Last October I wrote a post on this blog about my personal story of weight loss achieved through running. In that post I mentioned a controversial article that was published in Time Magazine in early August of 2009 that questioned the efficacy of exercising to lose weight (“Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin,” by John Cloud). The basic premise of the article can be summed up by the final paragraph, quoted below:
“In short, it’s what you eat, not how hard you try to work it off, that matters more in losing weight. You should exercise to improve your health, but be warned: fiery spurts of vigorous exercise could lead to weight gain. I love how exercise makes me feel, but tomorrow I might skip the VersaClimber — and skip the blueberry bar that is my usual postexercise reward.”
Reading this article made me angry, and not just because it was contrary to my own experience. I have seen many people who have made dramatic changes to their bodies and health by starting an exercise program, and any article that makes even the slightest suggestion that people skip exercise is ridiculous, and even borderline dangerous. My goal in this post is to provide examples of those who have used exercise as a tool to get healthy, and if you are just beginning this journey yourself, inspiration that if they can do it, you can too.
Over the past year I’ve become a huge fan of the website dailymile – it has served as a phenomenal source of support, motivation, and most of all friendship. About a week ago the theme for the day was Before/After photos – people were posting “Before” pictures of themselves before they started exercising, and “After” pictures to show how exercise has changed their health for the better. I have to say, the pictures and stories that were posted were amazing, and they reaffirmed to me more than ever the power of exercise to not only allow people to lose weight, but to in many cases contribute to a bodily transformation that is nothing short of astonishing. The pictures below are a sample of those posted on dailymile that day, and I hope that looking at them will confirm to you the positive benefits of exercise and a healthier lifestyle. You can view the dailymile profile of any of these people by clicking on the link below their photo – I’m quite sure any of them would happily accept a friend request, and all are great role models for the power of exercise to change one’s life.
So there you have it – everyday people like you and I who have done some absolutely amazing things for themselves by getting off the couch adopting an active lifestyle. So when articles like the one in Time Magazine say that exercise won’t make you thin, I have but one response – look at these pictures, they speak for themselves.
I’ll finish with this – all of these people are members of dailymile, which is an amazingly supportive community of like-minded people (kind of like Facebook for active people). If you’d like to give dailymile a try, click on the banner below and sign up – it’s free!