Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Journey: Taking exercise to a new level

This time last year, I was just a couple weeks into my journey of learning a healthier lifestyle and working towards my goal of losing 45 pounds.  I was closely following the program on, and was seeing success.  Of course, I knew that weight loss involved not only monitoring your calorie intake (which was a lot of fun with the online journals and charts and little topics to read), but it involved using up the calories you consumed.
It was like an "a-ha" moment for me to put together that our bodies were intelligently designed to run like machines.  To be alive and simply function, your body has to have energy.  To have energy, your body was intelligently designed to have to consume food, which it converts into that energy.  Take in less fuel (food) than your body uses and you lose weight; take in more fuel (food) than your body needs and it just stores it all and you gain weight. 
 Simple, easy principle.

I learned that you can lose weight even if you don't exercise by following that principle.
But when you're trying to take in less calories than you're using,
it can be difficult to stay within your daily calorie target.
The easy way to "earn" more calories was to exercise.
Basically, however many calories you burn off, you need to consume.

So, say, I walked for 30 minutes and worked off 200 calories,
I needed to eat that many more calories so I didn't go too far below my calorie target.
If you go too low, then your body wants to go into "famine" mode and hang on to 
fat so you don't starve yourself.
Remember that you 're already working at a "reduced calorie" intake,
and not the calorie intake that you normally need to eat just to maintain.

So you should already be taking in 400 less calories per day to lose weight.
If you add an addition 200 calories (from the exercise) then you're going to be taking in too few calories and your body is designed to protect you from starvation!!
I was constantly reminded at how wonderfully we were created, and how loving our Heavenly Father is to think of all these things for us and to care for us!!

I learned that balance is the key!!

So I started exercising whenever I could.
It wasn't much at first.
It was still winter.
Remember I was struggling with being able to keep warm, so I wasn't inclined to go out on cold days.
I looked into a gym,
but couldn't afford it.
I wasn't terribly interested in going somewhere else to work out either.
Plus, there was the child care to think about.
So I simply started walking.....around the neighborhood.
For about 20-30 minutes 3 times a week.
No biggie.
Not stressful.
And I lost weight because of it.
After awhile though, it got kinda boring.
I wanted to do something with my mind during that time.
Then an opportunity came up at church for me to perform in a drama about the life of Fanny Crosby.
It was going to take a LOT of memorization.
I was intrigued by the challenge because I wasn't sure if my memory was as sharp as it had once been.
I was just starting the treatment for my thyroid, so my mind was still covered in a fog.
But I used that exercise time to memorize my lines.
We were performing this drama at Mother's Day in May.
As we got closer to Easter, I started thinking I needed more time to memorize.
So I started walking more.
I bumped up to 45 minutes of walking 3 times a week.
The weight started coming off steadily, but very gradually.

By the time Mother's Day rolled around,
I had all my lines memorized and had lost 20 pounds!!
What a feeling of accomplishment!

But then what.
After that was all over, I needed to keep going.
I had been telling my friend about my goals, and she was noticing the weight-loss.
I needed to add more time in because my calorie intake had been adjusted down because I was at a smaller body size now.
So I started setting my alarm for 6 am,
and would go out to the walking track that was about 5 minutes from my house.
I started by walking around the track 3 times which took me about 30 minutes.
Gradually, I added a lap as I could tolerate it.
Pretty soon I was doing 5 laps (which is exactly 4 miles) in about 65 minutes.
Then my friend asked if she could join me.
I could only go on the days my husband wasn't working (since he leaves the house at 4:30 am),
so that was about 3-4 days a week.
When my friend couldn't go along,
I needed something else to occupy my mind.
I was so encouraged by memorizing the story of Fanny Crosby,
that I wondered why I hadn't thought of memorizing scripture while walking!!

It was then that I caught a radio broadcast of a lady who was accustomed to memorizing
entire BOOKS of the Bible.
And entire book??
Why not, I thought.
My favorite book of the Bible is Philippians, and through the years I've memorized large portions of every chapter, but never put the whole thing together.
So that was the starting point for me.
I began in the fall.
It has been slow going, and I've gotten distracted.
The weather has changed again, and it has gotten colder in the mornings.
I'm only up to the middle of the 3rd chapter.
But it's my goal to get back to that and finish the entire book by the end of February.
Yikes, I can't believe I just put that out there!!
But there it is.
And after that?

Who knows?
Maybe Ruth or Esther or another "Prison Epistle."

Would you like to join me?
Leave me a comment if you're interested.
Maybe a few verses a week?
I like to take a half a chapter a week, but that's just me.
Maybe you like to do more?

Exercising the mind is just as important as exercising the body!!

1 comment:

Laura said...

Convicted! I'm thinking on it....