I read a post on Facebook a couple nights ago that broke my heart. A young, morbidly obese, woman posted a photograph of herself sitting dejectedly in her bedroom. She wrote: “This is me right now. I am so depressed.”
There is an obesity epidemic right now, and there are real victims. This is not limited to the known health effects of obesity such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and other medical conditions. Obesity attacks the human psyche.
I think a large part of the reason why people find it so difficult to lose weight is that it seems to take so much effort to get such little gain. This is why so many people make New Years’ resolutions to get fit and lose weight only to abandon these resolutions in a few weeks. This is why so many people buy the latest diet or fitness product, but return to their previous diet and inactivity when they do not see the results they expect.
Another challenge is that many people truly cannot imagine themselves fit. They have all seen and heard of weight loss successes, but these just don’t seem real. Models in magazines seem to come from another planet.
Obese people who are trying to get fit also face a lot of judgement and ridicule from society. How hard must it be to go to the gym or run on a public path when you don’t “look like you belong?”
Over time, in this blog, I intend to delve deeply into issues surrounding setting up a fitness program, choosing a healthy diet, and finding lifelong motivation. This article, today, is intended to address some basic issues.
- See your health care provider for an evaluation and guidance before starting your weight loss and fitness program. This topic is covered in detail in an earlier post.
- Unless you are making yourself sick (please don’t!!), you will probably experience only a slow drop in weight over time. Don’t expect to reach your target quickly. Your goal may be many months or even years down the road. But don’t quit.
- Unless there are real medical barriers, most people really can lose weight and get fit. How do I know? I lost 50 pounds and became a multiple marathon finisher and an Ironman triathlete. My wife lost 70 pounds and became an ultra-marathoner (that means she is one of the nutty people who thinks that a marathon is not long enough). We were never active our entire lives until our 30s. I am not proud of this. I wish I were a lifelong athlete. However, our experiences help show that regular, inactive, overweight people can, truly, transform themselves into athletes.
- When I see overweight people at the gym or on a race course, I feel respect. Honestly. I have been there. I know it is really, really hard. I remember swimming one length of a pool and panting for a minute. I remember running a single mile and not being able to walk down stairs for three days. I remember lifting weights and then sitting in a locker room for 20 minutes trying not to vomit. You don’t have to push as hard as that to be successful, but you do have to be consistent.
Your life is important. Along with being a good, kind person, the best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to get fit. Yes, it is hard. Yes, it takes time.
But you will never, ever regret it!
February 21, 2015