Exercise & Diet: How To Lose Weight

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Ideal Weight

First you must determine your ideal weight. Here is a site to check — http://www.halls.md/ideal-weight/body.htm

Ideal Waist & BMI

Some say one should keep track of waist size, not weight. Same for BMI. Here is a government site that tells you what is your ideal waist and BMI. Click here. The formula for best waist size works this way. If you are 5 ft 11 inches and weigh 190 lbs, then the formula is , 190 x 703 [the figure govt proposes] divided by (height in inches squared) or 71 squared.)

Using a Food Log

Most studies show that if you write down everything you eat in a food log, you eat less and lose weight, regardless of what you are eating. I find it also educates you on the shocking amount of calories in certain foods, e.g., 990 calories in a milk shake.
Now that I have an Ipod Touch, I found loseit.com. And there is a free app that is excellent with a database built into the app of foods. I then enter each meal. When my ipod is near a wireless connection, it syncs the data to the website. I have been more successful following this than other food log efforts because it literally is beside me as I eat and make choices. This tracks calories eaten versus the 1968 calories my body burns without any effort each day. It also tracks exercises and those calories, giving you a complete picture whether you are eating more or less calories than you burn. I love it. (In 90 days, I lost 29 lbs — from 193 lbs down to 164. I got lax recently and regained 6 lbs. I am back to using loseit’s app, and shaping up again.)
Before this, I did a food log using a free online database from www.fitday.com. It has a database of foods, and you can create a custom food too. I like this because at work, I can enter my lunch. Or on vacation. (I eventually shelled out $29 for the program on my computer. Until my Ipod system, I synced it every day with the online data I entered. )
Fitday also tracks your exercising. You have to add it manually. What I like about that is I can see what my total calories burned are in relation to my food and exercise. I recommend this over relying upon all the other logs I outline below (with the exception the Ipod system-lose.it.com system which has now proven superior). This is because the only sure way to lose weight is to consistently eat less calories than you burn. With Fitday I can see that I am on track (as well as when I am bad.)
So fitday shows I burn 2400 calories as a sedentary individual based upon my weight and height. (Log me in says is it 1960). With fitday, I would try to eat less than 2400 calories per day. This may help you.
But I will say I lose weight better using loseit’s Ipod application, and its lower threshold of 1968 calories.

Using Exercise Logs

1 Keeping An Exercise Log

Writing down progress, and seeing it visually, helps motivate you to continue. Fitlink is a free website that keeps track of activities and even body-areas being strengthened. It also has a google mashup where you can draw your route, and get the precise distance measurement. Click here to find.

2. To Lose Weight You Need To Be in Zone To Burn Fat 

A chiropractor advised me that just burning calories will not be able to rid the tire around our waste. We need to have the optimum heart beats per minute maintained for 20-40 minutes to burn significant fat calories in your body.
The optimum exercise heart rate zone, he advised, is 180 minus your years in age. For me that is a net 129 (i.e., 180-51 years of age). So this chiropractor advised me to get a heart rate monitor device, and then use it to see that I am jogging/walking with a bp minute of 129 for 20-40 minutes. He recommended a 10 minute gradual warm up and a 10 minute gradual warm down. Polar does too, and has an informative graphic to explain what to do.
[Update: Polar in its email newsletter of 8-18-2010 advised a longer warm-up. It reads:

We often forget to start our training sessions with a proper warm-up.  Although we might question, “what’s the point?”, it’s good to remember that warming up is important even for those low intensity sessions. Let’s say you’re doing a longer run or cycling ride, where your pace is steady and intensity light. Even then, the optimal warm-up time is 20–30 minutes in an even lighter intensity zone, say 55–60% of your maximum heart rate. Warming up builds your capillaries and helps keep the session aerobic. It also activates your fat metabolism for the session to ensure that you’re using glycogen to fuel your muscles rather than carbohydrates alone. You’ll benefit from the training a lot more if you ease into it by starting slow. You’ll also avoid many strain injuries and get your muscles ready for the workout. And as always, don’t forget to listen to your body.]


So I went and purchased a Polar device with a chest strap for $159. (I tried a different product for $99 first and  it promised the same information without a strap, but it was misleading. You had to press 2 fingers on the dial to see your bp, which is useless if you are on a treadmill.)
So I used the Polar, and it reports how many calories I burned in a training session, and how many of those calories were fat. For example, so far I hit 21% of the calories burned are burned from fat.
Then you can keep your stats at www.polarpersonaltrainer.com
To buy polar accessories or join the community, it is http://www.polar.fi/en/
It has training articles at this link – http://www.polar.fi/en/training_with_polar/training_articles
To access the data on your computer, you have to purchase a polar USB device called Polar FlowLink.
Or if you are using a Life Fitness piece of equipment at the same time, the same data is saved to your usb stick that you put in to record the results each time. Then at this website – http://www.virtualtrainer.lifefitness.com/vt/ — you can upload the data to a free website to log the data.
The zone is the area of aerobic exercise, and not sports-level exercise which is anaerobic.
For the distinction, see this page at Polar.
CAUTION: after exercise, stretch. (Not such a good idea beforehand as your muscles are tight, and might cause injury). Polar has this recommendation:

