Exercising and Arm Shaving: Myths and Solutions to Weight-Loss

17 Nov

So my wife Sarah is always getting after me for saying that exercise is not the key to weight loss. It must have something to do with what she studied in college (exercise science). So I will be fair: exercise is good and important, just not for weight-loss!

Okay let me back up a bit. When I first found out that I had fatty-liver disease and was told I was obese, I freaked. After wallowing in self-pitty and after eating a few bowls of cereal I decided to do something about it. I did what every reasonable person does: completely avoided running and bought a bike. I became obsessed with losing weight. I rode my bike 3-4 times per week for about 2-3 hrs per day. I constantly looked at my calf muscles and compared my shaven arms to Lance Armstrong’s. This went on for about 6 months and I thought I was losing major pounds…until I weighed in and over the whole 6 months of vigorous exercise I only lost 9 lbs! That’s when I decided that the Tour de France was not happening for me.

I also went to the doctor (my lipidemiologist) who was monitoring my liver condition and he told me there was seemingly no change. He asked if I had been exercising and I almost performed an exorcism in the room, I was so upset. I walked out of the appointment frustrated and with no hope to lose weight or to heal my liver.

Then came the splurge day diet. In six months with very minimal exercise (once or twice a week playing soccer) and following the diet I shed 40+ lbs. and my liver disease is history.

So while I don’t necessarily see that exercise is the key to weight-loss, I definitely see its importance in overall health. Exercise can help boost your mood, increase muscle strength, and be a fun overall activity. But in my opinion gone are the days where I run, bike, hop, dance or shave my arms to lose weight. I think the activities that we engage in for exercise should be done for the sake of fun and enjoyment. Surfing is a great work out but you never hear surfers saying, “Dude, I am just here to burn a few calories and then get back to work.” The activities we engage in for exercise should not be done as a means to an end but enjoyed and done simply for the joy of doing them.

So I say if you want to lose weight, eat better. If you want to have fun, go for a bike ride.

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