Do you think exercise is necessary for your health and for losing, or maintaining, your weight?
Lots of people who are running or going to the gym regularly are overweight. I’ve been to many races, and back in Turkey I had a big running group, so many friends there had excess weight even though they were running great times. And here I go to the gym every day and so many people there are stuck at the same level, always seeing the same results.
So it’s actually true that we don’t need exercise as a tool for losing weight.
But what does happen when you exercise is that it motivates you and keeps pushing you forward. And of course it’s not just about how much we weigh, exercise has so many other health benefits.
If you think a few generations back, our grandmothers did everything by hand, but I don’t think many of them went running to get exercise. Even if you run a marathon you’re only burning around 2,600 to 3,000 calories. And not many of us are running marathons every day or every week.
You may have heard before that abs are made in the kitchen, or that our food is 80 percent responsible for our weight. So while it is true that exercise is a good tool to help you lose weight, the main reason you exercise should be for your soul — to heal yourself, discipline your body, balance your hormones and improve your mood. But if your goal is to change your weight then first you must look at your diet.
Unfortunately there is no short cut — quick-fix dieting will not make a lasting change, you’ll most likely end up gaining back more weight than you lose. So start by making small, conscious changes.
First, the amount of calories you consume each day is important, but knowing how much protein, fat, and sugar and other carbohydrates you’re eating is much more important. Because if you don’t know the numbers then you can’t make conscious changes in your diet.
Second, the quality of the food you eat is critical. Make sure that you focus on eating nutrient dense food. Try swapping out individual ingredients, just one step at a time.
For example instead of white flour try using coconut flour — it’s high in fiber and low in carbs.
Maybe instead of white rice you can try cauliflower rice or quinoa.
Try getting more veggies in your diet with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, this will make you feel fuller and give you extra nutrients.
And you might like to try eating more legumes like pinto beans or lentils, they’re high in fiber and will slow down your digestion.
Try something new! If you start eating more nutrient rich food then you will start feeling different, and the change you see may take a little longer but it will be sustainable.
Remember the rabbit and turtle story? The slow turtle always wins the race! Don’t forget to enjoy your journey.
Ayda Ersoy is a nutrition consultant, personal trainer, yoga instructor and more. She can be reached at www.dietdochawaii.com, (808) 276-6892 and Ayda@DietDocHawaii.com