Weight loss 101

What’s the best way to shed unwanted pounds?  Is there a best way?  If so, why is it so confusing?  There are SO many diets out there….so which one is the road to losing body fat?

Simply put, either eat fewer calories, expend more calories through purposeful activity, or a combination of both.

Sound TOO simple?

Consider this: Exercising every day for the sole purpose of weight loss can backfire if your eating plan is too restrictive.  In a study with older women, exercising 4 times a week burned more calories each day than those who exercised 6 times a week.

How can that be?  Those who worked out every day 6 times a week were too tired to sustain normal activity, so they actually burned 200 calories less than those who worked out just 4 times  a week.  Although the study participants were older women, the message may be applicable to many of us.

And there’s this: People (age 56-78) who added an hour of exercise had the same calories needs despite the extra hour of vigorous walking.  How can that even be true, you say?    Just as in the example above, these participants were too tired to sustain normal activity and ended up yielding 62% less activity the rest of the day.  So they burned fewer total calories in a 24 hour period.

The bottom line: balance your eating plan with your activity in a way that powers you through your day and leaves you feeling energized.  E-mail me at agiglio@andover.edu if you want tips for fine-tuning the balance in your personal plan.

Source: The Athlete’s Kitchen by Nancy Clark, MS,RD,CSSD  March 2013

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