Exercise for Weight Loss and Health

April 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Exercise for weight loss

All healthy weight loss programs advocate the importance of exercising in one way or another. However if I simply say to someone “you have to exercise more” there is not much value in this statement unless I explain why exercising is important, how to fit it into a busy schedule and how to stay motivated to exercise. These are the three important aspects that I want to cover here.

Benefits of exercising:

– Regular exercise increases the metabolic rate and helps burn fat; it can help you lose weight and maintain your ideal weight.

– Exercise can improve your mood because more endorphins and produced in the brain. Endorphins promote good mood and can help fight depression and reduce the negative consequences of stress on the body. Not exercising regularly leads directly to refrigerator meaning overeating and eating junk foods.

– Exercise improves the brain functioning and hence can increase your productivity and creativity. It can also increase the energy level.

– Exercise promotes the healthy heart, lungs, joints, hormonal system and improves the overall health in general.

How to stay motivated to exercise

– Define your goals – what benefits do you expect to receive from regular exercising? Do you want to lose weight, look younger, have more energy? If you keep in mind all the benefits you will receive, this will motivate you to continue.

– Schedule a fixed time for your workout the same way you would for an important event and treat it as such.

– Exercise with a partner. This way you will have a chance to interact more with someone you like and will have more fun. You can also motivate each other.

– Listen to your favorite music if you can (you can’t do that while practicing yoga, for example but you can while walking or jogging).

– Reward yourself if you meet your weekly goals, preferably not by eating fattening foods – get a massage or buy an interesting book, for example.

– If you get bored with your exercise routine, try a new class. There are lots of classes to choose from at your local YMCA or gym.

– Try competitive sports: this might be something that will keep you motivated.

– Join a club where you will have to pay membership fee on a monthly basis. This can serve as a motivation to go and exercise.

– Using positive affirmations can help you look forward to your workout. Repeat to yourself “I feel good about my workout”, “My body becomes firm and beautiful”, “I enjoy my exercise program”.

How to fit exercise comfortably into your schedule?

Different excuses not to exercises are just the excuses. “I don’t have time to exercise” is one of the most popular excuses.

– If you have time to watch one hour TV show, then you have 20 minutes to exercise during the commercial breaks.

– Simple 10 minutes of fast walking qualify as aerobic exercise.

– If you park your car far from a grocery store then 5 minutes of walk with groceries equally distributed in each hand can qualify for weight training.

– Jump a rope for 10 minutes at home – there is no need to go to a gym to do that.

You can find exercising opportunities everywhere – all you need is a little bit of creativity, not extra time.



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Three Weight Loss Tips

April 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Weight Loss Tips

There are many aspects that play an important role in weight loss. Let’s consider some of them:

1. Fiber plays an important role in the diet. Besides the fact that fiber can minimize the risk of diabetes, colon cancer and other diseases, it also plays an important role in the weight loss process. Fiber can help clean the colon by helping to have regular bowel movements. It also helps to eliminate the toxic waste trapped in the body as well as fat. Fiber can also fill you up so you will not crave unhealthy food. Instead of considering appetite lowering drugs eat more fiber-containing foods. These foods are vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps to reduce cholesterol while insoluble fiber helps to clean the colon of toxic waste and hence prevent diseases like colon cancer.

In order to get all the benefits of fiber you need to consume about 30gm of fiber daily.

It is important to take fiber rich food with sufficient amount of water otherwise the increased consumption of fiber can actually cause constipation.

2. Water is another element of the magic weight loss formula. Water is an essential nutrient for the body. We can’t survive without water for extended periods of time. Water helps to clean the body of toxins; it plays an important role in all the biochemical reactions of the body; it also can fill you up so you will eat less. If you ask me what is the magical weight loss pill my answer would be – water. Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water daily.

3. Exercise –  as with any other weight loss component exercise is important not only for weight loss but for good health in general. If you don’t have time to exercise, try to find exercise in any activity that you do. For example, climb the stairs or walk instead of driving whenever possible. If you have time and resources you can also join health clubs for a complete weight loss exercise program.



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Mindfulness and Weight Loss

April 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Psychology of Weight Loss

Mindfulness is being fully present, being aware of every moment of your life. We walk through our lives in a gaze. We make choices based on our previous experience, our habits so we don’t have to think.

