Very Large Lady: Exercise Question

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Joined: Jul 12
Posts: 60

Posted: 11 Jul 2012, 11:26
I'm currently at 271 pounds. Just joined FatSecret this past Monday, my diet is Atkins, and I'm doing fantastic. My only problem is that I'm having a lot of difficulty when I exercise.

Does anybody with 100+ to lose have any advice as to what sort of exercises you did/are doing in these beginning stages when exercising is more difficult with this much weight? I find it hard to maintain endurance in anything for a good solid 30 minutes. I know it will get much easier as I shed pounds, as a lighter body is more fit and easier to move. I get out of breath so easily, but mostly my legs and feet have trouble bearing my weight for too long.

Right now, I'm walking. I know I'm slower than I should be, but it's so hard. I'll keep plugging away at the walking...but I do NOT want to get bored or discouraged. Do any "extra large" dieters have some advice for me? What did you do, or what are you currently doing, that keeps up with exercise goals as you work through the initial difficulties?
2007 highest weight: 298
Started FatSecret 7/9/12: 278
8/13/12: 264

Joined: Sep 09
Posts: 1,995

Posted: 11 Jul 2012, 11:34
Hi Mamajava, I used to be much larger than you.

In the beginning I really didn't exercise at all - not for about a year. I lost all my weight simply by adjusting my calories.

Later I have learned at lot about both weight loss AND exercise, and I do exercise more.

I think when you start out, ANY exercise is better than no exercise.

Park a little further away from work. Take the stairs, etc.
One change I did that I felt gave me motivation (more than actually burning calories) was that I decided to stop being lazy. Before that decision, I would comfortably wait for someone in the family to pass by the couch and then ask them to get me something if I needed it. Instead, I decided to get better at simply getting things myself, when I needed or wanted them. This made me get out of the couch MANY more times each day, and made me move for probably a total of 20 minutes extra per day - not getting up from the couch, but getting what I wanted.

Then, as you lose more weight, you will find more energy, and you will find it easier to workout and do "real" exercise.

I can recommend a DVD called "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition - The Workout". It's a very non-intimidating exercise DVD, and it's a GREAT starting point. The easiest level is 15 minutes, and you get to do things in your own pace. The coach is friendly and not intimidating or pushy, but motivating and makes you wanna finish what you started.

I hope this helps.
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Joined: Oct 10
Posts: 17

Posted: 11 Jul 2012, 11:38
It depends how much you've exercised before. I know when I first started this journey myself it was hard for me to even walk, so that was my first goal was to get comfortable enough to be able to walk again. As for exercise beyond walking I really like Leslie Sanson's "walk away the pounds" videos. There are lots to chose from in all sorts of levels. I did Atkins about 10 years a go now and used her vidoes and just walked and walked and walked and was sooooo toned and looked amazing! They aren't just walking you do basic steps in them so you are doing more moving Smile Good luck!

Joined: Jan 12
Posts: 275

Posted: 11 Jul 2012, 11:38
I started at 286# in Dec 2007. All I did at first was walk on the treadmill, and during our two 15 minute breaks at work. Most of my first 50# or so was lost thru diet. I remember on Xmas day (3 weeks into lifestyle change) I walked on the treadmill for 45 minutes and was sweating like a pig! I started doing the elliptical and stairmaster, put the treadmill on an incline.

Joined: Jun 10
Posts: 345

Posted: 11 Jul 2012, 12:35
I would not do any directed exercise at this point (the contrarian viewpoint, I know).

In one of the Volek & Phinney books, they indicate that there's actually some evidence that exercising at higher weights results in a slowing of resting metabolism! At heavier weights, doing a lot of exercise also creates a lot of collateral damage on your joints, perhaps even your muscles. That damage increases inflammation....NOT what you want to do. I realize this flies in the face of Biggest can make your own judgment.

Wait until you've lost a reasonable amount of weight and slowly begin a moderate exercise program....more for your sense of well-being and heart health, than for weight loss. In the meantime, if you feel up to it, you can always park further from stores, maybe take a stair or two, but go easy. As you drop weight, you'll actually feel like you want to move more and that's your key to doing so!

All of my weight has been lost walking, primarily. While I walk 3+ miles now, I began at just a mile or so, 2-3x/week, and that was after Induction.

Good luck!

Joined: Jul 12
Posts: 60

Posted: 11 Jul 2012, 12:39
Sandy701...that actually makes a lot of sense. I do really enjoy my walks, so maybe instead of aiming for some calorie-burning intensive walking, I'll simply head out for evening and morning relaxing strolls for as long as I am enjoying myself...and then listen to my body for indicators of when the time comes to pep it up!

