Exercise is a huge part of weight loss. Many of my patients are in too much pain to exercise. Many people don’t know how to exercise, it’s not a part of their life. It is quite possible today to sleep, eat, drive, work at a desk, and get your entertainment at your computer or on a couch. Getting little to no physical activity in a day is a reality for many people. Whether due to pain or to lifestyle a sedentary life will increase the difficulty of weight loss significantly, in addition to just being unhealthy.
If you’re not able to exercise due to pain you will have a difficult road ahead. Recovery is faster with exercise, but if we can get you back to a point that you have less pain then you may be able to return to exercise more quickly. Many chiropractic patients report significant pain reduction within 2 weeks of treatments beginning. So while you may not be back to your best shape you should be able to start doing some exercise by then.
Often time lifestyle change is even harder than injury recovery. While your body heals without being asked and doesn’t procrastinate. We humans tend to put things off very well and without being asked or prompted change can be very difficult. There are many strategies to overcome this. You can use mental triggers and develop good habits or routines. For example putting your running shoes on your couch may prompt your brain, or getting a group together to encourage each other and setting specific times and things to do with them. It is also important to exercise by doing things that you like. If you hate the gym, then try hiking or sports. You cannot lose weight without activity. If you can’t think of something ask your local chiropractor.
Take the stairs, park at the back of the lot, play with your kids, walk instead of drive, learn to dance!
For some simple ideas try some of these sites:
Most people know that you can gain weight due to health conditions such as depression, hypothyroidism, or even pain, due to the decreased ability to exercise. Some conditions can make us loose weight, but most people don’t want the trade off of illness for weight loss. The best way to combat these causes of weight gain or loss is to stay healthy or to improve your health. One problem with this is that many medications can cause the same symptoms of weight gain or loss.
Some of the most common categories of drugs that are known to cause weight gain are:
- Antidepressants/Mood Disorder medications
- Antihistamines (Zyrtec, Allegra, etc…)
- Blood Pressure medications
- Corticosteroids for inflammation (Asthma, Arthritis, etc…)
- Diabetes Medications
Interestingly enough people who are depressed can become more depressed because of their weight. People with heart problems or diabetes are often told that they need to control their weight to manage their symptoms, but the drugs they are given can increase their weight.
The best way to combat weight gain from drugs is not to do drugs. It may be difficult, but there are more healthy ways to combat many of these illnesses. Blood pressure, diabetes, inflammation, allergies, and even back pain can be improved, managed, and in some cases even resolved through natural means such as diet and exercise. In fact the number one most effective treatment for many of these conditions is diet and exercise. Ironically diet and exercise will also help you lose weight.
This is not to say that you won’t ever need medication, or that diet and exercise are the cure for everything, but when it comes to weight gain the best thing to do is to get and keep yourself as healthy as possible with as few medical interventions as possible. If you are trying to loose weight and having difficulty you may want to look at your medications to see if weight gain is a side effect. Then discuss changing or getting off of your prescription with your doctor. Let them know that you are trying to lose weight and improve your health. They should be happy to help you with such an endeavor.
Water does affect weight gain and weight loss, and not just because of so called water weight.
Water improves digestion (absorption, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients) circulation, cellular communication and maintenance of body temperature. Water also decreases caloric intake by filling you up. There are so many ways that water helps your body that I’m creating a post about it next.
In regards to water and loosing weight there are a few tips, but the most important to remember is to just drink enough regularly. Drinking a gallon of water all at once is not as good as drinking plenty throughout the day. Having a water bottle with you is a great way to remind yourself to drink as well as to encourage periodic drinking.
Drinking before you sit down to a meal can help you feel more full and eat less. While drinking before exercise can keep you exercising longer and with more intensity. Ideally you should keep yourself hydrated rather than drinking immediately before exercise, but for that extra hydration try drinking a whole water bottle about 1-2 hours before working out. This will allow the water to absorb into your system rather than just sloshing around in your stomach. When you’re done working out you will need to replenish that water and so you should drink at least another bottle within the 2 hours after working out.
Most people don’t keep track of how much water they drink, but everyone wants to know how much they should be drinking. A general rule is that you should be drinking at least half of your body weight (in pounds) in ounces each day. So if you weigh 150lbs you should be drinking at least 75 ounces of water every day, and that doesn’t count the extra water that you should be drinking when you work out. That’s about 2 1/2 of those plastic 1 liter sports bottles. Another way to make sure you’re getting enough is to check the color of your urine stream. If you are well hydrated your urine will be clear. The darker the urine the more water you need.
If lack of sleep (insufficient rest) is causing your weight gain then the solution is easy to figure out, but not so easy to implement. You nee to be getting more and better rest. The Average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. If you’re not getting enough quality sleep your weight can increase, but that’s not the only thing that sleep affects. Lack of sleep increases accidents, decreases cognitive ability, increases heart problems, speeds the aging process, and decreases sex drive. The reasons for the effect on weight is that lack of sleep affects your hormones that regulate hunger, metabolism, appetite.
To help you sleep there are many things that you can do. This may mean adjusting your bedtime schedule or routine. It may be as simple as getting a new pillow or bed. It will be different for every person, but improving your rest will benefit your whole health, and that includes your weight. Here are some simple things that you can do to improve your sleep:
- Have a sleep schedule , even for weekends
- Have a bedtime ritual
- Find your ideal sleep environment including light, sounds and temperature.
- Get a quality bed (Intellibed) and pillow that is comfortable for you .
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Avoid electronics before bed.
- Know your best sleep postures.
Thank you to Dr. Posture and the National Sleep Foundation for their great charts.