How I Lost Weight With Asthma

Last updated: September 2022

I’m going to pat myself on the back here. I set a New Year's Resolution in 2016 to lose 30 pounds. I succeeded. I set a New Year's Resolution in 2017 to maintain my new weight. I succeeded. So, I’d like to share how I did this even though I have asthma. Because, asthma can pose a challenge here, as all my asthma friends well know. So, how did I do it?

How I lost weight with asthma

  1. Good Asthma Control. I see my asthma doctor every six months. If I feel symptoms, I sometimes see him more often. I take Advair or Symbicort twice daily, and I take Singulair once daily. Sometimes we decide to tweak doses. I currently am experimenting with Symbicort. This is because I think it gets deeper into airways. My hope is this helps me do #2 and #3 below without experiencing asthma symptoms.
  2. I do aerobics. What? I do what. Yes, you heard that right. I run. I hop on the treadmill and I run. I also run outside if it’s nice out. How? Well, I’m no Usain Bolt and never will be. I run slower than my friends. So, I have learned to pace myself. I have to. I start slow. I gradually increase my speed. I have a couple different running programs I can do depending on how I feel. If I am having a bad asthma day I walk. That’s fine too!
  3. I increase my speed. I do this over time using the Body For Life Cardio training program. First I warm up. Then I increase my speed each minute for four minutes. I do four of these cycles. So, four times I reach my high points. The high points are the key here. I have been doing this for two years now, so my high points are pretty good for me. Like, I can run 6 MPH for a minute. I can do this easy some days. Other days I experience some mild asthma symptoms. So, that's why I'm trying Symbicort. I'm hoping, since it's better distributed, it will prevent this. I'll let you know in a future post how this experiment worked out. So far, though, it's going pretty good.
  4. Eat a healthy diet. The best way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories than you burn each day. Actually, you don't even need to exercise to lose weight. But, eating healthy entails this annoying thing called keeping track of your calories. You can measure out serving sizes. Or, if you like me and don’t like to bother measuring, a serving is about the size of your hand. A serving of steak would sit comfortably on your open palm. A serving of peanuts is how many you can hold in your grasp. Most health experts usually recommend 5-6 small meals a day, or a “fueling” every 2-3 hours. I prefer eating one carbohydrate and one protein with each "fueling." I eat all the vegetables I want.
  5. I don’t let setbacks stop me. Even though I have controlled asthma, I still have asthma episodes from time to time. Like, I do get colds. Respiratory viruses can knock us asthmatics down. When I feel sick, I take a day off. If needed, I take a week off. Okay? It’s okay to do this. Sometimes we have to. It’s better to take time off than to keep challenging your body only to make things worse for yourself. Sometimes I need oral steroids, and they make me feel hungry even when I’m full. So, this might cause me to gain weight some weeks. No big deal. As soon as I feel better, I get back on the wagon.
  6. I do resistance training. This is an ideal exercise for asthmatics. It entails using weights. I have free weights in my basement that I use. I also have a machine a friend gave me. I started out with light weights. I use the Bill Phillips Back to Fit 12 Week Trainer Program. But, like the aerobic program noted above, I tweaked it to fit my asthmatic body. I gradually increased weights. Unlike the diet part, this is something I’m pretty good at. But, I do not increase my weights very much nor very often. I think it's good that I'm just doing it. So, even though I’ve done this for two years now, I have yet to make the transformation Rocky did between Rocky I and Rocky II. But, I still feel good about my progress.
  7. Take a day off once every week. Don’t stop living. If you really want to make a weight loss program succeed, you have to live normal. I take one day off every week and I can do whatever I want. I can eat whatever I want. I can go to McDonald’s and eat a Big Mac. I can sit around drinking beer and watching football if I want. So, I think it’s good to have these days.

Maintaining balance with asthma

So, that’s how I lost weight. I do a combination of diet, resistance training, and aerobics. I mainly use the two programs linked to above. But, I tweaked them to fit my asthmatic life.

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