Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Newtonian Fitness Plan

So I have been thinking a lot lately about health and fitness topics and I have been reading a lot about these topics. And since most of the articles I have read have been coming from friends through their Google Share buttons or via email, I can only assume that they have been thinking about them too.

One article came from Elizabeth who shared this blog post. I haven't gone back to read parts 2-8 but I am definitely going to this evening (if I can stay awake unlike last night). I agree with just about everything said in this post and really like Erin's suggestions for motivation outside of just weight loss. But, as Rachel described so well in this post, sometimes, focusing on the numbers can be just a simple expression of a more complex inner desire. A woman who says "she needs to lose some weight" might just be using a well coined phrase to simply state what might actually be a more complex thought process or it could be evidence of being caught up in a low self image which she should struggle to conquer. I know I have been guilty of both.

I am slowly learning that everyone has to find the right fitness equation that works for them and there are many factors involved in determining your personal equation. There are some women who really do struggle with and get obsessed with the numbers on the scale. I use to be one of those women until I was able to understand that body type has a big impact on what your numbers will look like.

Body type is a significant factor in my equation. You can find tons of articles on body type: how to determine yours, how to best exercise for yours, how to dress yours. I find them helpful in coming to terms with a realistic view of my body. Teresa Tapp talks about body types in the beginning of her Basic Workout DVD and that shouldn't be skipped! (Here is an article that expresses some of her points in the talk.)

I am the kind of person who weighs more than I look like I do. I am not just trying to excuse my excess weight or trying to delude myself that I am healthier than I really am. But, I have had multiple medical and fitness professionals all look at my number on the scale and say, "I wouldn't have guessed you weighed that much!" Thanks. I think.

I have the type of body that builds quickly and easily maintains a lot of densely packed muscle primarily in my legs, but also my arms and shoulders, so my fitness equation has a key component: Newton's First Law of Motion.

An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

When I practice "induced exercise" as Erin describes, my whole day tends to become more active. When I allow myself to become sedentary, I tend to stay that way. When I let myself get sidelined from exercise due to illness or a busy schedule, I find it harder to jump back into it. When I have become sedentary for a long time, it usually takes a big push on my part to get me back into the routine. So, what does this all mean? Well, after almost 4 weeks of regular exercise, my weight has actually gone up! And I am OK with that. Like Erin said, someone who was only exercising for the purpose of hoping that number would decrease would be very disappointed. I fight that temptation by saying that I am working on getting healthy, not thin. There are plenty of thin women who aren't healthy and plenty of women who weigh less than I do who aren't half as strong. Thin is an impossible dream for my body type.

I think women naturally tend to talk about staying healthy in terms of weight loss mostly because of the influence of our beauty obsessed society and that's not a good thing. Some women try to accomplish loosing weight through diet only, some try to accomplish it through exercise only but the ones who end up with the best results and stand a better chance of keeping their bodies healthy long term are the ones who approach it with the goal of living a well rounded healthy lifestyle incorporating both exercise and diet (and a little Isaac Newton) into the equation.

6 comments:

  1. OH ME TOO! It is so embarassing at the doctors and the nurse keeps checking and looking, then looking at me again, asking me to finally take off my shoes! As if that would help!....arrggh!
    And I do the same when I start exercising, the number goes up, but my pants size goes down, slowly. Weird.

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  2. I once had a doctor look at me, look at the weight recorded by the nurse, look at me again and then shove me back out into the hall and onto the scale because she thought the nurse had done it wrong. She hadn't.

    Most recently, it was the manager of the Curves I go to who said, "I never would have guessed you weighed that!" Weighing and measuring people is her job!

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  3. Thanks for the links.
    I had only met one other woman like this and she was an aerobics instructor and her doctor would have advised her to go on a diet, just by the numbers, if he hadn't seen she was OK. I have always been the same size as my best friend but there has been at least 30 lbs difference.
    It is frustrating at times if you just focus on the numbers and not the health side. I will always be 20-30lbs heavier than those in my size.

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  4. Now THAT is the hiney-kicking I was talking about! Thanks for the motivation, Charlotte!

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  5. Oh Charlotte, we must be sisters!!! I could have written your exact words when describing yourself. Me too.... I am sure of it.. long lost sisters.

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  6. Emily,
    I've always wanted a sister!:)

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts and yourself!