I want to begin exercising, but I weigh over 250 pounds. I am out of shape and I don’t know where to begin. Any advice would help.

— Charlene J., Email

A sedentary story

One of my clients weighed in at over 300 pounds. She had both knees replaced, one shoulder (rotator cuff) replaced, had a mastectomy because of breast cancer and underwent heart surgery. She wobbled her way around and had lost hope that she would never get her stride back.

No matter what I said or what anyone around her encouraged her to do, she remained sedentary. But one day, out of the blue, she came across a quote by the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said: “The time is always right to do what is right.” She discovered that the “right” thing for her was to no longer wait and put off living her life to the fullest. She created a plan with a strong support group and took action to recondition her body.

After accepting the reality that she was no longer the high school cheerleader she used to be, she began her training program by being active three times a day for 12 to 15 minutes. When she felt discomfort, she stopped. When she got bored, she chose a different activity.

Because she was oversized, she was determined to be kind to her joints, so her increased activity was using the recumbent bike at home. After a while, she made her way to a health club, occasionally used an elliptical trainer, and enrolled in a water-aerobics class.

Keep changing

Like this client, you may find it tough to get started. But, to your surprise, getting started is not as tough as changing what you do for exercise every three to four weeks.

As I share in my book, Conquering the Munchie Monster, the most important aspect of any exercise or fitness program is implementing the principle of adaptation. When it comes to weight loss, it is critical that you avoid becoming too comfortable with what you are doing. I know we’re creatures of habit, but I am also familiar with the proven philosophy that says: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.”

If you fall in love with walking, eventually it is going to be to your benefit to either walk longer or with more intensity. And even so, there will come a time when you can’t increase the intensity or the duration and the only way to avoid and break plateaus is to cross train — perform different methods of exercise.

Time tells all

The future comes nearer each and every minute. Where you are today is not where you are going to be in six, 12 or 18 months. The things that are difficult today will become easier in little time. The body you have today is not going to be the body you will have this time next year.

Good luck!