easy, build up, let your body adjust before hitting it harder and you'll lose weight. Exercise should be part of a healthy lifestyle. All the way around it's good for you in moderation until you can handle more difficulty. 

Next week, what to do when weight loss slows to a stop.

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