Thanks for all the advice, everybody! I plan to take a little from each of you. Smile
2007 highest weight: 298
Started FatSecret 7/9/12: 278
8/13/12: 264

Joined: Oct 11
Posts: 33

Posted: 11 Jul 2012, 12:40
I would also recommend Leslie Sanson’s workout. You walk in place, do knee-ups and work you arms. One mile is about 15 minutes. I started her 3 Mile DVD's last year. I was my heaviest and too lazy/un-motivated to workout. Now days a jog and do P90X.

One day at the time, you will achieve whatever you set your mind for! Good luck!

Joined: Feb 11
Posts: 44

Posted: 11 Jul 2012, 12:45
I've lost 45 pounds so far. That was all by diet. I wasn't exercising much. I've currently hit a plateau and I've been plateaued for 4-5 weeks now. Tomorrow I'm going to start a low carb diet. I don't want to do a specific diet because I don't want to eat very low carb like adkins. Like the previous posts in the beginning diet is probably the best way to go and maybe some walking. I also did Leslie Sansone videos. I love her Smile
~ One day at a time. Every pound lost is a pound that will never return. ~


Joined: Jul 11
Posts: 343

Posted: 11 Jul 2012, 13:03
swimming is the best low impact exercise for joints, but it requires a pool and it is not for everybody so I would suggest walks increasingly long. Get yourself a pedometer app and set a daily target that you need to hit. When you are heavy walking burns a lot of calories anyway

Joined: Feb 12
Posts: 64

Posted: 11 Jul 2012, 14:48
The fact that you're walking is great, that is one of the best ways to start. I does not matter how far you go, just keep going. Swimming is also amazing, and good on your joints. If you don't have the cardio capacity(sp) to do laps yet, then get a pair of aqua shoes and walk laps in the pool. Very very good way to start, walking w/out the pressure on your knees and feet. Just keep moving!!!!

Joined: Jun 08
Posts: 333

Posted: 11 Jul 2012, 17:52
Have you tried aquasize classes? Exercising in a pool is great because it takes the strain off your joints. And you may be able to meet local people that are going through the same journey as you are.

Yoga is good too because you will be in complete control of the moves and it will help strengthen your muscles (which in turn burns more calories). I used to take belly dance classes which was great, because bigger girls are better at it than skinnier girls. A lot of the larger ladies found it to be helpful because it strengthens the leg and abdominal muscles and helps lossen up your whole body. If you choose to do that, I would recommend finding an instructor that has studied it as a cultural aspect, not just a dance, from my experience you will gain more from the class.

Walking is ALWAYS good. Just listen to your body, it will tell you what you can/can't do ect. Just remember, no matter how slow you are going, you are lapping everyone sitting on the couch! Wink
"Of course its hard, if it were easy everyone would do it. Hard is what makes it great"
-League of Their Own

Joined: Oct 11
Posts: 47

Posted: 11 Jul 2012, 17:53
At this point in my diet I have lost almost 100lbs. I started out by just walking 10 mins a day. I did that for about a week, then increased it by a minute or two. Now, Im on the elliptical machine for an hour at a time, or I walk over 4 miles outside. Small gradual changes is what worked for me.

Joined: Jun 12
Posts: 63

Posted: 11 Jul 2012, 19:19
Good for you that you want to start adding a little exercise to the mix. It is good for your general health, but you are right to be a little tentative at first.
I have lost almost 20 lbs now, but am heavier than you. I am just over six feet tall, so that accounts for a little of it! I was walking my dog every day for years, but it didn't do too much for conditioning or for weight loss. I try and get on the exercise bike at least twice a week. I prefer that to many other forms of exercise because it is easier on my knees and other joints. I do an interval training routine that takes 20 minutes, although at first, i could only do about 12! I have slowly worked up to the full 20 minutes, and I have increased the resistance from a level 2, to level 6. I add another 5 minutes on at the end to make sure my heart rate is down closer to a resting level. It is a vigorous workout that doesn't take too much time, and doesn't hurt my body too much. If you are interested google "Mercola Peak 8 Fitness", and you should be able to find a video where he explains the whole routine, as he does it. Watching him do it helped me understand better the right intensity. I was pushing too hard in the easy sections when i started. It can also be done on an elliptical.

Good luck!
A bad moment does not have to be a bad day, bad week, or a sign that you can't do this. It is a moment. Just that. Pause and go back to the person who really wants to be healthier and happier.

Joined: Jul 12
Posts: 60

Posted: 12 Jul 2012, 08:07
I love all of your tips and suggestions. I have read everything and I appreciate every bit of the support. Thanks! I'll be taking a little bit from each one of you.
2007 highest weight: 298
Started FatSecret 7/9/12: 278
8/13/12: 264

Joined: Apr 10
Posts: 62

Posted: 12 Jul 2012, 13:47
I began by walking because

1. I am cheap and did not want my weight loss journey to cost me $$ ( gym membership -- gas to get there and back )

2. I hate jogging/running

What I found after months of walking is that it is THE perfect exercise for my lifetime --

It is portable, I can do it ANYWHERE and it requires NO EQUIPMENT except for decent shoes so I always buy shoes that I would not mind walking in.

