Posts Tagged ‘weight-loss’

Should we be exercising… less?

This might sound crazy to you, but in the quest for weight loss, some of us may be exercising too much. How can that be, you might be asking, since so few people actually exercise? Let me ask you this; for those of you who regularly go to the gym, do you know anyone that you see there every day on the treadmill not getting any thinner? I know I do. There is a new research study out this month that suggests that some people may be struggling to lose weight because they are actually exercising too much!

The study was conducted by the University of Copenhagen and followed the weight loss efforts of overweight but otherwise healthy men in their 20s and 30s. The men were broken up into 3 groups; no exercise, 30 minutes daily and 60 minutes daily. They were told to keep their eating habits constant throughout the duration of the 13 week study. Afterwards, they were weighed, and as expected the group that did not change their diet or exercise habits lost no weight. The 60 minute group lost around 5 pounds on average, so they were mildly successful. However, the 30 minute group lost 7 pounds on average, which was significantly more than the researchers were expecting. How could this be?

One hypothesis is the compensatory eating effect. Those who worked out an hour each day felt exhausted afterwards and may have had an increased drive to eat in order to compensate for the large number of calories burned. The 30 minute group most likely didn’t perceive the effort to be all that hard, and may actually have kept their calorie intake constant. The second and more interesting hypothesis (I think) is the amount of other activity they did during the day. The 60 minute group usually felt pretty wiped out from their workout and spent most of their free time sitting; they took the elevator instead of the stairs and sat on the couch after work instead of tackling some chores. The 30 minute group actually reported feeling energized from their workout and they moved around significantly more during the day.

I loved this study because it actually made sense in my own life. When I was in college I ran both track and cross country. During the cross country season, I ran more miles during the week, and therefore always felt like I was burning a ton of calories. I definitely reduced my other activity and ate as many brownies as my heart desired and looking back at pictures, I was always a little heavier during cross country season.

How much do you exercise? Have you ever felt frustrated that you’re exercising so much and yet not losing weight?

-Sara

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Hey guys! I was scouring the internet for interesting weight loss info and came across this article about sleep and weight loss. Hope you like it! -Sara

A Bit of Inspiration

For all of you trying to change your lives or your weight, we thought we’d give you a little inspiration today!

“Strive for progress, not perfection.”

“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.”

“Act how you want to feel.”

I wake up every day realizing this is it, that there’s only one shot at this life and I can either enjoy the ride and live it to the fullest and to my highest potential or I can stay the way I am.

Make the decision then do something- no matter how small- towards accomplishing what you want.

Your past does not equal, nor does it dictate, your future.

Never give up on a dream because of the length of time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.

A year from now, you may wish you had started today.

“There is no one giant step that does it. It’s a lot of little steps.” Peter A Cohen

“Failure is not fatal; failing to change will be.” John Wooden

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do it is increased.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Leave us your inspiration!

Changing the Way We Think About Exercise

If I mention the words “exercise program,” what comes to mind? Do you think about joining a gym, sweating it out in a spinning class or maybe training for a marathon? Most people associate exercise with something hard, sweaty and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. I came across this article in the New York Times about a new book written by Gretchen Reynolds, one of their columnists. I loved her idea so much, I thought I’d tell you about it. Her book is called “The First 20 Minutes” and details the most current research about how long and how hard we should exercise.

She clearly defines how much exercise is required for health, as compared to how much exercise we need to become more fit (faster, stronger, more competitive). “The first 20 minutes of moving around, if someone has been really sedentary, provide most of the health benefits. You get prolonged life, reduced disease risk — all of those things come in the first 20 minutes of being active.” Reynolds explains.

Without being evangelical, I wanted people to understand that this is a book about how little exercise you can do in order to get lots and lots of health benefits. Two-thirds of Americans get no exercise at all. If one of those people gets up and moves around for 20 minutes, they are going to get a huge number of health benefits, and everything beyond that 20 minutes is, to some degree, gravy.”

