Monthly Topic

Why can't I lose weight?

If you can't lose weight, there are specific reasons for this that you have more control over than you think.

You're not strength training:

Often, people who can't lose weight don't do any strength training. The more lean, sleek muscle you have, the faster your resting metabolism, because muscle is the body's most metabolically active tissue.

You're not exercising in a waythat forces the body to adapt:

The adaptive response requires energy; it raises your body's energy needs. The body will then dig into stored fat for this energy.

If you've been strength training and the weight hasn't been coming off, it's because you're not doing much more than merely going through the motions.

There's the story of a heavy-set woman who was doing lat pull-downs with 70 pounds. A trainer waltzed over, knelt beside her, said "Hi" with a smile, then moved the machine's pin to the 100 pound mark.

The woman's mouth fell open, but the trainer said, "You're going to do 100 pounds for your next set, and eight times."

"I can't do 100 pounds!"

"Yes you can. Trust me. You're going to complete eight reps."

The woman said her goal was to lose weight, but nothing was happening despite regular workouts. She began pulling down the bar, and it wasn't easy. She had to fight her way to the eighth rep, but she completed eight full repetitions.

The trainer said, "Now that's the way every set should feel. Apply this effort level to all of your sets for every exercise. You won't lose weight if you keep doing something your body is efficient at. You must do something that forces you to struggle. Struggling begets weight loss."

A month later the woman reported having dropped an entire dress size.

Moral of this true story: Exercises that require struggling will burn fat and cause weight loss, especially when coupled with sensible eating.

You eat mindlessly:

Every little sample and nugget counts. One tablespoon of gravy is 100 calories. A "little bit here and there" adds up. Avoid eating due to cues not related to sustenance, such as watching TV.

You drink diet sodas:

Artificial sweeteners often trigger hunger.

Too many processed foods:

These trigger hunger, and too much white sugar and high fructose corn syrup will get stored as fat.

You skip breakfast:

Breakfast, even if it's only a cup of yogurt, tends to tame later-day appetite. Skipping it can make you feel entitled to overeat later on.

You don't do the right  cardio:

It's amazing how many people, who don't do the right  cardio, still wonder why they can't lose weight. Taking care of two preschoolers or pulling weeds does not replace structured cardiovascular exercise.

You hold onto the treadmill:

This has got to be one of the most weight-loss-sabotaging habits out there. The body has absolutely no reason to burn more fat in response to make-believe walking.

Instead, pump the arms and get winded to force your body to adapt. Remember, the body won't adapt to something that it's very efficient at doing (e.g., walking while holding onto something for support).

You don't do HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training:

This form of cardio blasts fat.

Inconsistent exercise habits:

Weight loss won't go hard and deep if your workouts are not consistent. Even if you're doing everything right in the gym, consistency is still very important.

Poor sleeping habits and excess stress:

Research shows that under six hours of sleep and over nine are strongly linked to excess body fat.

Too much daytime napping:

Excessive inertia means a slowed metabolism to accommodate it.

Enjoy your week!

June Topic

Time to Improve Your Self Image

There is a secret out there that leads to instantly having a better self-image.  Consider that poor self-image is often related to what a person looks like, namely, overall body size.

Where does this body-size-related self-image come from? Why is “thin in”? Male movie stars of many decades ago did not have the physiques they do today, with the exception of whichever actor was playing Tarzan at the time. A chiseled body on a man was an anomaly in the 1930’s, ‘40s, ‘50s and even ‘60s.

Nowadays, a man with the body of Humphrey Bogart won’t get too far on the big screen. As for the women, standards haven’t changed: Waist sizes in today’s starlets are just as small as they were many decades ago.

But we didn’t hear of body image disorders back then. Today, seems that’s all we hear about. What’s going on?

Well, the fame of fashion models may have something to do with it, plus all the magazines and Internet space devoted to “who’s wearing what” in the entertainment world, plus the skimpy and seductive outfits that today’s female recording artists wear. Self-worth for many young people—even not so young (a la Demi Moore), is tied to physical appearance.

So here’s that little secret:

Rather than focus on what your body looks like, focus on what it can do.

This small shift in thinking will produce magnificent results.

At age 12, Cheryl Haworth weighed 240 pounds. By age 17 and standing almost 5-10, Cheryl weighed just over 300 pounds. These measurements are enough to sink the spirit of any growing girl and demolish her with never-ending self-hatred.

However, Cheryl didn’t worry about what she looked like. Instead she focused on what her enormous body could do. She played softball, and this one day (when she was 12) led her to a gym where the sights and sounds of weight lifting mesmerized her. She was hooked. At age 17 she took the bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics in weight lifting.

This doesn’t mean that the cure for any individual with a self-image problem is to perform weight lifting at Olympic level caliber. But you get the point. Set performance-related goals, such as:
• Run one mile outside nonstop
• Bench press 100 pounds (women); 175 pounds (men)
• Get through a step aerobics class without having to sit out and rest
• Run 12 mph on the treadmill for one minute—without holding on
• Master inline skating
• Complete an indoor climbing route rated at least 5.10
• Earn a green belt, then purple belt, then black belt in karate

There are endless “what your body can do” goals that you can devise. When you begin concentrating on effort and performance, the vanity aspect fades into the background. If you’re distraught over your thunder thighs, imagine how proud of them you’ll be when they can complete a five-mile hilly hike with ease.

If you’re distressed over a receding hairline, guys, it won’t matter so much when you realize your bench press is progressing like a demon.

We’d all like to change something about our body that we have little or no control over. Every women would love to zap away all the hair follicles on her legs so she never has to shave again. Many men would like to be taller.

Rather than stew over that which we cannot change, let’s expend energy on changing what we can change: stamina, strength, fitness and health. Don’t get caught up with “body types.” Instead, get caught up with body strength, body endurance and body fitness.

Eat healthful foods not because you want to look like a Victoria’s Secret model, but because you want to slash your risk of breast cancer and be around to see your grandkids grow up.

It’s always the right time to improve your self-image, no matter where you’re at on the continuum.