Cool-Down and Stretching

Cool down by gradually reducing the intensity of your exercise to bring your heart rate back down to below your target zone. Then, stretch the main muscles you just worked to prevent injury and stiffness. For example, stretch your leg muscles after a run. And keep the following guidelines in mind while stretching:

– Don’t bounce

– Stretch slowly and steadily

– Hold the stretch for a slow count of ten

– Don’t push yourself into a painful stretch

Recovery Time is Key

To be prepared for the next workout, you need to rest which is where your body prepares for the next routine. As Polar explains:
 In other words, fitness improves not during exercise but during rest. Giving your body ample time to recover from exercise is therefore crucial to getting fit.


3. How to Calculate the Fat Burning Zone

Polar explains that the medium intensity zone is the aerobic zone where fat is burned unlike high intensity training. Here is its explanation:

Moderate Intensity Zone

Push on to 70-80% of your HR [heart rate] max, and you are in the Moderate Intensity Zone. This is especially good for people who are exercising regularly. For most people, this is often the fastest pace they can maintain and still remain comfortable and free of pain. Exercising in this zone is particularly effective for improving aerobic (i.e. cardiovascular) fitness. If you are out of shape, your muscles will use carbohydrates for fuel when you are exercising in this zone. As you get fitter, your body starts using a higher and higher percentage of fat for fuel, thus preserving its limited stores of muscle carbohydrate. Exercising in the moderate intensity zone results in some additional benefits:

Improves aerobic fitness
Improves endurance
Helps in weight control
Accustoms your body to exercising at a faster pace
Begins to raise the speed you can maintain without building up lactic acid. (Polar)

According to a personal trainer advisor, the American College of Sports Medicine says that your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. Then the aerobic zone target is 70%-80% of that figure. For myself, at 51, 220-51 = 171 as my maximum heart rate. Then 70% of that would be 119 and 80% would be 136. This is very close to the same result my chiropractor gave me that my aerobic target zone is 180-my age (51) or 129.

3. Strength Training


My chiropractor and Polar agree to add strength training – weights — to help lose weight. Polar gives these recommendations on how to start and maintain:

For initial resistance levels, loads corresponding to 8–12 repetition maximum are recommended in most movements. The training should be progressive, i.e. a slow and gradual increase in loads is recommended, provided you can perform one or two extra repetitions with good technique. For training frequency, two or three days per week is recommended for novice and intermediate training, while four or five times a week should suffice for advanced training. (Polar.)

4. Polar Index


Polar invites you to do a fitness test for 5 minutes to see your resting heart rate. I scored a 28 initially which was good for my age. Polar recommends you keep doing this once a month to see whether your aerobic capacity is increasing:

The result of the Polar Fitness Test is OwnIndex. This is a value that is comparable to your maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), a commonly used descriptor of aerobic fitness. OwnIndex rises as you get fitter, and can range from about 25 for sedentary or unfit persons to 95, a level reached by some Olympic-level endurance athletes.

Progress in your OwnIndex will gradually occur over time. Testing yourself once a month will give you a good picture of these changes, making the OwnIndex an excellent yardstick to track the way your aerobic fitness is improving.

5. Swimming with Polar Watches

While the Polar watches are waterproof to 30 m, it is not recommended to press any buttons under water. (Mpp2008, 23-09-2008 entry.) Polar’s official word on this is at this link. It says this is true for the transmitter strap as well: “These characteristics also apply to Polar WearLink transmitter W.I.N.D.” Its key points are:


Polar products can be worn when swimming. They are not, however, diving instruments. To maintain water resistance, do not press the buttons of the product under water. When measuring heart rate in water, you may experience interference for the following reasons:

    • Pool water with high chlorine content, and seawater are very conductive. The electrodes of the transmitter may short-circuit, preventing ECG signals from being detected by the transmitter.

    • Jumping into water or strenuous muscle movement during competitive swimming may shift the transmitter to a location on the body where ECG signals cannot be picked up.

    • The ECG signal strength is individual and may vary depending on the individual’s tissue composition. Problems occur more frequently when measuring heart rate in water. 

6 Keeping A Calorie Log

See how effective exercise is in assisting you keep off weight. One free service is http://www.my-calorie-counter.com/.

7 One Site Logs It All

One free site offers weight logs, exercise logs, calorie logs etc. You will find this at http://www.extrapounds.com

8 Computerized Tracking

Garmin products offer superb tracking, but at some cost. For example, for $199 you can wear watches that track all key data. See this link.

Calorie Search Sites

    Foods.

Here is where to find how much calories, fats, etc. in foods. It is http://www.fatsecret.com

Exercise

1 Calories Burned in Exercise

Here is an excellent site that tells you how much calories burned in various exercises. http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc

2 Track Time Not Aerobics

However, Dieting for Dummies (2009) claims that it is more important to make the amount of time spent in exercise close to one hour a day, after a gradual build up. Thus, instead of trying to reach an aerobic quotient of points, as Dr. Cooper taught in the 1970s, we should aim at regularity of exercise — habit, and a significant time commitment.

