You Need to Move to Lose!

Posted on Saturday, June 14th, 2008
Written by: Angela, Nutritionist

You may have heard the statement that you will achieve 80% success by addressing your diet alone, but only 20% success by addressing exercise alone. It is important to note that by addressing both diet and exercise you will maintain your muscle mass as you lose fat and greatly improve your chances at keeping the weight off long term.

Research shows that increasing exercise is just as important as decreasing calories when it comes to long term weight loss.  A study from Wake Forest University revealed that obese women who dieted without exercise had no change in abdominal fat cell size, where as, women who coupled diet with exercise, had a reduction in fat cell size by 17%.  Fat cells are contributors to heart disease; therefore, reducing the overall size of fat cells reduces this risk factor.

Another study showed that dieting alone results in a reduced metabolic rate.  A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that people who reduced their caloric intake by 230 calories a day for one year, and did not exercise, lost muscle mass, strength and endurance.  A loss of muscle mass is counter productive in weight loss, in that muscle mass is key to metabolic performance and fat burning.

It’s no secret that exercisers stay slimmer.  Activity aids in weight reduction and result in longer lasting success. Furthermore, exercise can combat the yo-yo syndrome.  A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, revealed that exercise alone can be effective in managing weight loss.  The study consisted of three groups: dieters alone; exercise only, and diet and exercise.  Results identified that the diet alone group, gained all of their original weight loss plus an average of two additional pounds.  Although, the exercise only group, maintained a weight loss of five-and-a-half pounds on average.

Becoming active may mean different things to different people. One activity may be pleasurable to one person and grueling to another. Substantial health benefits can be gained simply by fitting moderate amounts of physical activity into your days. Traditional health club activities are one way to get moving. Playful and chore-oriented activities are also a fun way to add exercise. Do them whenever you can.

Develop a fitness plan that fits with your needs and interests. You may want to get help with your plan from a trainer or sports physician. Make it enjoyable and part of your lifestyle. Don’t use exercise as a quick fix. Allow it to nurture your body, not punish it. Give your body what it needs to be healthy and strong. Measure and reward your effort. Follow these tips to change your approach to food and exercise for good:

1) Set realistic short and long-term goals.
2) Focus on your progress, not the end result. Let go of old patterns and habits that do not work.
3) Gauge your progress by the healthful habits you are adopting rather than by the numbers on the scale.
4) Identify the emotions and stressors that cause negative behaviors such as eating when you are not hungry.
5) Stop the "should do’s" and do what is right for you.
6) Think positive thoughts about yourself like "I can", "I am", "I will."
7) Make healthful food choices, eat low fat and lots of vegetables and grains.
8) Make exercise part of your life, not just a way to lose weight.

Exercise combined with healthier eating patterns is the best combination for long term weight loss.  Exercise increases energy, boosts metabolism and will benefit both your cardiovascular and emotional health. Choose physical and exercise activities that you enjoy and that are readily accessible. But one thing is for sure…you need to move to lose! Exercise truly is one of the keys to long lasting weight loss.

Categories: Activity

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