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Feature Weight Loss Tip
Weight Loss Rules and No-Nos

I've worked with hundreds of people who were interested in losing weight. Over the years I've noticed four areas that I believe are particular hindrances to weight loss. If your goal is to be successful at losing weight and keeping it off, avoid the "big 4" no-nos.

#1 Big No-No: Not exercising on a daily basis. Daily exercise sends your metabolism through the roof! I have seen VERY FEW people who are not very regular exercisers, lose weight AND keep it off.

Losing weight and maintaining that loss can be very difficult. However, both can be made considerably easier with regular exercise, preferably in the morning.

If you're interested in losing fat, you're objective is to create a daily caloric deficit. For example, If you're consuming 1700 calories per day, and expending 2000 calories per day, your caloric deficit is 300 calories. Losing a pound of fat requires a deficit of 3500 calories. So, to lose two pounds per week would require a daily deficit of 1000 calories.

So, if you'd like to increase your daily caloric deficit, you have two options; 1. To decrease your caloric intake by eating fewer calories, or.. 2. To increase your caloric expenditure via more activity / exercise. However, you cannot decrease your daily caloric intake much lower than 1200 to 1500 or so without potentially creating health and metabolism problems.

In fact, many people's metabolism (basal metabolic rate) is so slow from years of inactivity and dieting, that they are only burning fewer than 1500 calories per day. Without exercise, they would have to decrease their daily caloric intake to unhealthy levels to lose weight. And, a caloric intake that's too low only creates more metabolism problems and a vicious cycle of more weight gain.

So, the only remaining factor in the deficit equation is caloric expenditure through increased activity / exercise.

The good news is that you can substantially increase your caloric expenditure. For example, if you're currently walking for 30 minutes two days per week, over a period of several weeks you can increase your walking to 60 minutes per day, six to seven days per week and begin weight training for 30 minutes three days per week.

So, in this example, you would increase your monthly exercise minutes from about 240 to 1530. Plus, in addition to the calories that you're expending during exercise, you would also substantially increase the number of calories you're burning 24 hours-a-day, yes, you'll even burn more calories while you're sleeping because you've fired-up your basal metabolic rate. You can't beat that, can you?

Here's another VERY important reason to exercise while you're restricting calories and trying to lose weight. you tend to lose muscle tissue from any muscle that you're not using while you're restricting calories. You've heard it - use it or lose it. And, there are three main consequences to losing muscle; 1. Your metabolism (basal metabolic rate) decreases causing you to burn *fewer* calories 24 hours-a-day and causing the maintenance of your weight loss to be very difficult. 2. Your muscles get flabby and mushy. 3. Your are weaker and become fatigued more easily.

#2 Big No-No: Not deciding to make a drastic change. I've seen this over and over again with hundreds of people. Unless someone decides that they are ready to get really serious about losing weight and ready to make drastic changes, their chances of losing weight and keeping it off are not good.

Research continues to indicate that Americans are becoming more sedentary.. and fatter every year. This move toward inactivity and an increase in body fat is even more pronounced in children, who don't get out and play anymore. Instead, they sit in front of a TV or computer (perhaps like their parents) for many of their waking hours.

We know that there is a very direct, inverse relationship between a person's level of activity and the percentage of their weight that is fat. less activity equals more fat, and more activity equals lees fat.

I received an email message recently that I'd like to share with you. It's a weight loss and fitness success story that makes you want to start exercising while you're reading it.

It's from a 48 year-old lady, Elizabeth, who lives in Lexington, Kentucky. She is living proof that less activity equals more fat, and more activity equals less fat. Here's her letter:

"Greg, I'm writing to thank you for your inspiring articles and to tell you about my journey (a rough one) to fitness. I was at a healthy weight in my early twenties and had my first child at age 26. I remained about 30 pounds overweight after she was born."

"I managed to gain 15 more pounds during the next four years, mostly because of several diets I tried. After the birth of my second child at age 31, I was 60 pounds overweight and very frustrated. Over the next 15 years I tried numerous diets (even eating just rice) that ultimate led to me being 120 pounds overweight."

