Archive | February, 2010

Weight loss

19 Feb

Weight loss occurs when an individual is in a state of negative energy balance. When the body is consuming more energy (i.e. in work and heat) than it is gaining (i.e. from food or other nutritional supplements), it will use stored reserves from fat or muscle, gradually leading to weight loss

A couple of  FAQS about weight loss…….

Wikipedia: How Can I Get Over a Weight Loss Plateau?

Find out how many calories you need. As you lose weight, your calorie needs change because it takes fewer calories to maintain your weight.  You need to create a deficit — either by dieting or exercise — of approximately 500 calories per day to lose a pound a week.

  • Track your calorie intake in a journal. Some people consume a lot more calories than they think. It’s helpful to keep track of everything you eat and drink, even if you do it for just a few weeks. You’ll have a better idea of how much you’re really eating and knowing you have to record every bite and sip will make you think twice before going overboard.
  • Try switching up your workout programme. If you’ve gotten into a regular routine of, say, running at a conversational pace for 30 minutes five times a week, try adding some speed to at least one of your runs. Here’s a simple speed workout to try: Warm up with one mile at an easy pace. Run two minutes at a comfortably hard pace. You should be breathing fairly heavy (but not gasping for air). Then recover for two minutes by running at an easy pace. Repeat this for two miles and then cool down by running one mile easy.
  • Increase your mileage. If you usually go for 3-4 miles every time you run, try to make one of your runs a longer one. Start by adding a half-mile to one of your runs. Continue to increase your mileage by a half-mile until you reach 6 miles. Running longer will burn more calories and fat and build your endurance.
  • Add strength-training. It can be as simple as doing 15-20 minutes of squats, lunges, or step-ups twice or three times a week. By doing strength-training, you’ll burn more calories, boost your metabolism, and build lean muscle mass all at the same time.
  • Don’t give up. Try not to let a little bump in the road derail your weight loss efforts. Be patient and keep up the good habits you’ve already developed. You can and will reach your goal!

Wikipedia:  How Can I Not Feel Hungry all the Time?

I’m trying to lose weight by running, but all the exercise is making me feel hungry all the time. How can I feel satisfied without gaining weight?

Answer: It’s normal to feel hungry when you start a new exercise regimen or you increase your exercise frequency or intensity. You’re burning more calories, so your body needs to take more in. Here are some ways you can avoid feeling hungry, without overindulging, and hopefully lose weight in the process:

  • Get lots of healthy, high-fiber foods in your diet. Most high-fiber foods require more chewing, which helps to satisfy hunger. High-fiber foods are usually bulky so they fill up your stomach faster and can also delay the time it takes your stomach to empty. Also, many high-fiber foods are low in calories, so you can satisfy your hunger with fewer calories. Whole grains, vegetables, and fruits are great sources of fiber.
  • Try eating five to six small meals as opposed to three large ones during the day. If you wait too long for a meal, you’ll be starving and tempted to overindulge by the time you eat. Eating more frequent, smaller meals helps keep you full, and lets you stay in control.
  • Slow down when you’re eating. It takes our body about 20 minutes to realize that it’s full. If you eat quickly, you’ll eat extra calories while your body is figuring out whether it’s hungry. By the time your body realizes that it’s full, you’ve already eaten more than you needed. If you eat slowly, your brain will start sending signals to stop eating at the right time.

Wikipedia: I just started exercising…why am I gaining weight?

Answer: If you’ve noticed your weight going up after starting an exercise program, don’t panic! It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing anything wrong, nor does it mean you’re going in the wrong direction. There can be some obvious and not-so-obvious reasons you’re gaining weight.

Your first step is to determine if what you’re gaining is actually fat or muscle. Muscle is more dense than fat, but it takes up less space…if you gain muscle, your scale weight may go up even as you’re slimming down. Rather than just using a scale to measure your progress, you can get your body fat tested on a regular basis to get a better idea of what you’re gaining and/or losing. If that isn’t an option, you can take measurements at different areas of the body…if you’re losing inches, you’re on the right track.

If you’ve measured yourself in different ways and realized you are gaining fat, take some time to go through the following possibilities – you may need to make some small changes in your diet to see better results.

1. Eating too many calories. It may seem obvious, but eating more calories than you burn causes weight gain. What some people don’t realize is that, after they start exercising, they may start eating more without being aware of it. Most people think they’re eating a healthy, low-calorie diet but, unless you’re keeping a detailed food journal, you just don’t know how many calories you’re really eating. Most people are surprised when they start keeping a journal and adding up the calories–it almost always turns out to be more than they thought. Before you quit exercising, take a week to keep a food journal. Add up your calories to get a sense of exactly what you’re eating…if it’s too much, you can start to make some changes in your diet to reduce your calories. And try to avoid the mindset that says you can eat whatever you want since you’re doing all this great exercise…to lose weight, you still need to monitor your calories.

2. Not eating enough calories. Eating too little can actually stall your efforts to lose fat.  “…if there is a severe restriction in calories, the body may counteract this reduction by slowing down its metabolism.” Be sure you’re eating enough calories to sustain your body if you’ve increased your activity.

