Monday, June 20, 2011

Plant-Strong Success Tip #2: Participate in Exercise that is Fun and Enjoyable for YOU

I've been an on again off again exerciser for my entire life. At various points in my younger years I would go through phases when I would delude myself that if I only exercised more (like 5-6 days/week) than that would be the answer to my overweight problem. This insanity was reinforced by many influences, including my husband, whom every time I would bring up weight loss would say. "Well, we should start exercising!"

Ha ha.

What about our diet?

A few short years ago there was a very interesting article in Time Magazine about the role of exercise in weight loss. I'm going to sum it up for you: exercising is not the determining factor in achieving a healthy weight. The food that you put in your mouth is. You simply cannot burn enough calories in exercise to offset bad food decisions, so stop deluding yourself. Get your food in check and get your weight in check. If you'd like to read the whole article, and I highly recommend that you do, you can do that here.

So why then I am dedicating one of my precious Top 10 Tips to Plant Strong Success to the subject of exercise?

Because exercise is so darned important!

EXERCISE MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD.

And if feeling good makes it easier to treat your body to nourishing food than I am all for that. Exercise really and truly relieves stress. I for one know that when I am stressed out, I make horrible food choices (that's the emotional eater in me) so anything that relieves my stress level improves my relationship with food.

But here is the kicker: If it's not fun FOR YOU than you are not going to do it on a consistent basis.

If running on a treadmill makes you want to blow your brains out, do you think that forcing yourself to wake up at 5 in the morning to go to a gym is going to be a long term thing for you? I didn't think so.

It wasn't until I found the exercises that were fun FOR ME that exercise finally became a no brainer in my mind. And what a relief that was, because even without the weight loss piece, I certainly can appreciate all of the wonderfulness that regular exercise provides. Strength, flexibility, peacefulness, youthfulness, healthy circulation. I could go on.

My exercises of choice? Power Vinyasa Yoga, Pilates on a Reformer and walking with a friend (the exercise buddy system really works, I cannot impress that upon you enough). That's it. Case closed.

What are your thoughts on the importance of exercise?

Are you struggling with exercise?

Have you found a sport or two that you adore? Do you exercise with a friend?

14 comments:

Eating Beautiful said...

I was inconsistent about exercising until I started using it as a mood booster. If it isn't fun, I'm not interested. I have fallen in love with Zumba. When I can't make a live class I use the Wii.

Amy said...

Hi Wendy,
I have spent the last few days reading all of your posts and I am so inspired by all you have discovered and shared here in your journey the past two years. I went vegan for health reasons several years ago, gained a lot of weight enjoying all those healthy foods (!!), and am currently trying to navigate my way back to a happy weight for myself and struggling with getting the last ten pounds off.
The exercise part of my equation is not my problem - I have that one down and happily blog about it - but it is the food puzzle I am trying to work out. I feel like getting back to vegan basics (I have become "sloppy" over the past year or so, mainly due to pressure from others) could really help me and so, being inspired by you, I ordered a copy of Eat to Live and have been looking into Peer Trainer. I am curious if you did their 12 week program?
Anyhow, thanks so much for all your enthusiasm and inspiration - I will be stopping by here often!
Cheers from Belgium,
Amy

Wendy (Healthy Girl) said...

Yes, Amy, I did the PEERtrainer 12 week Point of No Return program. It is excellent.

Jen said...

I've had to give up a lot of my favorite exercises (running, tennis, biking, hiking) due to chronic muscle stiffness/pain, so I've substituted Tai Chi and flat walking several days a week. Recently, I realized that I can occasionally handle hilly streets if I switchback the way up. This year I read Eat to Live and switched to a nutritarian diet and despite not being able to exert myself to a sweat anymore, have been able to lose 21 lbs this year. Almost half way there!

Anonymous said...

I can't agree more. I recently discovered the joy of a hula hoop. It is so much fun! And hula really is a great way to raise your heart rate, it's low impact exercise and you look sexy doing it!

Sindy said...

I have always been a huge exerciser. Even a couple of days off makes me feel a little off kilter. I view it as an essential part of maintaining a healthy body and mind. As I'm inching closer to 40 (just a few short months to go!), I think it's even more important to stay strong and flexible. It's probably fair to say I addicted to exercise. At times this has been a problem, like when I tried to use it to negate my binge eating disorder. But when I am eating mostly healthy and exercising in a balanced way (like a 45 minute run or a 060 minute yoga class), I think it boosts my everything: body, mind, spirit. My faves are power yoga and running. Lately I've been throwing in some Tracy Anderson DVDs to mix it up. It's always fun to try something new.

Jude Eastman IAC-CC & M.Ed. Life and Soul Coaching said...

When my Curves started offering Zumba circuits (the music and camaraderie) and a Yoga class, I started going regularly. My belly dance class! What a blast! Walking with my dog. Doing it "for her" gave me the extra boost to make it habit. Having an exercise partner for accountability and support. They're depending on me to show up.

Shannon said...

I've always loved exercise, but it took many years for me to exercise just because I love it so much and not focus on the calorie burn. I'm still working on those pesky eating habits though. :)

Amy said...

Exercise is always an issue for me (as is food). I used to walk and bike every where when I was young, but not so much as I've gotten older. Now that I am nearing 40, I am so afraid of falling off my bike or getting hit by a car. I don't walk anymore, but that has more to do with having 3 kids 3 and under. I have this goal to start running, but I'm not sure running is really for me, I don't really know why I want to so badly. I'd love to start yoga. The couple of times that I've done it, I'e felt really good afterwards. I just need to kick myself in the rear and stop making excuses and exercise and eat healthy!

Thanks for your blog! I truly find it isnspiring!

Amy

katshealthcorner said...

I love exercising -- it makes me feel AMAZING!!! I find that when I don't exercise as often, I feel so lethargic. But when I do, I have so much energy afterwards!!! :)

Ruchi said...

Yes yes yes!!! Thanks for posting this! With little kids, so many forms of exercise just don't work for me (like a class in the middle of the day at a gym). Weed out the stuff I hate to do and there aren't many options. I finally decided I wanted to work out on my OWN schedule and I didn't want to pay a dime to do it. I decided I would love running. I am 36 and never ran a day in my life but somehow felt pulled to try it. It took me two months to be able to get from running for one minute to five! Today I did 13 minutes and I am officially in love with running. I do it whenever I have a half hour, outside whenever possible, it's totally free, and it exhilarates me. Gosh I sound like a little kid even in this post! :)

Sindy said...

Ruchi that is so great! I'm proud of you :)

Alexandria said...

Since highschool I have been an avid runner, yoga enthusiast, and free weight welder and ever since then those have been my workout of choice. Right after I had my son (he is 6 months now) I started using exercise videos that I could instantly view from netflix and went walking with him in the jogger. Now I am up to my 3 miles runs 3 times a week and full body circuits with my handweights twice a week, while I do a yoga routinue 2 times a week. I feel super energized after my workouts and since I have become vegan getting back into my prepregnancy jeans has been a cinch :)

Bonnie said...

I am living proof that it's never to late to start exercising. I got serious about it when our local rec center opened 8 years ago when I was 55. Over the past eight years, I've gotten in a workout five days per week except when I'm out of town. I ran my first competitive race at age 58, and like to do two half marathons per year which in my thinking is almost as good as one whole marathon. . . In the summer I run with a friend which is great; in the winter I run with NPR podcasts - also great.

 
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