Fat Guy’s Guide to Starting an Exercise Program
By Jarrod Beachum, PA-C
If you any of you have met me in the clinic, it is no secret that I’m a big man. I’m 6’1”, 350 lbs. I used to be very fit and active, but once my activity level went from 60 to 0 about seven years ago, my weight went the opposite way. Since gaining the weight, other aspects of my life have suffered. It is harder to get comfortable in bed, I breath way too hard for what used to be simple tasks, and I can’t go on any rides at Six Flags except for the tram from the parking lot. Those are functional deficits caused by my weight gain, but more important are the health implications of my obesity, such as increased risk for hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and joint pain. I know I need to be more active to help lose weight, but where do I start without causing more of the pain that made me quit being active in the first place? If any of this sounds like you, keep reading for what I’m going to do to get my body back into shape…safely!
- Like I said, it took about 7 years to get where I’m at today. To be successful at weight loss, I can’t expect to lose all that weight in a few months. A more realistic goal would be to lose about 1-2 pounds a week. This rate has been shown to be easier for most to manage, and generally leads to more long-term success.
- This is all about me. My ability to exercise has nothing to do with anyone else. If I can only walk one block to start out, then fine. I’m going to rock that one block. The whole point of this is to get moving and make your heart, lungs, and muscles start working better. Any exercise is better than nothing.
- Be kind to myself. I have to listen to my body and protect it from harm. For some, that may mean starting with chair exercises. There are all kinds of videos and programs online that will teach you how to exercise while sitting in a chair. Again, there’s no shame in your game. If that is where you need to start, fully commit to it and gradually you will be able to increase your activity levels and movements.
- Enjoy this time. The general recommendation you will hear from providers is 30 minutes of cardio 5 days a week to start. What I usually tell patients is to find a strenuous activity that you actually enjoy and do that daily if you can. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t keep doing it!
Weight loss is a journey, not an event. If you want to be successful in the long-term, you will need to adjust your mindset and focus on making small changes and incorporating these changes as part of your normal routine. If you would like to talk more about this subject and get more detailed advice come see us at 45 Urgent Care and we would be happy to answer your questions.
Jarrod Beachum, PA-C