Darlene left this comment: “Very inspiring. But I do wonder… have you always been in shape?
It seems as though this would work best for people who are already fit and trying to look like you. What about those of us who are overweight? Should we lose the weight first?”
This IS how I believe people who are overweight can get themselves to a healthy weight. By being consistent with daily body maintenance. It takes time for the body to build strength, become flexible, develop agility and power. We can’t achieve it over a short period of time and then just stop and coast on our results. Starting from zero it took me one week of trying every single day to finally accomplish one chin up, and that was after about six months of consistent weight training. Now I can pull off five chin ups whenever I go past the bar. When I forget and don’t do them for a week, I’m back to square one. The strength gain is not permanent…you know, “use it or lose it”. It takes a lot of time to get fit and very little time to undo it. A little bit everyday is our insurance for a healthy and active life.
As we age, it’s not the dumbells we’ll have to pick up, it’s ourselves.
There has been so much emphasis on more being better over the years. People watching professional athletes who train for hours a day (which is just not possible for the average person, let alone parents). I know people who are overweight who struggle with running long distances or training like a triathlete, hoping to achieve the body type of said sport. What often happens is pain and injury to joints that are not physically conditioned for such activities. Then as a result of the long duration of these workouts, people get hungry and end up over-eating to satiate the furnace, which negates the calories burned in the first place! Followed by a decrease in Non-Exercise Activity (look for my article on N.E.A.T) for the rest of the day and possibly for the following day(s).
There is no quick fix. There is no magic plan. What there is, is Self-Discipline. Self-Discipline is born from being Consistent. Enter: Daily Body Maintenance. Every morning for the rest of our life we start with some daily exercise (which also helps to Get The Fuzz Out). The rest of the day we stay active = Active Living. This means take the stairs. Clean our home. Walk the dog. Do our chores. Fit in a more intense 4-12 minute HIIT workout and thorough body stretches. Once we stop living an active life and let others do our doing, well, there goes NEAT.
Once we let advertising and products convince us that there is an easier way, we’ve lost.
Remember one important point: Just because someone is not overweight, does not mean that they are healthy or fit. We are all made up so very differently, carry our body fat differently. I think we will be better off if we think less about how we actually look or what the scale says and put more emphasis on how we feel, what our body can do, how our skeleton functions and how we nourish ourselves. That’s what I mean when I say: I believe we will do ourselves a service if we focus less on the aesthetic and more on our body’s function.
And then Denise kindly reminded me that: “You never answered her question.”
Right, the question was: “But I do wonder… have you always been in shape?”
I realize now how important it is for people to know if I have struggled as they have. It’s a complicated answer from my perspective. Because everything is relative.
Though I have never been physically overweight, I have had periods when I have lost considerable amounts of muscle tone and strength and have had an increase in body fat. During the period after my first child was born, I lost all the pregnancy weight very quickly (people complimented me on that), BUT I was far from being healthy or fit. I could barely run a flight of stairs without becoming winded…this was not me and I was not flattered by those compliments. I would think to myself, that being thin without health and fitness meant nothing. From those compliments, I realized that it was more common to value one’s size, weight and shape rather than value one’s fitness and health. After my second child was born, the pregnancy weight came off fairly quickly but left a residue of excess body fat that I was not accustomed to. For the first time ever I had excess body fat over the waist of my low-rise jeans, and I had lost even more muscle tone. At the time, I didn’t care so much about it because I was more focused on producing healthy milk for my infant and I knew that once I stopped nursing I could focus once again on myself…little did I know that my job as a mother and parent was just beginning and the time I thought I’d have to focus on myself would not be what I imagined.
So the answer is no.
No, I haven’t always been in shape. And, no, I don’t know what it is like to be overweight. My actual weight was relatively stable but my form had shifted.
But it’s about perspective don’t you think? I have had my own share of struggles getting back to health and to a level of fitness that just keeps getting better with daily maintenance. You can read about my experience here.
And so with this in mind I thought it apropos to share the following blog. Fit2Fat2Fit: Super-fit Personal Trainer, Drew Manning decides to chronicle his experience with going from Fit to Fat then going back to Fit again. If you have a moment check it out. His doctor, Dr. Warren Willey has some profound words to share with respect to transitioning from being overweight and eating an unhealthy western diet:
“The body must heal from the damage done, then and only then will weight loss be significant and maintainable.”
The post below, is from Drew Manning’s, Fit2Fat2Fit site. The first photo is Drew Manning on May 7, 2011, the first day of his Fit 2 Fat quest. The second photo is him six months later (Nov. 7, 2011) having gained approximately seventy pounds. You’ll have to go to his site to see how he is now working towards becoming Fit again.
Dr. Warren Willey was asked to say a few words about Drew Manning from Fit2Fat2Fit.com:
When I was first informed of Drew’s plan I had a mix of emotions. His altruistic goal of helping people via his example thrilled and excited me. His method, similar to that of a teacher playing in traffic to demonstrate the dangers to her students, did not. Needless to say, Drew is currently dodging traffic.
His journey has brought some valuable things to light:
- First and foremost – even the healthiest, strongest, leanest, and fittest person is not immune to the effects of the classic western diet. Without regards to what crosses your lips and how much movement you do, you will suffer the effects of poor dietary habits and lack of exercise.
- Second – it’s a process that does not take a lot of time. Look how he has changed in less than six months. In my medical weight loss practice I hear people claim the fact ‘the weight just came on’ or ‘I have gained thirty pounds in the last few months!’ followed quickly with finger pointing toward the recent development of a awful metabolic defect (thyroid or sex hormone problem to name but a few). Drew’s experience shows that it is usually not a medical condition, but a lifestyle condition.
- Third – It will be interesting as to the speed of his recovery. If you have been following him, you will notice at first there was not much physical or outside changes apparent. In contrast to what was happening inside, one could likely not tell what he was doing. If we had the benefit of viewing the internal environment and the plethora of hurricanes he was creating, the story would have been very different. We are very aware that the internal organs, in particular the liver, take a beating from our diet. Chemicals, sweeteners, and preservatives in food play havoc long before the damage is apparent in our outward appearance (i.e. your fat!). His fat gain increased exponentially when the internal environment could not keep up.
An important lesson for all watching: correct, long lasting weight loss is a process. The body must heal from the damage done then and only then will weight loss be significant and maintainable. Quick weight loss plans do not do this, and that is why we have so many people excellent at dieting and losing weight, but even better at finding it again.
His healing from this will also take place in this order:
- The internal environment will have to heal followed by the fat loss.
- The liver needs to be repaired
- The mitochondria (energy source of cells) will have to be restored to health for him to have the energy to exercise again.
It will be a slow process, but what you will likely notice is that once his internal body heals, the fat loss will be exponential just as the gain was.
An important lesson for all watching: correct, long lasting weight loss is a process. The body must heal from the damage done then and only then will weight loss be significant and maintainable. Quick weight loss plans do not do this, and that is why we have so many people excellent at dieting and losing weight, but even better at finding it again. Drew’s method of weight loss will be successful and permanent as he will start with repairing the damage done and then changing his body.
-Dr. Warren Willey
If you only have time to watch one video, watch the first one with Dr. Willey.
Here is one article, from the many articles written globally about Drew Manning’s journey. I chose to share this one in particular because there is some commentary from Drew’s wife, reflecting on his physical and psychological changes. “Personal Trainer Drew Manning Made Himself Obese To Understand What Being Fat Feels Like”.