Inclined to Agree

I went to the company gym today. I had no time to do anything else, but as usual exercise needed to be done. When I packed the gym bag this morning I had to grab the workout gear that was clean and so when I got on the treadmill and started running I realized pretty quickly that I was wearing The Wrong Bra for Running. What to do? I dropped the speed and ramped up the incline. I spent a pretty quick 35 minutes discovering the highest combination of incline and speed I could sustain. I think I got to 7% incline at 3.8 speed (walking). I was definitely working just as hard or harder than running – my face was red, I was sweating and out of breath. Success!

As I was cooling down I was mulling why the changes that make the most difference in losing weight and maintaining it are the ones that people (including me!) are often so unwilling to do. I regularly hear people state that they are totally going to hit the gym hard to lose some weight, and then some several weeks later that they can’t lose weight even though they’ve been working out religiously. Well, it’s true – just working out is likely not going to result in weight loss. It’s the big bad ugly truth about exercise. It feels good, and it feels virtuous, but it’s the smallest part of the equation your body needs to perform. It doesn’t deliver real bang-for-your-buck results in the weight loss realm. You can’t possibly exercise enough to make up for a bad diet.

Working out is for fitness – eating less is for losing weight. But the realization I came to about why that’s so bloody hard is because I can go to the gym and grind it out for an hour a day and get it over with. “There,” I think, “I’ve done something. It took a lot of effort and I didn’t really want to but it’s over now and I can get on with my day!”

Whereas eating better – eating less – that’s 24/7. It’s every minute of every day. It’s never letting up your guard. It’s not taking a piece of the birthday cake someone left in the break room, not grabbing a handful of M&Ms from the bowl on someone’s desk, it’s not stopping at the drive-thru on your way home, it’s taking less than a full plate of lasagne, it’s stopping before you feel full no matter how hungry you felt when you started. It’s not comforting the black hole in your mind with pancakes and mashed potatoes. It’s constant, on-going, every day and that – THAT is hard. Compared to going to the gym for an hour a day? I’d take the one-hour quick fix over the everyday vigilance every time.

If that worked. Which it doesn’t.


3 Responses to “Inclined to Agree”

  1. T Says:

    This is the major discovery I’ve made which is helping me be successful this time. Exercise, while kinda fun to do and definitely ego-boosting DOES NOT RESULT in weight loss for me. Period. Not now, not never. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it but it does mean that I can’t wear my polar watch, look at the calories I’ve burned and decide to eat that many extra calories or else I won’t lose a pound. I actually lose more slowly when I exercise regularly 😦

    People say its 70% eating and 30% exercise but for me its more like 95% eating and 5% exercise. But I sure do wish I could just rely on my treadmill. I would be so skinny…

  2. Shonnie Says:

    There is another problem that ranks up there with diet–hormonal imbalances. They can defeat both efforts. I know … been living it for the past few months. I have been tryin to lose slow and small, but that just isn’t working. Probably gonna have to starve again — I appreciated your post the other day on judging folks for what it takes to lose.

    I don’t hunger often for fast food. Most candy will make me sick. The only think I really crave is potato chips, but that will get me sick pretty quick … its probably what they are cooked in. As a rule–if you eat at my house you lose weight — unless you are me. I make most of my stuff to order because of health issues. Sorry for whining on your page.

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