TOP 5 WORST EXERCISES (Stop Doing These!!)
Plus-Size Exercisers Reveal The Best—And Worst—Fitness Advice They've Ever Gotten
Comparison may very well be the thief of joy, but it's also really hard to resist. When Henderson first started training, she got caught up comparing her weight, time, and ranking with those of other racers. But that all changed when her coach told her: "You're really racing against yourself to see how you can improve over last year or the year before."
Don't enjoy spin class? Don't do it! What's important is to move your body in a way that brings you joy. When you find a form of exercise that excites you, it won't feel like a workout, and you're more likely to stick with it.
"Sometimes you have to try a few things before you find your workout, but once you do, it won't ever feel like work," says Erin H., 29. She started her healthy lifestyle with Jazzercise, and still enjoys the dance party vibe. And science agrees. According to a study by Iowa State University, the key to sticking with an exercise routine might be making it intrinsic rewarding—that is, the act of exercise is itself the reward (not the TV show you plan to treat yourself to after you're done sweating).
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There's no need to eliminate the foods you love entirely. "Sometimes when you're plus size and trying to work out and eat right, it can be overwhelming and a tad stressful," says Erin, who found that people tended to offer her too much advice. One piece of wisdom that was helpful? "Eat the cake—but not the whole cake." When we declare a food off-limits, we just want it more. And according to research from the University of British Columbia, when people are told that certain things, including foods, are forbidden, the brain actually does obsess over them. So give your brain (and yourself) a break by eating everything, including dessert, in moderation.
Going Paleo might work well for your friend, and maybe your cousin lost 20 pounds by cutting out dairy, but the key to your success will be unique. "The best food advice I've gotten came from a health coach, and it's to essentially ignore all the hype and pay attention to how different foods make me feel," says Sam L., 32. One question she always asks herself:Is my food fueling me or weighing me down?Sounds simple, but really tuning in to whether or not what you eat actually enhances the way you feel is a smart strategy for long-term success. (Start with these 10 rules for eating clean.)
If it doesn't hurt you, you're not doing it correctly, right? Wrong! It's time to put this one to rest. Ever hear of the repeated bout effect? Basically, it means that our muscles actually become less sore the longer we stick with our gym routines. "Plus-size exercisers tend to get this advice because there's this panic around our size, and the idea is that we have to do anything we can to change it," says Jeanette DePatie, a certified fitness trainer and founder of Everybody Can Exercise. Back in college, DePatie's personal trainer drove her to tremendous pain during her workouts and, surprise, surprise, DePatie ended up quitting. Fortunately, she later met a great instructor who helped her realize that workouts can be enjoyable and sustainable—no pain required. (Plus, pain is your body's way of telling you your workout is bad for you.)
"If people think that losing weight is the be-all and end-all of exercise, they're set up for failure," says DePatie. If you don't see results on the scale, it's tempting to think that you're not doing it right or that it's not worth it. But weight loss is not an accurate measure of success (remember that whole getting stronger, fitter, and feeling healthier thing?), and weight loss isn't everything. "Losing weight alone won't make you happy," Michael Hayes, founder of Buddha Body Yoga adds. What does? Finding physical activities you truly enjoy, he says.
Here's a fact: You can work at a level that is suitable for your body and still not lose weight. For example, Henderson ran the same race two different years—once in 2004 and again in 2006. In 2006 she knocked 20 minutes off her time, but weighed the same as when she ran the race 2 years earlier. That's proof that getting stronger and fitter doesn't necessarily mean that you will (or should!) lose weight. In fact, according to research published inCell Press, because our bodies adjust to higher levels of activity, we don't necessarily burn more calories with extra exercise.
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