How to Walk Off 10 Pounds

[brightcove:5315457854001 default] When you want to shed serious weight, walking might not even come to mind. But it should. "Fast-paced walking, when combined with healthy eating, is hugely effective for weight loss," says Art Weltman, PhD, director of exercise physiology at the University of Virginia. And those simple steps can have a big impact on … Continue reading “How to Walk Off 10 Pounds”

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When you want to shed serious weight, walking might not even come to mind. But it should.

"Fast-paced walking, when combined with healthy eating, is hugely effective for weight loss," says Art Weltman, PhD, director of exercise physiology at the University of Virginia. And those simple steps can have a big impact on your overall health, cutting your risk of everything from heart disease to depression. If your daily strolls haven't made you skinny so far, your speed may be the problem. Many of us stride more like a window-shopper than a power walker. The goal—thankfully—isn't crazy race-walker style; you just need to move at a challenging pace.

In studies, Weltman has found that women who do three short (about 30-minute) high-intensity walks plus two moderately paced recovery walks a week lose up to six times more abdominal fat than participants who simply stroll five days a week. (This despite the fact that both groups burn the exact same number of calories.)

The power walkers also drop about four times as much total body fat. "There is a strong relationship between intensity of exercise and fat-burning hormones," says Weltman. "So if you're exercising at a pace considered to be hard, you're likely to release more of these hormones." The best part: When women walk, deep abdominal fat is the first to go. That's a scientific fact we can get excited about.

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Another happy truth: Although you're moving at a fast clip, power walking is still easier on the joints than running. "During walking one of your feet is always in contact with the ground," says Weltman, "but during running there's a float stage where your whole body is lifted in the air. Then you come back down and subject your body to the impact."

That's why walking is a smart long-term fitness plan. To get you off on the right foot, here's a complete primer, from how to tweak your speed for maximum burn to what gear you need (hint: almost none). Follow the workouts and wisdom— along with healthy eating— and not only can you lose those extra 10 pounds in three weeks, but you will have a no-fuss plan that you can do anywhere, anytime.

Dial in your speed

To make sure your pace is on point, use these guidelines from exercise physiologist Tom Holland, author of Beat the Gym. For maximum fat burn, aim for 30 minutes at power-walk intensity three days a week (see the walking plan on the next page). That time can be completed all at once, or you can break it up into spurts with recovery strides (stroll or brisk walk) in between.

  • Stroll. Think window-shopping pace, or an intensity of 4 on a scale of 10. It burns about 238 calories an hour.
  • Brisk walk. This means an effort of 5 or 6 on a scale of 10. It burns up to 340 calories an hour (at a 3.5 to 4 mph pace). While you can gossip about Mad Men, you need to catch your breath every few sentences.
  • Power walk. You're torching off approximately 564 calories an hour (at a 4 to 5 mph pace). Moving at this clip, using your arms to help propel you forward and taking longer strides, your effort should be a 7 or 8 on a scale of 10. Talking is possible only in spurts of three or four words, but…you'd…rather…focus…on…breathing.

The amped-up plan

This program from Holland mixes a regular walking workout with interval routines to help you reach your power-walking quota of 30 minutes, three times a week. Aim to walk on three nonconsecutive days and either rest or cross-train on the other ones. If you cross-train (think power yoga or swimming), you'll help your body recover; and with our diet, you'll progress more quickly to dropping up to 10 pounds in three weeks.

Tempo day
Burns about 220 calories:

  • Warm-up: Stroll for 5 minutes.
  • Workout: Maintain a power-walk intensity for 30 minutes.
  • Cooldown: Stroll for 3 to 5 minutes.

Long-interval day
Burns about 355 calories:

  • Warm-up: Stroll for 5 minutes.
  • Interval Workout: Maintain a hard power-walk intensity (8 on a scale of 10) for 5 minutes. Recover at a brisk pace for 1 minute. Repeat for a total of 6 intervals.
  • Cooldown: Stroll for 3 to 5 minutes.

Short-interval day
Burns about 405 calories:

  • Warm-up: Stroll for 5 minutes.
  • Interval Workout: Maintain a hard power-walk intensity (8 on a scale of 10) for 2 minutes. Recover at a brisk pace for 1 minute. Repeat for a total of 15 intervals.
  • Cooldown: Stroll for 3 to 5 minutes.

Walk this way

When it comes to walking, your body and brain know what to do. Makes sense—you've been doing it since you took those first wobbly baby steps. But with these three form fixes, you'll maximize your burn, big time.

