Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Education Lessons: Walking (not) For Weight Loss

Normally, I post a yummy recipe with a little commentary. However, today I decided to create a different kind of post because it was what's on my heart today.

Through the years, I have always connected exercise with weight loss and building muscle. I have forced myself to exercise to help me lose weight even though I didn't enjoy it. It was only in the past two years that I found a more significant use for exercise, and I want to share it with you.

To get to the real point, I have to give you a short history first. When I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about six years ago, the hardest thing for me was taking the oral medications I was prescribed to take three times a day. I had always been a pill "choker"--not being able to swallow most pills successfully. I would get stressed out every time I had to take a pill. So, having to take them three times a day, every single day, was constantly stressful for me. I would do almost anything to NOT have to take oral meds. I didn't even mind pricking my finger to test my blood glucose levels or getting my blood drawn at the doctor's office. That, to me, was WAY easier!

After watching "Forks Over Knives" and committing my life to plant-based eating, I experienced the greatest gift in only three short months--NO MORE MEDS! And, getting off medications was my primary motivation when I made the choice to go plant-based. There is no denying that the FOOD is the reason I was able to stop taking medications. I wasn't exercising at all, and my blood sugar levels dropped to an all-time low.

But, I've learned something significant and want to share it with those of you who have high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol levels, osteopenia/osteoroporosis, and for those of you who are overweight. If you don't have any of these conditions/diseases, please share this with someone you know who does. Food is a cure, but along with that, EXERCISE can also be your "medicine." Once eating a plant-based diet, add consistent exercise to KEEP your illnesses away. 

And by the way, you don't have to be an athlete to exercise. I am definitely NOT an athlete. You just have to move. For me, as a Type 2 diabetic, I have found that walking early in the day for longer than 30 minutes improves my overall health. My blood glucose levels stay low, my hip (which had bone loss prior to being on a plant-based diet) doesn't ache, and I just feel altogether better afterward! Believe it or not, my energy level is increased and I sleep better. If I can't do a longer walk, I try to walk as much as I can get in. Any movement is helpful. If I miss a day, I don't get upset or make excuses. If I don't walk fast, it really doesn't matter. I see fabulous results no matter how fast I walk.

So, think of walking in a different way if it helps you do it. You aren't going to lose all your weight walking. Truth be said, you have to change the food. But, you can (and will) maintain weight loss and control/reverse illnesses by adding it into your day.

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