Losing weight are getting in better shape are common goals. Given that almost 40% of Americans are considered obese and less than 25% meet minimum exercise recommendations, there are many people who could benefit from changing their eating and activity habits.
Much of the time the focus is on losing lots of weight quickly. Many popular diet and exercise programs require making big changes to eating and exercise behaviors. These changes can promote rapid weight loss, but many can’t be maintained as lasting habits. But these changes do help a lot of people lose significant weight, at least for a while.
There are also many people who want to lose just a little weight, maybe 5–10 pounds, and get in better shape. This usually means building muscle and shedding fat, but not really losing much weight, a process that I call “remodeling”.
Here is a story about Shannon (not her real name), and her health and fitness remodeling project.
Shannon was in her 30s with two children when she started. Like many women in this situation, she realized that she had not been focusing on her health in recent years. While she didn’t need to lose much weight, she did want to improve her diet and get fit. Her main goal is to feel better about herself and set a good example for her kids.
She started exercising, first following a home exercise program and later joining a gym. She was smart and didn’t push herself too much and including rest days early on. Over time she was able to increase the amount she does, up to 60 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
Her diet has changed, too. She is eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking water instead of soda, and eating out less frequently, especially fast food. This hasn’t been easy, given how convenient restaurant and take-out meals were for her family. But she has learned to prepare meals ahead of time and make smarter choices when eating out.
She has also learned that, even though making healthy decisions can be difficult, that she can do it. She has been turning down offers to eat out and is making healthier meals at home. She is also exercising nearly every day, rarely missing more than one day at a time.
Shannon is starting to realize the benefits of her remodeling project. Even before she saw any real changes, Shannon said that she felt better about herself than she had in years and really likes the fact that she is approaching weight loss in a healthy manner instead of just trying to lose weight by any means necessary.
But Shannon is seeing results now. She has lost inches in some areas and can wear clothing that she couldn’t wear before, including one particular of jeans that she had never worn. She is also receiving compliments from friends and coworkers. Perhaps the best measure of her success is the fact that she has recently heard some catty remarks from other women about how thin she looks!
Perhaps best of all, Shannon has changed her whole thought process. In the past, she was focused on what to do, the details of a diet and exercise program. Now she spends more time thinking about how to maintain the healthy habits she has been learned. Because of this, I think Shannon’s remodeling project is a great example for others to follow!