Wednesday, January 15, 2014

From Fat to Fit...What Works

Our January cover story, Fit for Business, takes a look at some of the many kinds of fitness centers and exercise programs available to those who are interested in getting in shape, or changing their shape.
Photo:  Mike Wilson

A large component of the fitness business is weight loss.  Doctors and weight loss gurus have been telling us for years that exercise or diet alone won't give us the same results as exercise and diet. But is that really the bottom line? Statistically, most people who lose a significant amount of weight will gain it all or most of it back. Sometimes, even more weight is gained than was lost in the diet phase.  Why is that?

Quite simply, dieting is about losing weight, not changing the way we live. Unless there is a long-term commitment and the determination to make changes to our everyday lives, we are setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment.

In an October, 2013 blog for People magazine, renowned fitness and nutrition expert Harley Pasternak, takes on weight loss television shows, saying, " my opinion these shows are doing more to hurt our understanding of healthy living than they are to help it."

Boot camps, retreats, 24/7 monitoring and live-in personal trainers do result in dramatic weight loss, but how many of us can arrange or even afford that? Ordinary people trying to lose weight are usually on their own or maybe have a friend or two making the journey with them.  It's hard to lose weight (I'm not talking to those who just need to get rid of that five pounds you gained over the holidays!) and even harder to keep it off forever.

Programs like Weight Watchers work to educate people about food and making the best choices for long-term weight management.  There are other programs, each with its own approach to weight loss.  Many of them require you to eat only foods they sell. And all of them cost something, a joining fee, meeting charges, consultation fees, food costs.  It can be expensive.

WebMD might have the best free advice out there:
  • Set a realistic goal
  • Log your foods...all of them
  • Log your activity
  • Monitor your nutrients (fats, sodium, sugar, etc.)
  • Track your progress

Going it on your own is harder than having to turn up weekly and be accountable for your progress, or lack of progress, but if you're disciplined and determined it is possible to successfully lose and keep off weight on your own.

How about you?  What have you tried that worked...or failed?  Let us know!

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