Sunday, March 27, 2011

Minneapolis Airport - A Power Walkers Paradise

The Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport is another great spot for walking.  With the core terminals forming a large rectangle, it offers up a 1.4 mile circuit that is easy to navigate.  I've gone through this facility quite a few times and typically try to schedule my flights such that I have enough time to walk the airport at least once, but preferably twice.  (What else are you going to do - sit around and gain weight????)

Obviously, I am not the only one who has recognized what the Minneapolis Airport has to offer in the way of calorie burning activities.  The American Heart Association teamed up with the Airport several years ago to promote and encourage the walking benefits to airport travelers.  Going so far as to provide signage and mileage markers.  You can read more about that at Why Go Business.  

One word of caution about this Airport.  They have an awesome retail section with lots of stores and restaurants which can be quite distracting.   Walk first!

On this particular day, I arrived at the airport two hours early, quickly checked in and set off on my usual route, easily racking up 3 miles in about 45 minutes.  Nothing to it!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Grand Rapids - All Weather Walking Conditions

So business took me to Downtown Grand Rapids, where it was cold, windy and icy.  Not the ideal conditions for getting in some outdoor exercise.  But being from the sunny south, I presumed the only way to get around a large city with tall buildings was by sidewalk, cab or public transportation.  Thus, I was surprised to find that many of the downtown structures were interconnected by a system of covered walkways - sky-walks.  Pretty cool, as you could go from building to building without ever going outside.

For my purposes, I needed to go from the Marriott Courtyard to the Convention Center, several blocks away, so rather than jumping in my rental car, driving aimlessly around the city looking for the right place, then finding a parking spot, I took off on foot.  The walking distance was about 3/4 of a mile or so each way, and because I had to go back and forth several times, I got in plenty of steps.  

I also noticed several other people with walking shoes who were obviously making use of the sky-walk system as well. Just another example of taking advantage of whats around you to focus on losing or keeping your weight off.  It's been over two years for me since Iost that initial 70 pounds and this is how I do it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Chicken Sandwich Diet??

So my wife told me about a friend of hers that lost 50 pounds by eating only grilled Chicken Sandwiches.  First of all, more power to this unnamed person for losing the weight!  But beyond that, how on earth can she expect to maintain her new found weight that was the result of such a one-sided plan.

Not for nothing, but I think I would have reached a point where the mere mention of the word chicken would have caused me go to into vomiting spasms, way before that 50 pound mark... which is just one more reason not to get into a weight loss plan that is so limiting.

I know people are so desperate to lose weight, that most of them are willing to take on the most bizarre diets (I hate that word) in an attempt to drop pounds, but you have really have to look at the big picture and ask the question: "once I lose the weight, what is next?"

Believe me, losing the weight is only part of the challenge.  Keeping it off can be even harder as you can never really relax for too long or suddenly you are right back where you started.  Thus, you need to carefully choose a plan that is not too stressful, icky or limiting such that you an continue with it after you do lose the desired amount of weight.
There is a big myth, that once you lose the weight, you can stop the process and just maintain the weight. NOT! If you implement something to lose weight, it's that "thing" that makes the pounds go away.  Once that "thing" is taken away, the process goes into reverse.  Thus the choices you make for losing weight need to also take into account that you must continue them to maintain the weight loss.

I really can't see living on grilled chicken sandwiches as a long term weight management strategy...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The HCG Diet - Are You Kidding Me?

Just tuned in to Good Morning America and saw a piece on the HCG Diet, which was billed as the latest "fad diet" sweeping the country.  The concept revolves around dropping calorie intake to 500 calories per day and taking injections of a pregnancy hormone, which is supposed to encourage the body to burn off fat instead of muscle.

Hmmm... are you kidding me?  Regardless of whether it works or whether its safe (I'll leave that to the Medical people) this looks like an insane approach to sensible weight loss.  Why?  One simple reason: its not sustainable in the long run!!! 

I heard one proponent talking about how the HCG system allows someone to re-train their body on how it handles food, so that in the long run, they will be able to sustain the weight loss.  Yeah right - they are using an injected drug to re-train their body... In reality, drugs trick the body into a different type of behavior until the drugs are discontinued, at that point the body typically goes back to its former behavior.

Tricks and fad diets are a waste.  They may achieve a quick weight loss, but rarely do they lead to sustained weight loss.  When you hear about people who tried everything, but were never successful with consistent weight loss, they are usually the ones who rushed through every new -fangled diet, gadget, and concept for losing weight, all of which were short term solutions.

The key to success is definitely about re-training your body, but it has to be done using a realistic balance between food and exercise.  You have to be able to enjoy your lifestyle choices so that you can maintain them without an artificial means for the rest of your life.