Tag Archives: weight training

Exercise? I don’t wanna!

Excellent post on getting your butt in gear, and getting healthy. Enjoy!

You’ll Never “Feel” Like It

I was waiting for an appointment yesterday and the woman noticed I was wearing a Mohr Results Boot Camp jacket.  She asked about it and said “wow, that sounds fun … we did a Biggest Loser program here at work, but IT didn’t work.”

I came back and asked what didn’t work about it.

She said — OK, well I guess I didn’t try.  I really didn’t feel like working to change.

Now I didn’t quite say this, but in my head I thought…

“You’re NEVER going to feel like it!”

While she was talking about losing weight, this is really in reference to anything in life … any change you want to make.

Yes In “our” world, that’s losing weight.  Improving your diet.  Exercising daily.

I recently made a confession how I had been slacking with my daily routine.

Although I’ve since been back at it in full force, mixing some variety into my workouts with more TRX, kettlebells, hill sprints (and loving the unseasonably warm weather in Louisville so I’m not out there in 20 degrees), etc … I too finally said in my head that “NOW is the time because I would never feel like it.”

In fact we also heard a recent interview with author and radio personality Mel Robbins where she quotes some research saying it takes just 5 seconds for a thought to leave you.  In other words, if you’re sitting on the couch and thinking “I should get up and go exercise,” within 5 seconds if you don’t act, it’s gone.

Interesting.

So here’s how you need to take this to the next level.

First, decide WHY you want to make change.  The outcome you’re after.

Getting healthy is NOT a good reason.

‘Health’ is like a moving target without a solid definition because it’s different for everyone.

So scratch “I want to get healthy” off the list.  Of course that’s an outcome that will result from changing behaviors.

What’s the REAL reason?

It might be 100% focused on your appearance.  That’s fine.

It may very well seem selfish.  Even better.

Why?

Because when YOU personally want to make change, it needs to be about YOU and what’s in it for you.  Not your spouse, kids, girlfriend, boyfriend or whoever else.

Now here’s step #2.  You’ve figure out your REAL why.

Make it very specific.

Fit better in your clothes isn’t specific enough.

Do you want to drop a pants size?  Two pants sizes?

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Finally and most importantly, what behaviors are necessary to achieve this outcome?

A goal that’s focused on the behaviors to achieve the desired outcome is the one that will get you the results you want.

Focus on the behaviors, not the outcome, if you want to achieve permanent success.

And this all goes back to the line from the interview we listened to the other day “You’re never going to feel like it.”

You’re never going to feel like taking the necessary steps to make change permanent, but as soon as you do have that previously fleeting thought that you want to make change, TAKE ACTION.

Your action may not be perfect, but taking action is exactly what’s needed to get the ball rolling!

Source: http://blogs.menshealth.com/bellyoff-nutritionist/youll-never-feel-like-it/2012/02/29/?cm_mmc=Twitter-_-MensHealth-_-Content-Blogs-_-HowToChange


Personalize Your Workout

Looking for the right workout for your personality? This great little article from fitness magazine offers up some great alternatives that might fit your personality!

The Best Workout for You

Create an exercise plan you won’t ditch before the month is out by matching your routine to your personality.

You are: Social

You know this because: Few things bring you more joy than a booked calendar. As long as you’re dashing off to a dinner here and an outing there, you’re a happy camper.

Try: Exercise Classes. You can belly dance, kickbox, cycle. The name of the game is togetherness. Even if you don’t belong to a gym, most towns have a community center that offers adult-ed programs.

You are: Competitive

You know this because: You really (really) want to win. You probably played sports growing up, and now you get a bit anxious if you see someone running at a faster pace on the next treadmill.

Try: Joining a League. From lacrosse to field hockey, there are adult teams battling it out every Saturday morning or Tuesday night. Not into the group thing? Sign up for a 5k race or a triathlon.

You are: Inquisitive

You know this because: You’re the one at the museum asking all the questions about architects during the Ming dynasty. If there’s something to learn, you’re there.

Try: DVDS- Lot’s of ’em. Most come with explicit instructions, so you can become an expert on all kinds of workouts, including what muscles they use and why they’re good for you, without leaving your living room.

You are: Meditative

You know this because: You look inward, preferring to take the time to reflect and think before you speak.

Try: Yoga- It’s a no brainer. To get your heart rate up while centering your split, do repetitive-motion sports like swimming, jogging, cycling, kayaking or rowing. The movements can put your brain into a Zen-like state.

You are: Outdoorsy

You know this because: You’d rather run in the pouring rain than get on the treadmill. You like nothing better than exploring a mountain, lake, beach or trail.

