Is Pilates Good for Weight Loss?
Updated: May 14
Clients ask me this question all the time, and I really, really want to be able to respond with a resounding yes! But the honest answer is much more complex. So many factors affect our weight, including how much and what we eat, how much and what form of exercise we do, how we manage stress, how well we sleep, and much, much more. The best way for me to answer this question is to share my own weight loss story, followed by a plan to help you get started on your weight loss path. Pilates features in this story, but it's by no means the only factor!
True Confession: I Wasn't Always this Fit
Earlier this year I posted the picture above on Facebook. That's me doing the Swan Dive, a particularly striking Pilates exercise. A few hours later I got a message from an old friend who said she really needed Pilates in her life, and could I train her? I was thrilled to hear from her and we scheduled a time to chat. When we got on the phone she surprised me by saying, "You look so good in that photo! When I saw it, I thought, I need to do what Riki's doing!"
This friend and I met when we were both in our 20s and I had never heard of Pilates. In fact, I didn't exercise much at all then. I weighed about 15 pounds more than I do now and I lived a mostly sedentary life working as a fact-checker and copy-editor in New York. For more than 10 years I continued to work jobs that involved sitting at a desk for eight hours a day, drinking sugary drinks, eating a lot of takeout meals and sweets, and hardly exercising at all. Needless to say, I didn't drop much weight in those years. Another fact of those years: my energy was sluggish, I didn't have a ton of confidence, and I hated posing for the camera.
Slowly my life evolved and things changed for me. I got married, had a baby, left the corporate world, and eventually switched up my diet and activity levels. At some point along the way, I had a mindset shift. I remember consciously deciding that I wanted to be fitter more than I wanted to drink a Coke or eat a morning glory muffin. At first, I made that decision one time, but the next day or week, I would choose the soda or sweet. Eventually, I realized that I had to make fitness and health the first priority, not because I thought I should, or because someone else was telling me too, but because I really wanted the results that would come from making that choice. I wanted more energy, more confidence and less insecurity about how I looked, moved and held myself.
I've thought a lot about the path I took in those years, about how I was when I first met my old friend to how I became someone whose photo on Facebook inspires others. And while it would be nice if I could point to one thing I did to lose 15 pounds, I believe it was a combination of things that did it.
Over the next several weeks, I'll share the choices that have had the most impact on my weight, starting with managing stress levels by prioritizing sleep; outlining some key changes I made to my eating habits; and lastly, explaining how I went from being a sedentary office worker to someone who enjoys exercising every day. Each blog will include tips you can try for yourself, as well as links for learning more.
Want to Get Started Now?
Here are three quick tips you can try now: