TipsWant a tip to get your new year of weight loss or maintenance started strong? Get a group and get a support partner. Research shows that the components that add up to a successful weight loss or weight maintenance equation include:
- Tracking food and exercise daily
- And, having set goals for same
- Regular (at least weekly) weighing
- Using meal replacements on a regular basis (this includes frozen food like Lean Cuisine)
- Written contracts for goals
- Group sessions to discuss progress and/or work with a health coach, nutritionist, etc. ("Interventions")
Interestingly, on that last bullet point, face-to-face meetings were significantly better at providing successful support. Individuals who signed up for on-line only weight loss groups did little better than the control group which only received a written newsletter. That in-person, real-time support is very important. The more frequently study participants attended such meetings, the more successful they were in reaching their goals.
TricksWay back during my PRT Challenge, I wondered why I run so slowly. I'm fat but I'm not that fat, you know? No matter how I tried, I was not able to make significant gains in my running speed. Then I read a study by Weyand that explained it all: Running speed has everything to do with force which is a direct result of leg strength. They tested bunches of runners and found that the big difference was in the push off the pavement. Almost nothing else, including running style, mattered. What??? I do have weak legs. I have had years of chronic knee trouble and I cannot do typical strengthening activities like squats and lunges. The article suggested the trick to increase running speed was the simple and safe leg press. Yes, weight is a factor because the force is diluted by mass. Nonethless, I'm committed to trying it and see how it affects me. Now you know why I listed those machine-free-at-home leg presses last week. Maybe there is another PRT challenge in my future!
Inspiration!This week's inspiration came straight out of the teacher's lounge at school. I was talking to a friend about exercise and she said, "It's so much easier to lose weight if you add in exercise and not only put your effort in what you eat. It's really hard to justify cheesecake when you just spent 40 minutes sweating off 305 calories!"
Isn't that the truth? When I am consistently on the treadmill, bike or elliptical, my desire for non-healthy foods is greatly diminished. Suddenly a 1/2 cup serving of ice cream is plenty, or all-together unnecessary. A banana or apple will cure that sweet tooth. There is nothing like being able to equate the ease with which the calories go in the effort with which they go out!
Studies bear this out. Exercise has so many benefits in addition to burning calories, including a release of endorphins, stress reduction and a general strengthening of resolve. Inspire yourself with a good walk today and see if it helps!