Transform Your Metabolism with Exercise

Know Your Body Mass Index(BMI)


  • BMI = Waist to Hip Ratio = Body Fat % (see BMI Chart @ Sparkpeople.com)
  • Why do I need to know this? When you know your ratio of lean mass to fat, you can determine which type of exercise and how much will get you to your goals!
  • Your current body weight _____lbs x your current body fat % ____ = _____lbs of fat
  • Your current body weight _____lbs – your current ______lbs of fat = _____lbs of lean mass: As your weight changes – so does your BMI
  • Fat weighs less than muscle and it takes up more space.
  • To burn fat = cardio exercise
  • To build muscle = weight resistance training
  • Skeletal muscles are designed to burn blood sugar effectively this is why maintaining adequate muscle mass & exercising regularly are important keys to maintaining stable blood sugar & metabolism


Know Your Personal Body Type

Why do I need to know this? To determine what it will take to get your body type to your goal body weight and BMI. Many people want to look like someone else and they don’t even have the same body type! This will help you be more realistic to the amount of cardio or strength training you will need.


Ectomorph:   Classic “hard gainer” = more difficulty building heavy muscle mass
                       Thin build, Lower Body Fat %, Small Bone Structure
                       Shape: Stick, Pear, Apple, Hourglass
                       Will need more strength training than cardio to build lean mass
Mesomorph: Classic “natural gainer” = strong ability to build muscle mass
                        Athletic, Muscular build, Medium to Large Bone Structure
                        Shape: Stick, Pear, Apple, Hourglass
Endomorph: Classic “hard loser” = predisposed to strong fat storage, fights
                        hard to lean out, may or may not build muscle easily
                       Thick build, Higher Body Fat %, Larger Bone Structure
                       Shape: Pear, Apple, Hourglass

Cardio Exercise & Metabolism

  • Cardio (Aerobic Exercise) is the best way to burn calories at a fast rate.
  • To burn more = hit your Target Heart Rate:
Target Heart Rate = 220 – your age = Max times your heart can beat per minute
Take pulse for 1 minute after intense exercise = Take pulse for 1 minute x 10
  • The more intense the exercise, the harder your muscle groups work = more lean muscle mass building!
(Interval Training, Cycling, Stair Master, Incline Treadmill, Aerobics w/weights, Pilates, Functional Training, Elliptical)
  • The more duration in the exercise, the more you break down muscle tissue = less lean muscle mass building and more fat burning!
(Walking, Running, Cardio Aerobics, Treadmill, Rowing Machine, Elliptical)
  • Interval Cardio Programs are best for cardio intensity workouts (Interval training on the Stationary Bike, Treadmill, Elliptical Stairmaster, Rower, Stairmaster or Circuit Training)
  • Aerobic classes which burn calories and sculpt muscle include both cardio and resistance training (Step Aerobics, Resistance/Toning Classes, Bosu Classes, and Pilates, Fitness Yoga, Bikram Yoga)
  • Cardio is best in the AM when you can capitalize on higher metabolic rate = biggest short – term metabolic boost
  • Pure cardio classes have no permanent affect on RMR = only temporary = help you burn calories today but you will have to do cardio again each day to burn calories
  • It is important to develop cardiovascular fitness along with lean muscle mass.



Resistance Training & Metabolism 

  • Weight Training increases metabolically active tissue (muscles)
  • Increased lean muscle mass = more calories burned throughout the day since muscle is highly metabolic (1lb of muscle burns 35-50 calories)
  • Building muscle creates a permanent affect on your RMR
  • Each pound of muscle can raise your RMR 15 calories per day
  • Weight training is the most effective way to build and preserve lean muscle
  • Resistance training should be placed before cardio training to get the maximum strength from your major muscle groups before breaking them down with cardio
  • To sculpt your muscle = rebuild more tissue than you break down
  • After Strength Training exercises you will continue to burn an additional 100+ calories over the next 24 hour period


How does exercise affect Metabolism?

