Exercise does not aid weight loss

3 Dec

Exercise does not aid weight loss for me at all. I’ve heard that weight loss has seventy percent to do with food and thirty percent to do with exercise but I think the split is closer to ninety-ten. But I think exercise is vital to any healthy person and I exercise most days. Exercise is all about health, fitness, flexibility and longevity. It has never helped me to lose weight because exercise makes me so hungry.

I do karate with my son, niece and nephew every Thursday night and after eating my normal diet all day I come home from an hour-and-a-half of karate absolutely ravenous. I used to exercise at a gym and do long cardio sessions at home but the end result was the same – an enormous appetite that needed bread, pasta or something else filling to satisfy it. So I made the decision to reduce my cardio exercise to twenty-thirty minute sessions four times a week and I added in strength training which is much of a calorie burner but has done so much for my flexibility, strength and muscle tone. And it doesn’t leave me feeling like I could eat the contents of my pantry.

I used to try and figure out a way to do a hard cardio session without eating all the results and I tried protein bars, protein shakes and egg whites but I just don’t enjoy eating or drinking these supplements. I like to enjoy my food and I don’t enjoy any of these. My friend told me to stop being such a slave to my taste-buds. I’m Italian. Food is pleasure. Food isn’t meant to taste like glue and I just couldn’t make peace with the idea of eating a substance just so I could control myself after a long workout.

I strive now for balance and I am much happier for it. It makes all the difference to my control around food. My weight fluctuates between 57 and 59 and I am 5’3”. I’ve always wanted to weight between 55 and 57 but if I ever get there it only lasts a couple of days so I have decided to accept the weight at which I usually end up because I am healthy.

Moderate exercise and moderate food intake is such a lovely way to live. Someone in my life specifically goes to the gym with a reward food in mind, often telling me that they are going to work out and then eat waffles or that they can have pasta today because they worked out. I’d much rather not work out or work out a little and skip the waffles and have a bit of pasta, or skip the pasta and have a few bites of the waffle.

It all comes down to what works for you and this is what works for me. Being in my mid-thirties is so fun because for the first time I feel like I am in charge of my own wants and needs. I read what the experts suggest but I allow myself to decide what works for me. A personal trainer once made me feel like the fattest, most unfit sloth ever and at the time I believed her and booked a session. I realised later that it was so ridiculous…she was obviously trying to drum up business for herself and her strategy almost worked. I just couldn’t stand the thought of exercising under someone’s thumb. I wanted to be in charge and in control. I wanted to know that if all the personal trainers, gyms, cross trainers and diet books disappeared I could still live a perfectly healthy life. I am a stay-at-home-mum most of the time so I give myself even more credit because I am constantly surrounded by fun snack foods and leftovers.

Exercise is so important and I love the way it makes me feel. I love it more when it involves jumping on the trampoline with the kids, chasing after a soccer ball or having tickle fights. I love a little cardio, a little strength training and I have decided that karate nights can be my splurge nights. I try to save my splurge nights for when I go out but out of necessity it is now a Thursday night activity which is still limited but thoroughly enjoyed.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

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