"I started reading your articles two years ago and it finally began to sink in. I finally realized that exercise wasn't just about the calories I was burning during exercise. I finally realized that I would never lose the weight and keep it off without some real exercise in my life."

"I reached a point in my life where my weight was ruining my life. I got to the point where everything was a struggle, none of my fat clothes fit, I didn't want to see anyone because of the way I looked, and even walking made me breathless. I decided that I would either make a drastic change at that point or I would give up. I chose to make a drastic change."

"I knew that exercise needed to be a priority and so I changed several things in my daily schedule to make that happen. I started with very little but I was very consistent. I worked up to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise in the morning and 30 to 45 minutes in the evening. On Saturdays, I take a less intense, but longer walk throughout my area of town enjoying all the sights. I'm up to 8 to 10 miles on my Saturday walk. I also weight train three days a week. Please don't get the impression that this was easy. I went through MANY difficult struggles but it definitely got easier as I progressed."

"I'm now 12 pounds from my goal weight. Greg, I can't begin to explain how my life has changed. Everything is different. Even the way people talk to me. It's almost like people didn't even see the person under all that fat. Probably best of all is that I have energy to function now. I'm not constantly tired like I used to be."

"Obviously, my perception of exercise has changed now. I enjoy it and look forward to it. I'm planning on doing a half marathon (13.1 miles) walk in the fall. Thanks again for your words of encouragement."

Elizabeth Lexington, Kentucky

Wow! This lady is unstoppable. Notice that she first realized the true benefits of exercise and then decided to do *whatever* she had to for exercise to become a consistent part of her life.

Exercise radically changes how your body handles fat! when you're sedentary, all the physiological signals tell your body to hang on to the fat and dump the metabolism boosting muscle. When you're exercising on a daily basis, all the physiological signals tell your body to dump the fat and increase the metabolism boosting muscle. Which signals do you want?

#3 Big No-No: Not taking the time to plan and prepare your eating. Healthy eating for weight loss won't just happen, you have to spend time on it.

Not being prepared is a major factor that leads to overeating and unhealthy eating. Take time to plan your shopping and eating for the week. Take time to prepare your lunch to take to work, and your meal for the evening, etc. Plan for healthy snacks to have at home, in your car, at work, etc. Our weight loss programs specifically discuss how to set up an effective snacking system.

4. Not including intervals in your aerobic exercise. Intervals are brief periods (about one minute) of more intense exercise mixed into your regular aerobic exercise sessions. For example, if you're walking, you would do a one minute interval of faster walking once every five minutes throughout your exercise session.

Here's how it will look.. you'll start with your normal three to five minute warm-up and then five minutes into your workout you do your first interval, one minute of faster walking (or perhaps jogging). At the end of that minute you should be "winded" and ready to slow down. You'll slow down to your normal exercising speed for the next four minutes and then your fifth minute is another one minute interval. This pattern continues throughout your exercise session.

You'll derive several benefits from intervals..

1. Intervals can help you to get past a weight loss plateau.

2. Intervals increase your aerobic fitness level by "pushing the envelope". While doing your interval you cross the anaerobic threshold into anaerobic metabolism, forcing your body to become conditioned to more intense exercise.

3. Your increased level of fitness means that a given level of exercise will feel easier and that you will be able to exercise at a higher intensity which "burns" more calories.

4. Your increased level of fitness also means that you will be less fatigued from daily activities and you'll have more "energy" throughout the day.

5. Intervals increase your basal metabolic rate (BMR), causing you to burn more calories 24 hours-a-day.

6. Intervals cause you to "burn" more calories during your exercise session and for several hours afterwards.

7. Intervals will tone the involved muscles to a greater degree than your regular aerobic exercise would.

8. Intervals can make your exercise less monotonous and help the time pass more quickly.

9. Intervals will energize you!

If you'd like to put a little excitement into your exercise, and you're looking for better results, give intervals a try.

Avoid these four "no-nos" and your weight loss efforts are much more likely to be successful.

copyright 2004 by Greg Landry, M.S.

Author and exercise physiologist, Greg Landry, offers free weight loss and fitness success stories and targeted, highly affective weight loss programs for women, men, type 2 diabetics, and people with slow metabolisms and hypothyroidism. www.Landry.com

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