How Can I Get Fit Being 40 Pounds Overweight?

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question-icon-newI have put on a lot of weight over the past 2 years (about 44 pounds overall). I started 6 weeks ago taking 45 minute walks and I have now started a home fitness program with my own equipment as follows (in circuits):

  • 100/75/100 – steps (step machine)
  • 10/5/5 – miles on bike (indoor bike)
  • 100/50/50 – bag punches broken up into a circuit that lasts 45 minutes

How long will it take me to lose 44 pounds using my current workout program? I drink 1 liter of water during the session and more water afterwards. I have a very bad sweet tooth and it’s the hardest thing to control in my diet along with bad sleeping patterns. I also have hemochromatosis (iron overload) but have had my iron reduced to below normal levels with venesection every 2 weeks for 1.5 years. Am I doing the right thing if I am iron deficient now? Does it affect my oxygen uptake?

answer-icon-newLet me first say that I am not a medical doctor so any issues you have with hemochromatosis will need to be discussed with your physician. This isn’t meant to be insensitive but when it comes to underlying health issues there are simply too many personal variables to take into account regarding your medical history. So my answer to your question is strictly speaking of losing this weight for an otherwise healthy individual who doesn’t need special consideration.

I generally tell people to allow the same amount of time it took to gain the weight, to lose the weight. This is often a very sobering statement but it is necessary to set them up for long-term success. It means they have to commit to making a lifestyle change that is long-term and ultimately permanent. So often I hear people who have let themselves gain weight over a number of years and then ask how they can lose it all within 2-3 months. This type of thinking implies that they are willing to put in a lot of effort but only for a short period of time. It is also why so many find it difficult to maintain their success once they have realized their initial weight loss goal. They are only willing to give up their bad habits long enough to get rid the consequences. There is a very good quote I read somewhere that says, “Generally people don’t want to be cured of their bad habits, they only want to be cured of the consequences of their bad habits.” And this is no truer than when it comes to weight loss. A weight loss goal is fine but the most important thing to understand is that the lifestyle changes needed to reach this goal need to be permanent.

How fast you reach your weight loss goal of losing 44 pounds really depends on your level of discipline and effort. Consistency is really the key because it breeds habit. Your workout routine looks great so the area I would concentrate on is your nutritional intake. Since you admittedly have quite a sweet tooth it will be necessary to make some changes in this area. The refined sugar in processed sweets really causes havoc on your body’s insulin levels and makes it much more difficult to burn fat. Sugar can be a very addictive substance so quitting it “cold turkey” is definitely a challenge. One of the more effective ways of weaning yourself off is to begin by not eating any sugar after a certain time of the day. Start with a time that is 3 hours before your normal bedtime. Then each week move that time up 1 hour. So if your normal bedtime is 10pm then you would begin by avoiding sweets after 7pm. The next week it would be 6pm and so on. This may also help you to sleep more soundly because your body won’t be trying to process this sugar during a time when it should be winding down for sleep. Again, consistency is the key here. Give your body time to adjust to the changes you are making and soon you will find those cravings beginning to diminish.

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