Sunday, June 3, 2012

What Can I Do To Lose Weight?

It‘s common for many people to ask the question, what can I do to lose weight? Below are some General Guidelines For An Exercise-Weight Loss Program:

1. Set goals -- Goals are extremely important. In fact, goals are considered essential to motivate changes and provide a plan of action. However, according to experts, goals are more effective when they are well-planned, personalized, and written.

It’s recommended that you should also put specific objectives in writing, to help you reach each goal.  For example, a goal might be to achieve recommended body weight.  Several specific objectives could be to :
a. Reduce your weight by an average of 1lb per week.
b. Exercise for at least 30 minutes, five times weekly in the proper target zone.
c. Assess your body composition every two weeks.
d. Limit consumption of fat to less than 25% of total calories.
e. Exclude all pastries  from your diet during this period.

2. Start slowly -- The suggestion is that the initial stage of an exercise weight-loss program for a previously sedentary, overweight person should be developmental in nature and should not include an initial high total energy output.  During the initial stage, the individual should be urged to adopt long-term goals, personal discipline, and a restructuring of both eating and exercise behaviors.

 It often believed to be counterproductive to include unduly rapid training progressions because many obese men and women initially demonstrate psychological resistance to increasing physical activity. If you are trying to lose weight, slow walking should be replaced by intervals of walking and jogging that can eventually lead to continuous jogging, during the first few weeks or months.  It takes a period of at least 12-weeks for any meaningful changes to occur.  Behavioral modification should also be applied to a person’s daily lifestyle.  For example, walking or bicycling can replace the use of the automobile, stair climbing can replace the elevator, and manual tools can replace power tools.

3. Regularity is the key -- Exercise frequency is of paramount importance when using exercise for weight control or weight loss.  Exercise specialists believed that at least 3 days of training per week is required to bring about meaningful changes in body composition through exercise -- and more frequent exercise is even more effective. They feel that more than likely, this effect is the direct result of the added calorie burning required by the extra exercise. For an individual who is trying to lose weight, generally, it’s recommended that each exercise session burn at least 300 Kcal, even though the threshold energy expenditure required for weight loss is probably highly individualized. This can be achieved with 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous running, swimming, bicycling, or walking, for at least 60 minutes.

The table above illustrates the effectiveness of regular exercise on weight loss in six sedentary, obese young men who have participated in an exercise program 5 days each week over a period of 16 weeks. They all walked for 90 minutes each session.  The researchers found that the men lost an average of almost 6kg of body fat, representing a decrease in percent body fat from 23.5 to 18.6%.  In addition, exercise capacity improved, as well as the level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (15.6%) and the ratio of high-density to low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (25.9%).

For those who are currently interested in losing weight, the question is not what can I do to lose weight? But rather, will I be willing to adhere to the above guidelines for an exercise-weight loss program?

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Ketogenic Diet

Out of curiosity, you may have asked yourself the question, what is the ketogenic diet? Well, the above diet is one which is hailed by some weight watchers as a safe and effective way to lose fat, but is considered by many experts as one of the many extremes of dieting that is unsafe to your health.

Many professional organizations have argued strongly against certain dietary practices, particularly the extremes of fasting and the low-carbohydrate, high-fat, and high-protein diets. These practices in particularly are a major concern to those who work in the fields of sports medicine and athletics, where reports consistently document that athletes frequently exhibit bizarre and often pathogenic weight-control behaviors, according to findings.

Ketogenic Diets
With  ketogenic diets the emphasis is primarily on carbohydrate restriction while generally ignoring the total caloric content of the diet.  Those in favor of these diets believe that with dietary restriction of carbohydrates, the body will use up significant lipids  for energy.  This leads to an excess in the plasma ketone bodies(byproducts of incomplete lipid breakdown resulting from inadequate carbohydrate catabolism) that supposedly suppress the appetite.

The ketones that ended up in the urine represents unused energy, the elimination of which further contributes to the weight-loss effort.  Some extremists firmly believe that this energy loss is so great, dieters can consume all they wish as long as carbohydrates are restricted. It's believed that at best, the energy lost by urinary excretion of ketones probably equals only 100 to 150 calories a day. 

However, contrary to the above belief,  some experts contend that this would account only for a small weight loss of approximately 0.45kg per month --- not very appealing when the major source of food is a liquid intake that may be as high as 70% of the calories consumed.  Also, any initial weight loss may be due largely to dehydration caused by an extra solute load on the kidneys, increasing the excretion of water.  Such water loss is of no lasting significance in a program designed to reduce body fat. 

Studies have shown that low-carbohydrate diets can also potentially result in a significant loss of lean tissue, as the body mobilize amino acids in muscle to maintain blood glucose by gluconeogenesis.  This is certainly an undesirable side effect of a diet designed to speed up a body fat loss.

Based on findings, when compared to a standard, well-balanced, low-calorie diet, the ketogenic diet offers no advantage in aiding in the loss of body fat.  It has been argued that this diet is potentially hazardous in several ways.  It can cause the serum uric acid levels to raise; alter electrolyte concentrations, initiating undesirable cardiac arrhythmias; cause acidosis; aggravate kidney problems due to the extra solute burden placed on the renal system; raise blood lipids; exhaust glycogen reserves to contribute to a fatigued state; and cause relative dehydration.  During pregnancy, this diet is definitely contraindicated  because dietary carbohydrate is essential to fetal development.

 The ketogenic diet is just one example of the extremes of dieting; Presently, in the weight loss arena, the extremes of dieting are insurmountable.  The extent to which some people is willing to go to lose weight is unbelievable. However, most of these weight loss approach, such as the carbohydrate restriction diet, is certainly not safe, based on the above mentioned negative health issues that may result from such a diet. Again, a better approach to dieting is to consume well-balanced, low-calorie diets along with regular exercise.