If you usually do not read healthy information because you feel defeated, extremely overweight, or simply very unfit, you are not alone. You want to make a lifestyle change, but exercise programs and weight loss challenges just seem too difficult. It can be very intimidating to walk into a gym, and everyone seems to be in much better shape than you. It is difficult walking from your car into the store. It is hard finding clothes that fit, and you are spending more and more time in front of the television or asleep. Be encouraged. All is not lost. There are professionals that care and are willing to help.
Make up your mind that you are ready to make a change. Get a physical to make sure you are authorized to begin a weight loss program and determine if you have any medical restrictions. Keep a journal. It is always helpful to begin writing through the process. It gives you some accountability. Write down your goals. Begin recording what you eat, what time you eat, how much you eat. If there are particular emotions associated with the times you eat, like stress or boredom, record those as well. Learn about portion sizes, the importance of eating a nutritious breakfast, drinking water, and eating fruits and vegetables. You will find that you can eat often, but sensibly. By changing some of the types of foods you eat, and how it is prepared, you will not go hungry. Enlist the help of a dietician or nutritionist.
If you are not very mobile, most of your activity in the beginning will be using your arms or seated exercises. Using very light weight, bands, or even an inverted bicycle will enable you to get your heart rate up and begin shedding those pounds. If you are able, sit up in the chair without using the backrest. Keep your spine straight, and your chest lifted. Keep your shoulders down, away from your ears and begin moving your feet in a seated walk or march. Turn on some good music or march along with any televised exercise program.
If you are able, do moderate walking. Set a goal to walk to a light post or corner. Each week increase the distance you walk. If possible, have a friend or friends walk with you. Determine a time of day when this is best.
The process is not a quick fix, but it is proven to work and effective long term. It must be a priority. Even at a slower pace where it can take three months to loose ten pounds, the weight will come off and it is possible to keep it off. You have to make up your mind that this is what you are going to do, no matter what. Be patient with yourself and do it for yourself. The best gift we can give our children, grandchildren, loved ones and others you care for, is to first take care of yourself.
Previously Printed Feb ’05