She was a very large lady – admitting that she was about 350 pounds. She told me that although she was happy with her weight, that she had been having trouble with shortness of breath and pain in her knees. As we spoke, the truth eventually bubbled to the surface. “My husband loves that I am a big woman and does not want me to change.” She felt that if she lost weight, that it might affect their relationship and she didn’t want to lose her husband. I then asked her a question and suggested that she ask her husband a similar question. This is the question I posed:
“If remaining chronically obese meant that your life would be shortened by 20 years and the quality of your life would be severely reduced, would you be willing to consider an alternative to your present circumstances?” The good news was that after asking her husband this question about her health, he was completely sympathetic and encouraged her to do whatever it took for her to live a longer and more healthy life. Do you know anyone like this who is obese and suffering from low energy and chronic illness? How would you answer this question?
“If remaining chronically obese meant that your life would be shortened by 20 years and the quality of your life would be severely reduced, because of chronic illness and complications from being overweight, would you be willing to consider an alternative to your present circumstances?”
Getting started on the path to health is a willful choice. Your future health will become the sum total of your daily decisions. If you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, you have a choice. What you decide will dictate what your life will become in the future. I know. It can be overwhelming. I totally understand. I know that when I went totally raw vegetarian, it was a battle for me after decades of eating lots of meat and cheese and unhealthy processed foods. And, while I have never had a difficult time being physically active and staying in physical shape, I have had to battle the food addictions I had that were killing me.
Like food intake, when it comes to a personal fitness program, it can be overwhelming. This is especially true for those suffering from chronic or morbid obesity. It will seem overwhelming. You may even think that it will be an impossible journey to undertake. I PROMISE that the journey is NOT impossible. I can also promise that IF you choose to make a commitment to yourself to be more healthy, that you will begin to see amazing results within the first six weeks of your determination to eat cleaner and add more physical activity to your lifestyle. I PROMISE.
There are two things that I recommend to people who want to get healthy inside and out. The first is this. If you are someone who has been falling short in your responsibility to care for your physical health, you must make a serious determination to be willing to stick with whatever health and fitness program you decide to follow. The second is to seek out someone with whom you can be accountable to. This will be the single most important step you can take to ensure your success. SO, are you someone who needs to consider changing your lifestyle? Here are five very simple tests that you can take that will tell you.
- Can you bend over with your legs straight and touch your toes?
Can you get walk quickly up three flights of stairs without feeling winded or dizzy?
- Can you do at least ten military push-ups correctly?
- Can you do five pull ups on a chin bar?
- Can you do a wall squat and hold the position for at least three minutes (leaning against a wall with the top part of your legs parallel to the floor and your back flat against the wall).
How did you do? If you are like most people, you probably didn’t do real well. It was not too long ago that I was on a journey of recovery from being rear ended in my car on two separate occasions, and being t-boned by a car who had run a red light who hit me on my bicycle as I was passing through the intersection (all three accidents were the result of texting while driving). I did not want to get out of bed most days – for months. I was on pain medication and my body was in constant pain. Sometimes, I hurt so badly, that I could not think straight. The last thing that I wanted to do was work out, run, bike, or swim. BUT, I knew that if I didn’t at least try to get better, I would never get better.
You may be reading this and be thinking that you are happy with being fat and out of shape. You might even think that there are men and women who love someone who is clinically or morbidly obese. This is a lie that most people try to believe so that they can rationalize their poor eating and exercise habits. While there may be a few who think this way about obesity, consider the health risks associated with being overweight and out of shape. Before I share some very simple and easy to follow steps to get you on the road to health and vitality, please take a moment and look at the image above one more time. As you can see by the image above, it reveals the stress causing nature of fat on the vital organs like the liver, heart, and digestive system, as well as the compressed joints in the knees and ankles. These are only a few issues that ultimately bring a decline in the overall health of someone who is obese.
Call To Action
Here are some simple instructions and points to remember that I recommend for anyone who feels that they are ‘too far gone’ in their physical appearance to do anything that can make a difference. These are simple to follow, non-threatening action points that can make a dramatic difference in your efforts to regain your health and physical appearance. I can promise you that the short term and long term benefits to your health by simply implementing these basic principles will change your life.