I’ve seen this so much in research; just walking 20 minutes a day lowers your risk (by quite a bit) for not only heart disease and diabetes, but cancer and depression as well. Our bodies were just made to move around during the day, and our health benefits tremendously when we do. When encouraged to exercise, I think most people feel pressure to join a gym, lift weights or start running, and perhaps it seems either too expensive, too time consuming or just too hard. Reynolds disagrees with that idea, “If people want to be healthier and prolong their life span, all they really need to do is go for a walk. It’s the single easiest thing anyone can do. There are some people who honestly can’t walk, so I would say to those people to try to go to the local Y.M.C.A. and swim.” Walking is so easy and so cheap, and the best part is that you don’t have to get 20 minutes in all at once. Plenty of research supports the fact that if you walk 10 minutes in the morning, and 10 in the evening, you still reap the same benefits.

Reynolds also discusses the importance of moving around during the day, and not going too long without standing up. For more information on the dangers of sitting, check out one of our previous posts.

Others who aren’t big proponents of exercise feel that they put in plenty of time at the gym, but don’t lose much weight right away, and think it isn’t worth their time. “I think a lot of people look to exercise to help them lose weight, and when they don’t lose weight immediately with exercise, they quit. They return to the couch, and they basically never move again. What is lost in that is that fitness is almost certainly more important than fatness,” says Reynolds. Exercise, especially moderate exercise, may not lead to large weight loss if not coupled with a reduced calorie diet. I think so many people struggle here because you feel so great about all that exercise you just did, and then you drink a 200 calorie Gatorade, completely negating the caloric deficit.

I loved this quote:

If someone starts an exercise program and improves his fitness, even if he doesn’t lose an ounce, he will generally have a longer life and a much healthier life. It would be nice if people would look at exercise as a way to make themselves feel better and live longer and not necessarily as a way to make themselves skinnier.”

How do you view exercise? Is it a way to stay thin, a way to be healthy, or both?

-Sara

 

 

Stages of Change

Hey guys! Here’s a section from our book about how to negotiate changing your habits when  you’re in a relationship. Enjoy!

“For most couples, seeing eye-to-eye on health and fitness is something you dream about, but not really a practical reality. You may like to read articles about diet and vegetables, but your partner is only interested in hitting the gym. Or, perhaps fitness has never been part of your relationship, but as you become more interested in a life change, you’re hoping your partner will be excited about changing with you.  In order to make this transition as easy as possible, it will be helpful to understand how willing your partner is to change and what methods will be most helpful in ensuring the two of you change together. In this section, we’ll teach you about the 4 stages of change and what strategies are most effective in communicating with a partner at each stage.  This theory was originally published by Prochaska et al in 1992, and the strategies we discuss are based on a paper published by Zimmerman et al in the American Family Physician Journal.

T he Stages of Change model shows that most people slowly change their behavior over time, instead of just having that “aha” moment. True change in one life takes time and is not a linear progression. Relapses are almost guaranteed to occur and actually become a piece of the process. The Stages of Change model describes 4 stages along to way to making a life change; pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation and action.  In the pre-contemplation stage, a person has no intent or desire to change. They don’t think the statistics apply to them and they don’t think there is any reason to live their life differently. In the contemplation stage, a person will begin to weight the benefits and costs of changing their habits. They may see the merit in diet or exercise, but giving up their lifestyle will seem like a loss. In the preparation stage, a person is getting ready to make a big change. They may test out smaller changes such as buying a pair of walking shoes or shopping for low-fat items in the grocery store. Finally, the big leap is the action stage. This person has weighed the pros and cons, done the proper preparation and has decided to jump in and live life differently.

It is critical to understand where your partner is in the stages of change before you expect a significant alteration in their behavior. If they aren’t even contemplating change, then giving them goal setting tips probably isn’t your best course of action. The most effective way to help your partner change their lifestyle right along with you is to match your interventions with their stage. So how do you do that?

