Sunday, March 13, 2011

Exercise - is it really necessary to lose weight?

I'll be the first to admit that I am stubbornly avoiding exercise. Its not that I can't do it...I can't really say I look forward to it - and I know I am not alone.  Can I lose weight without exercise?  Absolutely- I have!  I've taken off 26.6 lbs without running, jogging, doing crunches, or riding bikes...and am proud of it.  But - I'm here to say that I know better.  While up at mom's house this week, I have been clearing out some of her old magazines and cookbooks...and came across a magazine called "Eating Well" (from Winter 2004 - YIKES).  On the cover it said "Special Report: What to Eat for the Rest of Your Life - the everyday diets of leading nutrition experts".  There was tons of good material there - from Ph.D.s in pediatrics and medicine, Nutritionists, Cardiac Specialists,  and leading authors of books such as the South Beach Diet and Strong Women, Strong Bones, etc.  But there was one paragraph that really caught my attention.  When asked for any advice for readers, this author stated:

"Typically, both men and women start to lose muscle in their late thirties and early forties - about a quarter of a pound a year.  Your lean tissue really drives your metabolic rate and we've seen that in middle age and in older individuals who start strength training -their metabolism goes up.  And we know that metabolism in individuals who have more muscle is higher than in people who have less

When a Woman diets without exercising, both aerobic and strength, the weight she loses includes 20% muscle mass, which is detrimental to metabolism.

So we try to combine reducing calories, improving the diet and stimulating the muscles to -even at rest - burn more calories.  Through walking and other physical activities, we want to increase caloric expenditure.  All of that goes into making long-term weight control easier.  Nutrition and physical-strength building are a completely natural marriage.    Without one or the other, you're getting half of what you need"

That quote was from Miriam E. Nelson, Ph.D. - Director of  John Hancock Center of Physical Activity and Nutrition., Friedman School, Tufts University.  She is also the author of books such as "Strong Women, Strong Bones", "Strong Women Stay Young", "Strong Women Stay Slim", "Strong Women Eat Well", and "Strong Women and Men Beat Arthritis".

So, its time for me to figure it all out.  How will I start getting/fitting more exercise into my routine?  What kind of exercise will I enjoy?  How can I do that without a gym membership?  I'm on a mission to figure this out - but  need your help.

I'm opening this for discussion.  I know some of you are already good at this.  Some of you have been reading this blog because you are good at the exercise part, but need help with the diet part - figuring how and what to eat.  So, if you have some good suggestions of what works for you, please comment below.  I feel confident one of you has the me find something I will enjoy.


  1. I really enjoy walking/jogging the rail trail with Katie. Good exercise, fresh air, fairly pretty scenery and quality time with the family! If you're looking for more intensity you could try P90X or Insanity. They're 90 and 60 day programs respectively and require very little equipment and you can do it at home. Katie and I just started P90X again and Ralph and Terry are trying Insanity if you want more info on either...

  2. Funny you should write about this...I went to the lib. yesterday and rented 2 dvd's to work out with. I figure I would try these two and return them and try 2 more until I find one I really like. But I will say the yoga one was hard so I will have to try that again later (when I am a little more fit). I am doing the boxing type one today. Wish me luck!

  3. @Jared - I love the reminder about the rail trail! We have taken bike rides there, but a hefty walk would be great too. Justin and I walked the new development across the street two days ago and really liked it - hilly and challenging. Your post reminded me of how much I've wanted to do that.
    @Mimi - let me know which one you like best!