Monday, January 5, 2009

Lose 30 lbs in 30 days!

Okay, please tell me you know that the only way to lose 30 lbs in 30 days is via a gastric bypass operation! This post is certainly NOT to convince everyone to sign up for surgery, but to make it crystal clear that advertisements that suggest this type of weight loss are all ridiculous! Of course, we'd all like to believe that weight loss could occur that fast, but let's look at the reality. It takes a deficit of 3600 kcal (calories) to lose ONE pound. Period. There are no short cuts (excluding temporary water weight shifts.)
If you simplify the math by rounding down to 3500 kcal and dividing by 7 days in a week, it takes a deficit of 500 kcal/day to lose a pound per week. Now, if you're snacking on a bunch of candy (271 kcal in a snickers, for example) or drinking frequent sodas (roughly 150 kcal/can), it can be simple to eliminate 500 calories per day, but if you're already making healthy choices, focusing on a 250 calorie daily deficit (which equates to a half pound weight loss per week) might be more realistic. Before you decide that a half pound per week weight loss isn't "worth it", realize that in one year, you're looking at 25 pounds coming off!
Of course, coupling fewer calories consumed along with exercise (more calories burned) is really the way to go. Again, realize that small efforts "count". An easy rule of thumb is that walking a mile burns around 100 calories and takes only 15-20 minutes. So, if you simply give up one Coke (or latte, or...) and add walking one mile per day, you'll be looking at a healthier, thinner you in 2010 by up to 25 pounds!
BOTTOM LINE: It's calories in/calories out that count- to the tune of 3600 calories per pound. Set your goals realistically, and watch your health really improve this year!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Realistic resolutions!

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2009. Let me challenge you to make THIS the year that you finally prioritize your health...for the FULL year (and hopefully beyond.) Almost everyone makes the annual resolution to lose weight and start exercising, but how many people are still focusing on this by the time February rolls around?  
This year, why not set yourself up for success? Create accountability for yourself around the time your motivation might begin to wane. Schedule a physical with your physician- for late February, or maybe March. Book  a few personal training sessions, and consider spacing them out to once or twice a month if finances are tight. Sign up for a race- it can be a walking 5K or a full fledge triathlon- but the point is to focus on a specific goal. Conquer that goal, and set another one!
Try to commit to specific, concrete changes. "I want to lose a bunch of weight" is much less helpful than "I will eat a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and veggies per day". 
Involve friends. Chances are you have one or two close friends or neighbors who would be delighted to commit to walking around the block together. Walking and talking seems much less like required exercise, and more like a stress release.
BOTTOM LINE: Look at your life and pick one or two very specific lifestyle modifications that will make a difference long term, and consciously decide what accountability you need to make them stick. Here's to a healthy year!