  • You burn calories during and after exercising which elevates your metabolism the rest of the day (temporary daily metabolic change).
  • To permanently increase your metabolism, you need to change your body content by increasing your lean muscle mass and decreasing your body fat.
  • You will probably need a combination of Cardio and Weight Resistance to reach your goals.
  • The more muscle you lose, the more your metabolism slows or decreases.
  • The more muscle you gain, the more your metabolism increases (Lean, mean, fighting machine).
  • 1 pound of muscle burns 35-50 calories a day.


Average calories burned per fitness activity:

Check out Sparkpeople.com to Calculate Exercise Performance & Calories Burned for your specific Personal Stats


Gentle Reminder: 3500 Calories = 1 pound of Fat. To lose 1 pound of Fat a week you will need to decrease your current daily caloric intake or exercise away 500 calories a day for 7 days. Or combine the effort by reducing your caloric intake by 250 cal and exercising away 250 calories each day! Or some other combination that works for you and your weekly schedule!


Personal Power Thought: “Nobody should know your body better than YOU!” ~Sherryism CNC.CPT



10 Ways to Health and Perfect Weight


At the beginning of each New Year, so many of us take a closer look at areas of our lives that we’d like to change or improve a bit. Losing weight, whether it’s a few pounds or 50 pounds is up there with the top three. Even those that don’t need to actually lose weight, vow to eat healthier.



Although everyone starts out motivated and with the best of intentions, most people rarely make it past the first month. What happens? For anyone that has ever been on a diet, you know that overly restrictive and very low-calorie diets are not sustainable. To truly lose weight and maintain the weight loss, a slow, consistent change in your eating pattern will bring about the results you seek.


10 Ways to Health and Perfect Weight

1. The most important element is your physical environment. What is in your pantry, fridge and freezer? Is it stocked with veggies, fruit, whole grain bread and crackers, lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy, etc.? Or are you surrounded with Twinkies, white bread, cookies, soda and other junk food?Out of sight, out of mind… if you must keep unhealthy fare in the house for other family members package it up and put it in the back of the pantry and fridge. Keep the nourishing food front and center.


2. Do you eat only when physically hungry? Start rating your hunger on a scale of 1-10, 1 = starving and 10 = stuffed. During a meal or snack, pausing when reaching a 5 (neutral) is the perfect time to take a moment to decide if you need more food or if your body has had enough nourishment. Getting in tune with true hunger connects us to correct body signals for eating.


3. Focus on the delightful food in front of you. Take away all distractions when eating: TV, radio, reading, computer, cell phone and mail. Take notice of the color, aroma, taste and texture of each bite. When we eat while distracted, we can overeat without noticing. Start out small, perhaps with a snack at first and move to one meal at a time.


4. Eat s-l-o-w-l-y. This takes practice for those used to multitasking and eating while driving, answering email or running between appointments.


5. Because it takes our brains at least 20 minutes to register fullness, eating quickly leads to eat more than we need. Set a kitchen timer at your next meal and time yourself. Did you make it the full 20 minutes?

Because we tend to eat as much as we see before us, plate your food in the kitchen and bring only your plate to the dinner table. The only exception is salad. Bring a large bowl of salad to the dinner table. Also, use a salad plate rather than a dinner plate. Dinner plates have gotten larger and larger through the years. Look at your great grandma’s china dinner plate… much smaller… and so were the people back then!


6. Drink plenty of pure water. Although there is no perfect formula for the “right” amount, if your urine is a pale yellow color, you’re adequately hydrated. By the time you are thirsty, you are most likely dehydrated. Many times when we “feel hungry” when we are actually thirsty and this can prevent adding unnecessary calories.


7. Eat protein and fiber at each meal. Protein empties the stomach at 4 calories/minute, is the most filling and reduces hunger. Fiber is satisfying, also reduces hunger and is very filling. You will notice less hunger between meals.


8. Make ½ your plate veggies. Increasing your veggie intake adds essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants known to help reduce the risk of chronic disease such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. Also, eating mostly veggies adds the filling fiber. If you’re not a veggie-lover, don’t get stuck in the green beans, broccoli, and corn rut. Try something different: snap peas, bok choy, collard greens or jicama.


9. Choose whole, natural foods over processed foods. Processed foods are loaded with sugar, fat and/or salt. These 3 addictive ingredients are the known triggers for many overeaters. They keep us coming back for more. Feeding your body nourishing food that provides the fuel and energy needed for cell growth and regeneration prevents those “got-to-have-it” cravings.


