Friday, August 20, 2010

Overeaters Anonymous

If you have been reading my posts, you know I have focused on the WALK FAST portion of the blog name.  But the other half EAT SLOW is just important in the game of weight loss, so I must devote some time to that aspect as well.

In my book I go into a lot of detail about calorie control, as you have to strike a balance between what goes in and what goes out.  Obviously for me, the walking takes care of the outbound calorie flow, but how do I handle the inbound?

The first lessson is limiting how much goes in at one time.  Most of us eat too much, plain and simple.  I used to subscribe to the theory that if its good, you can't eat too much.  In fact, the better it is, the faster you need to shovel it in.  The funny thing is that you really aren't enjoying the meal any more by shoveling than if you were to eat petite bites at a turtle's pace.  But once you acquire speed demon syndrome, its pretty much a fixed in place response at meal time.

But speed doesn't really matter does it?  When you are full, you are full, right?  WRONG.  The problem with fast eaters (shovelers) is that you tend to blow past the point of being full before your body has a chance to warn you that you are approaching that dangerous intersection.  Some of us plow right through without any ill effects, while others make a head-on collision with heart burn, indigestion, bloating, gas, and a bunch of other nasty things.  But it never seems to make enough impact to change our eating habits, we just keep on shoveling.

So an inital step on managing your food intake is to SLOW DOWN when it comes to eating.  Take a very small (tiny!!!!) bite of food.  Chew it completely and swallow slowly.  Savor the taste for a moment before taking another bite.  Believe me, its hard at first, but you must force it on yourself.  In fact, you might feel stupid initially, but its a good first step.  If you can stretch out your pace of food intake, you will find that you feel up very quickly.  Or in reality, you will actually notice when your body says - stop, I'm getting full.  And then you have to take the next painful step - stop eating! 

Easier said than done, but it can be done.  And the more you do it, the better you will get.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Losing Weight - You Have To Walk Before You Can Run

A few weeks ago, I lamented about not seeing any fat people in exercise venues like walking and jogging trails.  My concern of course was that those who need it the most are the least likely to be doing it.

Ok, so now I'm out on a power-walking mission and come up on an overweight girl struggling to jog.  Barely loping along, body covered in sweat and face beet red, she was obviously having a tough go of it and looked as if she would pass out at any moment.  Initially, I wanted to applaud her efforts, but I quickly realized that if anything, she was probably wrecking her chances of succeeding in the long run.  If she didn't drop dead from the exertion, she would at the very least think twice about putting herself through that misery again.

Why is it that everyone thinks you have to 1) run to lose weight 2) endure great discomfort to burn calories.  I lost 70 pounds using walking as my main activity.  Sure I walk really fast NOW, but not when I started. (Of course I balance food intake with exercise as well).  My point is that you have to enter into the exercise routine gradually so as to have a pleasant experience rather than a near-death episode.  Walk before you run - literally! 

When I read the stats on weight-loss success, its no wonder that so many people fail to lose pounds in any significant amounts, and for those who do, a large majority gain it back.  Success is about adopting a lifestyle you can live with forever, not an aggressive workout routine that is not sustainable.

To date, I have maintained my weight loss for two years, which means I'm bucking the trends everyday.  But I never put myself in a miserable state that I couldn't live with, so its not too difficult to manage my bulk successfully, day in and day out.