Weight Loss and Exercise
By Andrew Sokolsky
Andrew Sokolsky, DC, is a weight loss coach and the creator of The Sokolsky Plan, An Intelligent Guide to Permanent Weight Loss. He lost over 100 pounds without using drugs, diet pills, or surgery, and he is dedicated to helping others lose weight healthfully. Copyright 2012 Andrew Sokolsky, DC. Reprinted here by permission. Find Dr. Sokolsky listed in OPEN EXCHANGE's Weight, Image & Diet category.
Want to feel great and look great to take advantage of the good weather season? Get moving! The cumulative benefit of regular exercise for people trying to lose weight is impressive. Exercise speeds your metabolism, turns fat into muscle, and increases the pace of your weight loss. Exercise also lets the brain know that it is okay to keep losing weight, when your body might otherwise stop losing weight.
As a weight loss coach I always tell my clients that there are many benefits to regular exercise and that exercising intelligently can definitely speed their weight loss! When I started out to lose over 100 pounds I did the math and knew that if I were to walk one hour per day, I would lose 25 pounds more in one year than if I did not walk.
Five Keys To Success
The five keys to choosing a successful exercise are:
Consistency. This is especially important if you find that losing weight is difficult. Exercising consistently acts as an "anchor" for all your health-supporting behaviors.
Relative Ease. Especially for people who are overweight, any exercise that is too difficult to do increases the likelihood of injury and makes it less likely that you will exercise consistently.
Adaptability. You want an exercise that can fit smoothly into your life, regardless of your environment or changes to your routine.
Longevity. You want an exercise that you will be likely to do today, next year and for years to come. Remember that my plan for my clients is an intelligent guide to permanent weight loss.
Safety. The more you can avoid injury, the more health-supporting and long-lasting your exercise will be.
For most people, the exercise that meets all these criteria is walking. I suggest that you plan to walk for one hour a day to maximize weight loss (two half-hour sessions a day is okay if necessary because of your schedule). This walking should be in addition to other walking you may do throughout your day, unless you already have a fairly rigorous, daily exercise routine.
Remember, exercise is different from hard work. Even something that feels physically activevacuuming the house or carrying boxesoften does not burn many calories. Most people overestimate how much exercise they do, and they overestimate how many calories they burn when exercising.
It is important to avoid increasing your calorie intake based on how many calories you think you are burning. When you exercise regularly and stay consistent with your calorie intake, you can achieve predictable, measurable, and excellent results.
A successful exercise program requires honesty on your part. Someone might say, "Hey, I take the dog to the dog park, that's my hour a day," whereas in reality the walk to the park takes ten minutes, and the rest of the hour is spent watching the dog get its exercise! That is why I emphasize that your walking program must be above and beyond your normal daily activities, and should be an uninterrupted hour of walking, when possible.
Put Yourself First
A successful exercise program requires that you put yourself firstfor at least one hour a day. If you choose to do another form of exercise instead of walking, or exercise in addition to walking for an hour, I recommend that the exercise you do meet my recommended "keys to choosing a successful exercise." Important keys to a successful walking routine include getting quality walking shoes or sneakers, quality socks and comfortable clothing. This sounds simple and it is, but not doing it will set you up for injury and curtail your success.
Common pitfalls when exercising to lose weight include justifying eating more because "I worked up an appetite," or "I am going to go to the gym later so I will eat more now." Another pitfall is exercising inconsistently but eating as if you are exercising daily. The worst one is overestimating how many additional calories you are burning, and then overeating in a way that counteracts all the time and effort you have put in. Another common mistake is a client saying, "all I need to do is exercise more and I will lose the extra weight."
For almost all my clients, an intelligent eating plan needs to be paired with their exercise routine to achieve their goals. When you have an intelligent plan for losing weight that fits your unique needs and lifestyle, and you combine it with exercise that meets the listed criteria for success, you will watch the pounds melt away!
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