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Mary Ella’s Weekly Message
August 20, 2012
Increasing Physical Activity
For those of you who are trying to become smokefree, one of the most common back doors to close is the fear of gaining weight. The average weight gain after becoming smokefree is 5 to 7 pounds. If you’re gaining more than that, it means that you’re either eating foods that are high in sugar or fat content, your portions are too large, you’re not getting enough physical activity or a combination of all of those things.
You’ve already demonstrated a commitment to having a healthier lifestyle by entering the Freedom From Smoking Online program and setting a quit date, or actually quitting and becoming a nonsmoker. Why not continue with that commitment to your health by increasing your physical activity, as well?
In Module 7, we talk about a few ways to get you started. It’s important to remember the two things that can sabotage your good intentions: Doing too much too fast and doing activities that you do not consider to be fun. For example, if you have never liked running, then taking up jogging probably isn’t for you. Or, if you join the local fitness center and start right away with a two hour workout, you’re going to hurt (a lot!) the next day. Can you see how these two situations might cause anyone to give up before they really get started?
If you are one of those that lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle (and that includes a lot of us), you should consult your health care provider about an exercise plan that would work best for you. Walking is a good way to start because it’s free, most of us have a place where we can walk and it’s easy to start slowly and increase your speed or distance over time.
When you became smokefree, you started with a plan. If you have not already done so, it’s time for you to make a plan for physical activity. One of the ways to make exercise fun is to do what you enjoy. Think about what you used to do as a child that got you moving. Was it skating? Riding a bicycle? Playing basketball? Think of some more ways you can start a physical activity that you think is fun. If there is an activity that you really enjoyed, think about whether it was a solo or group activity. If it was a group activity, you probably enjoyed the team spirit as much as the activity itself; look into some group activities that are offered through a local recreation center or your workplace.
With our hectic schedules and busy days, it can be overwhelming to think about including “working out” on your “to do list”. If that’s the case for you, think about doing something in 10 minute chunks. Maybe you can fit in a 10 minute walk before work, during your lunch break and after work! It takes only 30 minutes of exercise a day for you to notice a difference in the way you feel—and in how much better your clothes might fit. After all, you did find time to take breaks to do something else for a long time that brought you to this program, right? Fill some of that time now with activity!
This week, commit to the following:
- Make a plan to increase your physical activity.
- Figure out how you can save 30 minutes a day for increasing physical activity, whether it’s in one chunk or several smaller ones.
- Remember that hydration is important when you’re moving, especially if you’re outside in the heat. Plan to have water with you when you exercise.
- Pick a date to start your program.
- Post about what you’re doing to increase your physical activity on the Message Boards. I’ve recently started bicycle riding again and it’s bringing me great joy. :-) It’s so much fun!
- Close the “fear of gaining weight” back door by getting up and moving.
I’ll see you on the Message Boards! :-) Mary Ella
Don’t forget: If you're in the Premium program and want help fast on the Message Boards, put "HELP NOW" in the subject line of your post. If you're looking to offer help, watch for those, "HELP NOW" posts and alert your other FFS Online buddies to offer some assistance as well.