Get Rid of the Extra Weight Once and For All
When your body puts on fat, there are two ways it can do so. The body can either distribute fat into already existing cells, causing fat cells to increase in size, or it can create new fat cells in your legs. If the new fat cells are made, it is usually more difficult to lose the weight than if already existing fat cells had just gotten bigger. Upper body fat, such as fat around your abdomen, tends to result from fat cells getting larger. This upper body fat is known to have greater health risks - so in a sense, this is good news that it’s easier to lose the weight in this area. It takes about 3500 extra calories to put on a pound, but just like gaining fat, weight loss is not always straight forward, nor does it happen linearly. Do you feel that you are doing everything you can to lose weight, and the pounds still won’t come off? Have you plateaued? Here are 5 key questions to ask yourself for a successful weight loss:
Are you incorporating strength training?
Strengthening to increase muscle mass can give your daily metabolism a boost! Some of us may over emphasize cardio exercise for weight loss, but really, both strength training and cardiovascular exercise are equally important for weight loss and blood sugar management. Try incorporating some yoga, weight lifting, or any other strengthening routine twice a week to gear up your metabolism!
Do you think that you can out-exercise a bad diet?
For example, let’s say you’re feeling stress and choose food to unwind. So you get your sugar fix with a Starbucks Frappuccino paired with a small glazed donut in the afternoon. Do you justify it by thinking “I’ll burn them off later since I’m going to the gym tonight”? Think twice. A Grande (16 oz) Caramel Frappuccino from Starbucks has about 410 calories, and an old-fashioned glazed doughnut consists of a whopping 480 calories.1,2 Let’s do the math. It takes about 120 minutes (that’s 2 hours!) for a 155 pound person to burn off the frap and donut (890 calories total) by doing the stair-step machine, according to Harvard Medical School.3 That is a lot of stair climbing for two afternoon snacks that have close to no nutrients! The bottom line is that healthier food choices and exercise both should be incorporated into your life at the same time for the exercise to be effective.
What are your discretionary calories?
The recommended daily “empty calorie limit” for women is about 120 – 260 calories, and 260 – 330 calories for men.4 Empty calories are foods that provide no nutrients (soft drinks, foods made with refined flour, sugar and salt. These are empty calories that you could burn off with a reasonable amount of exercise. Calories beyond that will most likely be stored as fat in the body, unless you are a true athlete. Here are some examples of the amount of average calories burned through a 30-minute exercise: a 155 pound person can burn off about 149 calories by walking (3.5 mph), 335 calories doing the elliptical, and 298 calories by running (5 mph).3 Unless you exercise more than this on a daily basis, try keeping your sugary snacks within the recommended range above. Instead choose high volume nutrient dense foods more often that fill you up and are easily burned off.
Remember to get the sleep you need! If you’re moving more as a part of your weight loss regimen, sleep is of even more importance. Lack of sleep is correlated with obesity and increased appetite. You need to give time to detox that brain and let your muscles recover and rebuild. Your net-surfing habit at night may be putting a halt to your weight loss.
Are you active throughout the day?
If going to the gym is in your routine, great! But do you tend to stay inactive for the rest of the day? Do you have a desk job? A recent study found that sitting more than 8 hours per day significantly increases your risk of all-cause mortality.5 Evaluate what you can change at your office and if it’s sabotaging your health. Try leading an active lifestyle to promote weight loss, and you may even see an increase in concentration, energy, and blood sugar management.
Take a look at your current lifestyle and routines. Start incorporating these key things to gear up your weight loss regimen and you will be few steps closer to leading a more healthy, active lifestyle!
Have you experienced any foot complications from diabetes?