Your guide to lose weight

Physical Activity

Physical Activity

  Most weight loss theories recommend eating small quantities of food and increasing calorie expenditure by exercising. These recommendations seem logical and rational, but in practice they do not work

I do not recommend any sport or intense activity for first stage

There are three main reasons for this recommendation:

1. The willpower required for dieting is challenging enough without asking for any extra concentrated effort.

2. A person who loses lots of weight feels more tired than usual and needs rest and sleep to recover. Apart from walking, any extra physical activity is likely to increase tiredness and to sap willpower.

3. Overdoing exercise if you have been inactive to lose weight can quite simply be dangerous.

Three Minimum Extra Activities

Although intense exercise is excluded during weight loss, it does play a major role in the final stage once weight has been lost, to prevent the pounds from returning and to firm up slack muscles and skin. I ask you to add the following three simple rules to the basic program. Everyone can use them, even those people who most hate doing exercise.

1. Do not use elevators or escalators. I have already described this measure in the third stage. There it was intended for anyone wanting to stabilize, but here it is particularly important for seriously overweight people who have managed to reach their goal. They can take their time and stop halfway up to catch their breath; they can do what they like between the first and the last floors, but whatever they do, they have to get there.

I will remind you that any very overweight person who has lost weight is a much stronger individual than a person of normal weight because carrying around so much extra weight all the time is permanent exercise, virtually a sport in itself. So once such individuals have lost weight, they still have the muscle mass and strength to make short work of the few floors that I recommend walking up.

2. Be on your feet as often as possible. Whenever you do not have to be sitting or lying down, consider standing up instead. To get the most out of this, distribute your weight evenly between each foot. Avoid leaning on one foot because then the weight is supported not by the muscles, which burn extra calories, but by the ligaments, which do not.

Do not overlook this seemingly insignificant advice. Standing up requires the static contraction of your body’s largest muscles: the gluteus maximus, the quadriceps, and the hamstrings. If every day you stand upright, balanced on both feet with your hips horizontal, you will burn up enough energy to make standing worthwhile.

3. Walk with a purpose. I prescribe a daily dose of 20 minutes of walking in the first stage; 30 minutes in the second stage, with 60-minute boosters over 4 days to break through a stagnation plateau. Then back to 25 minutes in the second stage, finishing with a minimum of 20 minutes a day in the third stage.

But for the person who has lost 25, 35, or more pounds, these 20 minutes are not enough. Walking home from work, walking to the shops, walking to see a neighbor—all give walking to the shops, walking to see a neighbor—all give your body some purpose again. If you have lost this much weight, you will have to relearn how to use your body, which you once considered, and understandably so, as just another weight to carry around and a burden to your freedom.

Leaving extra pounds behind does not happen by waving a magic wand; it involves reeducating yourself, which takes place in the mind, and you have to want to do it. This requires working on yourself, but it reaps such satisfying results that any concessions are well worth it.

One day a week of pure proteins, 3 tablespoons of oat bran, flirting with the cold, standing up when possible, walking whenever you can, and not taking elevators or escalators—are all minor inconveniences compared with the benefits of liberty, dignity, and feeling normal again.