Everything is put on autopilot. Our eating habits, exercising habits and everything else we do throughout the day are just wired in our brain. In order to change our habits we need to be conscious of them and then try to do things differently.

For example, I am looking for something to eat when my writing doesn’t move forward or I am tired and stressed out. Sometimes I don’t even notice how I go to refrigerator and open in search for food – it’s all automatic.

You might have a habit to eat while watching TV. Some people can eat a whole bag of chips in front of the TV while watching one hour TV series that usually happens after 7 pm – time when you normally have to stop eating to ensure the proper digestion. This is also a habit; something that we do without even being aware of it.

Mindfulness is the first step of the weight loss process. Without being aware what we do and how we do it we can’t make a decision to change it.

Beautiful forest

It is not easy to be fully present at any moment; it is just a matter of habit. Start doing the mundane task in the fully present state.

For example, while you wash dishes, pay attention to all the sensations and sounds; do not allow any other thoughts to interfere with what you are presently doing – do not think about past or future.

Next step is to bring the full awareness to the eating process. Feel the taste in your mouth, pay attention to the smells, enjoy your food completely. This will help you to eat less and really enjoy what you eat.

Now try to retain the awareness throughout to day to catch the unhealthy habits that contribute to weight gain and subsequently replace them with healthy ones.


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Weight Loss Surgery – Is It For You?

April 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Health Department Weight Loss Tips

Weight loss surgery is clearly not for everybody. There are many other less intrusive, natural methods that need to be tried before considering weight loss surgery.

Weight loss surgery is an option for weight reduction in patients with clinically severe obesity, i.e., a BMI ?40, or a BMI ? 35 with high health risk conditions. Weight loss surgery is really reserved for people in whom other methods of treatment have failed and who have clinically severe obesity. Weight loss surgery provides medically significant sustained weight loss for more than 5 years in most patients.

Two types of operations have proven to be effective: those that restrict gastric volume (banded gastroplasty) and those that, in addition to limiting food intake, also alter digestion (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass). Lifelong medical monitoring after surgery is a necessity.

Operative complications, including anastomotic leak, subphrenic abscess, splenic injury, pulmonary embolism, wound infection, and stoma stenosis, occur in less than 10 percent of patients.


An integrated program that provides guidance on diet, physical activity, and psychosocial concerns before and after surgery is necessary. Most patients fare remarkably well with reversal of diabetes, control of hypertension, marked improvement in mobility, return of fertility, cure of pseudotumor cerebri, and significant improvement in quality of life.

Late complications are uncommon, but some patients may develop incisional hernias, gallstones, and, less commonly, weight loss failure and dumping syndrome.

Patients who do not follow the instructions to maintain an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals may develop deficiencies of vitamin B12 and iron with anemia. Neurologic symptoms may occur in unusual cases. Thus, surveillance should include monitoring indices of inadequate nutrition. Documentation of improvement in preoperative  comorbidities is beneficial and advised.

This is just a brief coverage of weight loss surgery provided by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Make sure to speak with your health care provider and do your own research to determine if this is a right procedure for you.

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Behavioral Therapy for Weight Loss

April 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Health Department Weight Loss Tips

Behavior therapy provides methods for overcoming barriers to compliance with dietary therapy and/or increased physical activity, and these methods are important components of weight loss treatment.

In order to lose weight you need to be ready to follow through the weight loss program; you need to be motivated. That’s why assessing motivation and readiness to lose weight are parts of the behavorial therapy.

Setting achievable goals is a part of this process. This is a collaborative activity where you have to work together with the health care provider to set your goals.


Together you should be able to select what changes will likely to have the greatest impact on your weight loss process. This can be based on your past experiences, complete willingness to follow through the process and the ability to do so.

Once goals are selected, an action plan can be devised to implement change. Effective goals are specific, attainable, and forgiving (less than perfect). Thus, “exercise more” would become “walk for 30 minutes, 3 days a week, for now.”

Shaping is a behavioral technique that involves selecting a series of short-term goals that get closer and closer to the ultimate goal (e.g., an initial reduction of fat intake from 40 percent of calories to 35 percent of calories and later to 30 percent).

Once you have selected the goal your health care provider will address briefly what has to be done to achieve it.

