Sunday, November 25, 2012

How About No Pain And No (Weight) Gain

Perhaps one of the hardest things about exercise is that it can be somewhat painful, especially in the beginning.  In fact, depending on the level of discomfort combined with the degree of pain tolerance that you have, your aspirations of losing weight and getting in shape can come to a crashing halt real quick.
One aspect is that you simply overdid it or chose the wrong exercise.  It's critical that you start slow and use techniques that are suitable for you.  I didn't start out power-walking 5 miles per day...  But in reality, there may be a real physical issue causing your pain.
A recent Harvard study suggests that sugary soft drinks can worsen the osteoarthritis in men, but not women.  Though the causes are not certain, the researchers speculate that several ingredients in sugary drinks damage bone health. Caffeine, for instance, can promote osteoporosis, phosphoric acid may interfere with calcium absorption, and high fructose corn syrup — a common sweetener in carbonated beverages — can also negatively affect bone.
So for those men with a soft drink craving, a switch to diet soda might be the right choice?  No way.  Additional studies from other sources suggest that Aspartame (found in diet sodas and artificial sweeteners) can also worsen arthritis since it causes inflammation in the joints when regularly consumed.  (For women too!)
BTW - you don't have to be old to have arthritis or knee pain.
So if you are experiencing knee pain when exercising, a reasonable first step is to cut out all soda.  I know, easier said than done as I am still battling a Diet Coke addiction.  Luckily I don't have the knee pain, but I can feel plenty of other affects when I drink too much of it.  I have cut back - a lot, but still haven't completely dumped it. 
My strategy is this - drink one large glass for each can of Diet Coke initially.  Then work towards two large glasses for each can, etc.  Most days I keep my Diet Coke consumption down to two cans and sometimes zero. 
Keeping things in perspective, if you experience pain while trying to exercise, look for solutions rather than letting it be an excuse to avoid physical activity.  Their is a lot of information on the internet, so Google it and see what others are experiencing. 
The reality is that you should be able to prevent weight gain with little or no pain!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sedentary Saturday - A Thanksgiving Tradition?

So you ate too much on Thursday, loaded up on leftovers on Friday, and stood in a variety of lines looking for deals on stuff you probably didn't even need.  Watcha going to do today?  REST!  Uh huh, and that is why I call it sedentary Saturday, and I don't mean that as an endearing term. 
Estimates range from 4000 to 6000 calories consumed during a typical Thanksgiving feast.  And with so many people continuing the binge well into the next day (or longer) its the making of an unhealthy situation  Combine this with the lack of exercise that typically occurs during the long holiday weekend, and you have the perfect storm in terms of weight gain.  
Do yourself a favor, avoid leftovers today and avoid the couch.  Get out of the house and at least do some serious walking.  BTW - shopping doesn't count for exercise, because its minimal walking at best.  So if you are thinking of mall walking, fine, just don't stop to shop, keep your body moving.  Have family visiting and feel like it would be rude to walk out on?  Take them with you!  Walk and talk instead of sitting and chatting. 
But Sedentary Saturday is not just about today - it also marks the beginning of a cycle that stretches through to the New Year.  Too much food and not enough exercise, and sadly most tolerate it using the "Holidays" as an excuse.  Listen, the Holiday Cheer turns into the New Year's nightmare come January 1st when you wake up with an additional 10 pounds of fat pressing down on tired knees and ankles.  And then its time for the most popular New Years resolution of all - lose weight!  And you know how many people are successful with that????? Less than 30%... 
There is no magic solution here, other than to force yourself to focus on food in versus calories consumed.  I use a simple trick in terms of eating - I focus on how I will feel 30 minutes after I eat.  That is when most of us feel regret because the euphoria of the food has been replaced with an uncomfortable pressure in the gut.  I then use that vision to help me eat very slow and STOP when I feel the least bit full. 
And in terms of exercise, there are no holidays!  That's why I preach finding something you enjoy, so you can stick to it, even when everyone else is snoring on the couch with distended bellies protruding outwards like humps on a camel...
Sedentary Saturday - don't let it be the start of something you will regret.