“The last 10 pounds make surprise exits and grand entrances into my life,” says Charlene Gonzales, who chalks some of that up to just being a woman with hormones and cycles. “It doesn’t bother me too much, because I know they will go away with a little extra effort.”
Losing the Final 10 Pounds
“The closer you get to your goal weight, the more difficult things tend to be,” says Emily Banes, RD, clinical dietitian at Houston Northwest Medical Center. “We focus on it a little bit more and we have the belief that it is more difficult to shed the pounds. A lot of times we’ve been dieting for a while.”
Although you may be tempted to throw a little celebration when you arrive at this dieter’s milestone, Banes says this is not the time to lie back and snack on bonbons.
“Really scrutinize what you eat — make sure you’re not becoming lax on your dietary principles,” she advises. This is the moment when stray calories (and pounds!) can sneak back into your diet, so it pays to be detail-oriented. “You have to look at what you eat, but also what you put out. Exercise is key.”
Adds Houston-resident Charla Hodges, who lost and kept off those last 10 pounds, “Exercise and water, water, water.”
Sticking to the Weight-Loss Program
Here are some tips for staying on track:
Write down what you eat. If you haven’t been keeping a food journal to lose weight, this is the perfect time to start. People who write down the details of their diet and exercise habits are twice as successful than those who don’t. (Don’t forget portions and serving sizes!)
Look for little ways to save calories. Using mustard instead of mayonnaise or sugar-free sweetener instead of a packet of sugar will eventually add up to lost pounds.
Stick to the plate method. Banes advocates the plate method in which one-half of your plate should be vegetables, one-quarter a starch (whole grains preferred), and one-quarter lean protein. If you must go back for a second helping, only take vegetables.
Build exercise into your day. It’s great if you can work out for 30 minutes or more, but try adding in more exercise where you can. Park slightly farther away from your destination to get more walking in; take the stairs instead of the elevator.
When you reach your weight-loss goal, you will want to celebrate, but Banes cautions that you must still be careful about how you do that. The last 10 pounds will come off if you work at it, and you will see that goal weight on the scale. But giving up your diet entirely will surely push up those pounds again. You now need to move into a new phase: learning how to maintain the healthy weight you worked so hard to achieve.
FRIDAY, August 24, 2012 — Want to work out for less time and see the same results?
According to a new study published in the American Journal of Physiology, researchers at the University of Copenhagen prescribed exercise programs to 60 heavy but healthy men. Half exercised for an hour a day, while half exercised for 30 minutes. The men in the 30-minute group lost more weight and burned the same amount of fat over the 13-week study. Surprisingly, they even burned more calories than the researchers anticipated, demonstrating that 30 minutes of exercise was enough to lead to weight loss.
Researchers believe that the 30-minute group was inspired to work harder because the prescribed amount of exericse felt less daunting. Plus, less time at the gym gave them more time to rest and recuperate between sessions. In addition, researchers said they believe the men in the 60-minute group ate more — mistakenly counteracting the additional calories burned.
Researchers say their findings provide hope for moderately overweight people — a majority of the adult population — by making effective exercise seem more accessible. These findings also support the American Heart Association’s exercise guidelines, which suggest at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, or 30 minutes a day, five times a week. Numerous studies have shown that breaking up the 30-minute block into two or three 10- to 15-minute segments is just as effective for heart health.
How to Workout Smarter, Not Harder
Participants in this most recent study were not necessarily instructed to complete intervals during their prescribed exercise, only to vary the intensity of their workouts from day to day. Still, another recent study is the latest in a mountain of research to confirm that interval training, or cycling between periods of intense and more moderate exercise, is more effective for fat loss than sustained periods of endurance exercise.
In the study published in the International Journal of Obesity, men who completed eight-second sprints intermittently for 20 minutes three times a week for 12 weeks lost fat and gained muscle at a rate equal to seven hours of jogging a week for 14 weeks, researchers at the University of South Wales concluded. High-intensity interval training works because it constantly forces the muscles to adapt to new challenges and simulates the cellular pathways responsible for creating strength and endurance, a 2010 study at McMaster University found.
Good nutrition is essential for everyone, but it’s especially important for growing teenagers. Unfortunately many Australian teenagers have an unbalanced diet.