10. Plan, plan, and plan. Don’t let yourself go too hungry or run out of the healthy food. Until eating healthy becomes your new practice, write down exactly what you plan to eat for each meal/snack and write a grocery list based on this. If you’re running from meeting to meeting with no time for lunch, carry a small snack baggie of almonds and raisins in your pocket to nibble with water. Keep a stash of fruit, nuts, whole grain crackers and nut butter in your desk drawer. A hungry belly is a sure plan for overeating at your next meal.


Remember, to lose weight and maintain long-term requires changing your lifestyle. Make changes you can live with forever and make them gradually. Baby steps… or as I taught my children many years ago… inch by inch, everything is a cinch.


Happy, healthy eating! Eat slowly, savor each bite and enjoy.



Weight loss and sexual enhancement supplements…more than you bargained for?


An article was published in the New York Times a few months ago written by Natasha Singer about supplements that may be tainted with unlabeled medications and shipped to this country.

The most common offenders are weight loss supplements and sexual enhancement supplements.

Sibutramine is the most common illegal additive to weight loss supplements. Sibutramine was available in the US as Meridia until October 2010 when it was removed from the market after research showed it could cause an increase risk of heart attack and stroke. Consider this: you’re taking a diet supplement that’s not supposed to have a risk of heart attack and stroke, but because a supplier added sibutramine to it without labeling it as such, you can be putting yourself at risk without even knowing it!


Sexual enhancement supplements are also common targets for adding medications or analogues without being truly labeled as such. They may contain Viagra or components similar to it. Many patients purchase sexual enhancement supplements when there are medical reasons they can’t use Viagra or other prescription erectile function medications, such as taking nitrates or have certain heart problems. For a patient to be using tainted supplements, they may be putting themselves at a greater risk than even using regulated medications as doses can be varying and unknown in many of the supplements.


Ms. Singer’s article keeps the integrity of most supplements in mind – these contaminations are outliers but are real possibilities. All supplements shouldn’t be disregarded because there are issues with some manufacturers and some types of supplements. Buying especially these types of supplements from a reputable store with quality brands is important.


One point not addressed in the article, but that is important – if you think you’ve had any sort of reaction to these types of supplements – let your healthcare practitioner know regardless of the outcome. Lastly, remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!



Top 10 Excuses Mothers Use in Weight Loss: #9


So, if you have been trying to keep up with this blog, I will just have to ask you to smack me with a wet noodle.  As you have read from my other posts, I am a mom of three along with juggling “life”.  The “Blog-Ball” was dropped for a few months but as with all things worthwhile, I am back again!

Let’s get to the #9 excuse mothers use in weight loss:

“I may be a little soft around the middle but I am healthy because I take a stroll in the evening with my husband and child(ren).”


I may be a little soft around the middle but I am healthy because I take a stroll in the evening with my husband and child(ren).  No doubt that healthy women come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  We have to be careful to not fall into the trap of accepting the “new normal” though. You are asking, “What is the new normal”?  The media would have us believe that either you have to be stick thin with an unhealthy body mass index-BMI- (think stick figure with a skirt on) or that being pleasantly plump with a BMI that is at overweight or even obese (think rolls that are cute on that fluffy baby in your arms but not so much on your body when you look in the mirror as you step out of the shower) is OK.


I have yet to come across a woman, especially a mommy, who is happy with either extreme.  They are searching for a shape/size that makes them feel sexy and fit enough to keep up with the demands of their busy lives.  So let’s address what I hear mommies, and women in general, tell me they want and how to achieve it.


If you have had one child or four, you know that your body is NEVER the same.  You have marks on your hips, belly and breasts that look like some animal has left deep scratches on you (stretch marks).  If you had a C-section, you have a little belly pooch that seems impossible to get rid of without going under the knife.  All three of my kids were delivered by C-section so I feel your frustration!


