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Be Heart Healthy and Lose Weight!

Posts Tagged ‘change’

Lose Weight: Best Way to Lose Weight

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on March 18, 2009

If you are overweight and dealing with heart health concerns, you know weight loss with significantly improve your heart health. So, you need to find a way to successfully lose the weight and keep it off.

Here are tips for success:

Adequate Calories

Don’t cut your calories too low. Never go below 1200 calories and for some people the minimum is higher. Consuming too few calories drops you right into “starvation” (as far as your body is concerned), your metabolism drops, and weight loss grinds to halt. Also, drastic calorie cuts not only result in fat loss, but you lose muscle as well.

Realistic Goals

Set realistic goals. You may have a dream goal of shedding 40 pounds, but start with a smaller, achievable goal. Many studies show significant health benefits from shedding just 10% of your body weight.

Healthy Rate of Weight Loss

Plan for a healthy rate of weight loss. Aim to lose 1-2 pounds per week. Gradual, steady weight loss ensures you lose fat, not muscle.

Long-term Plan

Think long-term. Going on a diet is not the best way to lose weight. This is because the term diet generally implies a beginning and an end. If you want to successfully lose weight it requires permanent lifestyle and food choice changes. Changes you can and will stick with for life.

Steady Support

Surround yourself with a steady support system. By this I don’t only mean a spouse that supports you spending an hour at the gym after work or planning active family events. I also mean surrounding yourself with friends who are living the healthy life you want. I’m not implying you need to kick friends and family who are a negative influence to the curb, but look for ways you can gain friends that are living a healthy lifestyle. This will dramatically increase your success.

All the best,

Lisa Nelson RD
Be Heart Healthy and Lose Weight

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Weight Loss: What Causes Weight Cycling?

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on March 15, 2009

Do you find you find your weight frequently yo-yoing up and down? Do you tend to go through repeat periods of experiencing exciting weight loss followed by discouraging weight regain?

According to the Federal Weight Control Information Network, the cycle may be small, say 5-10 pounds up and down, or large, more than 50 pounds lost and regained repeatedly.

Weight Cycling Causes

The reasons for the weight cycle are often linked to the following four causes:

  • Selecting a diet that is too extreme or unrealistic for the long term. This would include “fad” or “crash” diets. They tend to be hard to stick with because you start to feel deprived.
  • Using poor techniques that cause you to overeat, such as skipping meals or doing well with your diet during the week but “taking a break” on weekends.
  • Unrealistic goals – Yes it’d be great to say you can fit into your old high school jeans, but is that really realistic?
  • Not surrounding yourself with a support system. Are the people around you health conscious and supportive of your new healthy actions or do they tempt you to stray?

Difficulty Stopping the Cycle

Oftentimes, your body finds a weight it likes and doesn’t want to change. So, you have biology working against you.

Your body uses hormones, such as leptin, to monitor your calorie needs and body fat. When you start to lose weight hormone levels change and your body reacts. Usually your body thinks “I’m starving” and switches to conservation mode by decreasing your metabolism (the rate your burn calories) to conserve energy and protect fat stores. In other words, you body is preparing for a famine. When this occurs you’ll typically begin to feel the urge to eat more.

So, let’s say your calorie intake gradually goes back up to your pre-diet level. At this level you should maintain your previous weight, but since your body has dropped your metabolism, your caloric needs are lower. That means your typical calorie intake which in the past maintained your weight, now leads to weight gain.

A cycle that is very difficult to overcome, but I don’t know many who say losing weight is easy.

All the best,

Lisa Nelson RD
Be Heart Healthy and Lose Weight

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Heart Health – Take Control of Your Health

Posted by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN on February 16, 2009

Special Report – Article Excerpt

Stop Wasting Money – Take Control of Your Health

Ensure your success with lowering
cholesterol, controlling high blood pressure,
and weight loss by knowing how to achieve change.