1) Begin setting aside 20 minutes a day to walk or ride your bike and make a commitment to do it everyday for three months time.
2) When you start taking your walks or bicycle rides, let someone know you are making this commitment and ask them to hold you accountable for doing it. Accountability is paramount in personal and business success, but especially when it comes to exercise. Ideally, if you can find a friend to walk or exercise with you, you both will enjoy the day to day process of improving yours and their health together.
3) Make your first week or so casual, easy going walks or rides. Don’t push yourself, but really just get out and do it. This is an important part of the psychological process of increasing the ‘pleasure’ aspect of your commitment. A great walk and a great talk with someone you enjoy being around is a great way to ease into your routine.
4) After a week or so – once you start getting used to feeling a bit ‘sweaty,’ begin increasing the intensity of your walks and rides during the middle 10 minutes of your exercise so that you really work up a sweat and are able to feel your heartbeat from it. I am not talking feeling your heartbeat where you feel it pounding in your neck and head, but just a noticeable increase in your pulse to a slightly uncomfortable but not overly stressed feeling. If for any reason you start feeling overwhelmed or your heart rate gets too high – slow down, walk slow, and breath deep until you can pick up the pace again without feeling overwhelmed, faint or like you want to throw up (I know. It sounds gross, but it happens).
IMPORTANT: Check with your doctor to be sure walking or riding your bike like this is OK. This is especially important if you suffer from clinical obesity or another chronic illness where such elevated exercise could be dangerous for you. Typically, unless you are a heart patient, most doctors will tell you that any and all exercise is good for you.
5) Daily stretching should be incorporated into your walking or bicycle riding activities. Stretching is extremely helpful in healing and restoration of your body on many levels, so do incorporate it into your day in addition to your twenty minute exercise sessions. You can Google stretching exercises and find a ton of Websites for stretching. If you do Pilates, Pilates is a great way to stretch and get in shape in the process. Another great way to get your body stretched out is doing yoga. The point here is that stretching is your friend, and prevents sports injuries. While walking and bicycling are not “sports” per say, they do use muscle groups that should be warmed up through controlled stretching.
6) Begin to increase your water intake gradually until you can drink one half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. This means that if you way 250 pounds, you will want to drink 125 fluid ounces of water (H2O) every day starting with one quart of water first thing in the morning as you are just waking up. Keep it next to your bed so you can sit up and drink it before your feet even hit the floor. This regiment gets your digestive track turned on and starts your colon’s flushing mechanism to clean toxins out of your system.
7) If you drink any kind of soda or carbonated drink of any kind or any beverage with artificial sweeteners in them, STOP! This one willful act of change in your life style will make a huge difference in your health. I also recommend that you ween your body off of caffeine, especially coffee. A cup every few days or less, MAX! Caffeine is highly toxic to your liver (as are a wide range of other comfort beverages and foods). As your liver is an important key to your overall health and to every other organ and system in your body, liver health is VITAL to your overall body health. A sick liver means all sorts of other sickness in your body, from major organs to glandular imbalance.
8) If you are still reading this, it means you really do want to change your physical health, so here is one recommendation that while it will require some hard choices in your diet, it will really make a difference in your success to lose weight. Remove (completely) one source of carbohydrates, fat, sugar, and/or processed food source from your diet each week until the only carbohydrates you eat are from vegetables and healthy sources of carbs, i.e. vegetables, wild rice or brown whole rice, etc. That means bye bye to pastas and breads my friend – at least as you know pastas and breads to be. There are several great alternatives to these that are healthy choices, like rice or spinach pasta or millet and flax bread (without yeast). This will be a huge step towards physical health and weight loss.
REMINDER: Check with your primary care physician before undertaking any new or potentially stressful exercise program. If you start implementing these 8 success action points, you will be amazed at how much better you will feel if you have not been used to doing things as simple as even these.
Write me or leave a comment here if you have some feedback on your experience. I would love to hear about it. Who knows! You might be one of our featured ‘success stories’ in our coming video testimonial section! As always, I remain for your lasting health in every way.