In defence of exercise

{Gymbag image Wholeliving}

There was an article in the Sunday Times’ STM (magazine) last weekend called ‘Fit to be Fat‘ which loudly proclaimed that exercise alone doesn’t necessarily help lose weight!

Ummmm, yes….we agree wholeheartedly and could have told you that without resorting to the swag of scientific studies cited in the article.

The quickest path we know to failure and frustration is to embark on an intensive exercise program, with the sole motivating factor being to lose weight, without changing any other aspect of your lifestyle (including what you eat). Weight loss alone is a terrible motivator, as the expectation for results can very quickly lead to resentment, lack of enjoyment and a downward spiral in motivation, often causing the person to ‘throw in the towel’ before having had the chance to reap any benefits. Sound familiar?

What we find most disappointing about an article like this – which is sadly a reflection of the society we live in – is the all pervading emphasis on weight loss above all else.

Weight loss needs to be viewed as a wonderful side effect of changing your lifestyle for the better, not an end in itself.

Its amazing how many clients who come to us initially for weight loss, quickly realise the benefits of regular exercise and the positive impact it has on their stress levels, energy levels, lifestyle and generally how they feel.

Think of it this way…regular exercise has the ability to:

  • Boost Energy: the ‘feel good’ factor!
  • Improve posture: by strengthening your abs and back muscles
  • Maintain and increase flexibility
  • Promote a good night’s sleep
  • Eliminate Toxins
  • Make your skin glow
  • Increase bone strength and density
  • Improve bowel function
  • Regulate blood pressure
  • Keep your heart healthy
  • Increase oxygen levels
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Reduce the risk of cancer
  • Improve mental wellbeing and decrease the chance of depression
  • Build a healthy self esteem and a sense of achievement
  • Ultimately save money!
  • I’m certain that if this fantastic cocktail of side effects could be bottled, it would be a guaranteed best seller!

    The article mentioned that many people tend to reward themselves for exercising by eating and indulging more. Personally, I find that exercise motivates me to eat healthier and to really enjoy my food. I’m less likely to indulge in low quality food, and more inclined to want to fuel my body well to reinforce the great benefits of the activity I am doing. Exercise for me means that I am able to eat the food I love and to indulge without feeling deprived, all while maintaining a fairly constant weight.

    If society’s mindset can be directed away from negative concepts of exercising (and dieting) to LOSE weight, and instead replaced with positive concepts of eating and exercising to GAIN health and energy – it will be far easier to sustain these healthy habits and we will all be slimmer, happier and more balanced.

    It’s our aim to create this mind-shift, will YOU join us?

    One Response to “In defence of exercise”

    • Charmaine:

      I so agree with your sentiment. Too much of our focus is on weight loss not health, sure the two are related but i fear that it is a purely cosmetic agenda when discussed in the mass media. Forgive my rant but what the heck is the deal with celeb mums and the fact that they dont celebrate the blessing of the new bubba but instead focus on how quickly they lost the weight! Anyway i will jump down off my soap box and once again say thanks for a great balanced, inspirational perspective.