Where Mom Went Wrong with Weight LossBy Jennifer Shipp
She was always on a diet. And yet, she was also always overweight. She didn’t change her lifestyle, she’d simply restrict her calories for a few weeks, drop a few pounds, and then go right back to her bad habits. But besides food, which is a complicated and convoluted problem in the United States (trans fats, GMO’s, don’t even get me started), exercise was something my mother could never quite figure out. I think she was scared of it, in fact. I can’t say I blame her. Beginning an exercise regime while carrying around an extra fifty pounds or more can be harrowing and uncomfortable. Today, when I talk with other people about weight loss, I always advise them to find something fun and motivating. Any kind of movement will do, really.
The ability to move your body freely is a privilege. Not everyone can do it. Indeed, if you’ve got extra fat stored in your belly, thighs, or arms, you know what I’m talking about. Some yoga practitioners extoll the belief that we are frozen light-cicles. That our bodies are meant to be constantly moving and vibrating while we’re alive. Movement helps to free not only our minds, but also our bodies. Being active isn’t supposed to be restrictive, it’s supposed to be liberating. An exploration, in fact. So, for goodness sake, if you’re going to lose weight and you’re looking for new movements and exercises to try, do something fun. Something that makes you feel good.
My mother walked. She would walk around and around in a circle on their farm, passing the same landmarks eight to ten times over and over again every night until she grew weary of the whole ordeal. I’d encourage her to try other forms of exercise, but she was rigid. Walking wasn’t too difficult. It didn’t challenge her too much. But it wasn’t fun either. And though she’d spend a lot of time on it, it didn’t pay off in big weight losses over time. Walking was rather slow going and unfortunately, mom was impatient. She needed to do something that would pay off bigger dividends, but she was too afraid of trying something new.
Weight loss can be more than just dropping pounds. It can be a personal exploration. When we did in-person martial arts classes, students were often very timid about joining classes in order to lose weight, but there’s nothing to be embarrassed about! It’s a respectable, if not admirable thing to endeavor to lose weight in a culture climate that breeds obesity. It’s true that carrying extra pounds can make it more challenging to do the skills, but since Mr. Shipp (lead instructor) was once a smoker who was 60 pounds overweight himself, we’re all supportive of weight loss. The martial arts movements get easier as weight loss continues. It’s an amazing journey that can affect change at all levels of a person’s life.
Online martial arts training is a great gateway for someone who is trying to lose weight but not feeling confident enough to attend in-person classes, but it’s important that students commit to a solid, regular routine in order to see progress both in terms of their martial arts training as well as dropping pounds. This is true of any online movement class for weight loss. Commit to small goals at first. Rather than committing to achieving black belt, commit to getting through the white belt material and passing to orange belt. This is an achievable goal and when you reach it, you’ll feel good about what you’ve accomplished.
For heaven’s sake, if you’re losing weight, try to have fun with the process! Rather than just shedding weight to fit into smaller clothes, go do stuff as a form of adventure. Enroll in movement classes. Dance. Walk places that you would’ve never considered walking before. Undertake new challenges just to see if you can do it. Then, even when the pounds are falling off as fast as you’d like (which happens), you can still feel good about the other benefits you’re reaping from your efforts.Tags: belly, black belt, calories, diet, exercise, food, gmo, goal, lose weight, losing weight, martial arts classes, movement, overweight, shedding weight, walking, weight loss, white belt, yoga