By now you have been assaulted by weight-loss commercials on TV, ads on the radio and countless articles on how to lose weight.
Every magazine in December was geared toward great recipes or drinks. Then in January we’re supposed to take off all the bulk we were encouraged to put on.
I was thinking about how dangerous a topic it would be to write about exercise or weight loss. I worry that the minute I write about it, I will jinx myself, get lazy and pack on the pounds.
Isn’t that how it works? I suddenly find working out so overwhelming that I’m powerless and incapable of resisting the couch.
Like a Taser victim, wildly aware but unable to move. Yet here I am writing anyway just so I can tell you to skip all of those impossible fitness programs and still make some improvements.
This isn’t a fancy grid with your exercise plan or a personalized detailed proposal that includes lifting weights, aerobic training and endurance exercises. Nope. It’s so much easier than that, at least for the average person who just needs to get started.
Here’s a promise I can guarantee. If you do the following three things, you will at least be headed in the right direction. There isn’t even a need for a disclaimer that you should see a doctor before starting this program.
Where you go from there? Well that’s up to you.
Drink water. Yep, sounds easy. I realize for some of you, I have to be more specific: it means stop drinking soda and other high-sugar drinks.
Skip the sweets. This one’s a little harder. Just say no to sugar.
If you’re hungry, have a turkey sandwich, but steer clear of the bonbons.
- Get moving. Nike almost got it right in its ad campaign dating back to the 1980s. But Nike wasn’t specific.
It’s not enough to say “Just do it.” The slogan would have been far more effective if it said, “Just get off your butt.” That’s a bit crass maybe, but it’s necessary to be clear, tough and direct in the approach.
What are you doing right now, sitting there reading your newspaper? Or viewing this online? You need to get moving.
All right, you can finish this article, but then, that’s it! In fact, while you are reading, do some neck rolls or something.
I used to run cross country and track. But that was a long time ago.
These days I still like to run, bike or lift weights. After taking those first three steps, you will find that “working out” is easier than you thought.
Start small. Watch your favorite TV show while you are on the treadmill or while you lift weights.
Take a walk. Every chance you get. Find any little way to make a physical effort.
When you go downstairs to get a couple things and get back up to find you forgot something? Do it on purpose!
Make a trip for one thing at a time. Walk your dog. Walk with your kids. Stretch while you read a magazine.
Stretching is great! Lift soup cans while you are looking in the pantry for a snack.
Do what you can, when you can. Sometimes when I am carrying the laundry basket up the stairs, I turn around at the top and do it again.
Just because I can. And sometimes I ride my bike for an hour, when I can. Every single thing you do that you weren’t doing before will add up.
Try these three changes. You won’t get in perfect shape, but you will be in better shape than you were before.
And then if you want, you can sign up for one of those expensive fitness programs — but you might find you don’t need to. Meanwhile, I have to go fight the bad karma of writing about weight loss.
If you run into me at the grocery and I’m carrying an extra 20 pounds, I can blame this column.
Freelance columnist Lori Allen writes in this space once a month.