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Exercise options for very unfit/overweight person

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by miranda-s, May 12, 2018.

  1. miranda-s

    miranda-s Occasional commenter

    I've steadily gained weight for years, largely attributed to various medical conditions which play havoc with my metabolism and hormones (yes, I know this sounds like an excuse!) and although I've managed to halt the weight gain I haven't managed to get rid of any of it, despite having a good diet, as confirmed by dieticians and other medical professionals, so increasing my exercise is the next step. I currently weigh just over 200lb with most of that sitting on my stomach! Any weight loss would make a difference, but I also really want to be fitter and stronger so I can do things I'm currently too unfit for. I'm really struggling to know what sort of exercise to do that will get me to a stage where I can take part in exercise with less unfit/overweight people than me. I can't manage exercise classes (yes, I've tried) and running isn't an option because I have plantar fasciitis in both feet. Can anyone help with ideas for exercise that will have the maximum benefit but is still achievable for someone who is very unfit and overweight?
    I don't have a lot of free time, but I'm fortunate enough to live in an apartment building that has a small swimming pool and a gym with some weights machines, cross trainers and exercise bikes. I swim several times a week for about half an hour but I haven't used the gym as I'm not sure where to start. Please help with any suggestions/advice you have! I'm so tired of not being able to find clothes in my size that are "me" and of not being able to do the activities I want to because of how unfit I am.
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I feel your pain.
    I have managed to lose 2 stone, yet still not managed to drop a dress size? :( o_O Weight always seems to stay on where one wants to lose it most. In my case on my waist- hence not yet being able to drop that dress size.:( And that 2 stone has taken nearly a year to come off at roughly 1lb a fortnight.
    To encourage you, I also lost nothing, not even a couple of ounces o_O :( for the first 7 months.:rolleyes: Talk about depressing. :(

    Certainly in the past when I have managed to lose weight I started with some gentle exercises from my old ballet days. So any gentle stretching programme , just to 'wake up' those muscles. I think this time I started with just 4 repetitions each time building up over time. So about 5 mins then building up gradually to 20 mins -currently. Later on it needs to be 30 mins+.

    The best exercise to really shift weight I found was swimming.This really helped me tone my body. Unfortunately I haven't braved the swimming this time. Under-confidence at putting myself in a swimsuit for one and I don't have one in an appropriate , which doesn't help. And gives me an excuse of course. :rolleyes: :oops:
    JosieWhitehead likes this.
  3. rayondesoleil1976

    rayondesoleil1976 Occasional commenter

    Low carb & weights.
    sebedina and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. miranda-s

    miranda-s Occasional commenter

    Thanks both of you.
    Lara, it's good to hear that swimming worked well for you. I don't really feel like I've done much exercise when I've been swimming, so I'm never sure whether it's worth it.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  5. blue451

    blue451 Lead commenter

    Believe it or not, there are some very good fitness videos on youtube, with routines suitable for all levels, including absolute beginners. Some offer 'low imapct' cardio which would allow you to burn calories without pounding your feet (and knees).
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  6. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    Go to your GP . Ours will discuss diet and exercise and will prescribe three months free at the local gym where your needs are discussed and an appropriate fitness plan is offered. Your Gp surgery might offer this service.Good luck.
  7. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    To lose weight you really need to focus on what you eat. Exercise is great, but you have to do a lot of it to lose any weight. I'd recommend keeping a food diary, continue with the swimming, use the exercise bike and walk wherever you can. It may be worth having some blood tests to check whether you have a thyroid problem or any deficiencies.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  8. miranda-s

    miranda-s Occasional commenter

    I've got as far as I think I'm likely to with GPs, consultants and dieticians - my diet has been discussed with multiple medical professionals and they all agree that I'm doing everything right, and I've been tested for everything under the sun that we don't already know I have (thyroid issues being one of these things - I apparently don't have this).
    Sorry if I sound negative, but essentially I've been repeatedly told that difficulty losing weight is just part and parcel of the medical conditions I have, I'm already doing everything that can be done in terms of diet and medication, so doing more exercise is the only other thing anyone can suggest. I'd consider getting a personal trainer, if only for an initial assessment and advice on what I should be doing, but past experience with this has not been positive to put it mildly!
  9. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    I think joining a gym and speaking to a trainer would be a great idea but I understand your feelings. I had a terrible experience with a gym 10 years ago where the trainer just made me feel so rubbish! It really impacted on me to the point I felt too intimidated to go to the gym for well... 10 years!