  • Chin up. Your gaze shouldn't be aimed at your feet, no matter how snazzy your sneakers are. Instead, focus on a point about 10 feet ahead of you. This will keep your stride longer and your neck comfortably in line with your spine.
  • Activate your abs. When you brace your core—pulling your belly button toward your spine—you automatically trigger good posture.
  • Squeeze your glutes. Your backside literally propels you through your walk. To get the most oomph—so you can go longer and faster—keep your glutes tight. Bad visual, good strategy: Imagine squeezing a winning lottery ticket between your cheeks.

4 ways to burn more fat

So you're the impatient type? Use these tricks to up the challenge and calorie burn.

  • Add hills. When you hit the hills on a treadmill or in your neighborhood, you increase your calorie burn by nearly 20 percent—and that's just on a 1 to 5 percent incline.
  • Go off-road. Head out for a light but brisk hike and you'll torch about 430 calories in just an hour. Credit the uneven terrain—which forces you to work harder. Sub this in for one of your weekly power walks.
  • Swing your arms. With elbows bent at 90 degrees and hands in loose fists, move your arms in an arc, keeping elbows tight to your body. This helps drive you forward, says Weltman, builds upper-body strength and can increase your burn by up to 10 percent.
  • Make longer strides. Instead of taking more steps, "work on increasing your stride length," Weltman says. "You'll cover more ground," and that means more fat fried.

Itching to run?

Let's face it: Some of us would rather just run. But if you go from zero to Usain Bolt on your first outing, you might end up sidelined. Use this guide from Holland to transition from walking to running safely.

For the running newbie: Do this modified version of the Short-Interval Day (see "The Amped-Up Plan," left) three times a week: Run for one minute (work up to two minutes over the course of a couple of weeks), walk for one minute and repeat for a total of 15 intervals. Do this for a few weeks, then transition to the Long-Interval Day, running for five minutes and walking for one, repeating for a total of six intervals. The goal is to eventually tackle Tempo Day—running for 30 minutes nonstop.

For the on-and-off runner: Assuming you have some running experience under your belt, you can dive right into the Long-Interval Day plan, subbing in running for the power walks. The intervals should be challenging, and the Tempo Day run should be done at a hard but comfortable pace.

For the gym-goer: You can also use this plan to cross-train, doing the exact same routines while on the elliptical machine, rowing machine or stationary bike.

Source: Health bests

Foods to Avoid Before a Workout

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If you exercise on an empty stomach, the body won’t have enough energy to perform at its best. But it’s equally bad to eat too much—or the wrong kinds of food—before a workout because all of your energy will go toward digesting the meal. Here are some foods to avoid before a workout.

Beans, and other belly-bloating foods. Foods like beans, raw broccoli, fruit, and dairy tend to give people gas. Although these foods are healthy, they’ll fill you up in ways you’d rather not deal with when having to fold forward in a yoga class.

Fiber. An enormous bowl of fiber-rich cereal can certainly get things moving, which is exactly the opposite of what you want when you’re running at full speed ahead on the treadmill. Fuel up with a snack that contains fewer than four grams of fiber, and be sure to finish eating salads, stir-frys, and veggie soups at least one hour before your planned workout to give the body time to digest.

Refined sugar. It seems like a great idea to eat a red velvet cupcake before a workout, since you burn off those sweet calories during your workout. A huge dose of sugar might offer a quick source of energy, but it will burn up quick, causing you to feel sluggish. If you need a quick source of energy right before working out, choose a healthier option such as a banana, which also offers important nutrients for the body.

Spicy foods. Foods with a little kick may satisfy your taste buds, but you’ll end up feeling uncomfortable once you start to move. Spicy food can result in a bad case of indigestion or heartburn, putting an immediate halt on a workout.

Salty foods. Avoid super salty foods before exercising, or if you do eat them, just be sure they’re paired with a tall glass of H20. Dehydration can cause headaches and cramps—both of which you don’t want when working out.

Heavy foods. Creamy, fried, or decadent foods take longer to digest, resulting in some serious digestive upset if you eat foods like these before a sweat session. If you’re going to sit down to an enormous plate of fettuccine alfredo, be sure to finish it two hours before hitting the gym.

