How Sports Can Help You Lose Weight in a Healthy Way

Photo Credit: David Woo of The Dallas Morning News

Katie cycling at the Superdome in Frisco, Texas.

There’s no denying it: losing weight is almost never an easy task to accomplish.

Slow progress leads many to feel frustrated, going to the gym often feels like a chore and making smart choices about nutrition can sometimes leave you feeling deprived.

There are some ways to get around these obstacles, though. In particular, there’s a pretty simple fix that can help you find more enjoyment in exercise.   

According to Olympian Katie Uhlaender, an American skeleton racer, the best way to make exercise seem less dreadful and more exciting is to simply engage in sports or activities that you actually enjoy.

“Make it about being active and having fun. Choosing sports over working out is awesome,” she said. “It's a way to stay active and have fun while creating a lifestyle that keeps you alive, engaged and healthy.  Open your mind to different possibilities — skiing, kiting, swimming in the ocean, triathlons, surfing, etc. There are so many ways to get out and be active and learn new things in life.”

It’s a pretty simple concept, but still, many of us don’t embrace the idea. Instead we routinely head to the gym to log our time on the treadmill or in the weight room just because we're told it's what we're “supposed to.” But really, what’s the point if you’re not enjoying yourself?

 Of course you’re going to dread going to the gym if you never have fun while you’re there.

 

Using Sports as a Healthy Way to Lose Weight

So, you’re interested in the idea of embracing a new sport or activity in place of your typical workout routine. Where do you start?

“The best way is to approach it as a choice to change behavior, to create a happier and healthier lifestyle,” Uhlaender said. “Do not attempt to crash diet, or have a stopping point, create a new approach to behavior toward stress, toward yourself, and take the power back in life by actively creating new things to do in your life and new choices.”

Ultimately, Uhlaender says it’s about creating an active lifestyle and making actively smart choices, both in terms of your activity levels and your nutrition choices.

“It's about making smart choices and not treating food as a regime,” she added. “Make the choice to feel better.”

Oh, and aside from taking your workout routine from boring to a blast, participating in sports and activities that you truly enjoy has one more pretty incredible benefit: a better body image.

Uhlaender agreed: by taking the emphasis away from the number on the scale and placing more weight on being proud of what your body can do and working to improve performance, the tedium and frustration so many experience as part of losing weight essentially vanishes.

 “It takes the focus away from what society thinks and allows [you] to focus on community, seeking adventure and a lifestyle of new and exciting things to do,” she said.

More Reading:
Why You Don’t Need a Scale to Lose Weight
8 Important Life Lessons Kids Learn from Playing Sports
Why Even Active, Healthy Women Struggle with Body Image—And How to Overcome Self-Destructive Thinking

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