Monday, March 7, 2016

Exercise & Weight Gain

You started a new exercise routine with the goal of losing weight. You're 2 weeks in and you've gained weight.
What is up with that? 
There are a few things that could be the culprit, but if I had to put my money down, I'd say it's one, or all, of these:
You expect results too soon.

Your body is still adjusting and recalibrating to your new routine.  

It can take a few weeks for your body to adapt to the change you’ve placed on it – beginning an exercise program doesn’t always result in immediate results.
Remember the rule of 4's: 
  • 4 weeks to FEEL the difference
  • 8 weeks to SEE the difference
  • 12 weeks to HEAR ABOUT the difference
You're not working at a high enough intensity (or not doing enough cardio).

Focus on increasing the time spent on cardiovascular exercise and be sure you are working at a moderate intensity. You should be able to speak in sentences but not carry on in a conversational tone.
150-250 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week is associated with modest weight loss.
250+ minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week shows a clinically significant weight loss.

Once you hit your goal, you can scale back down to 150-250 minute to maintain your weight loss, as long as you are not...

Eating too many calories.

Often these are compensatory calories. When we begin an exercise program it is common for the following 2 things to happen:
  • hunger increases
  • we overestimate calorie burn
Exercise alone doesn’t do a lot to reduce weight. It is important to look at your nutrition habits and caloric intake to make sure they are balanced & appropriate for your body weight and activity level. 
You can find out your caloric needs by using this calculator: {HINT: Most people with a sedentary job and planned exercise should use the 2nd Activity Level from the Left}

Sometimes these extra calories come in the form of pre-workout snacks, which aren't always necessary for a standard workout**. Your body still needs proper fuel, however, so eating a balanced meal 1-3 hours before activity is recommended.* If you prefer a snack, make it light: a whey shake (with water only), low-fat yogurt with berries, or a banana. 

 *For specific nutrition questions and concerns, please consult a Registered Dietician or other health care professional.
**For workouts lasting longer than 90 minutes this advice is not considered accurate.

Friday, March 4, 2016

4 Tips to Stay Motivated

Having a hard time staying motivated to exercise? Changing up your music or your routine might be on thing, but getting there is 75% of the battle.

Here are 4 tips to keep you on point with you exercise plan.
  1. Tell someone you don't want to let down that you are starting a new program and plan to exercise 4 days a week. Have a judgmental mother? Tell her.
  2. Create a vision board and keep it in a place that you will see it most often during the day – so in your office or under one of those clear desk protectors is perfect. If you are an evening/after work or lunchtime exerciser; those photos and phrases can give you the extra “umph” to make it to the gym after a long day in the office. (The best blog I've found on building a vision board:
  3. Pack your gym clothes and go straight to the gym after work. If you are a morning exerciser pack your gym bag and clothes the night before and put them in the car so literally all you have to do is get up, grab a snack and get in the car. And, well, get dressed 1st. I actually know people who sleep in their workout clothes – this is not just a crazy idea dreamed up by exercise bloggers.
  4. Stop focusing so much on EXERCISE and focus more on making friends and having a good time. Zumba, Barre, Yoga, Pilates, Walking, Hula Hooping,  Playing Dance Dance Revolution on the Wii…it all counts!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The most important (and overlooked) componenet of a healthy lifestyle....

The term “healthy lifestyle” brings to mind 2 things: physical activity {exercise} and nutrition. No doubt, both of these are game changers - not just in weight management or weight loss but in heart, bone and joint health.

However, the most important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, is a third, often overlooked element. It’s BEHAVIOR. It’s the small, daily habits and behaviors that make the biggest difference. No one double cheeseburger ever made anyone fat, just like running one 5K never made anyone skinny.

It's seems simple in theory, right? Identify the bad behavior, adopt the good behavior. BOOM! You should be good.

Reality check time: We will undoubtedly fail many times on our quest for a behavior change – it’s common and it’s important to not beat yourself up over it. 

By nature, people are social creatures. Eating & physical activity habits are influenced by the environment in which live and work. How much support are we getting from our friends and family? When stress hits do we go for the sweet roll or the spin class? Do we live in the city or the suburbs?

These all impact our behavior and need to be considered when creating a new behavior. 

1. Put in a bulk order for Post-It Notes. Phrases like “You’re Amazing” “Never Give Up” “Enjoy Your Life” can lift your mood and remind you that you have the power to make your own choices. Post them on your computer, your steering wheel, your refrigerator and your mirror. I do.

2. Eliminate temptation. Healthy people don’t eat better because they have more willpower. They recognize their weaknesses and keep them out of the pantry. Make it hard to stumble and you’re less likely to fall.

3. Start dating. Friends giving you a hard time about your workouts interfering with your social life? Set a standing coffee date to catch up. Colleagues razzing you about your lunchtime workouts? Leave one day open for a department lunch; step it up a notch by suggesting a peaceful outdoor spot so you can bring your lunch with you.

4. Set action goals! “Lose 10 pounds” is a better goal than “Lose weight” because it’s SPECIFIC. But what tends to happen once we reach our 10 pound goal? The behavior that led us to that point ends and the roller coaster ride begins. Setting action-oriented, behavior-focused goals is better. “Eat 1700 calories per day and exercise 4 times per week for 8 weeks” will help you establish a habit AND hit your goal.

5. Be structured with meal planning, but flexible with workouts. Research shows that structured meal plans not only decrease the effort for meal planning and decision making, but they help eliminate temptation. An exercise plan that is too regimented, however, has the opposite effect. If your schedule is too hard to adhere to, you are more likely to get frustrated and feel like a failure.

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