If you are serious about losing weight then one of the best things you could do is to stop exercising. Why? Because very few people can maintain an exercise routine long term. It works for a while – but then who wants to exercise? Just the mere thought of exercise is hard work.
But I remember when I was about four years old my mum and dad would take me and my two brothers for a walk in the woods. That was back in England. I learned to enjoy the experience of walking. My entire life I walked. Most days I walked at least an hour, most times two hours. Some weekends I would bush walk all day long.
But is that not exercise? You could call it that but exercise does not motivate me. I don’t think anyone is motivated by exercise. What I suggest is that you forget all about exercising and instead think of how you like to move?
For me, I like to move through the world. I like to travel and discover new places. So even catching a plane can involve a long walk through the airport, and sometimes a long walk on the tarmac.
And when I get to the foreign land I love to explore. I catch buses, and trains and taxis but most of the time is spent walking or climbing a volcano or something like that.
I like to see new things, I enjoy the weather, I love clouds, rain and storms. One year on the Gold Coast all the kids were sent home from school because of an approaching cyclone but me and a friend we thought differently.
We went for a walk around the Burleigh National Park by the edge of the ocean at Currumbin Creek. The streets and the beach were deserted.
There was just me and my friend. We followed a rocky path right in front of the beach and then walked up through the forest track. It was dark but light enough to see, and the wind howled through the trees.
It was dangerous because a tree branch could have fallen and killed us at any time. When we got to the top of the hill, the rain was coming in horizontal from over the ocean.
Why do I tell you this story. Because I have little interest in exercise yet I move a lot. So as I said I enjoy being out in nature. That motivates me to get outside. I also enjoy the experience of moving my arms and legs – it is called walking. It feels good.
In my younger days I used to swim in the local pool every evening. The friends who I shared a house with at the time were surprised at how motivated I was. They enjoyed sitting around a table talking but I enjoyed moving.
I never liked sitting around in front of a television or hanging out at a café. I would much rather do something active with my friends. So I choose my friends accordingly.
At one time I used to go to yoga classes, and then I spent years practising tai chi. There were times when I used to run. I used to go to a gym and lift weights. I loved dancing. I used to surf.
I was always active but I never thought of it as exercise. That distinction is very important because it is difficult to get motivated by exercise but movement in the right way in the right environment will motivate me, and you.
When I go shopping I park the car as far away as I can from the shops so that I can get a walk. If there are stairs I will take the stairs. Rather than use a trolley I carry the groceries. Do you get the idea? I don’t think in terms of exercise – I think in terms of movement. An opportunity to get some exercise in a way that I enjoy.
For example, I work from home and I never take a drink into my office. I get up every ten minutes or so to walk to the kitchen to get a sip of tea and then walk back to the office. Even taking the rubbish out to the bins is an opportunity to move and be outside.
So how do you like to move your body? What is the environment; what is the activity that would give you the opportunity to move in such a way that you get the exercise that you need – and yet it satisfies a higher value – something that is really important to you?
So for me I love travelling – and travelling can be as simple as walking around the local streets or exploring a new shopping centre. It does not have to be a trip overseas.
And I love being outside in nature. I love hearing my boots crunching on gravel. I love watching a storm come in. I love the smell of rain in the air, the smell of salt spray and seaweed. I love the sound of seagulls. The sight of an eagle in the sky.
So these are some of the things that motivate me. Now the question is what would motivate you to engage in an activity, that would get your body moving in a way that you enjoy such that you get the exercise that you need? If you need clarification you can get a dialogue with me on my youtube channel.
There is an article on my website which explores the myths and facts around the Mediterranean Diet which will give you some insights into what the long lived people actually ate. It might surprise you. Hopefully it surprises you all the way to good health.