What happened to that taut mid-section that didn’t jiggle when you walked and a bust line that didn’t need a little help from Victoria’s Secret?  While a stroll in the evening is a wonderful way to spend time with your family AND encourage your kidlets to incorporate fitness into their life, it IS NOT ENOUGH to get you to your goals!  You have to sweat and traditional cardio (treadmill, elliptical, etc.) is not going to be enough.  You have to add resistance to your routine.


Head to the gym and push your way between the meat-heads in the free weight area so you can see yourself in the mirror.  Grab a couple of dumbbells, make eye contact with yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you gave birth so you can do anything!  Those muscle bound guys trying to dominate the free weight area would probably break down into blubbering mounds of jelly if they had to go through childbirth…you are mommy, hear you ROAR!


There are multiple SCIENTIFIC research studies that show how excess belly-fat can negatively impact your health.  I can guarantee you that none of the weigh-loss supplements on the market are going to get you to your goal, no matter what their “research” says without hard work and dedication to a healthy diet and exercise. “An excessive amount of belly fat can increase estrogen production which may lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Recent research also has associated belly fat with an increased risk of premature death — regardless of overall weight. In fact, some studies have found that even when women were considered a normal weight based on standard body mass index (BMI) measurements, a large waistline increased the risk of dying of cardiovascular disease, cancer and other causes.


Ridding yourself of excess belly fat not only preserves your health for you but for your kids, spouse AND #9 excuse mothers use in weight lossthose grandchildren down the line.  You want to be alive and healthy to tell stories…”When you mother was your age she (fill in the blank).”  To top that off, a healthy waist circumference lets you wear fitted shirts that show off your hard work and not those that you put on and think, “This doesn’t make me look pregnant…well, not really.”  A strong core (that would be your waist line) also makes it a lot easier to live a life that is full of fun with your family.


You can perform everyday activities without worry about strains, sprains or more serious injury.  You can play with your kids without feeling quite so worn out.  The best perk…you catch your spouse checking you out on the sly!  When your spouse realizes others are checking you out too, he becomes a little more “protective” of the amazing woman he has on his arm.  Who doesn’t want to feel desired and prized by their spouse?  One more perk, YOU see other guys checking you out…talk about an ego boost!


I know it is difficult to not clean up your child’s dinner plate, especially if it is a favorite meal.  I know it is difficult to carve out time for yourself to work on your core/waist line. I know it is difficult to choose a carrot or banana over the last piece of chocolate pie.  YOU control your body!  Not your cravings…not what someone else says about you…not what society says you should look like…YOU ARE THEY KEY!  Set your mind to the goal.  Do it first for you then for your family.  They want you around for a long time to create more memories like only a mommy can. It will be hard and your emotions will tell you that it is ”too hard”.  Your heart lies to you sometimes…you need to lead your heart and emotions. Don’t let them lead you, especially if it is right off the cliff sacrificing your health and self-esteem.


If you don’t have the strength to start or continue the process yourself, find a certified personal trainer to help you on your journey or a supportive friend who wants to see you succeed!




Stick to Your New Year’s Fitness Resolution


In a 2011 Marist Poll, 67% of adults who made a New Year’s resolution kept their word for at least part of the year, and the remaining 33% didn’t even make it out of the gate. So if you’re really serious about losing weight or exercising more this year, how can you actually stick to your fitness resolution?

Make Realistic Resolutions

Start by making sustainable and achievable goals. Vowing to run 10 miles every day for a year is simply setting yourself up for failure. Make your fitness resolutions work with your schedule and if possible break them into mini-goals. If you’re goal is to lose 40 pounds, aim for around 3-4 lbs a month and you’ll be on track.


Be specific as you craft your fitness resolutions. “Getting to the gym more often” could mean anything. Try something like, “Running twice a week for at least 20 minutes and going to yoga twice a week.” That sort of black and white statement doesn’t leave room for interpretation. Either you completed your goal or you didn’t.


Write It Down & Publicize It

Putting your resolution in print gives it legitimacy and makes it more “real”. Jot your fitness resolution down on the inside cover of your planner, write it on the refrigerator white board, or get creative and make a resolution collage featuring your goal and motivational quotes or images. Bottom line, make sure your resolution goes somewhere it can’t be ignored.