The best thing you can do is to listen. Ask your partner how they feel about diet, exercise or even their own health and then listen to what they have to say. More than likely, they’ll let you know exactly where they are just by their answer. Here’s what to listen for:

If they are in the…. They might say….
Pre-contemplation Stage “All that research doesn’t apply to me”

“It’s impossible for me to lose weight”

“I’m fine the way I am”

In this stage, your partner won’t think change is necessary at all. They don’t think advice applies to them and altering their lifestyle is not something they are interested in.

 

Contemplation Stage “I know I should work out, but I just don’t have time”

“I’d like to eat better, but I just hate the taste of vegetables”

Your partner will be receptive to the benefits of diet and exercise, but they feel that the cost (whether it be money, time, or taste) is just too much

 

Preparation Stage “I’ll try walking once a week with you”

“I guess some more vegetables would be nice”

Your partner may be willing to try out small changes that don’t seem too intimidating

 

Action Stage “Alright, let’s do it”

Good idea! I’ll challenge you to see who loses the most weight!”

In the action phase, your partner is truly ready to make a big life change

We Published Our Book!

We have officially published an ebook! We’re so excited! It’s available on the kindle and on amazon.com. Here’s the link

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007VI58SI

Or, you can just click on the book cover. If you don’t have a kindle, you can still read the book right on your computer. Just download the free kindle app, and get started.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the book, so please feel free to write us reviews. The book is only 99 cents, so it won’t break the bank!

Thank you so much for your support!

-Kevin and Sara

Weight Anxiety: Why Willpower Doesn’t Work

Obsessively counting calories, constantly asking, “do I look fat?” and spending hours in front of the mirror are things we usually associate with teenage girls. Between the ages of 12-18 females focus an incredible amount of energy on the way they look, and as a society we grant them that leeway. However, once we graduate college, get a job and join the real world, it’s expected that we throw those anxieties aside and get on with our lives. I don’t think it’s that easy.

Just looking at the sheer number of weight loss products, books, and diet programs it’s not only clear that we have a weight problem, but that we’re dying to get rid of it. Almost every weight-loss book is covered with a picture of a very thin woman, drawing a tape measure around her perfect waist, and we buy those books in droves. We may hide the fact that we want a perfect body from our friends and co-workers, assuring ourselves that we are “above that” or we’ve grown up since our vain teenage years, but have we really? I’m not sure I have. I have good days where I barely look in the mirror, eat well, go for a good run and feel healthy and happy about the way I look. But there are other days… Writing a health and fitness blog means scouring the internet for new stories or workouts, and that also means being bombarded with airbrushed photos of impossible looking women. Have you come across these? It’s hard not to draw comparisons and begin to criticize what’s in the mirror. This may be where many of our diets begin; we promise to wake up early to run for an hour, only eat vegetables and cut out carbs until we look like the girl in the impossible photo.

Does all this worry actually make us thinner?

The big question, I think, is do these moments of criticism and then promises of motivation actually lead to weight loss and improvements in our health? Probably not. There was a study published recently in Motivation and Emotion discussing the effects that attempted willpower have on our decision-making. When subjects were prompted with words like “fight temptation” “overcome” “exert willpower”, the subjects later on were more susceptible to making rash decisions and displaying poor judgment. This may be why diets are usually so unsuccessful. Forcing ourselves to be in a state of anxiety motivates us for a little while, and then we rebel against the rules we’ve set for ourselves and indulge. However, the study did find that when prompted with relaxing words, the subjects were able to make better, more well thought out decisions. It seems that when people feel more relaxed, they are better able to weight their options and make the best choice.

Focus on the positive

Instead of focusing on what you don’t like about your body or how much weight you’re trying to lose, try focusing on something positive. Pick a healthy choice like including more vegetables or going for an evening walk and then enjoy yourself while you do it. Think about how much that behavior makes you feel better, and how proud of yourself you are for accomplishing you small goal everyday. You will increase your self-esteem and reduce your anxiety, actually improving your odds of losing weight. So, don’t sweat it! You look beautiful.

My small goal this week is to run at least 4 times, and get to the gym to lift at least once. What’s your goal?

Have you every experienced weight anxiety? Did you feel it was a positive or negative influence in your life?

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