Exercise and Weight Loss

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:

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! 🙂

14 thoughts on “Exercise and Weight Loss

  1. Love this Tiffany! I have been running and doing lots of workout DVD’s but my weight loss has definitely plateaued and I still have a bit more excess baggage. This may be the key, especially because running is just getting too hard on my knees.

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    • Thanks Lydia! I used to run a lot a few years ago and my knees always hurt. I find walking is better and more relaxing, plus the kids come too. I usually walk for an hour pushing the stroller or pulling Kesa and Serafina in the wagon or the sled. It is my favorite way to exercise. 🙂

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  2. This is all very true. in my pre-baby days when I used to exercise 5 days a week (Pilates, weights, and typical toning workouts) I would get so grouchy and guilty if I missed a day. And I would constantly obsess in front of the mirror about my results. And i never really enjoy that type of workout. certain pilates exercises i do, but many are just straining and tiring. The most fit I’ve ever felt was when I was biking in the city almost every day, it was actually enjoyable and I got to be outside and go places.
    When I was 6 weeks postpartum I started jogging and doing 100 crunches every day plus these other Jane Fonda bun/thigh toning exercises and I started having pelvic pain and the bleeding started again (thought it was my period but nope) and just generally felt like things were falling out and I got all freaked out about prolapse and read from many sources that crunches and jogging were about the worst thing for my postpartum body and aren’t really good for your body in general. Crunches can actually ADD to your waistline. So I quit everythig for like a month and i lost a bunch of weight just from breastfeeding i guess. No working out. Then I eased myself back into gentle yoga and now I’m doing my regular yoga and stretching again and it just feels much better. I hated jogging anyway. I hated pushing myself to do something I hated and then felt guilty when I didn’t. I also don’t believe in calories in the weight loss sense. It’s much healthier to eat when hungry and stop when full and have a general idea of what is healthy and what isn’t than to count every calorie and either feel guilty at the end of the day or realize I still have 200 calories to spare and go eat something bad for me just because I haven’t consumed my calorie limit. Calories are a very flawed manmade way of measuring food intake. A healthy home made granola recipe has twice as many calories as a bowl of sugary oatmeal crisp, now tell me how that is helpful or rational. I will take more calories over processed chemicals any day.

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    • Amen sister! I hated my workouts too and definitely felt as though I had to push myself to do them and that made me feel like I was getting somewhere when I really wasn’t. What fun is it if it is completely dreaded and chore-like? Being outside is sooooo much more enjoyable and makes you happy too! I love fresh air and sunshine! I am still breastfeeding too and so I think maybe with working out and breastfeeding I was ultra-ravenous because I needed so many more calories, yet I was trying to just eat moderately and so my body was probably storing fat to use for milk production and to keep me alive too, definitely not burning. I didn’t know what/when and how much to eat when I was working out and breastfeeding, it was not a good thing to do to my postpartum body for sure. I was hungry and grouchy all the time and so very tired. The most tired I have ever felt in my life. Nowadays, I have let the striving go and have decided to relax with my little ones and I finally feel like my appetite is normal. I can tell when to eat and eat just enough to satisfy me. I feel very healthy these days with just walking, but I think I will add yoga in again after I am done breastfeeding. Serafina still nurses very frequently throughout the day and at least a few times a night too.

      I don’t count calories either, but just stick to eating natural foods and eat as much as I need at that time. Right now I am loving homemade peanut butter and walnuts or pecans added to my oatmeal. I always remember a saying that I read and believe: “Just because something is high in calories doesn’t mean that it is bad for you. Just because something is low in calories doesn’t mean that it is good for you.” Our bodies need nourishment that comes from real foods, not processed man-made foods. Fats from avocados and nuts are good fats it feels good when you eat them. Fats from deep-fried foods and butter do not make you feel so good. I agree that calorie counting is only a flawed man-made method that just drives people crazy and is not a healthy way to view food.

      I love granola too! Now you have me thinking of the coconut apricot granola…. 🙂

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  3. I love this! I don’t count calories either. I think it’s insane and drives a person crazy. Yoga and biking are my favorite forms of exercise. I do like to incorporate some weight resistance training just because I like the results if gives my physique but I certainly don’t obsess over it. My daughter is 13 mos now and she’s my priority. I exercise when I can but chasing around her definitely works!

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  4. It’s ironic running across this post today, because I was just having the same experience. A few months ago I would jog, workout, do yoga, bike, and walk everywhere, and I was finding that I wasn’t losing anymore weight! It was so frustrating! So I gave up.. sort of swung the other route and went super indulgent in laziness and food, but then decided that it would be best if I just stuck to the exercise that I actually enjoyed; which is yoga, walking, and biking. And of course having my diet consist of a majority of fruits and veggies! I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone in this experience : ) Keep up the good work!

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  5. Tiffany, I liked the way you talk about looking at how the animal kingdom behaves…….I don’t ever recall seeing my cat sporting tights and doing reps with the dumbells! It is so simple isnt it…just move every day, take the stairs and walk as much as you can. I totally agree too about the comments around calories. I really enjoyed this post, it was so affirming😀thanks Tiffany

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    • Haha! Well, I thought it was silly, but true! I think that if I were doing light natural exercise regularly and then one day I had to run like mad, I could do it. I am not sure I could do it so well after a day of doing an intense workout though, I would be sore and drained. I think that we can learn a lot from nature. It seems us crazy humans always think we know what is best for ourselves and tend to go against nature all too often. As a result, we create so many problems for ourselves and our planet too. Thanks for commenting Helen! 🙂

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  6. It is so refreshing to know that I’m not the only one who would rather do other physical activities besides workout dvd’s or aerobics. Since I always liked hiking, even though I don’t get to do it much. I always said that if I could hike everyday instead of regular exercise I would. Because when I think of having to exercise to a dvd I’m not very motivated and I always wind up not doing it. I agree exercise should be fun not hard like life shouldn’t be hard. I also think that a person shouldn’t work themselves so hard exercising until they make themselves literally sick, like I see on a lot of television shows. I do agree that walking, swimming, bikeriding, and rollerskating are definately some things that are better forms of exercise.

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  7. Pingback: Don’t Waste Your Life | Live. Learn. Love. Eat.

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