Now you know what you shouldn’t eat, so here’s a guide to help you figure out what to eat and when to eat before working out.
This article originally appeared on POPSUGAR.com

Source: Health bests

4 Reasons You're Gaining Weight This Winter

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When the weather cools, the pounds have a tendency to pack on. If you’re tired of falling victim to winter weight gain, then it might be time to lose these seasonal habits, which may be affecting your weight more than you realize.

Skipping workouts. Hibernating seems like the right thing to do when it’s cold outside, but heading to the gym shouldn’t be a habit you break. If you find yourself heading straight to the couch after work, then pack your gym bag the night before and bring it into the office. Without the temptation of cozy clothes and a pile of blankets in plain sight, you’ll have no excuse not to hit the gym. For those who can’t seem to make an evening workout stick because it’s getting darker sooner, waking up earlier in the morning or squeezing in a lunchtime workout may help you stay on track.

Not enough fresh produce. Depending on where you live, finding fresh produce during the winter may be a bit of a struggle, which can make comfort-food indulgences more likely. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with a farmers market, don’t stop going during the winter months. Think beyond carrots and potatoes; these lesser-known root veggies might spark some kitchen inspiration. If all else fails, don’t be afraid to head to your grocer’s freezer for frozen vegetables. In some cases, frozen foods may be more nutritious than the same fresh veggies.

Wearing layers. If you’re living in layers, it may be hard to get a good sense of what your body looks like underneath all those clothes. Even if you spend the majority of your time bundled up, it’s still important to stay aware of how your body looks. This awareness can help motivate you to work out twice as hard to drop unwanted pounds or tone trouble spots. And staying consistent with your workouts—even during the coldest weather—will keep you feeling fit and fierce all year long.

Feeling SAD. Individuals who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) have depression-like symptoms that start in the fall and continue through the winter months. If you’re feeling down, then a workout may be the last thing on your mind, but it’s important to remember that that regular exercise will help you combat those depressed feelings associated with SAD!
This article originally appeared on fitsugar.com

Source: Health bests

The Virgin Diet: Lose 7 Pounds in 7 Days?

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Can't lose those last ten pounds? It might be time to give up some of your go-to "diet" foods. Think soy, dairy, eggs, corn, peanuts and artificial sweeteners.

According to nutritionist JJ Virgin, author of The Virgin Diet, foods you think are healthy could be sabotaging your weight-loss efforts. Virgin says that food intolerance is a hidden cause of weight gain and if you eliminate "diet" foods that may be causing intolerance, you can lose up to seven pounds in seven days.

Sounds easy but does it work? We caught up with the weight loss guru to learn more:

What is food intolerance?
Food intolerance isn't the same as a food allergy, Virgin explains. "Food intolerance is a series of physiological responses that your body has to certain types of food," she says. "They can be immune mediated, including delayed food sensitivities, hormonal— including elevated insulin or cortisol response, or genetic —including lactose intolerance or celiac disease."

How can food intolerance affect me and my diet?
"Many of the foods you might consider 'healthy' could be triggering intolerances," Virgin explains. Examples include whole grain bread, Greek-style yogurt, egg-white omelets and soy milk. If your body doesn't tolerate any or all of these foods, "they can create cravings, inflammation and ultimately the inability to lose weight," she says.

How do I find out if I have food intolerance(s)?
According to Virgin, there's no need to call a doctor. "An integrative practitioner might do an IgG test, which lists the most common food sensitivities that are unique to you," she says, but that examination "misses genetic or hormonal intolerances." Instead, Virgin recommends "testing" your own body by pulling the hi-FI (food intolerant) foods out for three weeks and then challenging your body by adding them one by one to see how you feel.

 

"Most people test negative for food allergies but find that they feel better when they pull out these foods," she says. When they're re-challenged into their bodies, people discover that one or more of these foods cause a variety of negative reactions, she adds.

Furthermore, "Food allergies are acute and can trigger severe reactions. Intolerances are more chronic and sneak up on you. Many of the symptoms intolerances create can feel 'normal' so you're not always making the connection between the food you ate and symptoms it creates."

What are the most common symptoms?
"Food-intolerance symptoms include bloating, gas, indigestion, fatigue, mental fog, irritability, moodiness — and weight gain," she says. "If you're eating foods that your body can't tolerate, you're likely to gain weight, feel awful, and look older than you actually are."

