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If You’re Already Overweight, Here’s How To Start Exercising

If You’re Already Overweight, Here’s How To Start Exercising

When you are overweight it can be more difficult to get started on an exercise program. Being overweight lends itself to certain issues that need to be addressed prior to starting a new workout regimen.

Here are 9 steps to do in order to correctly begin, healthily sustain, and help your chances at being more successful in your exercise program.

1. Always start with contacting your doctor to see if there are particular exercises that you should avoid.

For example, if someone has diabetes, doing exercises barefoot would not be advised. Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels in the feet which may prevent a person from knowing if their foot is injured.  Plus, an injury to the foot may develop into an ulcer or a serious infection.

2. Find a certified personal trainer who works with weight loss clients.

It has been my experience as a personal trainer that it is generally in the beginning where most people get hurt.

People who have never worked out or have been sedentary for a while may easily get hurt when trying to do exercises they are not used to or have never done before.

Getting injured in the first few weeks of exercising can be a debilitating blow to morale and will be another obstacle to overcome on the road to better health. Therefore, find a personal trainer who understands your needs and can help you navigate an exercise program that will prevent injury and help you get to your fitness goals.

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There are many options for personal training to meet most budgets, from one-on-one, small group, to online coaching.

3. One way to start exercising is to begin a walking program.

Walking is one of the best exercises for the body. In general, it is a gentle activity that can be done by most people. Walking burns calories, helps prevent osteoporosis, and is free.

A walking program is a concerted effort to walk for a set amount of time each day and throughout the week.

Walking can be done every day; an example program can be Mon–Fri walk 30 minutes a day, and Sat–Sun walk for 1 hour each day.

Make walking fun by inviting a friend or adopting a dog. You can also join walking clubs which you can find on sites like Craigslist.

4. Find an activity you enjoy and do it consistently.

Exercising doesn’t necessarily mean having to go to the gym. Gardening, dancing, or even dart throwing are all physical activities that burn calories. But in order for such activities to help you lose weight, they must be done regularly.

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For example plan to garden for 2 hours each weekend or for however long you are able, and do it consistently. Add this activity to your walking program and be active daily.

5. Effective weight loss programs are where results are measured so that one is aware of their progress.

There are many ways to measure results. The usual measurements are weight, circumference, body composition, and Body Mass Index (BMI).

For a new exerciser, unless you are working with a personal trainer, in which the techniques mentioned above are the best, I advise using a more readily available tool such as your clothes and cell phone camera.

A tight pair of jeans are the perfect piece of clothing to measure yourself with to see if you are making headway in your exercise program. Take note how snug your jeans are, then every two weeks, check to see if those same pair of jeans are getting looser! Take a whole body picture in your undergarments and do so every few weeks to see if you are looking slimmer.

If you are not seeing and feeling the changes you want, go back to your program and see what you can do to create improvement. With my clients, I always advise a holistic approach which translates to: are you moving enough, are you eating correctly, and is your mindset optimal?

Mindset is key to achieving any goal. One’s mental and emotional state can either drive one to success or impede their efforts.

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6. Prepare your mind.

Get it clear in your head why you want and need to implement this exercise program. Dig deep to find the reasons that will motivate you to succeed. The more compelling the reasons, the better your chances.

Write down these reasons so that if a moment of weakness arises, you can remind yourself why you must keep pushing forward.

7. Develop a success-promoting tier of goals.

This means creating short-term goals that are easily attainable that help support your long-term aspirations.

It is crucial to feel good in the beginning stages of an exercise program because this builds momentum. One way to increase your chances of success is to see yourself accomplishing some of your goals early on.

For example, an immediate goal could be to make a doctor or personal training appointment and go to it. Next, you may give yourself a goal of walking 30 minutes, 3 times within your first week. Let these small accomplishments motivate you to pursue your larger fitness goal.

8. Choose a holistic approach.

A holistic approach means to view the problem in its entirety; from its immediate effects, to its underlying cause.

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We know that weight gain is not caused by one thing. It is usually triggered by a combination of factors some of which are: not moving enough, an emotional reason, a health condition, eating too much, and / or eating the wrong things. Therefore, to be successful at solving the situation, a multiple of approaches must be considered.

In previous steps I mentioned, movement and mindset are aids to weight loss, but even more important is eating healthily.

One cannot lose weight by exercise alone because you cannot out-run a bad diet. You simply cannot burn enough calories within a day to combat a destructive eating habit.

Add a nutrition component to your exercise program and find long-lasting weight loss success.

9. Recruit people to help you stay on track.

When a person tells other people about their plans, it creates a “silent” contract of accountability. Most people want others to believe that they keep their promises and are the kind of people who “do what they say.”

There are many ways to have this type of accountability. One is to enlist a good friend or relative. Tell your friend that you plan to start an exercise program. Ask him or her to periodically check in on you to see how you’re doing and to be supportive when you’re together by helping you make healthy choices.

Personally, I have used Instagram for just this type of accountability measure. Instagram has a very supportive and engaging community of exercisers. I use this inspiring community to support my efforts in becoming a better yogi and my aspiration of a free-standing handstand!

Follow these 9 steps and I am certain you will see change and find success in your efforts to be healthier. Good luck!

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard.

The Keys to Learning Anything Easily

Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

Curiosity

Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

Patience

Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

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Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

A Feeling for Connectedness

This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

How to Self-Taught Effectively

With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

1. Research

Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

Learning the Basics

Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

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Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

Hitting the Books

Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

Long-Term Reference

While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

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2. Practice

Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

Check out this guide for useful techniques to help you practice efficiently: The Beginner’s Guide to Deliberate Practice

3. Network

One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

Here find out How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life.

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4. Schedule

For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

Final Thoughts

In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

More About Self-Learning

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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