Make sure your goals are specific. For example, if you are planning to walk 3 days a week, try to determine all the details in advance by asking yourself:

What are the best days for you to take your walks?

What time of day is best for you?

What arrangements will you need to make for child care (for example)?

When you are clear on your weekly goals the health care provider will prepare a written behavioral “prescription” for you listing the selected goals.

Follow up visits are important for monitoring health and weight status. They also provide the opportunity to assess progress toward the goals selected at the previous visit, to receive the necessary support and additional information, and to establish goals for the next visit.

Remember that you don’t have to be perfect – nobody is. Imperfect goal attainment is often the norm. Focus on the positive changes, and adopt a problem-solving approach toward the shortfalls.

Weight control can be quite challenging that’s why it is important to adopt problem-solving responses to goals that are not fully met.

Try to analyze why you weren’t able to achieve the previous week’s goals and see if you can develop more effective strategies with the help of your health care provider.

Weight control is a journey, not a destination, and some missteps are inevitable opportunities to learn how to be more successful.

Source:
U.S Department of Health and Human Services

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Physical Activity – How to Start Part II

April 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Health Department Weight Loss Tips

With time, you will be able to perform a larger weekly volume of physical activity that would normally cause a greater weight loss if it were not compensated by a higher caloric intake.

Reducing sedentary time, i.e., time spent watching television or playing video games, is another approach to increasing activity.

Try to build physical activities into each day. Examples include leaving public transportation one stop before the usual one, parking farther than usual from work or shopping, and walking up stairs instead of taking elevators or escalators. Other activities might include gardening and walking a dog daily.

Try to identify first a safe area to perform the activity, for example, a community park, gym, pool or a health club. However, if these sites are not available, you can also identify an area of the home where you can exercise.

Dumbbells

You can jump rope at home, for example, or if you can afford install equipment such as a stationary bicycle or a treadmill. Try to plan and schedule your physical activity 1 week in advance. This way you will have an outline to follow without spending time everyday trying to fit a physical activity into your life.

Allocate the time necessary to do your daily exercises, and document your physical activity by keeping a diary and recording the duration and intensity of exercise. A moderate amount of physical activity is roughly equivalent to physical activity that uses approximately 150 calories of energy per day, or 1,000 calories per week.

If you are a beginner, or lead a very sedentary lifestyle, very light activity would include increased standing activities, room painting, pushing a wheelchair, yard work, ironing, cooking, and playing a musical instrument.

Light activity would include slow walking (24 min/mile), garage work, carpentry, house cleaning, child care, golf, sailing, and recreational table tennis.

Moderate activity would include walking a 15-minute mile, weeding and hoeing a garden, carrying a load, cycling, skiing, tennis, and dancing.High activity would include jogging a mile in 10 minutes, walking with a load uphill, tree felling, heavy manual digging, basketball, climbing, and soccer.

Other key activities would include flexibility exercises to attain full range of joint motion, strength or resistance exercises, and aerobic conditioning.

Resource:
U.S Department of Health and Human Services


Physical Activity – How to Start

April 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Health Department Weight Loss Tips

Physical activity should be an integral part of weight loss therapy and weight maintenance. Initially, try moderate levels of physical activity for 30 to 45 minutes, 3 to 5 days per week.

An increase in physical activity is an important component of weight loss therapy, although it will not lead to a substantially greater weight loss than diet alone over 6 months. Most weight loss occurs because of decreased caloric intake.

Sustained physical activity is most helpful in the prevention of weight regain. In addition, physical activity is beneficial for reducing risks for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes beyond that produced by weight reduction alone.

Many people live sedentary lives, have little training or skills in physical activity, and are difficult to motivate toward increasing their activity. For these reasons, starting a physical activity regimen may require supervision for some people. If you feel that this applies to you find a fitness instructor who can help you in the beginning. The need to avoid injury during physical activity is a high priority.

The physical activity regimen should be based on your age, symptoms, and risk factors.

For most obese people, physical activity should be initiated slowly, and the intensity should be increased gradually. Initial activities may be increasing small tasks of daily living such as taking the stairs or walking or swimming at a slow pace.