After you’ve chosen a realistic fitness goal and written it down, tell someone. Seek out your spouse or close friend who will be supportive and encouraging. Maybe you’ll even find yourself and partner moving toward a healthier lifestyle together!


Keep a Record

Track your success! Set up a system to monitor your progress. This could be something as simple as a calorie calendar or a small note book you record meals and exercise in. Technology lovers should take advantage of the myriad of online programs designed to track nutrition and exercise. Many have coordinating applications for smartphones so recording your meals and activity is a breeze.


Some popular nutrition apps are MyFitnessPal and Daily Burn. Both programs help track diet and exercise and allow you to set daily caloric goals. If you just want to track exercise, there are plenty of applications geared towards running, biking, weight lifting and even yoga. RunKeeper and Edomondo Sports Tracker are perfect for recording bouts of cardio. The app GymGoal gives a number of different workout routines for gym goers and instructs exercisers on proper machine usage. Authentic Yoga includes instructional poses and videos for all yogis—from beginner to experts.


Find a tracking system that works for you and stick to it. It’s exciting to see your progress and it will make it easier to notice your improvements!


Reward Yourself

Sticking to your resolution will require incredible time, effort, and will power. Rewarding yourself for all your hard work will prevent burn out and help you see your resolution to the end. Now, this doesn’t mean you can finish off a roll of cookie dough after an especially tough work out (despite how wonderful that sounds). Treat yourself to new exercise clothing or a new pair of sport sunglasses after you make it to the six month mark. Lock the bathroom door and sit the kids in front of a movie while you take a warm bath after a tough kick boxing class. As the saying goes, “work hard, play hard.”


Stay positive, and remember no one is perfect. You can always jump back on the horse if you fall off!

About the Author: Maggie is a health nut and science nerd with a BS in Kinesiology and Health. She lives in Indianapolis, IN where she works as a content writer for a discount sunglasses store. Outside of work, Maggie enjoys running, cooking, trying new restaurants, and spending time with family and friends.




Beating the Bulge for Beginners – Starting Gently


If you have committed yourself to making a change in your lifestyle that is going to help you lose weight and live longer, congratulations! The major areas that you are going to have to adjust involve your diet, and the amount of physical activity that you have to do on a daily basis.


But don’t despair, the words diet and exercise don’t have to mean suffering and pain. Remember that you are changing your lifestyle for the better, and because this is a lengthy, life-long process, you can start with baby steps that will make you feel great and get you on the road to where you need to be.

Understanding Food

The best way to understand food is as fuel for your body, which functions as a machine. If you don’t have enough fuel in your machine to get you through the activities of the day, you get hungry. Your body tells you that you need food. However, if you put too much fuel into the machine, it gets stored for later use. Your body is smart enough to convert the excess into fuel for later, but the problem is that your body converts this excess food into fat. It’s trying to help you to survive, but you end up overweight and unhealthy. You need to get the balance between fuel intake (food) and burning (exercise) correct, so that your body functions as well as it can.



You may have heard health experts talk about calorie consumption. A calorie is a unit of energy that your body uses as fuel to get through the day. Every day, whether you are awake, sleeping, walking, running, or even eating, your body is burning up energy. The thing is that many unhealthy, popular foods are very high in calories, and your body doesn’t get a chance to burn all this energy off. SO you end up taking in significantly more fuel than you can burn fat faster, and you end up gaining wait. The average person requires between 1800 and 2400 calories per day. If you want to lose weight at a rate of approximately 1kg per week, you need to cut your daily calorie intake by about 500 a day.

Glycaemic Index

It seems logical that if you have to drop your calorie intake, then you can simply eat less, but this isn’t the case. You have to eat foods that keep you feeling full, and release energy slowly throughout the day so that you always have just enough fuel to get you through the day.
Foods that are high in sugars and carbohydrates give you energy immediately, so your body feels full when you eat, but the machine burns it quickly and you need to refuel again soon. In this manner you end up taking in extra calories. You need a healthy diet with foods that release energy all day, and leave you feeling full all the time. The rate at which your body burns up food is called the foods’ glyceamic index. The lower, the better. Aim at foods that are low on the glyceamic index, and you will lose weight, feel full, and always have the energy you need.

