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?