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Why You’re Having Trouble Losing Weight

overweightWeight loss is a major concern for a lot of people. In fact, a 2013 Gallup poll indicates that 51 percent of American adults want to lose weight, and 25 percent are seriously working toward that goal. However, as much as people want–and try–to lose weight, the reality is that diet and exercise alone are often not enough. Despite their best efforts, people often fail to lose weight or, worse, continue to gain.

Why Diet and Exercise Fails

There could be several reasons why dieting and exercising alone doesn’t produce the desired weight loss results:

* Inadequate workouts. Workout intensity and duration are both crucial when it comes to weight loss. Ideally you should do moderate intensity exercise between 150 and 250 hours per week. If you exercise five days a week, that’s between 30 minutes and 50 minutes per day. Moderate intensity is approximately 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate, or between six and seven on a scale of one to ten. You should be breathing heavily and break a sweat, but still able to say a few words needing to take a breath.  If you don’t sweat, and are able to say long sentences or sing along to the radio, you are probably not working at the right intensity. If you aren’t doing at least 150 minutes of exercise, you are not exercising long enough.

* Too many calories. When you start exercising your body automatically demands more calories to support the activity, even if you have ample fat stores to tap into. This is because your body really doesn’t want to let go of its fat. If you’re not actively counting calories, or watching your portion sizes, you could be eating more that you should. As a result, when you exercise your burns the calories that you have ingested instead of the calories in your fat stores. Use a calorie calculator to determine how many calories you need for your height, age, gender, and activity level, then start keeping track of your diet to make sure you are not going over that amount.

* Not enough calories. Your brain uses up to 20 percent of all the energy you consume and the remaining 80 percent is spread among all the other systems in your body, such as cardiovascular system, your muscles and skeletal system, your immune system, and so on. If you don’t consume enough calories to give your brain the energy it needs, it will signal your body to slow down your metabolism so that all the other systems don’t use up as much energy. It will also stimulate your body to break down muscle tissue – an energy hog – which will also slow down your metabolism.

* A slow metabolism. If you’re exercising at the right duration and intensity, and eating the number of calories you need to stimulate weight loss without starving your brain, you could have a slow metabolism. It could be the result of an illness, like hypothyroidism, or it could simply be lower than normal. Your physician can test your metabolism and screen you for possible illnesses.

Weight Loss Help

If you are doing everything right and still struggling with weight loss, you might need help in the form of supplements, medication, or even surgery.

* Supplements. Weight loss supplements have been around for nearly as long as people have been trying to lose weight. Some supplements contain caffeine and other stimulants to ramp up the metabolism, and others contain herbal extracts designed to promote fat burning. One of the latest herbal supplements is an herbal remedy called coleus forskholii or forskolin. Studies have shown that forskolin supplements could boost thyroid function and aid with weight loss. (Consult with your doctor before taking any supplements due to potential side effects.)

* Medication. Drug companies are constantly developing medications to help people lose weight. Some drugs prevent you from absorbing calories and fats, some work on the hunger centers in your brain to make you eat less, or feel full faster, and others speed up the metabolism. Your doctor can help you determine which type of medication is best for you.

* Surgery. Surgical options for weight loss prevent you from absorbing too many calories by reducing the size of your stomach, reducing the amount of time food stays in your intestines, or a combination of both. Some, like gastric bypass, are permanent; while others, like gastric bands, are temporary. Your doctor can help you determine if weight loss surgery is right for you.

As always, if you have concerns about your health, or your weight; or if you have a pre-existing medical condition, you should always consult your doctor before starting a diet and exercise program, and before taking any supplements.

Read more on losing weight

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How to Choose a Diet Plan for Weight Loss

Strengthen your Cardiovascular System with Heart Rate Training

Whether you have just started working out, or you have been at it for a long time, you have probably heard about the fat burning zone versus the cardio zone.

Essentially, that there are certain heart rate levels, or zones, that you should aim for to achieve different results.

  • For fat burning, your heart rate should be about 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate.
  • For cardio, your heart rate should be at about 70 to 80 percent.
  • If you are going for seriously high intensity cardiovascular training, then your heart rate should be at 80 to 90 percent.

