Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Weight Loss: Diet vs Exercise

With more than 60% of US adults either overweight or obese, there is obviously a problem with weight in this country. Fortunately, many people are trying to lose weight. The problem becomes deciding what method is best to lose weight and ultimately maintain weight. Is it diet? Is it exercising? Is it both? When dealing with weight loss, you do not need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out. Just keep one simple idea in mind, "move more, eat less". Consume less calories than you burn and you are well on your way. Pure and simple. It is the best way to lose weight and improve your health.

Most people opt for the easier way, which in their minds is dieting, however most diets do not work. According to the American Council on Exercise, only 5% of dieters are actually successful in keeping the weight off. Usually, 1/3 of weight lost is regained within 9-12 months. Most diets are restrictive and do not teach a person about making healthy choices when it comes to food and lifestyle changes. On the other hand, exercise is great, but if you do not fuel your body enough to support the activity you are doing, you will not have the energy needed to support the weight loss and will fall back into weight gain. So again, the questions remains, diet or exercise or both?

According to the National Weight Control Registry, 89% of people who have lost weight and successfully kept it off used a combination of diet and exercise. Think about it, while dieting alone can help you lose weight, it is exercise that improves your fitness. Exercise improves your strength, endurance, flexibility and your overall capability to perform daily activities with ease. All of these things allow you to be more active, which in turn helps you burn calories, but your body need good, healthy food to stay active.

Starting an exercise program can be easy enough, however staying with it is another story. That's why you should start out slowly and set short, specific, attainable goals. Reach those first then focus on setting higher goals so you can progress and ultimately succeed. Try and exercise 15-20 minutes 3 times a week, and work your way up to longer durations and add in more activity and more sessions.

Your diet should consist of low-fat food choices and ultimately result in a reduction of the total number of calories consumed. Make sure you eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, add in protein and eat complex carbohydrates. Keep it simple. Keep it basic. Stay away from processed foods.

Whether you are just starting on an exercise and diet program or have been working with a program for a while, the key is maintaining these lifestyle changes and that can be hard. You need to stay motivated and focused, even when times are really tough. Don't get discouraged, weight loss is a slow process, it takes time. But when done patiently and consistently it can be rewarding, successful and permanent.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Do you want holiday weight gain? I don't think so...

Studies have shown that between Thanksgiving and New Year's, people will gain 2-5 lbs, and 8 out of 10 people will not lose that weight over the next year.

Are you ready to enjoy the holidays and avoid the weight gain that typically comes along with them? Here are some tips that can help:

1. Drink a glass of water before you have that glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage. Also, have a glass of water between each drink. Alcohol stimulates the appetite, water can slow you down in-between and eliminate the not so pleasant after effects of having too much. If you really want to watch calories, drink sparkling water or tonic with lemon or lime, its party-like yet low cal.

2. Do not starve yourself before a party, this can only lead to binging and over-eating. Eat small, healthy meals/snacks throughout the day to keep yourself full but not stuffed. When at a party or gathering take small portions. Do not feel you have to try everything that has been put out on the table. Be picky. Bring your own healthy snacks if you really want to play it safe. As a fellow trainer put it remember the 4 P's: Prior planning prevents pigging-out.

3. When talking with people, step away from the food tables and bar, you will be less likely to graze and/or ask for refills on your beverage.

4. Fit exercise in every day, even if it is only 15-20 minutes. I can not emphasize this enough. Do something everyday. Move the body. Remember, move more and eat less. Try to workout before the party, you will be less likely to put garbage in after having completed a good workout. You'll have worked to hard to look good in that dress or suit to blow it. Also, exercise will help you stay sane amidst the chaos of the holidays. Oh, and did I mention you'll look darn good.

5. With all the food available at parties, come up with other activities that can be done in a social setting, go for a walk around the block and judge the holiday decorations, play a game that everyone can get involved with, sing and/or dance. Find something that will keep you busy and away from the food tables.

The holidays are meant to be enjoyed with family and friends. They are meant to have good times and to remember what is really important, family, friends, and good health. Make plans to enjoy your holidays the healthy way.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Diets just don't work

Diets are restrictive, the reason they work is they restrict the calories you intake. However, with that restriction, much of the nutrition your body requires from food is eliminated as well. So ultimately, diets are not helping your body, but depriving of what it really needs to be healthy.

Most restrictive diets fail because they do not take into account a thing called life and lifestyle. Restrictive diets are followed for a certain amount of time and once a person comes off them, more than likely they will fall back into old habits, hence all the weight lost comes back and then some. Most of the current diets out there today, do not allow a person to learn and know what really is good and not good for them and how to make the choices and adjust their food intake so that they can maintain a healthy weight for their entire lives.

If you gradually reduce unhealthy foods from your diet and replace them with healthier options you will be able to maintain a healthy weight and stop the roller coaster ride of weight loss.

Monday, November 2, 2009

New Chapter...new goals

These last several weeks have been a whirlwind. I have completed the Marine Corp Marathon, my first in 12 years, started my 5th decade on this earth, and celebrated 8 wonderful years with my husband, all this along with regular life.

The Marine Corp Marathon gave me the opportunity to grasp a challenge and not let go until it was complete. Not finishing was not an option. Completing it meant more than just finishing, it meant I was able to start something, take it to the next level, and finish it. It is very much like life. Like taking control of your health and well-being. Just give it your all and do the best you can. It's remembering progress, not perfection. Small steps will lead to big and better things.

Turning 40 means that a new chapter in my life is about to begin. It will be full of challenges and tough times as well good things and special times. It will be in how I chose to deal with them that will make everything fall into place. Life is never easy, but how you deal with it, how you handle it is what will make the difference. And when you have a soul mate that you cherish, it only makes things easier.

I am very excited about my future, and more than willing to learn from my past and set new goals and face new challenges based on what I have done, haven't done and will/can do for the future.

All the Best,