Try: Hooking up with a hiking, cycling, walking or running club. An active group of kindred spirits will introduce you to new places and gear while providing a community for swapping adventure stories.

You are: Romantic

You know this because: You like journaling, scrapbooking, decoupaging and antiquing. You care about how your body looks, but you’re not all that interested in traditional exercise.

Try: Dancing. There’s nothing more romantic, be it flamenco, salsa, ballroom, African or line dancing. You get to dress up, maybe even pretend you’re someone else, and move to your favourite music.

You are: Type A

You know this because: You want results- and you want them preferably in 20 minutes or less. You really don’t care why your workout works, just that it does.

Try: Interval training. It’s the perfect way to boost your heart rate and burn fat fast. Just don’t do it every day- three times a week is plenty to give your body time to get stronger.

Source: Fitness Magazine February 2008


You’ve Lost the Weight- Now What?

I found an excellent article I had stashed away since 2008! This article, written by Camille Noe Pagan and published in Fitness Magazine,  is all about keeping your goal weight, once you’ve finally hit it. There are a lot of great mental health tips in here as well- if you have lost weight and are feeling bad habits creep back in, or if you’ve just begun your journey to a healthy body, you must read this article. Enjoy!

Life After Weight Loss (the truth no one tells you)

You finally lost the extra pounds; good for you! You’ve achieved what more than half of all Americans are still struggling to do. But here’s something few trainers, dieticians or magazine will tell you; After you reach your goal, you’re not done. Complete your success story using these 7 easy steps.

When Heather Radi traded fast food for a high-protein diet and regular exercise last year, she earned a slimmer figure, more energy and lower blood pressure in return. She also wound up with a “stomach that looked like a deflated balloon”, says the 27-year-old publicist from Miami. “Don’t get me wrong, my life is much better now that I’m 80 pounds lighter. But I wish I’d known that losing it wasn’t the final step.”

The truth is, weight loss is a journey that continues well past the day your goal number registers on the scale. “Whether you lose 30 pounds or 200, you need to be mentally prepared for what happens next,” says Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., director of the Weight Management Center at the university of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “The more ready you are, thebetter you’ll be able to cope and keep the pounds off.” Find out what really happens after you shed the pounds- and what steps you can take to get the figure and mind-set you want, for good.

Step One: Learn to love the limelight

“After I lost 120 pounds, I struggled with the comments I received,” says Pamela Monfredo, 32, a teacher in Melville, New York. “Guys who had never glanced my way were flirting with me; people held doors open; strangers complimented me. After years of feeling invisible, I was overwhelmed.”

Being heavy- with the social pressures and the self-blame tat can go along with it- can do a number on a person’s self-esteem, explains Martin Binks, Ph.D., director of behavioral health at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, North Carolina. And that doesn’t magically disappear when the weight is gone. The result: “Newly thin people may feel unworthy of the fuss others make over their success,” says Binks. The best way to coax yourself into feeling worthy? Say thank you the next time you get a compliment, even if you’re dying to tell the person she’s wrong. “If you give credibility to the negative voice inside, then you’ll never fully accept your achievement,” he says.

Consider seeing a cognitive-behavioral therapist, who can help you shift your feelings and behaviors with an action plan, if you’re still struggling after several months. Monfredo did: “My therapist helped me stop worrying about how to respond to compliments. If I reacted awkwardly, it was a learning experience; I’d try to be more graceful next time. It was a bumpy road, but today I’m finally comfortable.”

Step Two: Tone and tighten

“Based on the number of women who seek surgery to correct loose skin after weight loss [about 66,000 in 2006], it’s a prevalent issue,” says Richard D’Amico, M.D., president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Although sagginess is more common in women 30 years old and up (elasticity decreases with age) and in those who lose 70 pounds or more, younger women who drop as little as 20 pounds may be left with extra skin, says Dr. D’Amico.

The safest (and cheapest) way to tighten your skin is through strength training, says Lawrence J. Cheskin, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center in Baltimore. “Building muscles in virtually nay area of the body can ‘fill out’ the skin and give you a firmer appearance.”

“If you work your major muscle groups three of four times a week for 60-90 minutes, you’ll likely see an improvement within two months,” says Nicole Glor, a certified personal trainer in New York City. To help women reach their goals, she makes sure her clients lift the right weights. An Ohio State University study found that nearly everyone without a trainer or experience underestimates the amount of weight they should be lifting, usually by 50 percent. Glor suggests gradually increasing the heft of the dumbbells: Started with 8 pounds? Move to 10, then 15 after about a month.

