Towards Healthy Life

One little thing at the time

Burn, Baby, Burn: Posted by ShadowRun

Losing weight requires burning more calories than you are taking in.  Period.

The good news is, there are lots of ways to burn calories that you may not even think about!

Did you know, that digesting foods burns calories?

How about chewing?  That burns calories too!

So does sleeping….

I know.  You’re thinking to yourself, “Those are all the things I did to gain the weight!”

And that may be true, but I’ll come back to how these fit in to losing weight.

The biggest way to burn calories, of course, is to exercise.   In the beginning, exercise is hard!  My first month, I began on the treadmill, and would feel like I was dying after the first few minutes.  I would stop, catch my breath, and then tenaciously get back on.  I kept at it, and before I knew it, I could walk at a pretty good pace for a long time!   When spring came around, I began going outside.  I found I liked to exercise in the morning. I would wake up before the rest of the family, and go for a 3-4 mile walk around the town.  I loved these times.  The sun was just rising, my iPod was playing my favorite music, and I felt at peace.  I would come home, wake the school kids up, and then feel secure in the fact that I had done my big exercise for the day, so anything else was a bonus!  When walking wasn’t getting my heart rate up anymore, I began adding a few blocks of running into my routine.  I added on a few blocks at a time, and before long I was running the full 4 miles.  That’s how the runner in me was born!  🙂

Of course, mornings aren’t for everyone.  If that’s the case, be sure to pick a time to exercise and ‘schedule’ it into your day, so that you are not likely to shrug it off. You’ll probably have to force yourself the first month or so, but I promise you… it will become habit, and it’ll be something you look forward to doing.  I enjoy running, but it’s not for everyone either.  The exercises you choose should stem from the activities you like to do.  It’s definitely much harder in the winter, but it seems like most of you have found ways to exercise in your home.  The wii is a great way to exercise!  It wasn’t around 13 years ago, so I developed my own routine, but when the kids got theirs, I had fun trying all the different activities.  I know it works, because there are things on there that would make ME sweat, and I thought I was in pretty good shape!

So in conclusion – pick a time that works for you and pick an exercise that you enjoy.

Just make sure your exercises do the following:

1.  They should raise your heartbeat and cause you to breathe heavily – For the majority of your routine you should be able to speak a few words out loud, but not be able to carry on a conversation.  Sweat is a good thing, but remember this:  Sweat does not necessarily mean you are getting a good workout.  If it’s warm in the room or outside, you are going to sweat very easily.  So judge a good workout by your heartbeat and your breathing, not by how wet your clothes are.

2. They should cause your muscles to be a little sore after.  Your body will go to work repairing those muscles, and each time they have to repair them, they make them stronger. Before you know it, you’ve developed some pretty good muscle tone.

Now for the REALLY good news.  You can do things that will cause your body to burn calories even when you are sitting still!

  • Develop muscle tone.  The muscles in your body burn more calories than the fat does – just by being muscle.  Of course, muscle weighs more than fat, so you may notice a slight gain or no loss,at the beginning, but keep going – because eventually that muscle will burn off all the fat, and you’ll be left lookin’ fit and trim! On top of that, while your body is repairing your sore muscles, you are burning calories! Woohoo!  It’s a good idea to rest sore muscles for a day before using them again, so on the day between, work a different group of muscles.  I usually do my stomach muscles one day, and my arms, legs and butt another.
  • When doing cardio exercises, add spurts of intense exercise throughout your workout.  Every 5 minutes or so, increase the speed of what you’re doing, so that your heart and breathing rates increase to an “I can’t do this anymore!” pace.  You only have to keep that pace up for about a minute, then go back to your original pace. At the very end of your routine, give it one final burst of effort.  These short minutes will increase your calorie burn throughout your exercise and it will cause your body to keep burning calories long after you have quit.  Who doesn’t want that?
  • Eat 4 to 5 times a day, but stay within your predetermined calorie goal.  In my opinion, you should never be taking in less than 1200 calories – no matter what your weight is.  The last thing you want to do is make your body think you are starving it.  If it doesn’t trust you to eat enough, it will hold on to your fat as a back up plan.  If it knows you will feed it, it will happily let the fat go.  Some of you may find 1200 is still too low.  You’ll know this is the case if you’re working hard and still not losing weight.  So the solution is to eat more!!!  Yippee!  Try eating 1400 calories for a few days and see what that does for you.  Sometimes it’s scary eating more when you’re supposed to be dieting.  So look at it this way:  when you eat, your body has to digest the food.  And remember what I said at the beginning?  Digesting food BURNS calories!  So you may be taking in a few hundred more calories ma day, but your body is also doing more work to digest it.
  • To go along with that – you ABSOLUTELY MUST eat breakfast.  NO EXCUSES!  Even if it’s just a piece of fruit and a yogurt, you MUST start your day with something in your belly.  The reason for this is, it gives your body something to do.  We all know that if we sit around all day, we feel sluggish and tired.  However, once we get up and get moving, we start to wake up.  Your body does the same thing.  You haven’t given it any fuel since the night before, and now it’s awake and trying to get moving, but you haven’t given it anything to do!  So give it a banana for goodness sake.  It’ll start digesting it, and voila!  You’ve now jump started your body (and metabolism) and you will continue to burn calories throughout the day.
  • Finally, get enough sleep at night.  It’s during your sleep that your body rejuvenates the muscles you worked throughout the day.  So while you are sleeping, your body is burning calories.  If you sleep long enough, you give it the chance to repair itself, and still find time to rest.  You’ll wake up feeling refreshed.  If your refreshed, you’ll be in a good mood.  If you’re in a good mood, you’ll be more likely to eat right and exercise.  If you eat right and exercise, you’ll be more likely to sleep better at night. Get the picture?

I hope you come away from this having learned a few things.  I feel very strongly about these topics.  Some of these ideas I did not learn until late in my journey, others I read and heard about, but didn’t trust that they would work.  Now that I am at my goal weight – even after 13 years – I know that these are truths.

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to ask!  I’ll answer in the comment section on this post, or in the Ask ShadowRun page.

Happy Calorie Burning!!  🙂


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One thought on “Burn, Baby, Burn: Posted by ShadowRun

  1. Thanks for the post shadowrun, I will keep implementing your suggestions.

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