One caveat. I said losing weight... but when I say losing weight, the reality is it is not always losing weight, it is more likely to be changing your body composition. What does that mean? It is change in your body's ratio of fat to muscle. In this case, decreasing body fat, and maybe even gaining muscle. If you lose fat but gain muscle, it is possible that your weight on a scale does not change, or that your weight even increases. A pound of fat and a pound of muscle weigh the same, but they have different volumes. If you could put fat or muscle into a one gallon container, that one gallon of fat would weigh about 7.6 pounds, and that same one gallon of muscle would weigh about 9.2 pounds. That's a 1.6 pound difference in that same amount of space. You could lose fat, gain muscle, and come out weighing the same or weighing more than before you started. If that weight change is due to a change in your body composition, then you are still achieving your goal of losing body fat.
Look at it this way: Muscle taking up the same amount of space weighs more. If you want to measure body composition changes, it is better to have your body composition measured, or use the simple way of looking in mirror while wearing the same clothing each time you check. When the clothing gets loose, you know you are changing your body.
The number one thing you must do is eat sensibly. Follow a smart, well thought out nutrition program. It needs to be balanced so that it does not result in more calories going in than you burn - don't eat more calories than you use through the day. No matter what you do, if you keep eating more calories than you burn, you won't lose weight. You might get fitter with an exercise or fitness program, but you won't lose body fat if you eat more calories than you use up throughout the day. Excess calories, from any source, tend toward being saved by your body, and your body saves those calories as body fat.
Where to start? First, make sure you are physically ready to begin. That means a medical check from your physician or other certified health and fitness expert to make sure that there is nothing that needs to be addressed before you get at it. If you are cleared to start, then get started!
Write down your plan. Start with your goals, then add the steps you are going to take to reach those goals. Some of those steps should be focused on diet or nutrition, and some should be focused on fitness and exercise (that is where swimming can play a part in losing weight). The steps might be as simple as "swim three times a week and stop eating three scoops of ice cream each day" or they might be a detailed eating and exercise plan, laid out day to day, week to week, and month to month. Whatever it is, put it where you will see it everyday to remind yourself.
What swimming plans can you use for fitness and exercise? There are many, here are a few examples:
- Build Your Swim Workouts from Zero to a 500 Yard or Meter Swim
- Build Your Swimming Workouts from 500 to 1,500 Meters or Yards
- Build Your Swimming Workouts from 1,500 to 3,000 Meters or Yards
- How to Swim Better
- 5 Weeks of Swimming Workouts
- 8 Weeks to Increased Swimming Fitness - Write Your Training Plan
- Pick Your Swim Workouts