What would YOU do with 299 extra hours a year?

When you hear the word EXERCISE do you think about joining a gym? Having a personal trainer? Wearing colour-coordinated work-out gear? Or sitting on the couch telling yourself: I’ll start tomorrow.

For years I over-exercised

When I was at my heaviest I worked out for an hour each day. And if I ate something I thought I shouldn’t have, I’d work out again.

The diet industry conditions us to think losing weight is hard. And I completely bought into that message. So I was always thinking… eat less. Exercise MORE!

It took 10 years of dieting, and gaining weight instead of losing it, before I got FRUSTRATED enough to try something new. So I gave up on the idea of being thin and focused on being healthy. And that’s when I lost 30 pounds!

That was almost 20 years ago.

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How did I lose weight?

I ate MORE, exercised LESS and stopped being so hard on myself.

For instance, after speaking to a doctor I learned that over-exercising is similar to under-eating. It puts your body into survival mode and slows down your metabolism. Not good if you’re trying to lose weight!

And if you’re doing extra exercise, like I was, to make up for something you wish you didn’t eat, you’re actually doing more harm than good. All this over-exercising makes it hard to lose weight because it confuses your body.

Our bodies LOVE routine

Think of how tired you feel if you get up just one hour earlier… Living things thrive on predictable patterns.

As well, our bodies need rest between workouts so our muscles can build and repair. Then we get all the benefits of exercise.

So how much exercise do we need?

I reached a healthy weight when I cut back from an hour of exercise each day, to simply doing a 25 minute workout 3 times a week. That’s 5 hours and 45 minutes LESS exercise than I used to do each week. Now add that up over a year… Move over treadmill! There are SO MANY more interesting activities you can do with an extra 299 hours.

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Bubble bath anyone?

So, the big message I want to share, is that whether you’re doing tons of exercise or you’re intimidated to start, make your goal HEALTHIER by cutting back, or working up to a more moderate 25 minute workout 3 times a week.

I hope you’ll learn from my mistakes and save yourself precious time

And keep in mind… you don’t need to join a gym or have a fancy trainer to reach a healthy weight. But colour-coordinated work-out gear always helps ;)

Kelly Clark shares how she got healthy in her blog It took me 10 years to lose 10 pounds at the10principles.com. She is based in Toronto, obsessed with Preloved clothing and is passionate about sustainable living.