Why use a heart rate monitor watch

There is some debate about whether or not these zones are really effective for weight loss. After all, regardless of which zone you end up in, you will burn calories in fat. Some experts say the fat burning zone is a myth because even if you do tend to burn more stored fat at the lower heart rate, you don’t burn more calories.

However, our focus is more on cardiovascular and pulmonary conditioning – strengthening your heart, lungs, and blood vessels to help prevent or manage hypertension, heart attack, and stroke.

How the Training Zones Work

The theory behind the training zones is that challenging your heart and lungs strengthens them and helps them to run more efficiently when you aren’t exercising. The more you challenge your heart, the more efficient it will be when you are at rest.

When you do cardiovascular exercise, your heart beat and respiration increase to keep up with your body’s higher demand for oxygen. If you do cardiovascular exercise regularly, your heart, blood vessels, and lungs all have to get stronger to adjust to the new physical demands on your body – the same way your muscles get stronger if you lift weights regularly.

Eventually, your heart will pump more blood with each beat, and your lungs will be more efficient at getting oxygen into your blood stream, all of which will enable more oxygen to get to your muscles and feed your workout.

The interesting thing about cardiovascular training is that as your cardiovascular and respiratory system get stronger, you will be able to work out longer, and at a greater intensity, to reach and maintain the same target heart rate zone.

Cardiovascular Exercise Options

Your choice of cardiovascular exercises is vast. You just need to make sure that the exercise you choose will allow continuous movement for at least 30 minutes, and that you can adjust the intensity if you need to.

If you have knee or other joint problems, you should consider an exercise that’s low-impact and non-weight bearing, such as cycling, the Street Strider elliptical trainer, or combine the two exercises, and get some fresh air. Other cardiovascular options include running/jogging, swimming laps, dancing, and rowing.

How to do Heart Rate Training

First: you should consult your doctor, especially if you have a pre-existing condition. Heart rate training can be fun, but it’s also designed to stress your heart; if you are already ill, heart rate training could be dangerous.

Determine your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220.

For example,

  • If you are 45, then your maximum heart rate is 175.
  • Once you have your maximum heart rate, multiply that number by the target zone percentage.
  • So, if you want to work out at 70 to 80 percent, you would multiply 175 by .7 and .8, making our target heart rate between 122.5 and 140.

Invest in a heart rate monitor. While it’s true that you can take your heart rate by feeling your pulse, it’s not always easy to do while you are in the middle of a workout. Some machines might have heart rate monitors, but you that mean you have to keep your hands on the sensors. Also, those readers aren’t always accurate. A basic heart rate monitor with a watch and chest band, will let you keep track of your heart rate without doing much more than looking at your wrist.

Start slowly. When you first start out, you might find that your heart rate jumps to 70, even 90 percent fairly quickly. Although this is normal, you don’t want to overdo it with your first go out. Consider starting off in the fat burning zone, then gradually increasing to the cardio zone. If you feel dizzy, or if you notice trouble breathing or chest pains, stop exercising and seek help.

Always warm up and cool down. For a 30 minute session you should allow five minutes of warm up and cool down on each end, for 20 minutes of exercise in your target zone.

The Beauty of Oranges Inside and Out– Reservoir of Vitamin C

lower cholesterol

Oranges are heart healthy foods

Juicy, sweet and a virtual reservoir of vitamin C, oranges are a baseball-sized food simply packed with nutrition. Cultivated since ancient times, oranges belong to the family of citrus species. (Orange trees are the most cultivated fruit trees in the world.)

It is believed that oranges first originated in India. In Europe (Spain, Portugal and Italy) sweet oranges were first imported from India. From there, Spaniards brought oranges to South and North America.