If you remain unsatisfied with the firmness of your skin after about nine months of regular, targeted strength training at your goal weight, and you lost 100 pounds or more, you may want to mull over body-contouring surgery, which removes and tightens excess skin. The latest numbers show that 63 percent of thigh and upper-arm body-contouring surgeries in 2006 were performed on patients following drastic weight loss; that’s an increase of about 30 percent in three years according to the American Soceity of Plastic Surgeons. A recent survey from the National Women’s Health Resource Center found that weight loss is one of the leading reasons women choose to have breast lifts, reductions and/or implants. After breast surgery, abdominoplasty (aka a tummy tuck) is most popular, followed by body lifts, which tighten skin all over the body.

The downside: Surgery is a risk, it can take weeks to recover, and some scarring is inevitable. Plus, it’s pricey.  The average cost of a tummy tuck, for instance, is $5,000- and insurance most likely won’t cover the cost.

Step Three: Put the sizzle back in sex

People who lost an average of 13 percent body fat over the course of two years felt more attractive and enjoyed sex more post-slim-sown, according to a report from the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. But while your libido may be sky-high after weight loss, if you lose more than 40 pounds, estrogen levels may plummet, lowering lubrication and making intercourse uncomfortable. If it happens, don’t panic. “It’s usually temporary, especially if you’re not in menopause,” says Rosemarie Schulman, R.N., coauthor of Tipping the Scales. Use an over-the-counter lube until your natural lubrication returns after three to six months.

Step Four: Strengthen your bonds

“The vast majority of women emerge from weight loss with at least one altered relationship,” says Binks. “Some friends may fear you’ll become different after losing weight; others may feel threatened by your success or upset that you no longer want to do unhealthy things, like skip the gym to hang out.”

LEslie Engel, 39, a marketing manager from Chicago, learned that firsthand. “When I decided to lose weight five years ago, one of my closest friends was clearly threatened,” she says. “She criticized my diet plan and tried to upstage me when people complimented my figure. It really hurt, and eventually I let the relationship fade away. I realized she just wanted me to be her fat friend.”

If this happens to you, “say something like, ‘I know my weight loss is a big change, but I need your support. Do you think that’s possible?’,” says Brinks. If her attitude persists, it’s time to reevaluate the relationship. “As we grow and change, people fall in and out of our lives- and after weight loss is no exception. That doesn’t mean you didn’t have a good friendship. It just means that its time has passed.”

Step Five: Rev your metabolism

Your metabolism will temporarily slow after you lose weight. “Your body is used to running on more calories,” explains Cheskin. “So when you’re eating less for weight loss, your body begins to act as is it’s being short-changed. Your metabolism slows in an attempt to conserve fuel.” Offset the lull by eating healthy snacks, like an apple with peanut butter, or mini-meals every three or four hours. “You’ll ward off hunger, an becasue your body burns calories when digesting food, your metabolism will be more consistently revved,” Cheskin says. Son’t leave exercise out of the equation; it’s key for burning more calories.

Step Six: Revamp your medicine cabinet

When you lose weight, you may also ease or reverse conditions like Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. If you used to take medication for them, you may not need to now, says Cheskin. (To know for sure, consult your physician throughout your weight-loss progress.) And because you weigh less, you likely need lower doses for other drugs, too. For example, a woman who weighs 200 pounds may take two extra-strength Motrin to cope with knee pain- but once she drops to 130 pounds, just one regular-strength pill may do the trick. “While overdosing is rare, you still want to be careful,” says Cheskin, “particularly if you take meds that can affect the liver, heart or other organs, such as diabetes or cholesterol drugs.”

Step Seven: Embrace imperfection

“I always assumed the world would roll out the red carpet for me if only I were thin. So when I finally shed those 40 extra pounds I’d been carrying, I was truly surprised that my problems didn’t disappear,” says Nicole Corey, 29, an office manager in Chandler, Arizona. “Most people who are overweight think being thin will drastically improve their lives,” says Ed Abramson, Ph.D., author of Body Intelligence. “And it does in many ways as far as better health and less social stigma.” But it’s important to be realistic about what weight loss can’t do- like fix a bad marriage or bolster a less-than-exciting career. “If your reality and your expectations don’t mesh, it’s easy to feel disillusioned and return to bad habits, like overeating, to make yourself feel better,” Abramson says.

To avoid that setback, give yourself regular reminders- verbally or in a journal- that you have the ability to change aspects of your life that you dislike, no matter what you weigh. “If there’s something you’re not happy about, such as your job, start putting the effort in to fixing it,” Abramson says. “Taking concrete action will boost your self-worth.” It’s also a good idea to take stock of why you decided to lose weight in the first place, like Corey did: “After a few months of stewing, it finally occurred to me that I slimmed down for my health, not to get a better job or more friends. Life may not be perfect now, but I’ve never felt better.”