This guest post was written by freelance writer Victoria. She is currently learning about small business website builder




5 Easy Home Cardio Workouts to Kick-Start Wight Loss


It’s that time of year again. Time to set your workout, diet and weight loss goals. For many people, this means deciding to join a gym. But if you don’t like gyms or perhaps don’t have the financial means or time to join a gym, consider working out at home.

There are a wide range of cardio workouts available that you can do in or around your home. Effective cardio, weight loss and muscle building exercises are all possible. Many believe they have to join a gym to get the best results. This is the power of marketing. The truth is with enough creativity and motivation, home workouts may be the best solution especially for those new to a workout routine and are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with gyms.


There is no need to dedicate an entire room in your house to store bulky equipment or expensive sets of weights in order to see results. The following is a list of the top five cardio workouts you can perform from the comfort of your home, or around your neighborhood, and still get effective weight loss and muscle building results.


Top 5 Home Cardio Workouts


1. DVDs and Online Workouts

There are hundreds of workout DVDs to choose from. If you prefer looking online, try searching for online streaming workouts. There are many subscription websites available for general fitness, yoga, Pilates and much more. Today, people have access to more fitness videos than ever before. For those looking to lose weight, choose any DVD or online service that advertises at least 40 minutes of aerobic activity.


If you’re looking to build or tone muscle, look for workouts that use a light set of hand weights. You don’t need to shell out hundreds of dollars on a complicated set of weights. Women will benefit from 3, 5 and 8 pound weights, while men will see results with 10, 12 and 15 pound weights. You’ll get an effective workout and not have to worry about where to store your weights- just roll them under your bed or the couch until you need them again.


If you’re hoping to lose weight and build muscle, look for a workout that offers cardio and strength training segments. These types of workouts keep your heart pumping, which burns fat and calories, while pushing your muscles to shape up with the help of hand weights or by using your own body weight as resistance. Another popular choice are martial arts based workouts, like kick boxing. You won’t need any weights for these workouts and you will certainly get the best of both worlds, as far as cardio and strength training goes.


2. Home Drills

Another effective way to get a workout in for busy people is what is referred to as “at home drills.” Carve out three, ten minute segments out of your day. During those ten minute sessions, do a series of jumping jacks, jump rope, and running in place (high knees, butt kicks) or simply running up and down your set of stairs. Do these three times per day and your results will be the same as someone who spends a solid 30 minutes working out each day.


3. Walking/Hiking 

People underestimate the effectiveness of a daily walk or hike around their neighborhood. Mothers of young children should especially consider taking up this type of cardio activity most days of the week. Get a good cardiovascular workout while getting the kids out of the house at the same time. You can get an incredibly effective workout on a simple walk from your home to the local park.


You’ll get bonus points if you’re pushing your little one(s) in a stroller! Don’t make the mistake of only dawdling through the neighborhood. To get maximum results, you want your heart rate to accelerate and you want to break a sweat. Add some variety by stopping every other house you pass up and do a set of squats, or even dropping to the ground and doing a set of pushups.  Adding strength training to your cardio workout routine will burn fat faster than just performing cardio alone.


4. Swimming

If you have access to a swimming pool at your home or as part of your community take advantage of it. Swimming is a wonderful way to get an effective cardio workout in. One hour of swimming can easily burn 500 calories. The best part is you won’t ever feel yourself sweating! Swimming is perfect for people who’ve never worked out, those who’ve recently experienced an injury, or the elderly. It’s easy on your joints and doesn’t strain your muscles.


5. Dancing 

Hate jumping jacks? Don’t have stairs? Turn up the music and dance! In fact, get some cleaning done around the house while you’re dancing at the same time and burn twice as many calories! Pay attention to the muscles you are working. Focus on controlling your abs and exaggerate certain moves to get an even more effective workout. It’s fun, effective, and doesn’t require you embarrassing yourself in front of anyone else.


There are obviously many more things you can do to get an effective workout at home – even some video games are popular options. But remember, no matter what you do, you should find joy in it. You may discover a new love for yoga or dance. You may decide that swimming is your best option. The idea is to create a healthier lifestyle by developing a sustainable workout routines – and it’s different for everyone. If you are not enjoying yourself, chances are you won’t stick with it and you’ll fall short on your new year’s resolutions. If you’ve never exercised before, check with your doctor before beginning any new program.


