Work it off

FITNESS CAN BE FUN Workout with a friend  

Opt for burning extra calories through increased activity rather than deprive your body of essential nutrients

Even if you are doing your best to exercise and watch what you eat, it's still possible to reach a point where weight loss slows down, or even stops altogether. In order to avoid a plateau, don't forget to decrease the amount of calories you consume as your body weight decreases.

Online calculators allow you to estimate the appropriate number of calories needed for your goals, how many you are eating, and how many you are burning with exercise.

Another mistake people make when trying to lose weight is cutting calories too drastically in an attempt to slim down quickly. Skipping meals or consuming too few calories for good health can have significant negative consequences, along with slowing down the metabolism and making it harder to keep the weight off.

In a nutshell, if you train your body to consistently survive with less food than it needs to function, it will eventually adapt, and anything above this amount will be more likely stored as body fat rather than burned.

Proper amounts of carbs, protein and fats are needed for continuing energy and cell regeneration. Eating too little compromises the body's ability to build and maintain muscle and bone tissue, as well as its ability to recover and repair itself as it should.

If your calorie intake is right, but you are still frustrated with progress, opt for burning extra calories through increased activity rather than deprive your body of essential nutrients.

If you have repeatedly tried and failed to lose weight, you might be like many, focussing primarily on reaching a certain number on the scale. If you are exercising, particularly strength (resistance) training, remember that you are building lean muscle tissue, so be sure to keep this “weight” in mind when you step on the scale.

Muscle uses hundreds of calories each day that might otherwise be stored as body fat, so the more of it you have, the better. In addition to helping you to become leaner, resistance training increases bone density, gives you greater overall strength, better posture and aids in supporting the joints.

Instead of measuring your success by scale weight, measure it by your ability to exercise and consume healthy foods each day. It is safe to lose one to two pounds a week.

It's not necessary to cut out all of your favourite foods in order to lose weight. The more restrictive the diet, the greater the chances of good intentions backfiring!.

The bulk of your diet should always come from healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats, but having a low-calorie treat every now and then can help you from feeling deprived.

Some 100 calorie treats include:

Half an apple with two teaspoons peanut butter.

Two fruit juice bars.

One fat-free, single-serve pudding cup.

15 jelly beans.

One cup unsweetened applesauce.

One half-cup sherbet.

Five low-fat digestive biscuits Suggestions:

Don't wait till the last minute to decide if and when you want to exercise. If possible, team up with a friend, co-worker or family member whose schedule, interests and goals are similar to yours. This makes exercising more fun, and also provides motivation, support and accountability.


NYT News Service