Tricks for Weight Loss–Getting Physical

One of the best things about autumn is how beautiful everything looks as the colors begin to change. That and the cooler temperatures make this a fantastic time to take our bodies outdoors. After a hot summer of exercising indoors I love taking advantage of the moderate climate to go for walks outside in the middle of the day. I love walking early in the morning and at sunset, but the luxury of walking midday is just…well, a real treat!

Before the snow begins to fly and the walks are covered with ice, this is the perfect opportunity to stretch the legs and get some fresh air.

Find a new park, or drive to a new area where you can see the colors if your neighborhood is filled with evergreens and short on color.  I like to have go somewhere special for a walk at least once a week. It is fun to go back and see how it changes with the seasons. I find that once a week (or two) is enough to get the feeling of nature during the seasons. More often than that and I sometimes forget to notice!

Treat yourself to someplace new to walk at least once this month.

Another way to treat yourself that is fitting for this month is to find a place where kids are playing…they could be your kids or grandkids, or just a place where there is childlike joy in the air. Hearing their laughter as kids run across the playground near my house helps me to remember that it can be fun to move my body.

I enjoy going to a park and swinging. If you pump your legs and pull with your arms you might be surprised at the exercise you actually get! And it is just fun! I have a hard time NOT smiling when I’m on a swing.

One trick for moving your body more when you have limited time is to be sure to have some sort of clock or watch with you. I find that if I don’t know what time it is I always overestimate how long I’ve been gone and/or underestimate how much time I’ve got left. Either that or I’m so worried wondering if I’ll be back in time that I don’t get the most pleasure out of my time.

Whether you are carrying a watch, a stopwatch or using a clock at the gym…take advantage of it. Don’t stare at it…that seems to slow the hands down. Instead, set your sights on a specific distance and then check the time when you get there. I often think it will take me a lot longer to get there than it really does! Cool! Now I know I can go a little farther before it is time to head back.

If you have a timer that counts down you can go the other way…set the timer for ½ the time you want to be out. Then go until you hear the timer…then you know it is time to turn around and head back.

Once you have done that a few times you will have a better idea of how far you can go in a given period of time…and you can celebrate when you notice you are going further or faster.

You can also trick yourself into moving your body by playing! Whether you are with the kids, dancing (alone or with a partner), or even cleaning the house, if you have a playful attitude about it you can get a great workout in while having a good time.

I watched the Nate Berkus Show the other day and Jamie Lee Curtis was a guest…she demonstrated her technique for cleaning the floor after a party. She had a couple of rags, one under each foot, and she slid around the floor. She did a box-step pattern that reminded me of junior high, but you know she was actually picking up dirt, having a good time and moving her body, too. I figure we can take the same principle and apply it to vacuuming, washing windows and dusting…stretching and gliding as we go. We can trick ourselves into moving our bodies and we have a cleaner house while we’re at it!

Remember to treat your body well and give it enough oxygen. Take deep “belly breaths” every day. This treat is also a little weight loss trick: our bodies need oxygen to burn fat, just like fire needs oxygen to burn wood. While you are exercising be sure you aren’t holding your breath—whether you are walking, lifting weights, dancing, playing on the swings or whatever way you move your body. But even when you aren’t “exercising” take a few minutes every day and give your body a minute or two of deep, deep breathing to get your internal furnace cooking!

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