From the 2007 Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity survey, teenage boys and girls aged 14 to 16 consumed only half the recommended serves of fruits and vegetables per day. One in four adolescents buys unhealthy takeaway food every day or even a few times a day. If you eat takeaway food regularly, you are more likely to put on weight than if you eat fast food only occasionally.
Don’t despair! It doesn’t take a lot of effort to change your eating habits. A few simple changes will make a huge difference. You’ll feel better, manage your weight and even save money!
Junk food is poor fuel for your body
About nine in 10 teenagers eat junk food every day. This might be fizzy drinks and high-kilojoule snacks like potato chips. However, your body can’t run properly on inferior fuel.
Compared to home-cooked food, junk food (which includes fast food) is almost always:
- Higher in fat, particularly saturated fat
- Higher in salt
- Higher in sugar
- Lower in fibre
- Lower in nutrients such as calcium and iron
- Served in larger portions, which means more kilojoules.
While a mid-life heart attack might seem too far away to be real, it may surprise you to know that you could have health problems already. A poor diet can cause weight gain, high blood pressure, constipation, fatigue and concentration problems – even when you’re young.
Eating tips to improve your diet
Small changes can make a big impact. Try these tips:
- Cut back on fizzy sugary drinks. Go for sugar-free versions. Even better, drink water instead – try adding a slice of lemon, lime or orange.
- Keep a fruit bowl stocked at home for fast and low-kilojoule snacks.
- Eat breakfast every day so you’re less likely to snack on junk food at morning tea. A fortified breakfast cereal served with low-fat milk can provide plenty of vitamins, mineral and fibre. Other fast and healthy options include yoghurt or wholemeal toast.
- Don’t skip lunch or dinner either.
- Help with the cooking and think up new ways to create healthy meals. Make those old family recipes lower in fat by changing the cooking method – for example, grill, stir-fry, bake, boil or microwave instead of deep frying.
- Reduce the size of your meals.
- Don’t add salt to your food.
- Don’t eat high-fat foods every time you visit a fast food outlet with your friends. Many of the popular fast food chains now have healthier food choices on the menu.
- Change your meeting place. Rather than meeting up with your friends at the local takeaway shop, suggest a food outlet that serves healthier foods such as wholemeal rolls with vegetable fillings or sushi.
Change the way you think about food
There are lots of myths about healthy food. Don’t make food choices based on false beliefs. Suggestions include:
- Compare the prices of junk foods against the price of healthier food options to see that ‘healthy’ doesn’t have to mean ‘expensive’.
- Experiment with different foods and recipes. You’ll soon discover that a meal cooked with fresh ingredients always leaves a limp burger or soggy chips for dead.
- Try different ‘fast’ options like wholewheat breakfast cereal, muesli, wholemeal bread, wholegrain muffins, fruit, yoghurt or noodles.
- Don’t think that your diet has to be ‘all or nothing’. Eating well doesn’t mean you must be a health food freak. A good diet allows for treats occasionally.
Change your eating environment
- Lobby your school canteen for healthier food choices.
- Ask your school canteen to include a range of low-price healthy food choices.
- Help with the grocery shopping and choose fewer processed foods.
- Get involved in cooking at home. The Better Health Channel recipe finder may provide inspiration.
Where to get help
- Your doctor
- Dietitians Association of Australia Tel. (02) 6163 5200
Things to remember
- A teenager who eats fast food regularly is more likely to put on weight than a teenager who eats fast food only occasionally.
- A diet consisting of healthy meals and snacks will boost your intake of nutrients such as calcium, which is required for strong bones.
- Eating well doesn’t mean you must be a health food freak – a good diet allows for your favourite junk foods occasionally.
Women who follow a low-fat diet may not be getting as many essential nutrients as they should, according to the findings of a 27,000-person U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study.
More than half the women who reduced their fat intake to less than 30 percent of total calories were short-changing themselves on vitamins A and E, calcium, folic acid, iron and zinc.
This, in turn, places them at greater risk for osteoporosis, pregnancy-related problems and, perhaps, certain types of cancer
While a low-fat diet is recommended for the prevention of obesity, breast cancer, diabetes and heart disease, following a low-fat diet at the expense of nutrients is not a wise choice.
Instead, women – and men as well – should follow a diet that is varied and balanced, low in fat and high in essential nutrients.
For some, supplementation may be in order. For others, simply choosing high-nutrient foods over high-sugar, low-fat foods can make a positive difference in overall health.
Source: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, April 19, 1998