If you are one of those individuals who struggles to maintain a healthy body weight, despite following a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise, you are not alone. Weight management can prove to be a challenge for many - hence, the large market for weight loss products. It is easy to become discouraged when your attempt to lose weight is unsuccessful. However, you should not perceive your struggle as a failure. Rather, view the setback as an opportunity for personal growth.
You may need to reevaluate your weight loss plan. If it is not working for you, it may mean that you simply need to change your approach. Maybe you need to alter the timing of your meals or change your mode of exercise. Everyone's physiology is different; therefore, not all diet plans and exercise regimens will have the same effect. Consider the following points below and determine if they would fit into your journey toward better health:
- Weight Train To Maintain - muscle mass starts to decline around the age of 30, by about 1% per year. This can have a negative impact on your metabolism. Weight training increases your energy expenditure and some research indicates that it mobilizes fat from your abdominal region (decreases visceral fat). Muscle tissue has a greater metabolic demand than fat tissue. To boost your metabolism as you age, ensure you are including at least 2 days of weight training as part of your exercise regimen. Exercises should work the major muscle groups of your body. The average adult should attempt to perform 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions per strength training exercise (this may need to be altered based on your personal goals and fitness level).
- Add Yoga To Your Exercise Routine - A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that those individuals who performed yoga were more likely to practice "mindful" eating in which they ate more slowly and stopped eating when they were satiated compared to subjects who did not practice yoga. Yoga goers also had lower BMIs.
- Watch When You Eat - Although consumption of a post-exercise meal that is rich in carbohydrates is recommended for athletes to maximize their performance, it may not be the best option for the average individual looking to lose weight. A study published in the August 2005 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology found that the exercise-induced caloric deficit achieved by walking on a treadmill was negated when a carbohydrate-rich supplement was consumed immediately after exercise. Therefore, if weight loss is your goal, you do not want to consume a high carbohydrate meal immediately after exercise.
- Manage Your Stress - when your body is in a stressed state it releases cortisol. Cortisol plays a role in mobilizing energy for the body in these situations. Chronic stress results in high concentrations of cortisol. High levels of this hormone can result in fat being deposited in the abdomen (visceral fat), subsequently leading to obesity if not controlled. High levels of cortisol can also increase your appetite and cravings for "sugary" and high-fat foods. Over-consumption of these foods can cause weight gain. If stress is a problem for you, try scheduling "down" time, reducing your workload by delegating tasks, and/or engage in stress management techniques (e.g., deep breathing exercises, yoga, etc.,).
Achieving a healthy lifestyle is a process. It requires frequent "checks-and-balances" to stay the course. Setbacks should not be viewed as failures, just indicators that changes are needed.
Journal of Applied Physiology, August 2005, pp. 2285-2293, "Improved Insulin Action Following Short-Term Exercise Training: Role of Energy and Carbohydrate Balance," Black, S.E., et al.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association, August 2009, pp. 1439-1444, "Development and Validation of the Mindful Eating Questionnaire." Framson, C. et al.
ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal, September/October 2005, pp. 20-23, "Cortisol Connection: Tips on Managing Stress and Weight," Maglione-Garves, C.A. et al.
Labels: mindful eating, stress management, timing your meal, weight training, Yoga