Losing weight is not fun. No kidding, right? No one enjoys having to restrict calories, give up foods they love, or feel hungry. Not everyone enjoys exercising, either, although we all know it’s a necessary part of staying healthy and fit, as well as losing weight. But there’s a big difference between having to lose those ten extra pounds you put on over the holidays, and having to lose 50 to 100 pounds, or even more. That can seem like such a daunting task, that you may not even know where to begin, or whether you can even be successful at it. The answer is, you can, but it will take time, patience, and perseverance.
Many women put on a lot of weight during pregnancy. Some people get caught up in their daily work lives, and neglect to make time for exercise, which will contribute to weight gain over time. Add a poor diet to that, and your weight will go up even more quickly. Before you know it, you’re overweight, you’re uncomfortable, and you have to buy new clothes to fit your larger body. Extra weight puts strain on your bones, as well as your heart and other organs. It can contribute to medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even cancer. And those are just the physical effects. Being overweight can also make you feel depressed. So how do you embark on a weight loss regimen when you need to lose more weight?
Get a Physical
Before you hit the gym or pop in that exercise video, make an appointment with your doctor for a full physical. You need to make sure your heart is healthy before you begin putting making it word harder on it by exercising. Make sure to talk to your doctor about your joints. Body weight has a direct relation to joint issues like arthritis, and doing too much too soon can put too much strain on your joints, causing pain and inflammation. Get a clean bill of health before you start working out. If you go overboard and injure yourself, you may not be able to work out at all until you heal, and then you’re right back where you started.
Be honest with yourself. Even if you were an athlete in high school, if the pounds have crept on over the years to the point where you now get winded just climbing a flight of stairs, you’re not going to be able to run five miles right off the bat. Well, you may be able to, but you may also end up passing out afterward, and causing some damage to your body. In addition, trying to do too much too quickly, and then not being able to finish can put a damper on your attitude, and make you feel like giving up. Give yourself small, achievable goals so you can stay on track and slowly build your stamina and endurance. For example, rather than trying to run a mile, walk for 15 minutes on a treadmill. Even if you start at a slow pace, you’re getting benefits of moving your body. Add five minutes per week until you’re walking for 30 minutes at a time. Once that becomes too easy, you can either add more time, or progress to a slow jog, whichever you feel more comfortable with.
Choose The Right Exercises
Again, you need to be honest with yourself about what you’re capable of when you first start out. Trying to bench press a couple hundred pounds when the most you’ve lifted in years is just a few pounds is just asking for an injury. There’s nothing wrong with adding a little bit of weight training to your workout routine in the beginning. Having more muscle will help you burn fat more efficiently. But start with small hand weights. Depending on how much weight you have to lose, weight machines may be uncomfortable for you, and if you can’t position your body on them correctly, you won’t be doing the exercise correctly, and that’s setting yourself up for an injury as well. Cardiovascular exercise is what’s going to help you burn the most fat more quickly, so be sure to incorporate walking or some other aerobic activity into your routine. Depending on how much you weight, even walking can be uncomfortable or painful for your joints. Consider using an elliptical machine. It provides a low-impact workout, and then you can either continue with it as you lose weight, or progress to walking and then running later on.
Don’t Push Yourself Outside Your Comfort Zone
If you’re even a little overweight, you may not be comfortable with the idea of going to a gym where the walls are lined with mirrors, and thin, fit people are everywhere. That’s okay. Being overweight can be embarrassing for some people, and you may not want to subject yourself to a situation that’s going to make you uncomfortable. If you don’t like going to the gym, chances are you won’t stick with it. Consider buying a treadmill, or buying an elliptical trainer that you can use in the comfort of your own home. That way, you can focus on your workout, and not how you look or how others perceive you.
Sometimes it’s easier to start a weight loss plan if you’re sharing the journey with a friend or family member. You can offer each other support and encouragement, and celebrate your milestones together. It’s also just more fun to take a walk with someone you can talk to than to always spend that workout time alone. Something else you can do is find out whether your employer is willing to set up a weight loss contest at work. Some people need a little competition to motivate them. If that’s you, working toward a prize may be just the push you need to start, and continue with your weight loss plan.
If you have several pounds to lose, remind yourself often that they’re not going to come off overnight. You didn’t gain the weight that way, so it stands to reason that it’s going to take some time to lose the weight you need and want to lose. It can be easy to become discouraged, though, when you don’t see results quickly enough. The best way to deal with this is to set short-term goals. For example, if you need to lose 50 pounds, rather than making that the goal, make a plan to lose five pounds. Don’t give yourself a time limit, either. Everyone loses weight at different rates, so don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to others, or to what you feel you “should” be doing. When you’ve lost those five pounds, set a goal to lose five more. Breaking your overall weight loss goal into smaller, more quickly achieved goals will keep you focused and fend off feelings of failure, which will help you stick with your plan. Don’t give up! You’ll get there!