3. Not giving your body time to respond. Just because you start exercising doesn’t always mean your body will respond to that immediately.  Increased activity and new eating habits (taking in more or less calories) require the body to make adjustments.”  Give yourself several weeks or months for your body to respond to what you’re doing.

4. You’re gaining muscle faster than you’re losing fat. If it seems that you’re getting bigger after you’ve started a weight training routine, it may be because you aren’t losing body fat as fast as you’re building muscle, which is a problem some people experience when they start exercising. Genetics could also be playing a role here…some people put on muscle more easily than others. If that’s the case for you, don’t stop training! Instead, you might simply adjust your program to make sure you’re getting enough cardio exercise to promote weight loss and focus your strength training workouts on muscular endurance by keeping the reps between 12-16.

Whatever the cause of your weight gain, don’t give up on exercise. It’s not only your ticket to weight loss, it’s also important for your health.

Wikipedia: Does crash dieting work?


A crash diet refers to willful nutritional restriction (except water) for more than 12 hours. The desired result is to have the body burn fat for energy with the goal of losing a significant amount of weight in a short time. However, the body reacts by preserving fat stores and burning lean muscle tissue, such that this is a poor strategy for intentional weight loss.

I came across this article from ezinearticles and had to include it, proof yet again that high Intensity workouts are the best in the long run for fitness and weight loss……………………..

Should You Do A High Intensity Workout?

There is no valid reason that a healthy person should maintain a low intensity exercise regimen unless they simply aren’t really interested in seeing real results. A low intensity workout, defined as exercises during which your heart rate is around 60% of its maximum rate, are fairly inefficient for anything other than very slow and gradual weight loss. They won’t help you boost your metabolism, they won’t aid significantly in building muscle mass, and they don’t do much for strength and endurance.

A high intensity workout, which is defined as exercises which push your heart rate up to 75% of its maximum or more, is infinitely better for nearly every aspect of your overall health.

You can determine your maximum heart rate by taking your current age away from 220. So, for example, if you’re 50 at the moment, then your maximum heart rate is 170 beats per minute. Don’t let the term “maximum heart rate” fool or scare you. You aren’t going to damage your heart if you go up to or over this heart rate.

The 220-age formula is only an estimate and, depending on your individual physiology, you may find yourself exceeding that number. Since it’s nearly impossible to damage a healthy heart by exercise, that’s nothing to worry about.

Low intensity exercises are beneficial for warming up and cooling down, before and after high intensity phases. Low intensity exercises are also good for the elderly, anyone recovering from an illness or injury, someone who is significantly overweight and out of shape, or someone who is just beginning to workout.

Sadly, a good number of healthy people who could be receiving major benefits from high intensity workouts are stuck doing inferior low intensity exercises because a personal trainer has recommended it. Generally, a trainer would recommend the less effective low intensity exercises for one of two reasons: confusion or personal protection.

Personal protection  means that a person is very unlikely to injure themselves during a low intensity workout so a trainer who is particularly paranoid about lawsuits may recommend the safer route. Most trainers who would do this are either entirely unsure of their abilities, planning to be absent for their clients workout period, or simply unfit to be a trainer.

Both intensity levels burn calories and, of those calories, a percentage of them are fat calories. Technically speaking, a low intensity workout burns a higher percentage (50%) of fat calories than a high intensity workout (40%). Because of this, some trainers will recommend the workout wherein 50% of the burned calories are fat.

Sadly, this doesn’t actually result in the client burning more fat and, thus, the confusion.

A high intensity workout burns a higher number or calories overall than a low intensity workout. Generally speaking, a smaller percentage of a larger number is often times more than a higher percentage of a smaller number.

Let us suppose that you burn 100 calories by walking for 20 minutes. Walking is a low intensity exercise, so 50% of those calories are fat, meaning that your 20 minutes of work has succeeded in burning 50 fat calories. Let us also suppose that you burn 160 calories during 10 minutes of a high intensity exercise. Of those 160 calories, 40% of the burned calories are fat which means that your 10 minutes of work burned 64 calories.

Despite the smaller percentage, in our example you burn 14 more fat calories in half the time. Now, half the time doesn’t mean half the work because those 10 minutes are at a higher intensity. However, half the time is still half the time.

If you’re really serious about losing weight, make the bulk of your exercise regimen high intensity and bookend it with warm up and cool down low intensity exercises.

I hope you have a productive February. Apparently, this week is the week when most people who started exercising in January drop out, don’t let it be you!!!!!

Keep up the good work, If you are feeling unmotivated, write down NEW goals, aim towards something a bit more challenging. For example, If you’ve dropped to a size 16, write down your new goal dress size (14) and make it happen! We have the tools, we have the information, we are healthy, all our limbs work, we have no excuse!!!!

The classes and the PT sessions are all high Intensity workouts…. If you are attending them, eating the right foods, writing in your food diary, drinking 2 litres of water per day and staying off the sugar, you will see results. Be patient and give it time……..

Keep going over the articles about self-sabotage and motivation. I know doing that helps me keep things fresh in my head and I’m less likely to slip up!

Enjoy your rest days, treat yourself with a nice walk or a magazine.

Don’t bother with sugary snacks, speaking for myself, they make me crave more after I’ve touched them then when I haven’t!!!!!


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