Let's just clear the air now. I hate going to the gym and so I don't go. If you are a lover of the gym and attend regularly, I admire you and you can stop reading here because you've got exercise handled in your life. Also you likely won't believe or like what I'm about to say.
Why do I hate the gym you might wonder? Well, I'll tell you.
1. You have to pay for the right to attend the gym. There isn't a gym within 10 miles of my house and the closest one is very pricey.
2. I don't have time for the 1 1/2 to 2 hour daily trek to the gym. Yep, you've heard this one before. Maybe I should say, I don't want to spend my limited free time driving to and from the gym and working out.
3. I don't want to have to dress for the gym. Yes, I am a fashion misfit when it comes to the latest and greatest workout clothes.
4. I've done the workout routine: get up early, workout, shower, and then go to work. In fact I did it for years. Quite frankly, I didn't get enough bang-for-the-buck, so to speak. Yes, I felt pretty good, but I was heavier when I was working out five times per week than I am now.
How can that be? What's the answer? I can only tell you what has worked and is working for me.
First, you've heard the cliché, "You are what you eat." I have come to realize that is so true. If you eat refined, processed, high carb, high fat foods, or fast food from the local takeout, you will weigh more than if you don't, no matter how hard you work out at the gym or elsewhere. More Americans are struggling with their weight than ever before. As a general population, look at what we eat. Observe the carts of the shoppers at your local store. You will likely notice things like soda, cookies, cakes, crackers, breads, sweetened cereal, and pre-prepared food that comes in boxes. I used to buy and prepare that stuff for my family too. As a working mom, I was glad to open a box of something, cook it for a few minutes and serve it.
At this point you may be asking yourself, what else there is to eat? Is she going to tell me to be a vegetarian? No I'm not, but I'll tell you what has made a difference to me, to my husband, and to many of our friends and family members who have tried it. Shop and eat the food on the perimeter of the store and avoid the aisles, as there is very little "real food" in the aisles. What did she just say? I said, the healthiest food is on the perimeter of the store and most of the junk food or processed food is down the aisles.
Here's how a shopping trip goes for me. I go into the store and turn right and walk right past the bakery to the farthest side of the store. I just keep walking and I get to the produce section. I fill my cart with the beautiful colors of vegetables and some fruits. I am now at the back of the store. Following the back wall I come next to the meat department where I select lean cuts of any kind of meat and fish that I like. Moving on to the dairy section, I again select my favorite low fat dairy products and pick up a dozen eggs while I'm back there. That's pretty much it. I really limit my trips down the aisles, as that is where the processed food resides.
When we changed what we ate, we changed how we looked. We now have more energy and weigh less; cholesterol levels have dropped, along with blood pressure.
Now back to exercise. Do I believe an active lifestyle is important? Yes I do. Check the internet and you will find that a physically active lifestyle and a normal body weight contribute to greater longevity and good health. Do you have to go to the gym to work out everyday for an hour or more? Not unless that is your cup of tea. Other simple options along with healthy eating are walking for 20-30 minutes per day on your lunch hour, biking, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, parking on the far side of the parking lot and walking a little farther, participating in activities like golf, fishing, gardening even housework, or other forms of moderate exercise that you enjoy. Find an activity that you like and get moving. If you hate the gym, do something else. There is no one right amount or kind of exercise that fits everyone.
“Thirty minutes a day of moderate activity has a very significant health benefit,” says Catherine Jackson, professor and chair of the department of kinesiology at the California State University in Fresno and a spokesperson for the American College of Sports Medicine.
This same article suggests eating less and exercising more if you want to lose weight. I suggest eating "better" and moderate exercise to lose weight. Lower the carb intake, processed foods, fast food, and high fat foods along with 20 minutes of walking a day. This streamlined approach gave my husband and me better health and weight loss than we ever achieved at the gym.
Enough rambling. I'm going for a walk.