Saving lives, one pound at a time

As your muscles become stronger, you are able to exercise longer or with higher intensity, which burns more calories and reduces your weight.

I know of a woman who has recently taken very direct and serious action to lose weight.

Her experience to date is one that turns out to be very common. She has been organized and sensible, but is only about six weeks into this journey and is already running into some difficulty. She has changed her diet (using an excellent dietary plan) and has begun to exercise regularly for the first time in about 20 years. And even though she is a great deal over her ideal weight, she has lost about 10 pounds since she started her program.

Despite this encouraging start, however, she feels discouraged and has talked about giving up because it feels like the rate of weight loss is too slow. Maybe she has just seen too many quick weight loss TV programs or read too many grocery store tabloid covers. This is such a common story with so many people, and all the more unfortunate because this person has taken all the correct steps, and what’s more, she is making progress.

First of all, it is generally accepted that a reasonable, safe, healthy rate of weight loss is no more than two pounds per week.

Well, she’s right on target.

She has lost more than a  pound per week to date. It sounds kind of slow, but it isn’t. Even one pound a week translates to 52 pounds a year.

People always say how time flies, how a year passes by so quickly, so give it a little time. And like any worthwhile endeavour, it takes time, patience, and work. It’s like doing a school project or a big renovation job – you just start chipping away. Only with fitness, it’s more like a snowball rolling down a hill – it starts off slowly, but once it gains some momentum, things become easier. As your muscles become stronger, you are able to exercise longer or with higher intensity, which burns more calories, which in turn reduces your weight, which in turn allows you to exercise more.

Besides, if a person is truly interested in becoming healthier and changing their lifestyle by eating better and exercising, then a time-frame is irrelevant since you are going to continue on this path for the rest of your life.

In addition, even if a person didn’t lose very much weight, or even stayed the same weight, there are enormous health benefits to eating well and exercising. In fact, there have been numerous studies done over the past five years that have shown that just being more active, moderately exercising on a regular basis drastically reduces health risks for heart disease and cancer. For instance, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that being inactive is a bigger risk factor for heart disease than obesity. Inactivity and obesity are both risk factors for heart disease and the study, which consisted of 1,000 females who were either of normal weight, overweight or obese, concluded that being unfit and inactive is associated with a high risk of suffering a heart attack or other serious health problem but that exercising can cut the risk of developing heart disease in half.

And in another recent study, walking or hiking at least 1.5 hours per week was also associated with a 50 per cent reduction in the rate of pancreatic cancer in both sexes.

Study after study shows the same trend.

So even if you stay overweight for a long stretch and lose little or no weight, the benefit to your health is undeniable by exercising and eating well.

The lady in question has been persuaded to keep going and with a little knowledge, encouragement and persistence, she’ll reach her goals.

No matter how much you perceive that you are struggling, don’t give up on a change in lifestyle that contains nothing but benefits.

It’s a no-lose solution.

 

Kerry Senchyna holds a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology and is owner of West Coast Kinesiology in

Maple Ridge.