Exercise, Diet and Your Medical Conditions
Ditch the Fad Diet for Exercise
I stay away from the scale. It can be discouraging. I’m almost 5’11 and average 160 pounds. Since I am not a small petite woman and weigh about the same as many men I encounter, I don’t like being reminded about the number. If I allow myself to focus on the number on the scale I’ll become obsessed with reducing that number to one that might be unhealthy or even unsustainable. The next thing you know my weight is fluxing up and down.
According to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine allowing your weight to fluctuate up and down by eight or more pounds can take a toll on your heart particularly if you have heart disease.
The most common reason for fluctuation in weight is yoyo dieting. A person might decide they are going to lose weight and start one of the hundreds of diets promising to make them thin. According to researchers, adhering to the rigidity of the diet itself can be stressful, elevating cortisol levels that can affect blood pressure and cholesterol levels but worst of all resulting in more weight gain.
I remember doing this in my younger years. I tried diets with grapefruit juice, cutting out meat or pasta or using diet pills and all had a very temporary effect on my weight. Plus, I hated it. The more I forbid myself from eating something the more I wanted it.
I found more reward by running, swimming and dancing.
While in college I made sure I always included a class in my schedule that had some kind of fitness activity. It was a relief for my brain, made me stronger and kept me from gaining weight. After college I knew I had to again find a way to make exercise a part of my lifestyle. I joined work teams of softball and Ultimate Frisbee and reluctantly joined a gym. Burning calories rather than restricting them was how I found my healthy weight.
Diets are hard. The trend now is toward fasting or fasting on alternate days. Recent studies, where they even had trouble-finding participants that could stick with fasting, condemn this method as no better than the others that require restrictions. The reason most likely is because it forces your body to go into survival mode and store the fat you’re trying to lose.
One woman in my class who is trying to lose weight sometimes asks around about new diets she’s heard about. Yet she admits to eating at drive-through restaurants regularly because of convenience. I encourage her to minimize fast food eating and attend more classes and push herself harder when she is there. If you need to burn more calories you’ve got to elevate your heart and move.
Let me reiterate, I’m not the most svelte woman in the gym but I maintain a healthy weight by staying off the scale and considering how I feel and how my clothes fit. As for food, I try to make healthier choices and limit sugar and processed food.
I know I’ll have to be even more considerate of this as I age, slow down and burn fewer calories. Be sure to speak with your doctor about what exercise and diet program might be right for you and your medical conditions.
Fasting Diets: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/every-other-day-fasting-isnt-any-better-for-weight-loss-than-just-eating-less/2017/05/05/3ba13892-30e9-11e7-9534-00e4656c22aa_story.html?utm_term=.8e0ee1be7168
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