"The Virgin Diet" is your solution to food intolerance. How does it work?
"The Virgin Diet" treats food as "information" rather than simply "calories," and uses your own body to uncover your unique food intolerance(s). It consists of three cycles:

 

 

 

  • Cycle 1: Pull the seven highly reactive foods for 21 days.
  • Cycle 2: Personalize the program by discovering which foods are hurting you and which are helping you on your long-term road to health and weight management. Do this by reintroducing one of the seven foods into your body each week for four weeks.
  • Cycle 3: Maintain your new diet by learning strategies that will help you stay lean and healthy for life.
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So what are the seven foods to drop?
"Dairy, eggs, soy, gluten, peanuts, corn, sugar and artificial sweeteners," Virgin says.

Is "The Virgin Diet" for everyone?
"Everyone will benefit from pulling these seven highly reactive foods for 21 days," Virgin claims. And for those who doubt or resist her diet plan, she says after trying it, they lose those last 10 pounds, look and feel better, have clearer skin, and "realize pulling these foods is one of the smartest things they've ever done."

According to Registered Dietician Robin Barrie Kaiden, "there are many who may benefit" from the plan but says the diet is not for everyone.

"Yes, these foods are common allergens, but everyone has different sensitivities," she says. "For example, some people are sensitive to certain fruits and vegetables and these are not on this list."

Diana Le Dean, a wellness expert in weight loss, diet and nutrition, warns that detoxing from sugar "is not an easy task." And while she supports the elimination of these seven foods, she recommends making "these changes very slowly and with the help of a weight loss counselor."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article originally appeared on magazine.foxnews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Health bests

How to Stick to a Diet

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Expert advice from our partner ChickRx.

Q: Whenever I start a new diet, I’m motivated for a week and then lose inspiration. Do you have any advice for staying motivated to continue a new diet or exercise routine?

Losing motivation is completely normal whenever you start a new diet and exercise routine. So here’s my advice on the matter: Don’t think of these changes as a “new diet” or a “new exercise routine.”

Instead, think of your diet and exercise changes as adapting a healthy lifestyle that will eventually lead to a happier (and hotter) you! These changes in diet and exercise can’t be thought of as temporary, because if that’s the case, then your old habits will inevitably return along with the feelings (and pounds) that accompany them.

I recommend adapting healthy lifestyle habits one (maybe two) at a time. If you change too much at once, you’re setting yourself up for failure because it’s difficult to stick to it when you make a lot of drastic changes all at once.

Here’s an example: During the first two weeks of your new and improved healthy life, you might commit to going to the gym three days a week and giving up soda. Maybe during week three you up the ante and commit to going to the gym four times a week, plus you eat breakfast every morning and a smaller dinner. Making changes one at a time is much more manageable and not nearly as overwhelming.

I generally don’t recommend counting calories, because I think it can get exhausting and somewhat discouraging when you consider food only as a source of calories rather than enjoying nutritious food and the benefits it can have on your health.

I do, however, think it’s important to be able to identify ways to decrease calories in your daily diet if you’re trying to lose weight. For example, when choosing a salad dressing, it’s generally a good rule of thumb to reach for a vinaigrette-based dressing (even better is a light version) rather than a cream-based dressing. Or, rather than drinking your morning glass of orange juice, reach for an orange instead.

As far as tracking your weight goes, the decision to weigh or not to weigh is a personal one. In the beginning especially, it can be encouraging to track your progress by stepping on the scale once a week (and always at the same time of the day). Weekly weigh-ins can also be helpful during the weight maintenance phase because it can help individuals identify a 1 to 2 pound weight gain before it becomes 4 to 5 pounds. On the other hand, some people prefer to track their weight according to the way their clothes fit. I’d say you should stick with whatever works for you!

Expert answer by: Andrea Garman, a registered, licensed dietitian at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, in Chicago. Read more answers to this question, or ask your own.

This article originally appeared on ChickRx

Source: Health bests

The Mediterranean Diet

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Fields of sunflowers, miles of coastline, and spectacular scenery make the Mediterranean a popular travel destination. Yet, scientists are beginning to appreciate this part of the world for an entirely different reason: its diet. Dozens of studies confirm that a Mediterranean style of eating—one that is rich in fruits, vegetables, olives, and whole grains—is not only healthful for the heart but for overall well being, too. In The Mediterranean Diet, health writer Eve Adamson and registered dietitian Marissa Cloutier join forces to detail many of the reasons why eating like they do in Greece, Italy, France, and other Mediterranean countries can be good for your long-term health and may even help you shed a few pounds in the process.