Have you said these things?

No article today, just a very funny video on things female clients say to their personal trainers!


Avoid Free-Weight Injuries

Many women avoid free-weights; or when they do use weights, they injure themselves. Here is a great article, written by Michelle Hamilton on strength training.

No Pain, All Gain!

Strength training tones muscle and burns fat- when you do it right. Reap the benefits while warding off injuries with these tips.

Women are hitting the weight room in record numbers, and a new study found that weight-training injuries among women have jumped a whopping 63 percent. Here are the most common slipups and how to fix them, so you leave the gym strutting- not limping.

The Mistake

Skipping Your Warm-Up

You wouldn’t launch into an all-out sprint the second you stepped onto a treadmill, so you shouldn’t jump right into deadlifts the instant you hit the weight room. “Working cold, stiff muscles can lead to sprains and tears,” says Morey Kolber, Ph.D., a professor of physical therapy at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. “Warming up increases circulation and improves range of motion, which preps your muscles and joints for action.”

The fix: “While opinions about static stretching may differ, a dynamic warm-up can decrease your risk for injury,” says exercise physiologist Marco Borges, author of Power Moves. After five to ten minutes of walking or jogging, do 10 to 12 lunges and pushups (the bent-knee version is fine) before starting your routine.

 

The Mistake

Using Sloppy Form

Experts agree that proper form is the single most important factor in injury prevention yet many women don’t give it a lot of thought- especially when they’re in a rush. And women, thanks to their naturally wider hips, are more at risk for form-related injuries than men are: One study found that women had nearly twice as many leg and foot injuries as guys did.

The fix: Before you begin any exercise, think S.E.A.K., says trainer Robbi Shveyd, owner of Advanced Wellness in San Francisco: Stand straight (head over shoulders; shoulders over hips; hips over feet), eyes on the horizon (looking down encourages your shoulders to round and your chest to lean forward), abs tight (as if you were about to be punched in the gut, but without holding your breath; this helps stabilize your pelvis), and knees over your second toe (women’s knees have a tendency to turn in because of the angle created by wider hips, says Joan Pagano, author of Strength Training for Women).

 

The Mistake

Stressing Out Your Shoulders

As crazy as it sounds, women who lift weights tend to have less-stable shoulder joints than women who don’t lift at all, found a recent study. The reason: Doing too many exercises in which your elbows are pulled behind your body (think chest flies and rows) can overstretch the connective tissue in the front of the joints. If the backs of your shoulders are tight, you’re even more likely to overstretch the front, increasing the imbalance at the joint, says Kolber.

The fix: Modify your moves. First, don’t allow your elbows to extend more than two inches behind your body. In the lowering phase of a bench press, for example, stop when your elbows are just behind you. Second, avoid positioning a bar behind you. Bring the lat-pulldown bar in front of your shoulders, and when you’re doing an overhead press, use dumbbells instead of a bar and keep the weights in your line of vision (meaning just slightly in front of your head).

 

The Mistake

Neglecting  Opposite Muscle Groups

“Many women have strength imbalances, which can make them more prone to injury,” says Shveyd. Sometimes they’re the result of your lifestyle (hovering over a desk all day, for example, tightens and weakens your hip flexors while your glutes become overstretched and inactive). Other times they’re caused by not working both sides of the both equally (say, focusing on moves that rely on your quads but not your hamstrings).

The fix: For every exercise that works the front of the body (chest, biceps, quads), be sure to do an exercise that targets the rear (back, triceps, hamstrings). For instance, pair stability-ball chest presses with dumbbell rows, or step-ups with deadlifts.

 

The Mistake

Doing Too Much Too Soon

A lot of people think that more is better- more reps, more sets, more weight. But if you increase any of these things too quickly, your body may not be able to handle the extra workload. “Gradual conditioning prevents injuries such as torn ligaments and tendonitis, because your muscles and connective tissues have time to adapt,” says Pagano.

The fix: Practice a three-step progression. First, learn to do a move using only your body weight. “When you can do 15 reps with proper form, add weight,” says Pagano. Second, stick to one set with light weights for two weeks or until you feel comfortable with the move. And finally, when you can complete nearly all of your reps with proper form, add another set or more weight (increase weight by roughly 10 percent each time).


Virtual Training?

Personal training has evolved with technology and now offers something we never could before- Virtual Training. What is it, and how does it work? Virtual training takes advantage of our ‘wired’ society and allows personal trainers to make private lesson plans for clients without ever training them in person. Using tools such as YouTube, Kinect or other video-gaming systems, or a Webcam, a trainer can create a workout routine for a client, email or post it onto the internet and the client can follow the routine at home in privacy and on their own time. This is particularly helpful for clients who are unavailable during normal business hours, or for those who live far away from their trainer of choice. As a trainer, I personally offer this service and find mixed results-  it is not my preferred means of working with a client, but it is not a waste of a client’s time and it most certainly can benefit someone dedicated to working out and improving their health.

