Reversing the wrong kind of gain
Jan. 30, 2012
by Ivan Raconteur

I was doing my stoutness exercises the other evening (to borrow an expression from the venerable A.A. Milne) and it occurred to me that when it comes to weight loss, the old adage “no pain, no gain” may not apply.

If one does not subject oneself to the pain of regular workouts, gaining excess weight seems to be a natural consequence.

I have been thinking about that sort of thing a lot lately. Earlier this month, along with 79 other tortured souls, I embarked on the “Mayer Move for Moxie” program. This is a 12-week health and fitness program sponsored by the Mayer park board, Ridgeview Medical Center, SNAP Fitness of Mayer, Watertown-Mayer Community Education, and Carver County Public Health.

Getting fit is simple, in the sense that all one has to do is decrease consumption, increase activity, and make better choices about what one eats and drinks, but that doesn’t mean it is easy.

The program has already provided participants valuable information that we can use to help us reach our fitness goals. This is not a diet plan or a specific exercise routine. It is about making healthy lifestyle changes that are sustainable for each individual.

I am also fortunate to have friends who have been very supportive in this effort, which is crucial to a successful outcome. Their advice and encouragement makes more of a difference than they realize.

The key to making healthy food choices seems to be putting oneself in a position to succeed by making sure good options are available and convenient. One must also avoid less-healthy alternatives.

It seems obvious, but it was a radical change for me to discover that if I don’t buy junk food, I am much less likely to consume junk food.

Becoming more active, especially at this time of the year, is more of a challenge.

Unfortunately, it is not enough to just think about being more active, one has to actually get out there and do it.

That is where the “no pain” thing comes in.

It is relatively easy to find ways to increase activity in the spring, summer, and fall.

Hiking, bicycling, swimming, kayaking, and any number of other activities provide ways to have fun and also increase physical activity.

Since I don’t participate in winter sports, my options at this time of year are limited.

Indoor activities, like walking on a treadmill, bore me to distraction and are a major pain in the trouser seat. Listening to music or watching television while walking on a treadmill help, but I can’t completely overcome the feeling that I am like a large rat in a cage. A treadmill is only one step away from the wire wheels that are standard issue in rodents’ cages.

Fitness, however, is apparently like any other endeavor that requires setting and working toward goals. Making excuses will not lead to success, so we cannot let our schedule or the season stand in our way.

I have avoided the pain of working out for too long, which is how I managed to accumulate all this excess baggage.

We must resign ourselves to take action.

If, or to employ a more positive construction, when I get to the end of this program, I hope to be healthier, and I hope that I will have developed some good habits that will keep me that way.

I will miss the bad habits for awhile, but I am confident that this program will help to open the door to new opportunities.

The good news is that I genuinely enjoy the way I feel after I work out – it is just the thinking about it and doing it that are a bother.

Perhaps that will get better with practice, too.

One of the presenters in the class assured us it is possible to do anything (or almost anything) for a minute, so if I break the twelve weeks down into manageable one-minute segments, I am sure I will survive.

It may not be painless, but there is clearly much to be gained.

To anyone else out there who is fighting the battle toward better health, I salute you and wish you the best of luck. We’re all in this together.

Even if we don’t end up looking like the models in all the fitness ads, making the effort to eat better and exercise more will almost certainly add to our quality of life.

There is a lot of the world I haven’t explored yet, and there are many things I haven’t done. When I get the chance to experience these things, I would much rather do so with a song on my lips and a spring in my step than to go creaking and wheezing along, confined to one of those adult go-carts and dragging an oxygen tank behind me.

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