A post by E2 team member, Natala
I was 11 years old when I started to gain weight (A LOT of weight), this was also the time that I started attempts at exercising. Let’s just be honest here. I was young, overweight and already a very awkward nerdy type who spent my free time playing my violin and finding pictures of dead classical composers to put in my room (no New Kids on the Block for this teen!). I was already a weird kid. However, being a weird kid and “Sweating to the Oldies” with Richard Simmons (side note – Richard once sent me a letter and included a photo of himself chained to a fork) or going to a Jazzer-size class with my Mother and her friends? I was destined to be uncool, and to feel really awkward about working out. I once wore an all purple sweat suit to a workout class for overweight teens, I looked like a giant grape, not my best fashion choice. I was kind of fearless about all of it though, even though I was obese I tried out for the basketball team, the volleyball team and then in High School I signed up for an advanced gym class, this confused my guidance counselor a lot.
Since then I have made many attempts to find the perfect workout for me and have failed over and over again. It wasn’t until I read “The Pleasure Trap” by Doug Lisle that I realized one of our primary survival mechanisms is to conserve energy. So, unless I’m being chased in the woods by a lion, why the heck would I run?!
When I started my plant-strong journey I tipped the scales at well over 400 pounds. Needless to say, moving was a little harder for me, and even though I have lost over 200 pounds so far, moving is still hard in some situations.
I have had my share of injuries over the past few years. I am ambitious, I want to be able to run, or go for a long hike, or do a cross fit session without any trouble. However, I found out the hard way that it is an absolute MUST that you start with a solid foundation when it comes to moving and becoming active.
One of the common misconceptions is that you need to workout a ton in order to lose weight. When you are starting out, your weight loss will mostly come from the way you are eating, it won’t come from trying to get in a 2-3 hour workout every day. This is not to say that moving is not important, but you do not need to do 2 hour workouts to do something great for your body, start with 30 minutes, and feel free to stay there as long as you like.
Your best bet is to start slow. Start by walking and doing some simple balance and strength exercises. Try some of these workouts that Rip has on our exercise and stretching page.
In addition, try getting in 30 minutes of walking every day, or some other kind of movement (bike, swimming). As things improve with your health, try doing some more exercise that includes impact, impact is what builds strong bones (NOT MILK!).
As Jack LaLanne used to say “Food is king, exercise is queen”. We are not saying that exercise is not important, but we want to see you change your diet, and get your diet completely plant-strong before you start worrying about what kind of exercise is best for you.
Lastly, find something you enjoy doing! You don’t have to go to a gym, go for a walk or lift weights. Just find something you enjoy, and do it a few times a week. Take a dance class, play a sport, go hiking, start geocaching, get a hula hoop! Heck, maybe you love “Sweating the the Oldies”, whatever works for you! Get creative when it comes to how you move.
What are some of your favorite ways to exercise? Do you have any tips for other E2ers just starting out?