So does virtual training work? Well, as I briefly mentioned, there are pros and cons to this type of training. On the cons list; as a client, you lose the ability to ask on-the-spot questions and minor (or major!) form corrections cannot be fixed- meaning there is more chance for you to hurt yourself. For the trainer; it may become very difficult to find the proper way to motivate a client with whom you can not interact. But, new studies are showing the pros seem to be outweighing the cons.

This article from the National Counsel on Strength and Fitness had this to say about Virtual Training:

Virtual Training Partner Motivation

 The increasing presence of technology in our lives is driving more and more virtual interactions. These virtual relationships can range from social networking to education to business management to…exercise? Virtual exercise does not suggest simulation, but rather interaction with virtual trainers and engaging video activities. A recent article published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology (2011) by researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) reveals that working out with a virtual partner can effectively improve motivation. This might be a potential ‘fix’ for individuals who cannot find a viable exercise partner. The study, led by Deborah Feltz, chairperson of MSU’s Department of Kinesiology, specifically investigated the Kohler effect on motivation in exercise-themed video games. The Kohler effect is essentially a description of the phenomenon seen where inferior team members in a group setting will perform better when surrounded by superior team members than they would if engaging in a given endeavor by themselves. “Our results suggest working out with virtually present, superior partners can improve motivation on exercise game tasks,” said Feltz. She explains that the incorporation of design features based on the Kohler effect could increase the ability of health video games to motivate participants to vigorous-level exercise. This would be a very beneficial development as one of the key hurdles people specify related to training attrition is a lack of motivation. Previous research has clearly and repeatedly illustrated that a workout partner increases motivation – and with a virtual partner, social anxiety and other potential issues related to traditional exercise can be averted.

As a component of the study, Feltz and her research team utilized the Eye Toy camera and PlayStation2 to measure if a virtual partner could motivate participants to exercise at greater intensities, for longer durations, or at a greater frequency over a given time period. A series of plank exercises were used and observed for nearly all 200 participants. The participants first performed a series of five plank exercises, holding each position for as long as they could without any external motivation. After a rest period, they were informed that they would have a same-sex virtual partner for the remaining trials. The virtual partner’s performance was manipulated to always be superior to the participant’s. Results showed that task persistence was significantly greater when performing the plank exercises with a more-capable virtual partner (time to failure being 24% longer on average) than when performing the same activities alone. “The fact that this effect was found with a virtual partner overcomes some of the practical obstacles of finding an optimally-matched partner to exercise with at a particular time and location,” states Feltz. It is also interesting to note that researchers have found live exercise partners to sometimes be less beneficial for enhancing motivation than one may quickly presume. Basically, individuals can become discouraged if they perceive that they are slowing their training partner down, while on the other hand, superior partners can become bored from a lack of competition/motivational-related challenge. (Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2011)


Losing Weight as a Senior

Recently a few readers have asked to see some articles on Senior health and routines- as luck wold have it, I found an excellent article on Discovery Fit & Health website. This article was written by Densie Webb, Ph.D., R.D., and Elizabeth Ward, M.S., R.D.

How to Lose Weight as a Senior

It’s time for some straight talk: You weigh more than you did ten years ago, or even five years ago. The extra pounds didn’t arrive all at once but accumulated gradually before you even realized they were climbing on board. Now you’re looking at some serious extra poundage. But that’s to be expected as you get older, right? Wrong.

Putting on excess weight is very common for a number of reasons that we’ll explain. But it’s not an inevitable part of the aging process, and it could put your health at risk. If you understand why you tend to gain weight more easily as you get older, you can do something about it. And doing something about it is what this book is all about.

You can blame a lot of your weight gain on your metabolism. Beginning as early as your mid-twenties, body fat begins to increase while muscle mass decreases. And less muscle mass translates into a slower metabolic rate.

Muscle mass decreases from about 45 percent of your total body weight in your youth to about 27 percent by the time you reach age 70. And the drop in hormones that accompanies menopause also precipitates a decrease in muscle mass, triggering even more weight gain for women. Your body fat, meanwhile, can double, even if your weight remains the same.

The bottom line is that you burn fewer calories in your 50s, 60s, or 70s doing the same activities, and the same number of them, that you did in your 20s, 30s, or 40s. The key to preventing weight gain is to compensate by adjusting your food intake, exercising, and generally becoming more physically active.

