The 4th essential ingredient to healthy weight loss is having an active lifestyle. Notice that I didn’t say “exercise”. That’s because the concept of exercise when you are overweight is often seen as an unpleasant but necessary part of losing weight. As well, it’s too easy to look at exercise as a specific time of activity that we schedule into our day when we can find the time.
Now I’m not discounting exercise. Consistent scheduled activity can go a long ways to helping you lose weight. However, it needs to be more than that. After years of telling us to exercise 30 minutes a day, researchers are now finding out that it’s what you do most of the time that’s most important. A sedentary lifestyle (defined as sitting more than 23 hours a week) greatly increases your risk of being overweight, even when you routinely exercise 30 minutes a day.
It all comes down to attitude and intention. Have the intention to be more active. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Don’t sit for longer than an hour without breaking it up with some activity – even if it’s just to get up and stretch or have a short walk.
In terms of attitude, pick activities that you enjoy. Doing so will make you much more likely to keep doing them. “No pain, no gain” is not necessary. Appreciate how your body feels during and after a good workout. When you have a positive attitude towards exercise and set your intention to be more active, you will find that it becomes a natural part of your lifestyle that you love.