Oranges contain a wealth of nutrients including calcium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber and much more. Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of eating yummy and nutritious oranges:

  • SKIN: As we grow old, our skin tends to lose its elasticity. With some 170 different phytochemicals and more than 60 flavonoids, oranges are loaded with powerful antioxidants (including vitamin C) that help slow down the aging process, keeping your skin looking healthy and glowing. The secret to a radiant skin and wrinkle prevention doesn’t lie in expensive creams, but rather what you choose to put into your mouth. So for beautiful looking skin, its simple – eat oranges!
  • VISION HEALTH: The presence of vitamin A and carotenoid compounds in oranges are known to contribute to eye health by improving vision and protecting against age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in elderly Americans).
  • HEART HEALTH: This delicious fruit contains soluble fiber and flavonoids such as hesperidin that work together to keep your arteries smooth and flexible. The soluble fiber removes toxins (including cholesterol) from the body and thus brings cholesterol down.
  • BLOOD PRESSURE: Oranges are a fantastic source of potass
  • benefits-of-orangesium, the mineral superstar that is highly effective in bringing blood pressure down. The one two punch of eating oranges: lower cholesterol and blood pressure, makes this a superb food for preventing heart disease.
  • CANCER: Oranges boasts of a compound known as D–limonene that helps prevent skin, lung and breast cancer. In addition to the presence of vitamin C, numerous other powerful antioxidants in this fruit further boost immunity to combat cancer cells.
  • BOWEL HEALTH: Oranges are packed with dietary fiber that help relieve constipation and maintain a healthy digestive system. The combination of fiber and powerful plant antioxidants are thought to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Oranges are true heart healthy food that not only boost immunity but protect against several chronic diseases and reduce cholesterol. At a mere 60 calories per fruit, oranges can also help in weight loss.

Eat oranges or drink its juice for better health!

Tweet Your Way Trim

Weight Loss

Research has proven time and again that the more social support you get, the more successful you will be in losing weight.

The key to successful weight loss is support—including your social media network, according to research out of the University of South Carolina that found Twitter can improve your odds of shedding pounds.

All participants in the study received nutrition, exercise, and goal-setting advice via podcasts, but half of them also used Twitter as a weight-loss aid. They received daily tweets from a weight counselor and followed other study participants in an effort to provide a broad range of social support.

Both groups lost weight during the six-month study, with the active tweeters dropping the most pounds—every 10 posts to Twitter correlated with a 0.5 percent weight loss…

Read the whole blog post published on Shape.com here

How to Choose a Diet Plan for Weight Loss

(Extract of a blog post by Dr Janet Brill on Weight Loss Exercise Diet)

Weight loss exercise

If you’re not willing to exercise than that means you’re not willing to keep the weight off.

The most important thing for people to understand is that in order to lose weight, it’s better to choose a lifestyle rather than simply choosing a diet.

A diet that works for one person may not work at all for someone else. At the end of the day, it’s all about the calorie math in terms of losing weight and keeping it off.

A person needs to learn how to eat fewer calories and a more nutritious diet. Smaller portion sizes are key, while still eating some of your favorite foods.

Eating healthy and in smaller amounts, combined with exercise, is a much better path to weight loss success than fad diets ever will be!

In my experience, people who have succeeded at weight loss have figured out how to eat less calories and burn more of them off through exercise. It’s really as simple as that.

Read the whole blog post here.

5 Important Misconceptions About Losing Weight

As a dietitian, I get asked this question all the time. One thing that really bugs me is the diet myth out there that “carbs make me fat.” There are so many people now who won’t eat a piece of bread or a baked potato because they believe these foods “make you fat.”

I really think this is one myth that needs to be debunked, because the truth is that carbs don’t make you fat. Eating too many calories and not burning enough off is what makes you fat!…………

Read this insightful blog published in Weight Loss Exercise Diet

Why Is Running On a Treadmill Easier?

Q: Why does running on a treadmill seem easier than running on the road or on a track?

A: There are definite pros and cons that go along with using the “mill” for training.

You are right: running on a treadmill is easier (physically) than running outside because you are being propelled by the treadmill belt, a padded moving platform, and you are not running against any wind resistance.

What’s more, treadmill running is weatherproof, so you can exercise in a controlled climate without concern for heat, humidity or frigidity.

While it may be easier on you physically, mentally it is a different story. Let’s face it, running like a hamster round-and-round on a wheel for long periods of time can be quite monotonous! Treadmill running is much more difficult psychologically than outdoor running due to the lack of visual distractions as well as variety in terrain.

I generally recommend that those individuals training for an upcoming road race spend the bulk of their training outdoors on the road to acclimate to the environment as well as the twists and turns of the road and the variable terrain.