Walking: To Lose or Not Lose Weight

walking

Long has been the discussion on whether or not walking can effectively help a dieter to lose a significant amount of weight, and just as there are many people who have been unsuccessful in that regard, there are people who have found it to be famously rewarding. What we shall try to do today, is figure out the pros and cons of one of the most basic forms of exercise.

Walking is usually the first place that people start with starting their exercise plan. It usually occurs because they actually enjoy walking, they are too old to run or that they are too unfit to run. Typically it starts off with short walks either to take the dog out or walking through a neighborhood with a friend. Firstly, let me state that walking is better than doing nothing – much better, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Secondly, the usefulness of walking is determined by the speed and length of the walk. Pretty obvious stuff I know but it has to be said.

Let’s look at some statistics. A 30 minute brisk walk burns approximately 150 calories depending on your body weight and BMI ratio. That’s usually about a distance of 2 miles. To lose a pound of weight, you must burn 500 calories more than you take in so we’re presuming that you’ve already equalized the dietary arrangements so that we’re not treading water here. Based on these numbers, you should lose about a pound a week, which is a fairly brisk clip. The problem is that after several weeks of the same repetitive routine, the body acclimatize itself to the “new” body, and weight loss becomes harder assuming everything else stays the same. Two things need to happen here; speed and distance – increase both!

What started off as a social exercise needs to become real exercise. Anything to increase the calorie burn. Pump the arms, put ankle weights on or simply walk further and faster. What you’re doing now is getting close to what we would call a “Cardio’ workout where the heart gets to pump at a much higher rate than normal so burning those additional calories. I used to play golf regularly twice every week, on Wednesday and Sunday mornings. Didn’t take a cart (which irritated my golf partners tremendously!). I have a firmly brisk walking pace so at 14,000 yards per week, I felt great and didn’t have to watch my food intake.

The downside of walking is that if you need to lose a considerable amount of weight, then eventually you are going to need to step up to full Cardio to push yourself over the top. For keeping your weight at a manageable level and for seniors, a brisk, healthy walking routine is hugely beneficial but remember that it all goes to waste when you stop off at the Burger King for the Double Whopper with cheese and the onion rings on the return leg home!

6 Useful Tips to Better Your Diet

Sometimes when it comes to weight loss, it is the little tweaks that we make to our work-out regimen or diet schedule that really help us make solid progress towards our goal. To help us out, here are 6 useful tips to better your diet and hopefully boost your weight loss results.

1. Liquid volume is better than food volume
Provided that we’re talking about either water or sugar-free drinks, liquids can help to take away those hunger pangs that be so debilitating late in the day. Be careful to not saturate yourself as that can create problems in itself but a healthy 8-10 glasses of water per day will go a long way to filling in for food cravings.

2. Low Fat Greek Yogurt
I try not to make my writing an ad for anyone’s products but this has almost become the wonder food over the past few years. Low in sodium, cholesterol, carbohydrates and only about 80 calories, its high-protein base of about 10-12g per serving make it almost the perfect diet staple. It’s not going to provide a ton of energy but as a late night snack – perfection!

3. Add to your diet – don’t take away
Many times we’re always trying to find ways to structure our diets where we eat less. This is all well and good because obviously less food means less calories, but as a result we lean eventually towards eating “unhealthily”, and that’s bad. Try to look for foods that you can add to your diet without compromising your weight loss plan and you will feel so much better, both physically and mentally.

4. Each time you’re hungry, make that decision
There are times, I know because it’s happened to me several times, when we get that hunger sensation while watching TV late at night, and so just like a robot, we get up to go get something to eat. These are the killer times when your body is starting to slow its metabolism down ready for rest, and we’re going to jam a packet of chocolate cookies down. All that food intake goes almost 100% towards fat. Try to decide if you are REALLY hungry or not. If so, then eat sparingly. If not, then you just saved yourself a ton of calories.

5. Take that pasta or potato off the plate and substitute with vegetables
My son’s girlfriend makes a fantastic salmon dish and because she is an avid fitness enthusiast, she doesn’t allow us to eat starchy foods. Consequently, the salmon comes with a nice, big helping of asparagus, and that’s it. Guess what. I don’t miss the starch one bit! Similarly, she’s substituted one of our meals with a salad each week. I can’t tell you how much better I’ve felt as a result. Bless her!

6. To treat yourself, leave the house rather than bringing the food in
There are times when we just can’t hold off the cravings anymore. I get it. However, to bring that huge jug of ice cream into the house and having it tantalizingly available in the freezer isn’t good. Go out for ice-cream. Take the family. It becomes less harmful in the long term. Similarly with pizza. Don’t order it. Go out for it.

There are a few more tips that I thought of but i think the six here will be plenty to be going along with. It’s hard to stay regimental with any weight loss plan no matter how regimental you are about it. These tips should help you navigate a little easier through those choppy waters

Superfoods: 6 Food Groups that will Boost Your Weight Loss

superfoods

We’ve all heard the use of the category “Superfoods” in many different ways. Sometimes they are marketed as products from companies trying to sign you up for their weight loss plan, but there are many of these “weapons” that you can use from regular food categories that we consume each and every day. Here are just 6 of them.

1. Nuts
Nuts are the new “Special Forces” foods that benefit us in a variety of ways. They are jammed with monounsaturated fatty acids which help to control diabetic tendencies and heart disease. There is also evidence that nuts also increase the body’s metabolic rate so that it can still burn calories for over 3 hours following a vigorous work-out. High in Vitamin E, almonds and pistachios are the most beneficial types.

2. Whole grains
Bakery products made with whole grains seem to be all the rage now and rightfully so. Studies show that people who eat whole grains as part of an every day regimen are usually 2.5lbs lighter than those that don’t. It’s possible that there are other forces at work here of course but the evidence is striking. Whole grains naturally have a high fiber content which helps with digestion, inflammation and controls insulin.

3. Avocados
Many people consider avocados to be unhealthy because of their high fat content. However, it is the type of fat that is important here. For example, bagels are fattening because they contain fats that effect the hormone Leptin, the “hunger” hormone. Bagels cause “rebound” hunger which causes further eating. Avocados contain fats which are healthy and don’t cause swings in insulin levels. They are packed with Vitamin K and C, and anti-oxidants that increase carotene absorption.

4. Beans
How would you like to live longer, weigh less, have lower blood pressure and a thinner waist? If the answer is yes, then eat 3/4 of a cup of beans per day (Navy Beans are the best). The benefits are so wide-ranging that I don’t have room here to write them all down. Better digestion is sometimes overlooked when considering weight loss foods but beans improve that dramatically.

5. Dark chocolate
This is one food that I’m shocked to see listed here. Apparently, dark chocolate lowers the craving for fatty and sugary foods, reduces bad (LDL) cholesterol, decreases blood pressure, increases endorphin levels, and is rich in Vitamin B. As a boy, I was always taught that all chocolate would do is rot your teeth. It seems not.

6. Berries
The “terrorists” of foodstuffs are free radicals. They attack the neurons that tell us when we’re full so its more difficult to tell when we’ve had enough food. Berries are rich in anti-oxidants which attack free radicals. Cranberries, blackcurrants, and blueberries are the most efficient at doing this but raspberries and strawberries are also efficient anti-oxidant sources.

None of these “superfoods” on their own will suddenly cause a miraculous drop in weight but if you were to incorporate each one of these food groups into your daily diet regimen, you can almost guarantee that you would be healthier, and most likely, lose weight a touch faster.