I never had a problem with my health or fitness until age 30, when I found out I had thyroid cancer. Since then, it has been a struggle to maintain a healthy weight and keep active. Twelve months ago, my weight had gotten totally out of control, and I decided to take charge of my health. As of this writing, I am down 33 pounds. I continue to struggle, but I have found a regimen that works for me.
My first realization – I’m really good at “all,” and I’m really good at “none.” However, I stink at moderation. The problem is, neither “all” (as in exercise) nor “none” (as in food) are sustainable lifestyles for me. The trick was finding something that was sustainable that also kept me motivated and interested.
What works for one won’t work for all. This was my second realization, and why I call my activity plan a regimen rather than a routine. For me, as soon as something becomes routine, I’m no longer interested. My challenge was to find a way to increase the activity in my lifestyle in such a way that it was not routine, and didn’t feel like forced exercise.
Burning calories – My regimen consists of two types of activity. Burning calories is my favorite. I do it in unusual ways, and each day is different. For instance, when I take a load of laundry upstairs, I often go up and down those stairs six or eight times before I stop and put the laundry away. I always park my car at the far end of a parking lot, and I almost always take the stairs rather than the elevator. I also keep a small set of weights on my side table, and do funky things with them when I’m watching television.
Aerobic conditioning – This is the type of exercise I don’t care for, because there’s no way to disguise it … it’s exercise, no matter how you look at it. I use an elliptical three times a week. I tell myself that I will do it for 20 minutes. I always do it for more than 20 minutes (usually 30), but holding myself to the longer time tends to make me dread it more, thus skipping it more often.
This type of program may be a bit unorthodox, but it works for me. I’m down 33 pounds and have another 30 to go. Wish me luck!