A weighty thought

I have been a member of my gym for almost two years now. It’s a women’s-only gym, which I prefer, and it’s small and friendly. It’s close enough to my home that I can walk there in about ten minutes. I like the machines they have, and by now, I’m quite proficient at going through the circuit. They are starting to offer more and more classes – you know, “Butts and bellies”, Zumba fitness, weight loss seminars and the like – and although I’m not especially interested in that stuff, I can usually work around it. They do close rather early in the evenings, and aren’t open on Saturday afternoons, Sundays or stat holidays, but again, I can usually work around that, too.

So basically, I like my gym and I like my work-out.

Late this afternoon, I was merrily lifting and pushing and twisting and bending my way around the circuit at the gym. There were only three other women there, so I could pretty much go at my own pace. The two closest to me were having their own animated conversation, and the third was way over on the other side of the room, so I didn’t even have to make polite small talk with anybody. I could just do my work-out and go home for dinner. I like that, especially when I’ve been at work and around people all day (yes, contrary to the opinions of many, small kids are people too!).

At one point, though, I looked around at the three other women in the room. I realized that they were all about my age. And they were all noticeably overweight. Well, I thought, I may not be perfect in the body department, and I certainly have my “trouble” spots, but I’m not that overweight. Still, here we all are, working out.

I started to think about some of the other women that I’ve noticed in the gym over the past two years. The vast majority are middle-aged, chunky women. The rest are mostly senior women of varying body types, with a few younger women also of varying body types. Yet, here we all are, working out.

And then I had a question. With all this regular working out, shouldn’t the middle-aged chunky women be getting less chunky? Isn’t that one of the goals of exercise, to slim down? So, why isn’t this happening for a lot of these women I’m noticing?

Now I’m wondering if maybe regular exercise doesn’t actually help with weight loss. I mean, at my gym, I haven’t exactly seen much evidence that it does. Are we all just wasting our time and money then?

I just don’t know. I’m going to have to ponder this for a while. I’ll just go fix myself a rum and coke and maybe grab some chips and dip while I think about this …

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4 responses to “A weighty thought

  1. I am way behind in blog reading so have only just seen this. Exercise is good for you generally but you have to do an awful lot of it to lose weight. I have found cutting carbs is the only effective way – I don’t do strict Atkins, I eat plenty of veg/salad and some fruit and eat full fat everything. I have lost over a stone since July and it is still going at a rate of about 1lb a week. I have not had any issues with constipation or bad breath (my kids would have told me like a shot). I also enjoy what I eat, find I do not get hungry between meals and am not obsessing about food.

  2. How very strange – this didn’t show up on my reader until today…
    I think the exercise is definitely a good thing, but what you eat (and how much of it) is much more important in the long run. Plus when you hit middle age and your metabolism slows, you can exercise all you want, but if you still eat the way you did at 20, you’ll pack it on. Which sucks in a big way.

  3. I have the greatest trouble in losing weight. I did Atkins about a decade ago and lost about a stone (14lbs) but I had to be very strict and also deal with the bad breath and constipation side so it had to go. I try and watch the carbs but am not terribly successful. A couple of years ago I started running but had to stop because of feet issues and now i’m swimming a couple of times a week, covering 1km-1.5km each time. I’m logging my running and swimming in Runkeeper and have, since starting running/swimming, covered a total of 127km and used up 12,681 calories. I have not lost one single solitary fecking pound. And I’m not eating any more than I was before. I think I may have toned up a little but not much. The only time in the last 6 years or so that I lost an appreciable amount of weight was when I suffered pancreatitis and was hospitalised, completely nil-by-mouth, for a week. I lost about half a stone then through just lying on a bed with a drip going in one end and a catheter coming out the other. I think you’ll agree this is not a healthy way to lose weight. I’m resigned to staying the same weight and, probably, creeping weight gain as I get older and my metabolism slows so I’m just focusing on the other health benefits that exercise will give me, such as helping with blood pressure and exercising the heart muscles. It’s deeply unfair though…

  4. A number of years ago when I was in a very high stress addictions counseling job I packed on a lot of weight, which was rather unlike me normally. I realized that I was alleviating stress via inappropriate foods, mainly a lot of carbs. When I left that gig I also resolved to lose weight, so I went on a modified Atkins and lost 30 pounds. I still watch carbs intake and have never gained back, though I fluctuate a pound or two here and there. I have concluded that weight is all about food, and little about exercise. But exercise is definitely healthy in other areas of our beings. So, there’s my little ramble, sistah! See you (metaphorically) after the cruise, upon which I’ll probably eat a whole lot of stuff I don’t need.