Also it can ( if done briskly ) get your heart rate up to a level that you are doing serious exercise while at the same time not beating your joints to death.

I get alot of thinking and praying done on my walks now as I am not soooo stressed with the act of exercising that I cannot think of other things.

I walk 1 hour briskly ( 4.5mph for me) everyday 7 days a week -- most of the time I knock it out from 430-530 am before work (also taking my Chocolate Lab along which he loves )

I do it on vacation or travel --- and never skip -- sometimes if I suspect I might not be able to get it in the next morning due to having to be at the airport early or something I will do another evening walk the day before just to make sure I am good to go and then the next day if I can get it in anyways at some point then it is a bonus ---

Finally walking as your exercise allows for oppotunistic exercise very often --- for example when I used to take my car to Sam's Club to get a flat repair I would shop even though I really did not need anything, now I leave my cell # and head outside to do laps around the building until it is finished.

You do however have to get past excuses like... **weather** ( it is too cold or hot or wet ) I have figured out that I can walk in almost any temperature now that I am in good shape ( I have done 110 degree days and 25 degree days ) as long as the wind is not really bad on a cold day --- If there is a really rainy day I just breakdown and go to a mall that walkers in my area frequent ( the anchor stores are gone and it has very few normal stores )

Walking is where it is at !

Joined: Jun 12
Posts: 20

Posted: 12 Jul 2012, 17:35
I also started with walking. In my case I walk the approximately mile and a half to work. The benefit to that is that I have to walk home after work if I want to get home lol. I am also very large 5'8" and started at 322lbs now 312lbs

Joined: Dec 11
Posts: 19

Posted: 12 Jul 2012, 19:30
Hello! Good for you, girl. I started at 260 pounds (I'm 5'8"Wink 7 months ago, and now I'm down to 213. I started with the elliptical, which I found to be very low impact for knees/hips, etc. And I didn't jiggle like I did when I jogged, so that was good Wink Add me if you want a buddy!

Joined: Mar 12
Posts: 27

Posted: 13 Jul 2012, 08:21
I am in about the same boat as you but I have two serious medical problems that rule out pretty much all strenuous exercise. I have been walking, albeit slowly, when ever I can for even a short amount/distance. Also according to my orthopedist( for another medical problem lol) you do not want to run. Every lb of you puts 3 lbs of weight on your knee joint so not a good thing unless you want to get knee replacements (lol). Water would also be good but you have to have the time and energy to go someplace for that.

Joined: Apr 12
Posts: 78

Posted: 13 Jul 2012, 08:27
When I started I found exercise to be very difficult as well. I had some back pain issues that hindered my movement and made me very tired very quickly.

Where you should start depends on where you are. I started exercising long before I started dieting. In the beginning I couldn't walk very far, so I used a stationary bike. It took months for me to gain the strength to walk with mild, bearable pain. From there, I started walking because I found that the bike had given me some strength in my legs, hips and back, but the walking worked those muscles differently. I signed up for an exercise tracker -- I use Endomondo, but any tracker will do -- so that I could see small progress and keep my motivation up. At first I could barely walk a quarter mile and it took me 10 minutes to reach that distance. It was embarrassing. It is now eight months since I signed up for the tracker and I walk about a mile a day. It takes me about 20 minutes. I'm not exactly Olympic team material, but that's an improvement.

My point is exercise at whatever level is appropriate. If you can only do 10 or 15 minutes, do that and do it regularly. As you get stronger you can increase the time and/or intensity.

Listen to your body. If you find you are sleeping really hard, you are probably exercising enough. If you are in pain that lasts long after your workout or if you are so tired after your workout that you can barely function, you are probably working out too hard.

Remember to be forgiving to yourself. If you skip your exercise or you fall off your diet, you are not a bad person and you did not waste your time. Just start again. You'll get to where you're trying to go.

Joined: Jun 12
Posts: 657

Posted: 13 Jul 2012, 09:53
Low impact is best when you are starting. Swimming is best having the least impact on joints, after that probably an exercise bike. You can get small cycles which you can use while sitting on the sofa watching the TV. I've got one and have (apart from yesterday) done at least half an hour, to 2 hours a night since I started using FS to track my diet/exercise about 3 weeks ago)

The only thing is that because it's easy you can forget you are doing it and do too much too quickly (which is why I had a night off last night), and you need to position it right (your leg should never be fully extended/straight). But as BlueWaterBottle said, you will soon know if you are doing something wrong, so long as you listen to your body.

42" jeans(25/01/2013) 40"(28/02/2013) 38"(20/03/2013) 36"(25/05/2013)
Down from 60" waist jeans since June 21st 2012.

Still keeping to my 26" jeans, but they are too tight for comfort. too many tasty things in the US, and over Xmas.

Onwards and Downwards! Smile

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