Nathan Joynt is a health expert an advocate for healthy, natural living. He works for Gaiam Inc, producers of award-winning yoga videos.




6 Ways to Lose Weight and Keep It Off!

How would you like to lose 72.6 pounds and keep it off for at least five years? Do you think it’s impossible without diet shakes, fads, pills, or starvation? Well then, let me introduce you to over 4,000 people who have lost this much weight on average, kept it off, and done so without any expensive plans or gimmicks. Who are they? They are participants in a program called “The National Weight Control Registry”.



Lose weight and keep it off The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) was founded in 1994 by two university scientists who wanted to learn a lot more about how to lose weight and keep it off successfully. Anyone who is over 18, has lost at least 30 pounds, and has maintained this loss for more than one year is eligible to enroll. Thus far, the NWCR has enrolled more than 4,000 people who willingly share their personal keys to weight loss success. With fad diet after fad diet on bestseller lists (and still millions of Americans obese), NWCR has made an attempt to figure out what real “losers” do to attain successful long term weight loss.


Keys to successful weight maintenance With data collected for over 11 years, here’s what we’ve learned about how these people have effectively lost weight and kept it off:

1. Learn about “you” daily to keep the weight off

Most participants in the NWCR continuously monitor their eating habits. Many keep a daily food journal to hold themselves accountable to their goals. They continuously learn about how to manage their own individual “high risk” situations such as eating when stressed or “cleaning the plate” out of habit rather than hunger.

2. Exercise is still required in the maintenance stage of weight loss

We all know exercise is important for weight loss and health, but NWCR participants have taken exercise to new heights! On average, NWCR enrollees incorporate 60-90 minutes of moderate to high intensity exercise daily! The most popular exercise among NWCR participants is walking—on average 5-6 miles daily. These participants have demonstrated that you simply can’t eliminate exercise from a successful weight loss program.

3. Stay away from fad diets to avoid regaining your weight

While many NWCR enrollees tried fad diets in the past, the majority say that a low fat, high carbohydrate, moderate protein diet is what got them where they are today. Now they focus more on choosing foods that are nutrient dense and healthy.

4. Get an attitude adjustment to dieting and weight loss

Most NWCR participants had to change their thinking about dieting and weight loss. Some felt weight loss was impossible because “it’s in their genes” to be fat. Others had nearly given up because they had “failed” so many diets in the past. The key difference is that these same people finally gave up the “doom and gloom” attitude and faced this concept head on: A healthy lifestyle is a lifelong commitment and must be taken slowly, day by day.

5. Keeping the weight off: adopt and stick to your routine

It takes a long time to develop healthy habits, but once those habits are developed, stick to them! Over half of NWCR participants stick to their diet, lifestyle and exercise routine daily – even on holidays and in restaurants. In addition, most participants frequent restaurants no more than two or three times per week because of the chanllenges of keeping your discipline when eating out.

6. Hold yourself accountable to ensure you stick with the new routine

Many participants report that weighing yourself regularly, having commitments to others to exercise, or being accountable to a group is important. These extra “monitoring devices” help them to correct undesirable practices before they get too out of hand. The lessons passed on by the participants in the NWCR are really nothing new. However, they provide valuable reinforcement nonetheless. Hard work, persistence, dedication, patience, and a daily commitment to health – not thinness – provide the keys to f. Start practicing some of their tips today and maybe one day you can be a NWCR participant yourself!



Does the HCG diet really work? NO, and here is why


Diets, diets everywhere…. As we prepare to commit to new health or weight loss schedule, many of us tend to take stock of our waistlines and make that resolution to lose a few pounds (or pants sizes).

A diet trend that has been widely talked about is the “HCG diet.” Before you consider using that for your New Years resolution, read this!


Weight gained or loss is a result of calories in (or eaten) vs. calories out (or burned). Eat more than you need, you gain weight. Exercise and a sensible diet is truly the best way to care for your body. But what about when you can’t find time/motivation/energy to exercise but still want results? Many people have turned to “the HCG diet” to find results in recent years.


