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> Back to Plus-Size Fitness Excerpts List

Plus-Size Fitness Excerpt from Don't Weight

Please Don't Exercise to Lose Weight

There she was. Five feet tall, weighing ninety-eight pounds soaking wet. And she was soaking wet. She was the aerobic instructor at my local spa. Most of the participants in her class were either young or thin or both. I began to understand why as I listened to her talk: "This exercise will flatten your tummy. This one will smooth out those unsightly bulges in your thighs. And if you keep up with this exercise, it will lift your sagging breasts." Anyone who is not thin or not young knows all this "body shaping" is a lot of bunk!

Please don't exercise to lose weight! If you exercise to lose weight (and if you are normal and your body's own set point prevents you from maintaining that weight loss), then you would be likely to stop exercising because it did not work. It does matter why you exercise. Your motivation is the strongest factor in choosing to continue or to stop exercising. Nobody wants to keep working toward an unattainable goal.

Please don't exercise to lose weight.

If you exercise to shrink or erase some part of yourself,
then every session would become a mental exercise
in self-criticism and body loathing.

Exercise to take care of yourself!

When you exercise in order to take care of
the wonderful body that nature has given you,
then every session becomes a
mental exercise in self-nurturing.

Move your body because your body deserves
to be taken care of, whatever your size or shape.

The truth is that being in shape has nothing to do with the shape of your body. Fitness is the result of your actions, not your body size. What actions do you need to take to be fit? There are three components to fitness. Anyone, any size, any level of mobility, can accomplish all three (with some creativity and determination.)

  1. Move rhythmically until you breathe heavily (no mystery, any activity that burns oxygen is aerobic activity.)
  2. Tone your muscles by pushing or pulling weight in a controlled manner (lucky for us our body weight is available for this task!)
  3. Relax and stretch out those warm muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

When you include these actions into your lifestyle on a regular basis, you have built a fit lifestyle for yourself. Your actions count. So do your thoughts. Don't criticize your body as you exercise, appreciate it.

Appreciate the strong bones that hold you up. Be astounded by the miracle of engineering in your joints. Notice the cooling system that nature has designed for you as you sweat. Marvel at your heart and lungs as they feed oxygen to your muscles. Feel the wonderful muscles that move your bones and support your softness.

Now, what about your softness? It is as much a part of you as any other physical characteristic. Your softness should be considered an asset in your fitness program. Do you have large upper arms? Fine! Those large soft upper arms provide exactly the resistance you need to work your shoulders, upper back and chest. Do you have a round belly? Then use it. Your round belly can work like expensive exercise equipment to provide resistance for working your legs, back, and hip flexors. Your body is not the problem. Your body is the solution to getting more fit, more comfortable, and more mobile!

Exercise to improve the function of your body independent of your weight

Keep moving because your muscles get strong when you move. Stretch out because stretching helps you feel better and be more comfortable. Work your abdominal wall because a strong abdominal wall helps prevent low back pain. Develop the muscles that support your good posture because you deserve reduced neck strain and more room in your chest cavity to breathe.

Don't do anything to lose weight. Do everything to keep moving and enjoy your life! Exercise because you deserve to appreciate and take care of yourself.

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By Kelly Bliss M.Ed., A.C.E. author of Don’t Weight, Eat Healthy & Get Moving NOW!
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