    I recently joined a different gym and explained to the trainers that I'd had a bad previous experience and was very scared about going to the gym again. They have been amazing and I am genuinely starting to enjoy it. Try giving it a second chance x
  10. miranda-s

    miranda-s Occasional commenter

    I don't really want to join a gym since I have a (small) gym in my building that I can use for free, but I know it is possible to get a personal trainer to come and work with you there as I've seen a couple of people doing that. I might see if there's the possibility of getting someone to come and do one session with me to work out a routine I should be doing. I don't want to be like the poor woman I see down there whose personal trainer makes her go outside (in 30 degree heat and 70% humidity) and run up and down the steps by the pool, and do all these uncomfortable looking exercises in front of everyone who is swimming!
    I've had a number of experiences with gym-based personal trainers, at the most helpful end was one who asked me some questions and suggested a workout routine for me which turned out to be achievable (that was a good while ago though, when I was in better shape to begin with) ranging to the one who started our session by making me get on an exercise bike and cycle myself into an asthma attack "to see how unfit you actually are". Needless to say, I did not continue my gym membership there.
  11. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Mrs M lost 60lb from a 200lb start. She now runs in a running club, but that is not how she lost the weight.

    She stopped driving to work and started cycling.
    She targeted weight loss in ten pound chunks. This is so important.
    She removed processed sugar from her diet.
    She no longer ate out or ordered in.
    She found that all her injury issues were weight related. As she lost weight she could do different sports.
    First gym class she did was step. Gym class ladies at Zumba and similar are really nice. She loves exercising with groups of ladies and never ever exercises solo. Even now, she doesn’t run solo, only with the ladies. And she’s not fast, but she found that all running groups have a not fast group. Social exercise really is a powerful thing.
  12. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Hi Miranda-s, I really feel for you. I have successfully lost quite a lot of weight (with Slimming World, which worked for me), but I'm finding it hard to keep it off and am yo-yoing a bit now. It's the fitness that really bothers me too; I am not able to do the kind of exercise I'd like to and used to do, due to a very back back and increasing arthritis. Swimming is good, but (like you) I don't feel I'm making much difference as a I slowly mooch up and down the pool! For me, walking is the best. I wear a step counter and make sure I do 10,000 steps on a least five days a week. I use public transport and walk to and from work now, and if I'm a long way off target, I go for a walk in the evening to boost it. It is making me feel better.
    Please don't lose heart - you're clearly trying really hard and doing the right things. I know how you feel about clothes, too ... I'm a big fan of on-line clothes shopping these days, I find there is far more choice in what I know will be 'me' than on the high street.

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    Exercising with other people can be a great help. I do 3 classes a week with a group that's geared towards over 50s and it's been great for raising my levels of fitness, strength, balance and flexibility. Our instructor is very careful to make allowances for age/injury/levels of fitness.

    I don't know how old you are, but in your search for someone to help try and find someone with experience of dealing with unfit people - sounds silly but I'm sure many personal trainers have no idea what it's like to be unfit!

    As for diet, mine wasn't bad initially, but by making some small changes (snacking, portion size) I've lost about 10kg since January.

    Good luck!
  14. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    That's brilliant. :D

    Mine seems to have stalled foe the past 6 weeks, so must really get started with 'proper exercise; again. :rolleyes:.

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    I should add that I only get weighed about every 5 or 6 weeks - we don't have scales at home (and don't want them) so I just call into the Health Centre on occasional Wednesday mornings and get weighed there. I think that helps too -weighing every few days would be too much for me. I've found it better to just trundle along and check now and then, instead of obsessing about the inevitable small gains and losses which happen naturally in the course of a few days.
  16. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Certainly weighing too often can be counter-productive and I only weigh once a week, at the same time of day with no clothes :oops:.
    JosieWhitehead likes this.
  17. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I had a big operation on my right ankle in March 2017. Seven weeks in a wheelchair followed and then about seven weeks in a big boot and crutches, but, in trying to walk again, I pulled the sacroiliac bone out of place in my back, which in turn bore down on my piriformis muscle and sciatic nerve. It is taking ages to get this right and, as a result of not being able to walk and told not to swim, I've put on weight. I have about three quarters of a stone to lose and am doing it. The walking is getting better at long last but it has been dreadfully painful over the last year.

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    That sounds really painful! I'm sure the weight will shift as you become more active but take your time.
    Losing weight is a long term thing - quick fixes won't last. And getting fit is the same.
  19. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    You are absolutely right. I have an old Weight Watcher's Diet and I can't think of a more sensible diet at all. It is the sort of diet that you could happily live on for the rest of your life. Even with a biscuit with a cup of coffee/tea between meals, you can lose about one to two pounds a week easily. Then you can see from above that I have been through a bad couple of years with not being able to walk very well. The main thing is to choose a diet that you really like and which doesn't require many foods different to what you would normally eat and then you'll hardly notice a difference between being on a diet or not being on one and the rest of the family will enjoy the same foods as you, with, perhaps, a bit more bread, an occasional cake or pudding of course. Instead of the puddings, choose some nice fruit and this is the perfect time of the year to find delicious fruits.
  20. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    Try running and jumping in the swim pool or an aqua class. Google the 30 day Ab challenge and keep doing it.

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