Monday, September 08, 2008

magic formula

Over the past 14 months or so, I've lost 50-odd pounds. People often stop and ask me how I'm doing it and, without fail, look really disappointed with my answer. That answer is exercise and portion control. Truthfully, I didn't cut anything completely out, though I don't eat fried foods or drink soda very often. I think people expect and want to hear that I'm on some kind of program or drug or that a special combination of foods is working.

It's when I say "exercise" that I see a pained expression. I get it, totally. Nobody wants to hear that the answer is basic math. Exercise means I burn more calories than I'm taking in, so I'm burning fat. Yay! But there's another benefit, too. Exercise boosted my metabolism, so I can actually eat more now and still lose weight. And honestly, it doesn't take a ton of exercise to make a difference, especially to start. I try to do something every day, because tiny things add up.

I started by going for walks several times a week. Then, I stopped using the elevator almost entirely and started riding my bike a little. Then I started going on hikes, and tried to get out once a week. Once it snows, that will turn into snowshoeing. But seriously, I'm not really putting that much time and effort into it and it's still paying off.

This is not a lecture. Losing weight is simple--burn more calories than you consume--but it's not easy. It's really difficult to change habits and make them stick, and I don't blame anybody for wishing it was easier. I wish it was easier, too. If I were more dedicated, I could be stricter with what I eat and exercise more. Everybody has to decide how to balance all that for themselves, and for me, that means making time for fun, too. It's all good, right?

5 comments:

jessica said...

My pained expression does not come with "exercise" (though I admit to being a slug this past year for one reason or another), it comes with "portion control." I have NO idea how to pull that off.

However, you have inspired me - and you look great!

Kaijsa said...

Thanks, Jess.

You know, portion control is really an individual thing, too. I basically shocked myself into reality by educating myself on what a serving of meat, veggies, pasta, etc. really looks like and facing the fact that I used to eat four portions of penne in a sitting because that's what restaurants serve. Getting into the habit of measuring and understanding what a serving looks like made me more aware and helped me make better choices. I also think healthy snacking is a super good thing to do when reducing the size of meals.

amysflock said...

Dang, girl. Exercise schmexercise. Yeah.

In all honesty, exercise is my nemesis and I know the ONE THING that will get my ass in gear (and shrinking). What a bummer...I've always hated exercising. Thank you for sharing the simple ways you started, though...it gives me hope I don't have to grin and bear it at some godforsaken gym. :)

Kaijsa said...

The gym doesn't really work for me, either. I hate it, so I don't go. As somebody who danced and did team sports, classes work for me because they're on a schedule and somebody tells me what to do and how to do it. Your milage may vary.

Jess said...

I am totally inspired by your story! I know in the past when I have lost weight, it has definitely been because of cutting back and exercising more. I thought about you this morning on my walk around Greenlake! I love that walk, it is the perfect length of walk to get in some exercise without making me feel like my lungs are going to explode.