6 Fitness Tips for Plus-Size Folks
Fitness can be challenging for most plus sized people. Whether you don’t know where to start or are simply intimidated by all the buff and perfect bodies at the gym, you always find a reason to keep putting it off. Well finally here’s some help! Here is a short guide on how to begin and eventually succeed at your fitness goals.
1. FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT TIP: SEE A DOCTOR
Fitness is different for overweight people in a lot of ways. One is because being overweight can bring with it a lot of underlying diseases and conditions. It is important to consult your doctor about the limitations of these conditions. Remember, the goal is to embark on a fitness journey, not to hurt yourself. Once your doctor has given you the green light you might still want to keep in touch. Ask your physician if your exercise and dietary programs are safe for you. Your doctor, who is familiar with how your body works can also help you manage expectations and provide encouragement when you feel like you’re not seeing progress. Seeing a doctor beforehand could help prevent injury, frustration and disappointment.
2. CHANGE YOUR DIET
In the beginning you may not be in a good enough condition to work your body hard. This is especially true for the severely overweight and not just merely plus sized. That is why you must change your diet. When you start out, no matter what you do, you will never be able to out exercise a bad diet.
You don’t even have to start calorie counting in the beginning, just start by cutting out all sorts of processed and junk food from your diet. Start eating more veggies, eat more plant based protein and completely stop eating fast food. A great way to get fit and healthy through food is to see a registered dietitian who can create a personalized program that will be designed to fit your goals and needs.
3. START SLOW
No matter what you do, and no matter how much extreme weight loss becomes tempting, don’t go at it Biggest Loser style. The TV program probably employs quite a handful of professionals to make sure that the contestants don’t hurt themselves, a kind of support you may not necessarily have at home. Start slow, you will be surprised how much difference walking a block or two will make. You can start with the bare minimum of what you can do and increase the length and intensity of your exercise (e.g. walking, elliptical, aqua jogging) by 10% in weekly increments. Stick to low impact exercises at first to avoid injury.
4. TRY YOGA
Yoga is great for plus size folks for a lot of reasons. First off, it’s pretty low impact. Yoga poses also have beginner to advanced variations so you can start at whatever level you feel comfortable with. Also, unlike most other forms of exercise, yoga puts emphasis on your journey. There is no goal, there is no “perfection”, there is nothing that is to be achieved – there is only you and your body and your journey to fitness and peace of mind. So there’s no pressure! If you think that yoga is not enough of a workout for you, wait ‘til you do a downward facing dog with your sweat dripping into your eyes and nostrils. Yoga offers high returns for such a low impact workout.
5. FIND A TRAINER
It is easy to get demotivated when you don’t instantly get the results you want. You start slacking off and doing far less than you can actually do until you completely talk yourself into not doing it at all. “Why am I doing this anyway?” or “What’s the use?” are just some of the disempowering phrases we tell ourselves all the time. Finding a trainer who is patient with you, sensitive about your needs and fitness level and who makes themselves accountable for you, and to you, will help you push through with your fitness no matter how you are feeling about it. A qualified trainer can help you avoid injury, teach you how to maximize your workouts and guide you to push through your limits, all the while keeping you safe and injury-free!
6. PREPARE YOURSELF EMOTIONALLY: GET SUPPORT
To be honest, health and fitness are pretty straightforward. You eat healthy (but never above the daily caloric limit) and exercise and then you get results. It is our emotions that make things complicated. We get discouraged and stop, we think we can’t do it and stop, we think the people all the way across the gym are laughing at our efforts and then we stop. The reason most of us don’t get the results we want is because we stop too soon, and why do we do this? – Because we lack emotional support.
One of the best ways to stick to the plan is to surround ourselves with people who support and believe in us, those who have the same goals as us, those who keep us positive, and those who keep us accountable. No fitness journey was ever undertaken alone, you need a whole cheering squad with you.
According to Jeanette Depatie, author of The Fat Chick Works Out! and a plus-size and fit lady herself, you must start seeing fitness as a reward instead of considering workouts as a form of punishment. Another thing, although goal setting might be helpful in the initial stages, fitness is really more of a mindset. Once you get it right in your mind that you are doing this because you love your body, because you deserve it and because you can, you are more likely to stick to it and eventually see results.
Remember that most people become strong, fit and healthy way before they start losing weight so don’t take score too soon. Celebrate small victories all the time! Any small improvement from your performance the day before should be met with gladness, not criticism on your end.