As far as exercise goes, there are varying articles out there about how much exercise we should get on a daily or weekly basis; the amount of work out time endorsed by the CDC and the American Heart Association is 150 per week, or 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week. Other directives advise anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour “most” days of the week, to an hour a day, six days a week.
For the purpose of this post, let’s go ahead and get it out there: 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 days a week, is the MINIMUM amount of activity recommended by Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association. But, if you’re exercise for longevity or weight loss/weight management, you’re going to have to put in more time. In an article for Brain Health Hacks, writer “Ward” refers to a study that reveals longevity is tied to quite a bit more exercise than 150 minutes. Researchers discovered that to increase life span, a person should plan on engaging in aerobic activity 4.5-5 hours/per week. Similar studies show that maintaining weight loss requires just as much.
A year and a half ago, I got serious about getting my weight back under control — my goal was to lose 30 lbs. Although I’ve always worked out (over thirty years), over the last ten I got lax about it and stuck to the minimum (150 minutes); I gradually packed on some pounds until I said, “Enough!”
I reached my goal in just under a year, and I’ve kept the weight off for over six months; that in and of itself gives the my plan credibility. Plus, for four months of that year I couldn’t exercise — I ruptured my ACL and ultimately had surgery for it, yet I still reached my goal.
How I The Pounds Off
Six months before my knee injury, I worked up to working out for an hour 5 times a week (45 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, 15 minutes of stretching and light weight training). On the two days I didn’t exercise, I kept dinner extremely light: a chicken breast with sauteed zucchini and spinach. Every day, breakfast was a boiled egg and fruit, and lunch was a salad. The days I worked out, dinner was a bit more substantial. To keep my blood sugar level even, I ate a handful of almonds every afternoon to keep the dreaded 3:00 slump at bay.
Then in June of last year, I slipped while watering my tomato plants and ruptured my ACL. I stuck to my eating plan even though I couldn’t exercise (except for physical therapy and weight lifting to keep my upper body strong) until after surgery. This means, that yes, for those four months I ate a chicken breast, plus zucchini and spinach for dinner every night. Breakfast and lunch were the same as always.
Once I got the okay from my orthopedic surgeon, I worked back up to a doable workout schedule. One year after I decided to lose weight and three months after my knee surgery, I’d lost 30 pounds. I’ve kept it off for over 6 months.
How I’ve kept it Off
I exercise 5 days a week; for 35 minutes I exercise vigorously. Throughout the rest of the day/evening, I walk on my treadmill at ten minutes a session at a moderate pace. On two of those days, I do some light weight training for two minutes after the 10 minute walk. Ultimately, I end up walking another 30-45 minutes throughout the day. This works for me because whether I’m writing or taking care of some accounting, I’m sedentary while I work. The ten minute sessions clear my head and are a great change of pace.
I will also add that I fine tuned this plan by listening to my body. Although I work out 5 days a week, those days vary slightly from week to week – I can workout vigorously for two days in a row, but beyond that, my body, energy level, and brain all complain in unison. This is how my schedule looks:
- S,M, rest Tuesday, W,TH, rest Friday, S
- S, rest Monday, TW, rest Thursday, F,S
- Rest Sunday, MT, rest Wednesday, TH,F, rest
Then, as you can see, this three week cycle begins all over again. Although there is a definite schedule I follow, the plan allows for flexibility. If I can’t work out five days (which happens, because well, LIFE happens) I still work out “most” days of the week. On those days I don’t work out, I still eat a light dinner.
This worked for me, and I’m 51 years old — the “ol’ grey mare’s metabolism ain’t what it used to be, I think it’ll work for anyone. Give it a try and let me know how it’s going or let me know some of your best weight loss tips.