Monday, August 31, 2009


Have you ever tried losing weight? If you're like 2 of every 3 Americans, the needle on the scale indicates that you're carrying excess baggage. Chances are you're tried at least once to reduce that number.

I've had a weight issue since age 5. When I closely examined photos of me before that age, my size and shape seemed normal. Definitely by school age I was a chubby child and I recall vividly how painful it was to shop for clothes. My entire family seemed to suffer from overeating, although the women (my Mom and me) were more discriminated against because of our portly appearance.

As a result, diets were a regular feature of our family life. Summer was an especially good time to diet, probably because school was out of session and produce was more abundant. (I grew up outside Cleveland, Ohio where the growing season was limited.)

I recall that the object was to lose weight so that I could resume eating as "normal". The only catch to this distorted thinking was that so-called normal eating was what got me overweight. I didn't fully understand this dynamic until way into adulthood!

Fortunately I was an active child and wouldn't let my size keep me from participating in playground competition. I had 2 older brothers and I followed in their footsteps. They liked playing outdoors; so did I.

Still I was overweight consistently from early childhood right until the present. I tried countless food plans and even more drastic protocols to lose weight. I read lots of diet books and sought help with experts who specialized in treating obesity. Invariably the pounds went up; the pounds went down always to be followed by more pounds up.

Exercise was something I did, not strictly for weight loss. I did it for cardiovascular health. By early adulthood I had settled on swimming as my preferred program. Reluctantly as my body aged, I added some weight-lifting exercises, which I was quick to abandon because they were boring.

A year ago I discovered exercise DVDs. These are programs that you can do in the convenience and privacy of your own home. Often they include both cardio and weight-lifting movements.

I started with Slim in 6 by Debbie Siebers. It was gentle and had 3 levels. As I gained confidence in doing these workout routines, I became willing to try more advanced programs. So 5 months ago I graduated to P90. This is the original program developed by Tony Horton, who has gone on to create P90X, a more extreme workout, 10-minute Trainer, and some other shows.

For the first time ever my body shape is shaping up. I've lost a total of 20 pounds this year, which is remarkable for someone who is reluctant to part with any pounds. Naturally I've gained lots of muscle strength and endurance.

So I'm now a convert to diet AND exercise, the right exercise. If you're having trouble shedding the pounds, consider adding a workout program. For me it made 20 pounds difference.

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