Well, to be more accurate, no high heart rate exercising during the weight loss course.  When I first heard ‘no exercising during this program,’ I both leapt for joy–no obligation to go running–and felt crushed that I wouldn’t have any way to keep in shape (I played competitive sports for years, sometimes even 2 in 1 season).  So I said, not even yoga? She said, ‘yoga is fine, in fact, yoga is great!  Just no running or other sports with a lot of exertion that get your heart rate up.’

This seemed really strange to me; almost all traditional weight loss advice tells you to exercise more, and burn more calories than you consume.  She explained that during the program doing that kind of exercise skews the results and makes it harder to track actual progress.  But she told me that after the program with her was over, I could use running to help maintain my weight.

Later I found out the main reasons not to run during the weight loss course:

  • Running makes you retain water in your muscles, making it hard to track inches lost.
  • If you only run during the weight loss program or can’t keep it up long-term, then the day you stop running, it’ll be easy to gain weight back.
  • When you first start running, do you gain weight or lose weight? And how does that affect your results from the actual weight loss course?
  • Can fitness, such as running, actually contribute to noticeable weight (inches, and fat) loss? (This is a bigger question, which is debatable.)

And thus over the course of those few months, I stuck to my yoga and enjoyed it. I also enjoyed not having the guilt that I should be going running. 🙂

So next time you commit to a weight loss course and are deciding whether to include exercise, think about your goals and how long and how consistently you plan to exercise.  Are you going to exercise for a week, then quit? For a month, then quit? Can you sustain your program?  How consistent are you? Does exercise even help you lose weight? What happens if you stop exercising for a short period of time, or even a whole year? Would it be better to use cardio activities to maintain your weight after you hit your ideal weight?  Also think about if that time would be better spent visualizing/meditating or doing something you derive true pleasure from (besides eating)?

But don’t forget to consider all the other benefits of exercise!

And try yoga!  :p

Next post in the series for TCM weight loss: Scraping (Gua sha) ->