Over the past 12 weeks, I have lost 21 pounds. How did this happen? Well, I simply stopped working out and instead kept on doing natural exercise like yoga, walking and swimming and eating naturally. That is all.
I don’t typically like to talk about my weight, especially on my blog, but I just found this to be so interesting. It is something that I always wondered about. Does exercising (DVDs, cardio, lifting weights etc) actually help you to lose weight? In my experiences in life the answer is no. Every time that I have gone back to cardio workout DVDs and weights I have gained weight. Not just muscle weight, but fat too. When I workout I also get moody, have cravings and need to consume a lot more calories. What I really think about these types of workouts is that they are hard on the body and are not really natural forms of exercise.
My weight loss started on our camping trip at the end of August. I had to leave my workout DVD behind and was sure that I would actually gain weight from doing so. I had been exercising (cardio and weights) at least 3-4 times a week, with yoga and walking in between since Serafina turned 2 months old and breaking out of my routine was scary to me. Craig kept on telling me to stop those DVDs and just do natural exercises like yoga or walking if I really wanted to be healthy and have lasting weight loss. All the months of doing workouts, I never did lose a pound and in fact, gained quite a bit too. I was feeling so frustrated that nothing was happening when I was trying so very hard. When I finally relaxed about it and let it go, everything seemed to just happen naturally for me. My body went back to its normal weight and I also feel so much more calm and relaxed not having to worry that I missed a workout or have to strive for results all the time.
Why I love natural exercises like yoga, walking and swimming so much is because they are kind to my body and mind and I believe they are practical and natural. Yoga, walking and swimming are not too exerting and tiring and are something that I feel I could do anytime. If I take a break from cardio or weights and then try and do them again, it is hard and it takes a little while before my body adjusts to the working out again. I also feel relaxed when I do natural forms of exercise, instead of uptight and the relaxed and peaceful feeling lasts long after I exercise. My appetite stays moderate and I never have crazy cravings or feel that I need to eat NOW when I am just walking or doing yoga. I never feel the need to overeat and my meals instead remain small and consistent. I also have much more energy for my day, whereas with working out I get too tired and depleted to do much else in my day. I also get sore and cranky.
So I am going to stick to natural forms of exercise for my body, just as I stick to natural foods for my body. It just makes sense to me and I have seen the results of when I am working out compared to the results of when I am doing natural exercises. Working out always makes me obsessive, moody, hungry, tired and if I miss my workout I get depressed feeling too. The high of the workout is not really worth the other effects to me and it doesn’t even lead to lasting weight loss. Whenever I have lost weight by doing workouts, I have gained it back if I didn’t keep up the working out or increase how much I workout. To me, it is just a crazy addictive cycle that will ultimately lead no where. It is not something that most people can maintain (especially mothers with young children) and I think it can even make a person more uptight and stressed out, rather than calm and relaxed, the way a walk outside does and that is not actually healthy either. Plus, our whole family gets to be together on a walk and we get to talk to each other instead of me just locking myself in a room to be in front of a T.V screen for 30-60 minutes! I love the connection and family time we spend outdoors on walks or swimming at the beach vs. the selfish time I spend alone and inside the house.
Here are some articles I came across as well:
- Why Exercise Is Not Effective for Weight Loss
- Does Exercise Really Make You Healthier? (page 3 talks about weight loss)
- Too Much of a Good Thing: What Does Over-Exercising Really Mean?
I do believe that we need to move for overall health and that exercise is important for more than just weight loss or weight maintenance, but do you ever see animals doing crazy workouts or worrying about their caloric intake?? It just doesn’t seem natural. Doing things naturally always seems to be the best way to do anything in life. Do some form of natural exercise moderately, eat real foods, drink plenty of water, get outside, find time to rest and relax, think happy thoughts and you will be just fine!