Art of successful weight management

Most adults do not eat any more, or even as much, as they did when they were younger. So why does the average person add one pound of body weight every year throughout middle age? This answer is very simple in that more fat is the result of less exercise. But that is only part of the problem.

The human body is a wonderful engine, superbly designed to transform the energy in food to a form that the body can use to move, thrive, grow, and maintain life’s functions. As long as we are alive, our bodies are constantly converting energy. All of this energy comes from the food we eat.

The Role of Exercise

Exercise can do many things for you when you need to lose weight. Studies show that it is the single most consistent factor in successful weight loss. Unfortunately, many overweigh people don’t believe they can perform the amount of exercise necessary to make a difference in their weight loss efforts. But any amount of exercise can be helpful in losing weight. Exercise helps you lose weight in four ways:

* It burns calories.

* Exercising before a meal may help suppress your appetite.

* Aerobic exercise uses calories from fat while sparing lean body mass (muscle).

* Exercise helps counteract the decline in basal metabolic rate that occurs with dieting. It actually revs up your metabolism so that, even after exercise, your body continues to burn extra calories. Your metabolic rate may stay high at the increased level for hours after you finish your exercise.

Physical activity is nothing more than a way to increase energy expenditure. Your metabolism, an important factor in weight control, is affected by exercise, dieting and the foods you eat. Remember, two of the many benefits of exercise are the number of calories burned during the activity and the increase in metabolism, which may be sustained for several hours afterward. An increase in energy expenditure through exercise of 250 calories a day would be equal to about one pound of weight loss every two weeks in most people, given food intake remains the same. Therefore, since exercise involves energy expenditure, it assists in the creation of negative energy balance and, hence, long term weight loss.

Strength training has long been recognized as an essential component of a well-designed personal fitness program. Because strength training can increase – as well as maintain – lean body mass, it can contribute greatly to the maintenance of basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is the rate in which you burn calories at rest. Energy expenditure can therefore be enhanced by aerobic exercise and strength training.

A Weight Control Plan That Works

  1. Get Started. First try to see yourself differently – there’s a thinner you waiting to break through. Go ahead – you can do it!
  2. Know How Much to Lose. Find out what your ideal weight range is by using a weight table or formula and taking into consideration your frame size. Then, set your target weight loss goal. If you can, get your body composition assessed. This will give you a better understanding of your body’s muscle to fat relationship. Most importantly, give yourself adequate time to reach your objectives keeping in mind that safe and effective weight loss should not exceed 1 to 2 pounds per week.
  3. Keep Records. Record your eating and exercise habits to help determine your present patterns. Keeping records can also help you chart your weight loss programs.
  4. Substitute Behavior. Once you recognize your old patterns, you can substitute new positive behavior for your old unwanted ones. Select an enjoyable form of exercise that is also convenient. Aerobic conditioning such as walking, cross-country skiing, cycling and rowing burn significant calories and have the added benefit of improving your general fitness level.
  5. Balance Eating and Exercise. Balance the calories you take in (eating) with the calories you burn off (exercise). Striking balance helps maintain your ideal weight.

As you can see, the evidence in favor of exercise is clear and powerful. Appropriate exercise offers a variety of methods for modifying the energy balance equation and contributes to improved physical and psychological health. This weight loss paradox requires a balanced approach to moderate lifestyle patterns and regular exercise. Make a commitment to a more healthy you by incorporating some of these into your daily routine and you will soon gain the health, energy, self-confidence and lean, trim body you have always wanted.

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