Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Few Small Changes/Big Results?

Weight Loss Made Simple
By Natasha Vani, MSc., ATCP

Once again your New Year’s resolution was to lose weight. You set your goals and started working toward them, but now, after less than a month, you find that you have fallen off your schedule more times than you have stuck with it. What are your reasons?

Other than the common complaint of lack of time, let’s be honest—the most common reason is that watching your diet and exercising just seem like too much effort.

What if I told you that you can lose weight with minor adjustments?

What if I told you that people only fail when they try to make huge changes in their lives? Sit back and look at your goals. You probably told yourself something like this: No chocolate, no candy, no chips, no pop, no eating before bed and (of course) exercise, exercise, exercise! Well who truly follows that?

Here’s what I want you to do: instead of feeling guilty every time you fall off your plan, follow these two simple rules and make minor adjustments. In doing so I guarantee you will achieve your goals.

The Rules
Rule #1
Set a realistic weight loss goal. Do not attempt to lose more than 2 lbs of weight in a week. If you aim for more, you will fail to keep the weight off in the long term. Besides, 2 lbs per week is a solid 10 lbs of fat lost in less than a month and half. Not bad!

Rule #2
Understand what 2 lbs per week means in terms of calories. Since 1 lb of pure fat equals 3,500 calories, 2 lbs equals 7,000 calories. So, each week you need to create a caloric deficit of 7,000 calories. Divide this by seven and you have 1,000 calories a day that you need to somehow get rid of. That may sound like a lot, but you know the best approach to losing weight is through diet and exercise, so, take 1,000 calories and divide it by two.
Your new goal is twofold:
a) to burn 500 calories a day through exercise, and
b) to eat 500 calories less.
f this still sounds like too much, no problem, just aim to lose 1.5 or 1 lb per week. To lose 1 lb a week you only have to burn 250 calories a day through exercise and eat 250 calories less each day.

Let’s assume you are aiming to lose one pound a week. The next step is to come up with activities you can do every day to burn 250 calories, as well as foods that you can eliminate or reduce to decrease your intake by 250 calories.

For caloric information on various foods, visit the Truestar Food Trakker.
To give you an idea, here are some common foods that contain roughly 250 calories:
  • 1 muffin
  • 1 bagel
  • 1 chocolate bar
  • 1 small bag of chips
  • 500 ml of juice
Here’s how to burn 250 calories in a nutshell:
In the gym
  • 35 minutes of cycling
  • 30 minutes of rowing
  • 30 minutes of cross training
  • 30 minutes of stair climbing
  • 90 minutes of weight training
In the pool
  • 35 minutes of light effort swimming
  • 40 minutes of water aerobics
Fun winter activities
  • 45 minutes of skating
  • 90 minutes of snowmobiling
  • 35 minutes of snowshoeing
  • 40 minutes of tobogganing
  • 35 minutes of cross country skiing
  • 55 minutes of downhill skiing
General activities
  • 1 hour of walking briskly
  • 35 minutes of light running
  • 45 minutes of dancing
For other activities and the calories they burn, visit the Truestar CALObrator.

One last tip to keep you going
If you can’t exercise one day, don’t stress about it, simply eat a little less that day. And if the opposite is true, that is, you found indulge a little too much, just exercise a little harder. Finding and maintaining this balance of energy in versus energy out is the key to successful weight loss. Keep it simple and enjoy your triumph!

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