As exercise and weight loss goals go, most of us have never entertained the goal of preventing weight gain. Somehow, saying "I want to prevent weight gain," just doesn't have the same resonance as, "I want to lose weight!"
But, for some of us, that's exactly the goal we need to have.
Think about the difference in these goals for a moment and the amount of work required for each:
- Preventing weight gain requires about 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. That could be a 10 minute walk in the morning and a 15 minute walk later in the day, a basic strength program a couple of times each week or some combination of that. And, keep in mind, that's all without changing your diet at all (providing you don't eat more than you're currently eating).
- Losing weight requires about 30-60 minutes of exercise most days of the week, working at a more vigorous intensity and with a combination of strength training and cardio workouts. Again, this is without changing your diet at all, so keep in mind that eating fewer calories does increase your weight loss chances.
The difference between these two goals is pretty big - With the weight loss goal, we get to lose weight and losing weight makes us happy. The problem? We often have a hard time doing the amount of exercise required to lose that weight so we end up giving up and, sometimes, gaining even more weight in the process.
With the weight gain prevention goal, we get to avoid gaining more weight. That? Doesn't sound like much fun, does it? Maybe preventing weight gain isn't as sexy as losing weight but here's something to think about if you're struggling to lose weight: Finding a way to stop gaining more weight puts you in a powerful position to start losing it for good.
The truth is, it's hard to lose weight. Every pound you put on is twice as hard to get off, our bodies are just made that way. So, every time you gain a pound, that's a pound on top of what you already want to lose. You've just made it harder on yourself and, if you're already struggling, you've compounded the problem.
So, what's easier? To follow an exercise program we can't stick to or choose a more accessible route that, if nothing else, keeps us moving and keeps our weight in check as we practice this whole healthy lifestyle process?
That's a question to ask yourself if you're on the weight loss roller coaster. Is there another way? What do you think? Is it a good idea to rethink weight loss goals if they aren't working for you? Is preventing weight gain a worthy goal to have? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.