Now that you have made the decision to lose weight, it’s time to figure how much weight you need to lose. Continue to the next page to assess your weight as a senior.

Assessing Your Weight as a Senior

The best way to determine if you’re carrying around too much weight (and probably not enough muscle) is to calculate your body mass index (BMI). BMI is just one indicator of good health, but it’s a good place to start. A lower BMI indicates you’re more likely to be healthy.

Here’s how to figure your BMI:

  1. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning, without clothes.
  2. Measure your height in inches.
  3. Multiply your weight in pounds by 700.
  4. Divide the answer in #3 by your height.
  5. Divide the answer in #4 by your height again.
  6. The answer in #5 is your BMI.

What Your BMI Means:

  • 18.5 or less is underweight
  • 18.5-24.9 is a healthy weight
  • 25-29.9 is overweight
  • 30 or more is obese

Knowing how many calories you need each day is another important piece of information that will help you manage your weight. Most experts say that 2,000 to 2,600 calories a day should meet the energy needs of men older than 50 who are lightly to moderately active.

For women over 50 who are lightly to moderately active, 1,600 to 1,800 calories a day should do it. However, these are just ballpark figures. Individual calorie needs can differ greatly depending on muscle mass, physical activity, and genetic differences.

On page 40 you’ll find a guide for calculating your calorie needs if you’re lightly to moderately active (you’re not a couch potato but you don’t work out five times a week at the gym, either). You’ll need 20 percent to 30 percent more calories if you’re very physically active (you regularly participate in competitive sports, run, or go to exercise classes or the gym and spend little time just sitting and watching TV or reading).

While it’s true that the more calories you cut, the quicker you’ll lose, don’t make the mistake of cutting back too much. If you go too low (below 1,600 calories a day), you won’t get enough nutrients, you’ll be fatigued, and your body will simply compensate by slowing its metabolic rate even further so that each calorie is used as efficiently as possible.

A slower metabolic rate means that your food sacrifices won’t amount to the weight loss you expected: You’ll have sacrificed for little reward.

For men: Multiply your goal or ideal weight by 13.5 to get your daily calorie needs. For women: Multiply your goal or ideal weight by 13.2 to get your daily calorie needs.

So you’ve figured out how much weight you need to lose. The next step is to come up with a weight-loss plan. Continue to the next section to prepare to lose weight as as a senior.

Preparing to Lose Weight as a Senior

Managing your weight doesn’t just mean counting calories and figuring out your BMI. It also means taking control of your emotions and your food cravings. Most of us discover sooner or later that its usually emotions and cravings (sometimes triggered by emotions), not an insatiable appetite, that make us overeat.

If you uncover the triggers that make you overeat and learn how to manage them, you’ll have won half the weight-loss battle. Just be sure the coping techniques you develop are those you can live with. If they aren’t, you won’t stick with them.

Though there is research suggesting that some cravings may have a biological origin, most are brought on by out-of-control emotions or situations. Here are a few common emotional triggers and tips for gaining control over them.

Anger

If anger (especially suppressed anger) sends you seeking comfort food, then you’re managing your anger by overeating. While food may seem like your most dependable source of comfort, it ultimately leaves you more out of sorts than before. Face the source of your anger head on. Once you’ve done that, it’s less likely to blow up and compel you to eat — and overeat.

Stress

Stress, no matter what its source, is a common trigger for overeating. Ask yourself, do you reach for chocolate-chip ice cream every time your nosy neighbor calls? Do you pack away the potato chips every time you balance your checkbook? You can’t eliminate these triggers from your life, but you can try to reduce the anxiety.

First, make sure you get enough sleep. You’re more susceptible to stress when you’re not rested. Try different relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, yoga, reading, or listening to soft music — whatever works for you. Try to find other, more positive outlets for your stress.

Boredom

There’s nothing on TV tonight, you’ve already finished reading that novel, and you certainly don’t feel like washing dishes or sweeping the kitchen floor. The refrigerator sure looks good right about now! Before you find yourself rummaging through the freezer for ice cream, do whatever it takes to shift the focus away from food.

Take a shower, paint your nails, throw out old newspapers, or take one last look through that magazine before you toss it. Make a list of your favorite diversions and keep them posted on the fridge.

Depression

We’re talking here about the blue mood that takes hold of everyone now and then. The blues not only prevent us from doing the things we want to do; sometimes they make us do things we’d rather not — such as overeat. Instead of letting that funk make you overeat, view it as a call to action.

Getting active is one of the best ways for lifting a black cloud. Physical activity may raise levels of endorphins, which are compounds in the brain that promote a sense of well-being, according to John Foreyt, Ph.D., a psychologist and director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Any exercise will do, just make it regular.

