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?


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, 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.