Did you come across a treadmill for a great discount price and decide – I need to exercise more; I’m not going to find a better price, why not? So, you now have this piece of equipment in a corner of your living room or bedroom collecting dust or acting as an expensive clothes rack.

Why is it that your good intentions led no where? Sure, that first week or two you hopped on several times, but then your progress came to a screeching halt. Well, you may not have had everything in place to be successful.  You need to make sure all your “ducks are in a row” to ensure your success.  If you jump from Contemplation into Action you are skipping the critical Preparation phase. Huh? You will begin to understand what I mean as you read on.

For the purpose of this article, I will focus on the critical action step.  The goal I use is increasing physical activity. You can use the Stages of Change model to work on any area you are trying to change, such as eating habits to lose weight, lowering cholesterol levels, and/or controlling high blood pressure.

The Stages of Change model was first developed by psychologists James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente in the late 1970’s. They focused on changing addictive behaviors, specifically smoking. The Stages of Change model identifies the phases we go through when we change our habits.  The five stages are called – 1. Pre-contemplation, 2. Contemplation, 3. Preparation, 4. Action and 5. Maintenance.  Tailoring your actions based on the stage you are in will propel you forward.

>No need to waste time dwelling on the science behind the method.  Just know it has been proven a useful tool.  Now, let’s dive into how you can use it to your benefit. 

In this stage you are performing the behavior regularly, but for less than 6 months.  This means you have established a plan of action and have implemented that plan.  You are actively modifying your behaviors, experiences, and environment to overcome obstacles and achieve success.  The action phase is the most difficult and requires a considerable commitment of time and energy.  Change does not happen overnight.  It will take persistence for a new behavior to become an established habit.

The following four strategies are used to move through this stage of change:

Counter-conditioning

Substitute alternate positive behaviors for the negative behavior.  It can take up to 30 days for a new behavior to become a habit. Be aware of this and put safety guards in place.  Stick with your action plan and continue to replace old sedentary behaviors with new physically active ones. You may feel some loss.  You actually miss your old behaviors.  These behaviors are like old friends you felt comfortable with and change moves you out of your comfort zone.  Review your reasons for wanting to be physically active and the long-term benefits you will gain if you stick with your plan.

Reinforcement Management

Change the events that determine or sustain the problem behavior.  Reward yourself for achieving your goals, such as a new outfit, book, or running shoes.  Recognize your progress and reward yourself.  This will provide you with an incentive to stick with your new plan.

 

Helping Relationships

Turn to your support system.  Don’t get overconfident and think you do not need family and friends behind you.  Keep them in the loop with the progress you’ve made and identify new ways they can help you move towards your goals.  Now is a time to consider signing a “contract” with yourself to reinforce your commitment to change.  Have your family and friends be witnesses!

 

Stimulus Control

Be aware of triggers for reverting to your old habits.  What safety mechanisms can you put in place to negate these triggers?  Start replacing old behavior triggers with something positive.  For example, place your goals where you will see them daily – like the refrigerator.  Keep gym shoes by the front door.  Create reminders at work, such as tennis shoes under your desk for a lunch time walk.  Always be on the lookout for stumbling blocks and be prepared to brainstorm ways to overcome the hurdles.

You are doing great!  Maintenance is just around the corner.

Bottom Line:

During the action phase, you make your goals a reality.  Now is not a time to get cocky.  Hurdles will frequently pop up and you need to be ready with strategies to overcome them.  You will have some bad weeks.  Step back, evaluate what is keeping you from regular activity, and figure out a solution.  It may take some trial and error before you find the right solution for you.  Now about that treadmill – you have it and it is dust-free!

Tackling change is hard and determining exactly what steps you need to take can be confusing.  By recognizing that change has identifiable steps and strategies, you can use this knowledge to move forward and achieve your goals!

Are you tired of throwing away hard earned dollars on fitness equipment you don’t use?  Get your FREE copy of Stop Wasting Money – Take Control of Your Health now!  

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