6 keys to getting fit and losing weight.
Tuesday, September 09, 2014
Came across this blog article and really liked it, so I decided to put it a blog for when I need to read it.
The 6 keys to getting fit and losing weight
Being overweight or obese is an important public health issue and can lead to high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels and type 2 diabetes, increasing your risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
But a recent survey of nearly 2,000 Canadians found that while 62% tried to lose weight over the past five years, 70% of those who were overweight put the pounds back on – and then some.
What are we doing wrong?
Legendary comedian Henny Youngman used to joke about visiting his doctor: “Doc, it hurts when I do this.” The doctor’s reply: “Well, stop doing this.”
The reality is we shouldn’t need to spend billions of dollars every year on weight-loss programs and products. We know why we’re overweight – we eat too much and don’t exercise enough.
So isn’t it time we stopped doing this?
Easier said than done, of course, but far from impossible and actually much simpler than many of us realize. Every successful fitness and weight loss program boils down to two key ingredients: eating well – not dieting! and staying active – not exercising! Plus maintaining how we eat and stay active depends on consistency, intensity, moderation and support.
Let’s unpack these important elements one by one:
◾Eating well: Our ancestors didn’t diet much. They didn’t rigidly consume X% of carbs and Y% or protein or check food labels for grams of fat or calories from sugar or sugar substitutes. In fact, most of the time, finding enough to eat was the more immediate challenge. When they did, they tried to eat a reasonable balance of grain, meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables. What’s more, they obviously didn’t eat processed foods. They stuck to simple foods that come out of the ground or oceans, or are raised on land. Eating a lot of processed foods, often made with a lot of artificial ingredients, is not usually eating well.
◾Staying active: Our forbears didn’t have treadmills or barbells or stationary bicycles to stay active. They were too busy toiling fields, hunting wild game or raising livestock. While most of us don’t perform that sort of labour anymore, it doesn’t mean sitting at a computer, behind the wheel or curled up on a couch for hours every day is okay. Our bodies evolved to be active and we need to find ways to do so. Running or weight-training isn’t for everyone. But it’s still important to find an activity or sport you enjoy doing a few hours each week that can get your heart rate up and help you break a sweat. How much activity you need to lose weight depends on how much weight you want to lose and how much you’re eating. But think of it this way: each kilometer you walk burns around 100 calories – so walk 5 kilometers a day and you could burn an extra 300 calories that would otherwise turn to fat in your body. In a month, that’s about 9,000 calories, which amounts to about 2.6 pounds, or 30 pounds in a year – 30 pounds by simply walking 5 KM every day.
◾Consistency: As you can see, you can realistically lose 2 or 3 pounds in a month from brisk walking. If you’re 50 or 100 pounds overweight, that might sound discouraging but it shouldn’t be. Rome, as they say, wasn’t built in a day. Imagine if you were building a new home but only devoted an hour to it every week, or stopped for months or years. It would never get built. Achieving a big goal requires that you be consistent. If you can’t work out every day, that’s okay. Then work out longer three days a week, every week, all year, until it becomes second nature. And make it a priority to find the time. We all lead busy lives but most of us still miraculously find time to watch TV or surf the internet for hours every week. If you have time for Facebook, Candy Crush or NCIS, you have an hour a day to make yourself healthier and lose weight.
◾Intensity: Some people go to the gym and halfheartedly peddle on a stationary bike as they text or surf on their smartphone, or socialize with their friends. (Maybe that’s even you.) Whatever activity you choose to stay active and lose weight, focus on it. Research suggests that paying attention while you’re working out can increase the exercise’s effectiveness by 30 or 40% -- in other words, when you get in the zone, you get more out of what you’re doing.
◾Moderation: Diets that forbid you to eat sweets, fat or processed foods have their hearts in the right place but they’re not realistic. We’re all going to give in to temptation sooner or later. As long as you stay active and eat a balanced diet, you can give yourself permission to eat a burger and fries or ice cream once or twice a week. And when you do, don’t binge but moderate. Don’t sit in front of the TV with a bag or chips or container of ice cream. Grab a small bowl, dole out a satisfying portion, and enjoy. We rarely eat the foods that tempt us because we’re starving. We eat them because we have a craving. So satisfy your craving – in moderation.
◾Support: It can be tough going it alone. Some of us are good at it but most of us aren’t. So get some backup. Are both you and your girlfriend or buddy trying to lose weight? Do it together. Make it competitive. Root each other on. Sometimes it’s really hard to lose weight or get fit without motivation. So team up with someone you love and trust and motivate each other.