Eating and living as they do in rural areas of the Mediterranean— with a strong focus on plant foods and a routinely active lifestyle—is no doubt a healthful strategy. It probably can help with weight loss, too. Unfortunately, the book gives short shrift to how dieters can convert a Mediterranean diet into a weight loss regimen. It doesnt give a lot of practical details on activity, either. To be honest, the information here is organized in a haphazard way. Particularly troubling is the rampant use of Q & A format, which makes it difficult to locate information pertinent to weight loss. Nevertheless, theres much to be learned here about the Mediterranean approach to eating, which includes sources of monounsaturated fats—like olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish—that harbor heart-healthy omega-3 fats.


Back to Diet Guide


 

Basic principles:

Instead of counting calories, the idea is to approach food the way people in the Mediterranean do. Its not simply about what foods are best to eat, but how to eat. Mediterranean style means slowing down and savoring foods. As for the foods, forget gyros, high-fat cheeses, or fettuccini. Rather, the focus is on rural or peasant fare. Youll want to embrace a style of eating rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with small amounts of seafood and healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, and avocados.

How the diet works:

Only a small portion of the book actually talks about weight loss. In that chapter, the authors offer a sample week of menus for weight loss, but dieters are encouraged to consult with dietitians or health professionals for daily caloric intake recommendations or diets tailored to their needs. The rest of the advice is broken down into four general strategies: Enjoy your food; watch portion sizes; drink lots of water; and exercise, rest, and relax.

What you can eat:

There are no food groups or appropriate portion sizes discussed in the chapter on weight loss. Included early in the book, however, are general guidelines for a Mediterranean diet. Design meals around fresh produce and whole grains, using only small amounts of high-fat animal products including meat and dairy. In addition, dieters could look to the general guidelines on how much and what kinds of foods make up a Mediterranean diet. Meat is eaten only a few times a month. Fruit is the best dessert. Olive oil is preferred, but use it carefully since its still high in calories. For folks who need precise amounts, a food pyramid lists serving sizes for a variety of food groups. One serving of vegetables, for example, is 1/2 cup, and three servings of vegetables are encouraged per day.

Does the diet take and keep weight off?

Who knows? A small study from Harvard suggests a Mediterranean-style weight loss diet, as long as it controls for calories, might be more satisfying for dieters. When researchers divided dieters into two groups, putting one group on a 1,200-calorie diet plan that was also low in fat (20% fat) and the other on a 1,200-calorie diet with more liberal Mediterranean-style amounts of fat (35% fat), the Mediterranean group was better able to keep weight off and reported feeling more satisfied with their diets. Although the book doesnt mention it, a new 5-year diet study funded by the National Institutes of Health is currently underway to test the Harvard Mediterranean regimen with a larger group of dieters. That study began in 2004.

Is the diet healthy?

What little there is of it. Theres just one week of weight loss menus with no information about how many calories the menus contain.

What do the experts say?

Kathy McManus, RD, director of nutrition at Brigham & Womans Hospital, and one of the primary researchers on the Harvard weight loss study mentioned above, finds a lot of inconsistencies. “In some ways, the book sells short the benefits of olive oil and some of the healthy foods in traditional Mediterranean diets,” McManus says. It encourages keeping fat intake to 30 percent of calories or less on most days. The true Mediterranean approach, she adds, allows for higher amounts of fat as long as its the right kind: the monounsaturated fats that keep the heart healthy. “I dont think the average dieter is going to want to read all of this, but its not complete enough for health professionals, either. Its missing a lot of the latest research on Mediterranean diets,” McManus says. Joan Kanute, MS, RD, of Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Illinois, says she wouldnt recommend the book to her patients, either, because it seems too technical for the average reader and doesnt give specific enough advice about what to eat. “It was hard to weed through. If I wasnt a dietitian, Id probably think, ‘Well, what the heck are you trying to say here? What exactly should I be eating?” Kanute asks, adding that the weight loss information is pretty minimal. “They give you a sample week of menus, but when youre done, where do you go from there?”

Who should consider the diet?

If you want to brush up on the general health benefits of Mediterranean diets, this is an OK (but certainly not the best) tome on the subject. Skip it unless you want a dietitian to serve as your interpreter. While other books about the Mediterranean lifestyle may suggest a less sensible approach to eating, this version doesnt offer enough information for the do-it-yourself dieter.

Bottom line:

There's no question that the Mediterranean diet is a healthful one, but this book misses the boat when it comes to making the diet come to life for consumers. It overwhelms with scientific details rather than practical advice.

Source: Health bests