Dumbbells

With time, depending on progress, the amount of weight lost, you may consider engaging in more strenuous activities. Some of these include fitness walking, cycling, rowing, cross-country skiing, aerobic dancing, and jumping rope.

Jogging provides a high-intensity aerobic exercise, but it can lead to orthopedic injury. If you are seriously overweight and prefer jogging make sure to visit a weight loss consultant who can assess your ability to do this.

Competitive sports, such as tennis and volleyball, can provide an enjoyable form of physical activity for many, but again, be careful not to injure yourself.

Select activities that you enjoy and that fit into their daily lives. Because amounts of activity are functions of duration, intensity, and frequency, the same amounts of activity can be obtained in longer sessions of moderately intense activities (such as brisk walking) as in shorter sessions of more strenuous activities (such as running).

A regimen of daily walking is an attractive form of physical activity for many people. Start by walking 10 minutes, 3 days a week, and build to 30 to 45 minutes of more intense walking at least 3 days a week and increase to most, if not all, days.

With this regimen, an additional 100 to 200 kcal/day of can be expended. Caloric expenditure will vary depending on your weight and the intensity of the activity. This regimen can be adapted to other forms of physical activity, but walking is particularly attractive because of its safety and accessibility.

To be continued…

U.S Department of Health and Human Services



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Weight Loss- Some Dietary Guidelines

April 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Health Department Weight Loss Tips

There are multiple techniques and strategies that are parts of the effective weight loss and weight maintenance system. These are dietary changes, physical activity, behavior therapy, weight loss pills, weight loss surgery and even brain surgery for weight loss. It is important to develop strategies that will not only benefit in short-term but also provide with sustainable weight loss over a period of time.

Dietary changes involve not only switching to a low-calorie diet but also eating healthy food: avoiding saturated fats, lowering the intake of sodium, including foods rich in vitamins and minerals, increasing the intake of fiber.

Physical activity component is not only important for weight loss and weight loss maintenance but also impacts on other risk factors such as high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol levels. Losing weight can not only help cure these conditions but can also help prevent them in the future.

Weight loss involves making modifications in lifestyle that may affect the entire family and this should be taken seriously. That’s why it is important that your individual and cultural preferences are reflected in the weight loss program you follow. For example, if you prefer Mexican cuisine you shouldn’t need to switch to Mediterranean cuisine in order to lose weight. The diet that you eat daily and enjoy should be adapted for weight loss purposes.

Dietary therapy usually includes modification in a diet for the purpose of decreasing the daily caloric intake.
It is usually recommended that you cut 500-1000 calories (depending on the amount of the weight you need to lose) from your daily menu to achieve a healthy weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week. However cutting calories doesn’t mean starving. Choosing the right, low-calorie food actually means feeling satisfied and losing weight at the same time.

Green salad and pepper

A key element of the current recommendation is the use of a moderate reduction in caloric intake, which is designed to achieve a slow, but progressive, weight loss. Ideally, caloric intake should be reduced only to the level that is required to maintain weight at a desired level. If this level of caloric intake is achieved, excess weight will gradually decrease.

In general, diets containing 1,000 to 1,200 kcal/day should be selected for most women; a diet between 1,200 kcal/day and 1,600 kcal/day should be chosen for men and may be appropriate for women who weigh 165 pounds or more, or who exercise regularly.

If you stick with the 1,600 kcal/day diet but don’t lose weight you may want to try the 1,200 kcal/day diet. If you feel hungry on this kind of diet, you may want to increase the calories by 100 to 200 per day. There are many online calorie databases that can help you to determine the caloric value of the food you eat so you’ll be able to plan accordingly.

You may also need to take vitamins and minerals to ensure the adequate intake of important nutrients.

Here are some tips to help you make the right dietary choices:

1. As someone responsible for your own weight and health, educate yourself to read the food labels – energetic values of different foods, foods composition – fats, carbohydrates (including dietary fiber), and proteins.

2. Develop new habits of purchasing—give preference to low-calorie foods.

3. Food preparation—avoid adding high-calorie ingredients during cooking (e.g., fats and oils).

4. Avoiding over-consumption of high-calorie foods (both high-fat and high-carbohydrate foods).

5. Make sure you drink enough water daily.

6. Reduce the portion size.

7. Limit alcohol consumption.

Resource: U.S Department of Health and Human Services



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