Monday, August 29, 2011

Turning Back Time

Everyday we get a little bit older (sigh) and so far no one other than Ponce de Leon has discovered the fountain of youth - and he didn't leave a map.  But though we can't stop the process, we can certainly challenge it.  

For many, that means spending thousands of dollars on cosmetic surgery, hormone replacements, dietary supplements, etc, etc.  According to an article by David Crary of the Associated Press entitled Boomers Will Be Spending Billions To Counter Aging its expected that sales of anti-aging products and services will top $114 billion by 2015.

More and more we can see the advertising and hype ramping up as hordes of companies jump on the bandwagon to offer tools to battle the affects of aging.  But in reality, according to the National Institute on Aging, no treatments have been proven to slow or reverse the natural aging process, despite the claims and promises of various marketers.  Their advice for aging well: Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and don't smoke.

Wow what a novel concept - who would have thought...

Anti-aging and weight loss sound amazingly similar.  Both are flooded with claims of magic pills and guaranteed products that promise amazing results. Both generate billions of dollars for those making the claims. Both leave the majority of clients with nothing more than an empty wallet.

Successful weight loss, just like successfully weathering the aging process, involves very simple, low cost processes that are available to everyone.  And its a LONG TERM effort, meaning that once you start it, it must be something you can do forever.  Be skeptical of anything that guarantees quick results with little effort - pills, berries, liquids, etc.  Stay away from fad diets that are short term efforts.  Avoid exercise programs that are painful, boring and distasteful.

You can read more on my website or in my e-book about the details of what has worked for me such that I have successfully lost 70 pounds and maintained it for 4 years now.  (Hint - it involves eating slow and walking fast...)  Not only do I feel younger, I also look younger than I am...



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Brush With Death While Walking

Walking is a key component of my weight loss and thus a significant part of my daily routine.  I enjoy getting out and taking in the surroundings, whether at home or traveling.  And even though a routine event for me, you never know what you will see or experience when walking. Yesterday was the perfect example.

Coming over the Banks Channel bridge in Wrightsville Beach, I noticed a collection of emergency vehicles parked at the public docks with lights flashing.  Down on the docks was a Coast Guard patrol boat surrounded by various officials - police, EMS, firefighters, etc.  My first thought was maybe some kid had gotten hurt jumping off the bridge (a definite no-no, but it they do it anyway).  After all, it was early on a bright sunny Monday and boat traffic was very light, so it didn't seem logical that there had been an on-water crash.

Upon closer observation I realized that someone was in the Coast Guard boat on their back, with feet sticking up over the gunwale.  It seemed to be a very awkward and uncomfortable position for someone who was injured and being treated.  Then the realization hit me - the victim was no longer of this earth!  Sadly that proved to be the case.  

Turns out it was a very bizarre set of circumstances that led to this man's death and you can read more details in an article from the Wilmington Star News if interested.

It just goes to show that you never know what you will see when you are a daily walker/runner/biker and it certainly keeps my exercise of choice from ever becoming dull and boring (not that I want to see bad things happen to anyone).  And of course staying on track means choosing exercise methods you can actually look forward to instead of hating with a passion.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Exercise Myths Debunked

I came across some interesting exercise info in Popular Mechanics recently.  YES, Popular Mechanics.  Contributing Author Alex Hutchinson shared some information out of his book Cardio Or Weights? Fitness Myths, Training Truths and Other Surprising Discoveries From The Science Of Exercise.

Here is an excerpt:

Stretching Prepares Your Body For Exercise (True or False)
Stretching your body before exercise is a sacred ritual, but researchers have been finding that it actually slows you down.  Florida State researchers recently showed that stretching before a run makes you about 5 percent less efficient, meaning you have to burn more energy to run at the same pace.  Furthermore, there's insufficient scientific evidence that pre-exercise stretching reduces injury risk.

Pretty interesting stuff from Alex Hutchinson.  I haven't read the book yet, but it sounds like a good read and worthwhile for anyone engaged in a serious health and fitness regimen, as too many times we expend a lot of effort pursuing so-called "standards" that end up having little or no basis in science and at the end of the day, have little real benefit to our bodies.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Couch Factor Is The Key To Weight Loss!



Metabolism is kind of a big word with serious sounding implications.  But if you want to lose weight, it needs to become part of your everyday vocabulary as its a big key to how successful you will be...or not. 

The reality behind the calories consumed versus calories burned science for weight loss, relies heavily on how YOUR body handles its energy needs and everyone is different. Of particular interest is the resting metabolic rate, which is the number of calories you would burn in a day if you sat around all day doing nothing. I call it the COUCH FACTOR!   

For example, when I was 70 pounds heavier I calculated that my couch factor was about 2500 calories per day.  Thus, if I did nothing at all but eat 2500 calories per day, then I shouldn't gain or lose any weight.  If I either increased my caloric burn (exercise) or decreased my caloric intake (food) then my weight should decrease.  I did both and it worked out quite well. (You can read all of the details in my book.)

There are general formulas based on age, height, weight, etc which makes for some useful baseline data, but for most of us its pretty much impossible to know our exact metabolic rate and thus our true caloric needs. That is until now.

In an article written by Marion Callahan, she reviews a new device called the Fitmate which is being field tested by various weight-loss professionals.  The Fitmate is designed to provide accurate data about an individuals resting metabolic rate, so that a specific weight management plan can be designed for that person. 

According to Callahan's article, the device determines exactly how many calories a person needs and how much exercise is required to lose fat weight or gain lean muscle tissue. An individuals genes, body composition, age and sex affect metabolism, so the rate varies from person to person. It's also recommended that someone should be tested over the course of several months so that they can see that exercise and diet changes really do work.

At a whopping price tag of $7900, the Fitmate is not targeted for sale to individuals, but rather to medical and dietary practitioners who can use it to help their clients get off to a good start and keep them on track.

But whether you have access to such technology or not, you still need to base your weight loss plan on your couch factor, as it will truly define what you need to do to be successful.  Even if you are just getting a ballpark number, its still better than just jumping into some kind of ridiculous diet or pain workout routine without a clue as to what your real needs are.