Happiness

Yes, it’s true. Even happiness can make you fat. Who doesn’t feel like celebrating when something good happens? And celebrations often involve food. That doesn’t mean you should never celebrate because you might overeat. Just learn to compensate. If you overeat at a celebratory dinner, simply cut back the next day.

Demystifying Food

Before you can take control of your eating habits, you have to take away the power that food has over you. In the process, you can begin to look at what you put on your plate as a positive power instead of an evil force over which you’ve lost all control.

The following are tips on “de-powerizing” the role food plays in your life from Marsha Hudnall, M.S., R.D., a nutritionist at Green Mountain at Fox Run, the nation’s oldest and most respected weight-management retreat for women.

  • Think moderation, not elimination. Figure out what’s important and what’s not. Learn to eat less of the high-fat, high-calorie foods you enjoy the most. Knowing you can still look forward to your favorite foods makes the process something you can live with for a lifetime.
  • Eat regularly in response to real hunger. Learn to listen to your body’s cues. By eating healthful, balanced meals and snacks when you’re hungry, you’re less likely to get caught up in out-of-control eating that you’ll regret later.
  • Say good-bye to calorie counting. Switch your focus from calories to good nutrition. Make your healthful eating changes gradual, so you don’t get overwhelmed.
  • Picture portions. It’s hard to manage your food intake if you don’t have a clue what a 1/2 cup serving of pasta looks like or what a 6-ounce glass of juice is. When you start out, measure your food until you’ve learned to judge portion sizes accurately. If portion sizes start creeping back up, return to measuring and weighing for a while.
  • Disconnect with the scale. Don’t focus on a number, instead use how you feel and the way your clothes fit to measure success. If you just can’t give up the scale, make your weigh-ins less frequent. Weighing yourself once a week is adequate.

In the next section find out how easy it can be to incorporate more physical activity into your current daily routine.

Getting More Physical Activity as a Senior

If you’re determined to succeed at losing weight, simply cutting calories won’t guarantee success. Physical activity is as essential to achieving long-term weight loss as a healthful diet, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). By themselves, neither exercise nor diet can get you to your goal as effectively or as fast as the two of them can together. That’s especially true for people over age 50.

Not only is physical activity essential for weight-loss success, the NIH says it’s an important factor in maintaining your weight once you’ve lost the extra pounds. Take comfort in the NIH’s use of the words “physical activity,” not “exercise.”

The message is that you can win the weight-loss game with many different kinds of physical activity. You don’t have to do killer aerobics and lift heavy weights at a gym to drop pounds and keep them off. But you do have to do something, and you have to do it regularly.

Anti-Aging Bonus

Researchers have recently learned that regular physical activity can have a powerful effect on age-related declines in metabolism. One study out of Tufts University Center for Physical Fitness found that strength training by itself increased the metabolic rate of postmenopausal women by 15 percent. Not much, you say?

If the boost translates to only 100 calories a day, which is a realistic expectation, you could save yourself from putting on an extra 10 pounds in a year. Regular exercise offers a trifecta of good health: It burns calories, builds muscle, and improves your overall health. Experts on aging say that the body is better able to repair itself and perform efficiently if it is properly conditioned by exercise and good nutrition.

And the calorie-burning rewards of exercise are not limited to your workout time. Some research suggests that your revved up metabolic rate stays elevated for several hours after you stop exercising.

While weight management may be your number one priority now, think fitness not thinness. Just look at all the other health bonuses experts attribute to being physically active:

Regular physical activity reduces your risk of developing:

  • heart disease
  • some kinds of cancer
  • high blood pressure
  • osteoporosis
  • diabetes
  • obesity

It also can reduce the symptoms of:

  • arthritis
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • insomnia

And it boosts and builds:

  • the immune system
  • your energy level
  • your muscle mass
  • blood flow to the brain, which helps keep you mentally sharp

So how should you get started? It doesn’t matter how you begin, just get moving! Any activity is better than vegetating in front of the television. Look for every opportunity you can to stand instead of sit, walk instead of drive, or run instead of walk. Turn your everyday activities into opportunities for physical activity, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Make movement a routine part of your everyday life.

Triad of Physical Activity

Recent research has found that when it comes to exercise, you need a combination of three types to reap the most health benefits — weight training for strength, aerobic exercise for strength and endurance, and calisthenics (stretching, bending, and twisting exercises) for flexibility.

Studies have found that extreme physical exertion is no more useful to gaining and maintaining fitness than is moderate exercise. What’s more, you place yourself at risk for injury or a heart attack if you’re not already in good physical shape. So start off slowly and increase your activity gradually. Get your doctor’s okay before beginning a new physical activity if you haven’t exercised in years or have a medical condition.

