I have many interesting conversations with people about health, nutrition, and fitness when they find out I lost 150 lbs and went from morbidly obese to being within the military height and weight standards. Just today, someone quipped that it must have been helpful to be in the military to help me lose the weight. I smiled and asked them, “What do you mean?” They replied, “Oh you know, with all the PT we do and stuff, it probably made losing weight so much easier.” I explained to them that I had to lose all the weight before I was able to join the National Guard, and further, that I lost all the weight without a single drop of sweat or raising a finger for exercise.
I see friends and others join extreme fitness programs, purchase gym memberships, and go through all sort of fitness leaps to try to lose weight, yet they are all missing the most important ingredient: Diet = weight loss, exercise = fitness. I write about this often in an attempt to educate people about it, yet I keep seeing friends starting programs that are not going to help them lose weight. It will make them sore, it will make them tired, and when they don’t lose the weight they want to lose, they will get discouraged, quit, and they will mistakenly think that it’s impossible for them to lose weight. That somehow, for some reason, they’re not meant to ever be thin again. I know this, because that was me. Many times over.
Don’t get me wrong; fitness is GREAT for you! I just ran 3 miles today after two days off (normal rest interval for me), and while I took it easy and slow, it was still a good workout, and I felt great afterward. Heck, there were times when my legs were burning from running up the steep hills here in Pennsylvania, but it was exhilarating! But did it help me lose weight? Nope. Eating well is helping me maintain my weight. Exercise is keeping me fit, making my heart and legs strong, and keeping me in shape to pass my Army physical fitness tests.
I didn’t lose my weight due to the military; I did the military because I lost the weight. I didn’t start any exercise program to lose weight: I started exercising to get fit. I used diet and lifestyle change to lose weight and to keep it off for almost three years now. If you are one of those people who recently started or are thinking of starting some sort of boot camp, P90X, or fitness program, please also change your diet. Without it, you will not see the results you’re looking for, and you will become tired, demotivated, and quit because all you’ll be doing (without having changed your diet) is make yourself very hungry, tired, and worn out.