Nutrition is a subject that is sometimes overlooked in health courses. Whether future medical professionals take  health science classes  online or in the classroom, more than a few of them learn very little about the body’s nutritional needs. You may ask a doctor for advice about a diet program, but don’t necessarily expect a useful response. Programs like the  HCG diet  may not even be recognized by most doctors


HCG is a hormone naturally produced during pregnancy. Theoretically, using it as a supplement along with a restricted diet promotes rapid weight loss. The recommended calorie intake with this diet is a measly 500 calories a day. I was taught somewhere along the way that your brain, just your brain, needs 600 calories a day to do its job. Average caloric intake is 2000 calories a day, modified in small increments as needed for each individual person. The real truth is that a 500-calorie diet will produce a dramatic, but unhealthy, weight loss regardless of what supplement(s) a person is using.


HCG supplements sold over-the-counter are sometimes labeled as “homeopathic” meaning they have very small amounts of HCG in them, if any at all. These products are making claims for dramatic weight loss without the evidence, without the science to support these claims. Furthermore, the recommended diet along with these supplements can be dangerous. Extreme, restrictive diets put people at a higher risk of gallstone formation, irregular heartbeat, and electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes are required to keep the body’s muscle and nerves functioning properly.


If I have a patient that is currently eating 2000 calories per day and maintaining weight, but wants to lose weight, taking an average of 500 calories per day less will equate in a 3500 calorie/week deficit, resulting in a pound per week weight loss. When patients lose more than 1-2 pounds per week, I start getting concerned about what they’re losing – water, fat or muscle. Water drops off first, and then we get to the nitty gritty. If someone is eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly - fat will usually then be lost. But without the balanced diet and exercise, muscle is as likely to go as the fat. So what, you wonder?


If you’ve lost muscle you have less calorie-burning tissue and when your “diet” is over and you resume “normal” eating, you’ll have an excess of calories. When you have an excess of calories, you body converts the extra to fat. It usually means you gain the weight back quicker than you lost it and usually gain more than you had lost to begin with. You may be able to fit into that dress for the special occasion, but not for long.


Restrictive diets  are also not sustainable – not something you can do for a lifetime. Eating a balanced, healthy diet is something that can be continued lifelong, as is exercise. Make the better choices for you health, for your lifetime, not just for a short-term result.



Why Restrictive Diets Flop (And What to Do About it)


Do you spend more time thinking about what to eat or about what not to eat?


Constantly focusing on what not to eat starts your brain down that negative path, and it’s much easier to feel deprived if you are constantly focusing on what you can’t have. If you are constantly thinking about all the pizza, ice cream, brownies, cookies, etc. that you can’t have, then it’s possible you will end up wanting it even more because of all your focus is on those specific foods.

Of course you still need to pay some attention to what not to eat, but make sure you are not neglecting what you do need to eat to fuel a healthy body. Put your thoughts and energy into making sure you are getting enough of the good stuff (and by good, I mean healthy). It’s fairly common for adults to be lacking in protein, vegetable, and good fats.


  • The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.5 grams of protein for every pound of body weight per day.
  • Most experts recommend a minimum of 5 fruits and vegetables with the emphasis on vegetables.


How will you divide up protein and fruits and veggies between your meals and snacks? Chances are if you don’t plan it out ahead of time, you will fall short of the minimums.


  • Good fats (fatty fish, fish oil, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, flax seed oil, olives, and avocados) are essential to a complete and healthy diet. Focus on getting fats into your diet. Even saturated fat from pasture-raised animals (grass fed beef for example) falls into the good category.  Fats to avoid are the trans fats. Trans fats raise your LDL cholesterol level and lower your HDL cholesterol level which is the exact combination that increases your risk of heart disease.

Think hydrogenated (made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil). They are found in commercially baked goods, doughnuts, French fries, shortening, margarine and other highly processed foods.


To help avoid trans fats check the labels for “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” and for shortening.


[Also Read:  What is Addiction to Food and How Does it Affect our Health and Relationships]

As you will probably guess, focusing on what to eat does take some energy and thought. But when all that thought and energy goes towards the positive, it makes a big difference (instead of always focusing on what you can’t have)!