The Benefits of Walking

One of the easiest ways to get physically active is to walk at a pace that makes you breathe a little harder and work up a mild sweat for 30 minutes to 1 hour three days a week. This kind of walking will keep your heart, lungs, and vascular system in good working order and strengthen your bones and muscles.

If you just don’t have time for a 30-minute walk each day, experts say that walking about 10,000 steps a day (the equivalent of about five miles) while doing your normal activities should keep you fit.

Haven’t a clue how much walking that is? Try using a pedometer. It’s a small battery-operated gizmo about the size of a matchbox that you attach to your waist so it can monitor your every step. By keeping track of your movements all day, you can easily see how far you’ve gone and how far you have yet to go to reach your goal.

Swim Your Way to Fitness

If you have arthritis that makes some movements painful, swimming is an excellent way to get aerobically fit. It offers some of the same benefits as walking or other aerobic exercises without putting stress on joints that may be unable to repair themselves like healthy joints would. The one benefit swimming can’t provide, however, is strengthening bones because it is not a weight-bearing exercise.

Weight Training for Seniors

If you think lifting weights is just for 20-somethings in spandex, think again. It’s a little-appreciated fact that muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, even when at rest. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.

Since muscle mass declines with age — typically about five percent per decade beginning in your late twenties or early thirties — it’s to your advantage to try to increase your muscle mass through strength training. The older you get, the greater the potential benefit. So, as the saying goes, use it or lose it.

Research from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently confirmed that the gradual loss of muscle mass that occurs with age means a decreasing need for calories — and sometimes a creeping weight gain if you don’t lower your calorie intake. The more you can do to minimize the effect of muscle loss, whether it’s due to age, inactivity, or both, the easier weight loss will be.

But before you start trying to bench-press your own body weight, it’s important to distinguish between true weight lifting and strength training. Weight lifting is about bulking up so you can lift heavy weights swiftly. Strength training, on the other hand, is about firming by repeatedly lifting weights in a very slow, controlled way.

It’s a good idea when you first get started to have a trainer show you exactly how it should be done to avoid injury. Your training can be done with free weights, such as barbells, or with specially designed equipment that works specific parts of the body.

You should do a set number of repetitions with each exercise as you slowly progress to your goal. Muscle strengthening exercises should be done for at least 20 minutes, three times a week.

Where to Get Started

Don’t want to fork over the cash for a high-class health club? Many kinds of organizations, such as the YMCA and YWCA, junior colleges and universities, senior and community centers, and adult and continuing education programs, offer inexpensive classes in sports, exercise, dance, and weight training.

The instructors in these classes can help you get the most benefit from exercise while avoiding injury. Attend with a friend; you’re more likely to stick with it if you know you have a partner waiting for you.

When you’re increasing your physical activity, don’t drastically cut your calorie intake. Of course, you have to cut calories to lose weight — just don’t get carried away. Fewer than 1,600 calories a day may not leave you with enough energy to make it through a regular day, much less a day filled with more physical activity than you’re used to.

And make sure 40 to 60 percent of those calories come from carbohydrates, the chief power source for your body and your brain. Diets that ban carbohydrates could leave you with a power-draining energy deficit.

Do You Need More Protein?

It’s a myth that you need more protein if you’re going to be more active and build muscle. Only serious athletes require more protein than the rest of us, and even then it’s not a lot more. Most of us can get all the protein we need in a day — about 46 to 56 grams — from about five ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish, plus two to three 8-ounce glasses of low-fat milk.

Of course, there are other good dietary sources of protein that you can also use to fill your protein needs. So, don’t waste your money on high-protein shakes that promise to bulk you up. Best advice? Be physically active and start a strength-training routine.

Densie Webb, Ph.D., R.D. is the author of seven books, including Foods for Better Health, The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!, and Super Nutrition After 50. Webb also writes about health and nutrition for numerous magazines, including Family Circle, Fitness, Parade, Men’s Fitness, and Redbook. She is a regular columnist for Woman’s Day and Prevention magazines, a contributing writer for The New York Times, the associate editor of Environmental Nutrition newsletter, and a writer for the American Botanical Council.

Elizabeth Ward, M.S., R.D. is a nutrition consultant and writer. She is the author or co-author of five books, including Super Nutrition After 50 and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Feeding Your Baby and Toddler. Ward is a contributing editor for Environmental Nutrition newsletter and a contributing writer for WebMD.com. She also writes for publications such as Parenting magazine and The Boston Globe.

Source: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/aging/senior-health-lifestyle/lose-weight-senior.htm


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