In the past when I have lost weight successfully I did two things, I, of course, was more aware of what I was eating and limited my calories, and I ran. I really enjoyed jogging and it always seemed to help me lose weight much more quickly. Often times though I stopped working out and jogging when I fell off the calorie wagon, and over the years as I slowly got a bit bigger and bigger, I did not think jogging and running could be an option for me.
The first few times I tried it hurt, like I was carrying a 50 pound sack of cement, and indeed I was. I also read that the stress on joints was 3 times your body weight, and the thought of doing that to my knees just did not sound safe. I was afraid I would "blow out a knee" or hurt myself.
So I started walking. Walking gets a lot of good press because it is so accessible to everyone. It is easy on the joints, heart, and is something that you can go back and do everyday. When I was training for the 1/2 marathon, even when I got up to 10 miles, it was 90% walking.
I noticed something with that training, I did not lose any weight, zero. Of course I was not diligent with my calories, but still, it should have accounted for something right? And through it all, all the walking, I always longed to just let loose and jog. In the past, running had a zen like quality for me, hard to explain, and almost impossible to capture by walking. I miss it.
Anyway, a few days ago, after another fight with my son, I did not let it escalate into a meltdown, I went back to the park that I have neglected for about 6 months. I walked a lap, jogged a lap, until I had gone two miles. I did not set any records, but I did much more jogging than I had in the past. It hurt for a while, but got easier as I went along. I was tired, but exhilarated, I have not gone two miles at anything in a long time.
When I got home I googled a few "is it OK to run when you are fat" type of things, and came up with this article from about.com, and it put aside my fears about the dangers I had perceived for heavy runners. It can be done.
It is a good article and she brings up a interesting point, running simply works different muscles, more muscles, than walking does. When you run your body starts getting "prepared" for more running in the future. Much like lifting weights, your body tries to get ready for the next work out, and this aids in weight loss and increased cardiovascular functioning. Its all good. There is a danger of injury to the knees and joints, but taking it slow, mixing in walking, can pretty much alleviate that.
The benefits, in my mind anyway, seem to far out "weigh" the potential dangers. I am looking forward to more regular trips to the park, and looking forward to all the results.