For a long time, it’s been conventional wisdom – to lose weight, a person should get 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise daily. Now, as it turns out, that may not be nearly enough. Through this post at Get Fit Slowly, I was pointed to this article in Time magazine. It talks about a study, published in the July 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, that shows that women who lost 10% of their body weight over a 6 month period had to exercise at least an hour a day to do so (in addition to restricting their calories). The women exercised on treadmills, and their average starting weight was 193. So for an “average” woman in this study, she had to exercise an hour a day, five days a week, to lose 19-20 pounds in 6 months. That’s less than a pound a week. Wow.
According to the study, the more the women exercised, the more weight they lost. Exercise was the most important determinant of weight loss, even more so than diet. The author of the study says that the keys to success for the study participants were buying in completely to the weight loss program, and finding a way around the daily obstacles to exercising (emphasis mine). I would imagine that for most women, that would be the most difficult thing. If you already have a fully scheduled day, including 30 minutes of exercise, where are you going to find another 30 minutes? Can you spend another 30 minutes on the treadmill at the gym? Can you spend another 30 minutes of your lunch hour walking? Can you tack on another 30 minutes anywhere?
I’m fortunate in this regard. I’m an early riser, and I don’t have to be at work until 9:30 am, so I have time in the morning to exercise. My problem is boredom, when I use my Reebok step. From about 20 minutes on I’m watching the clock to see when I can be finished. I don’t think 60 minutes of step is going to do it for me, even with watching TV at the same time. I think my exercise is going to have to come in the form of walking on the beach or doing strenuous yard work. Neither of those should be a problem; I just have to kick myself in the rear and do it. On Sundays, when I walk to church, that’s 80 minutes; so there’s one day taken care of. When I mow the entire yard, it takes me about an hour, so there’s another day taken care of. From a yard and garden standpoint, I really should spend as many days as possible working outside. I’m sure my neighbors would appreciate the improved looks of my lot!
I have been slack lately in keeping my food diary. I hadn’t recorded anything in it for about two weeks, until I started back today. I know I’ve been eating more than the recommended calories, too. Fortunately I haven’t gained any weight; probably the result of a lot of mowing and yard work recently (for example, 90 minutes of digging yesterday – more on that later). As of last Friday morning, I weighed 170 pounds (I’m 5’8″ tall). Our classes start back in 3 weeks, which means there are 19 weeks from now until our holiday break. If I could lose 15 pounds in 19 weeks, that would be fabulous. I’m very comfortable at 155 and all my clothes would fit well again. Even 10 pounds would be good, but I’d like to achieve 15. In 19 weeks, with an hour of yard work most days, my yard would be fitting into the neighborhood well again. (My yard is certainly not the worst in the neighborhood, but it isn’t the greatest either.) Good for me, good for my property!
For accountability purposes, I’ll report on my progress here every Monday.