Archive for January, 2011

Top 10 Weight Loss Tips for 2011

It’s that time when everyone has started their new fitness and/or weight loss regimes and I hope to help them succeed. Here are my top 10 weight loss tips for 2011.

1. Know and Write Down Your Goal – Yes, you want to have an idea of what you want to lose, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Know what you will feel like, what you will be able to do, how your life will be better when you reach your ideal weight. The weight amount you want to lose will not keep you motivated. The “why it’s important to you” will help keep you on task. The extra bit is to write it down. People that write down their goals are far more likely to attain them.

2. Get Help From a Professional – So much time, effort, and self-esteem is wasted on failed attempts because we rely on what we think we know about losing weight. The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar industry because people spend tons of money on useless supplements, gadgets, and fad diets. Spend your money more wisely. Get started right with the advice from an RD and a Personal Trainer that can tailor a program just for you.

3. Commit to Lifestyle Changes – Quick fixes may help you to lose weight in short-term, but in the long run will leave you heavier and frustrated. Look to making healthy lifestyle changes that you can sustain for the rest of your life.

4. Baby Steps– With a committment of making changes for your life, comes the decrease in pressure to change everything all at once. If you try to make it all perfect tomorrow, you will crash and burn, leaving you defeated and depressed. Plan on making one or two small changes at a time. When you master them, pick one or two more to work on. i.e. At least 3 days this week I will eat a healthy breakfast.

5. Journal – The biggest pain for most people and yet one of the most beneficial things you can do. Keeping a food journal can not only help you keep track of calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat, but will also make you aware of your habitual behaviors, such as meal timing, how often you eat out, and times/situations that are problematic. As you become more aware of these issues, you can add them to your list of baby steps to be addressed in the future. If you don’t keep a journal, you may never fully understand what you are doing. These days there are plenty of apps for your smart phone that can make it more convenient to track your intake.

6. Use Diet and Exercise Approach– You have to address your nutritional life, absolutely. But, if that’s all you’re doing you will either never lose the weight, or if you do lose it, you will never be able to sustain it. The same is true for exercise alone. To combine diet and exercise is key in weight loss. Additionally, while tradition has led us to believe that cardio exercise was best for losing fat, when, in fact, high intensity weight training is really the element of change. (Another reason to consult a professional.)

7. Be a More Active Person– Now, even though high intensity weight training is the most effective activity for weight loss, everything you do burns calories, and the more you do, the more calories you burn. Too often people will exercise for 30-60 minutes and then sit on their backside for the rest of the day. Get up, get out, and find ways to be a more active person. End the slothdom.

8. Plan Ahead – Nothing beats planning out the next day ahead of time. If I go into a day knowing what I will eat, when, and have written in my exercise time as an appointment, sticking with it is far easier than if I try to “wing” good behavior. Even the unexpected can be planned for once you recognize what types of things can happen to throw you for a loop.

9. Clean House– Set up your environment to help you with your goals. Get rid of the foods/treats around you at home and work that make it hard to stay on track.

10. Confront Your Frenemies – Frenemies are those that sabotage your efforts to lose weight. You need to have a heart-to-heart talk with them and, without mincing words, explain what you’re doing and why it’s so important to you. Then make them aware of how they are making that hard for you to accomplish your goals. Ask them if they can help you by refraining from those things that make it more difficult than it already is.

Of course there are more, but these are my top 10 to carry you to success in 2011.

Best wishes, Mark

01/12/2011 at 9:58 AM Leave a comment

Exergaming: Gateway to Greater Physical Activity?

According to Wikipedia – Exergaming (a combination of “exercise” and “gaming”) is a term used for video games that also provide exercise. Exergames have one element of exercise and one element of gaming.

exergamingI wrote about my views on Wii Fit and Exergaming back in Feb. 2009 in an attempt to express how I saw exergaming being used and answering the question of whether or not I saw it as a threat to the health and fitness industry. In this post, however, I just want to support a statement that fitness technology specialist, Biray Alsac made in her post EA Sports Active Uses the term “Gateway”. In it she states that exergames have a “gateway effect to an active lifestyle.”

Many see the pre-occupation with video games as a major contributor to the youth obesity epidemic (myself included).  But, if those games have a physical challenge, is there harm in letting our kids play them? If we can coax those inactive kids (or adults) into becoming more active with Dance, Dance, Revolution, WII Sports, etc.  Shouldn’t we support it?

What got me thinking about this again was when our boys got the  WII Just Dance 2 game for Christmas. They worked up a real sweat, competed against each other for high score, and had a ball. I love to watch them play it and, yes, I had fun with it too.

Now imagine someone that doesn’t get regular physical activity gets involved in exergaming. They start to feel (and possibly see) the effects of the activity, and start to have greater confidence in their ability to move. Maybe this will make them feel like they can do more, participate in more “real-life” activities. Maybe, indeed, exergaming IS a gateway to a more active lifestyle.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

01/02/2011 at 10:54 AM Leave a comment


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