3 The Best Indoor Home Exerciser

The Rebounder is the best way to stay on track year round. You can do a light walk on it, a high end bounce, running, etc., and it is never hard on your knees or joints or back. While rebounding, you can easily watch TV and even socialize with family. It is good for the lymph nodes as well because of the bouncing.[1]
After doing this exercise, it is important to do a stretch to stop tightening of the muscles near the hips. Thus, take one leg at a time, and pull your ankle up to you rear-end. Keep the hip forward. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat 5x. My wife, a personal trainer, taught me this, and it works.
One video from G-ForceHealth.com claims NASA has endorsed rebounding. It supposedly burns more calories than walking or running. You can burn up to 700 calories per hour on a rebounder.[2]

There are many types of bounces, and you can see them at this google search of videos.[3] (I have no affiliation with any rebounding seller/mfr. This is just my experience.)

4. Benefits of Resistance Exercise

The Caring for Cancer Website has this to say about one advantage of resistance exercising — using universal weight machines:

Resistance exercise better than aerobic for blood glucose

Ten weeks of resistance exercise (3 sessions a week of typically around 35 minutes) were associated with significantly better glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes compared with aerobic treadmill exercise although the average energy expenditure for both exercise groups was similar according to a study published in Diabetology and Metabolic Syndrome.

Before each session, participants in both groups performed warm up exercises, consisting of stretching exercises for the major muscle groups and there were no differences between the groups concerning their perceived exertion,’ write the authors. ‘The resistance training group followed an individually monitored progressive resistance training program using multiple-station universal weight machines. Seven exercises were used for resistance training that encompassed knee and hip flexion/extension, shoulder flexion/extension, adduction/abduction, elbow flexion/extension and a chest press. Three sets of 8–10 repetitions were performed for all exercises,’ they report.

Weight Loss Plans From Online Reliable Resources

Dr. Oz at www.doctoroz.com offers a weight loss program to follow. One of Dr. Oz’s more interesting pieces of advice is to eat frequently:

Eat often — 5 or 6 times throughout the day — so you’re constantly satisfied. Slipping into starvation mode makes your body want to store fat. Eat plenty of fiber in the morning; it helps control afternoon cravings.[4]

Diet Tips

Curbing Hunger Tactic

One approach to eating less calories than you burn each day (i.e., the only true means to lose weight) is to eat filling foods. This curbs your appetite and this curbs your calories eaten each day. For example, I eat a Quaker Instant Oatmeal package every day with a 1/2 teaspoon of Cinammon. Besides the low calories — 220 — and the health, e.g., high fiber, the oats and cinammon fill me up way past lunch time. Below are foods, including these, which keep you feeling full longer, and thus help you resist eating too many calories. Examples:

1. Drink Water

Drink two 8-ounce glasses (16 ounces total) of water before each meal. It will fill up your stomach and trim up to 60 calories per meal. (“Feel Full Quick Tricks,” Health.com)

2. Vinegar and Cinammon

Use vinegar/vinaigrette and cinnamon for flavor (where possible). These two ingredients can help regulate blood sugars after meals, and help you feel full longer after eating, according to a study from the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences in Zurich, Switzerland. Id.

3. Fish

Fish contains omega-3 fats, which can also help stop tummy grumbling for hours. Fish-eaters felt more full than beef-eaters, plus downed 75 fewer calories at the next meal, according to a study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Id.

4. Oatmeal


Oats have a filling fiber compound called beta-glucan which helps the body release CCK, a hunger-suppressing hormone. Id.

5. Nuts

The complex trio of fiber, protein, and fat in nuts activates satiety so you chow down on fewer calories throughout the day. (Plus, they may increase metabolism up to 11%!). Id.
  

Green Tea

A study in the Journal of Nature published in 2009 found that obese adults who drink green tea lost about twice as much weight over 12 weeks as a control group even though people in both groups followed similar diets and exercise patterns. It is thought the catechins in green tea increase metabolism and accelerate the breakdown in fat.[5]

This confirms an earlier study from 1999. “Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1999) showed that green tea (containing 90mg of EGCG) could lead to a 43% increase in thermogenesis in adults, an increase that could not be attributed to the caffeine in green tea. Additional research published in the International Journal of Obesity (2000) and Phytomedicine (2002) highlights the ability of green tea to increase the burning of fat as fuel and resulting human weight loss.[6]

“Research shows that the benefits come from an interaction between caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a plant chemical in green tea that triggers your production of the metabolism-boosting, appetite-suppressing hormone noradrenaline.” (Natural Health, Dec. 2002.)

The same article said:” Based on a study of obese people who took green tea supplements, published earlier this year in the journal Phytomedicine, you may lose about 2 1/2 pounds a month.” (Id.)

“Green tea has been used for centuries as a medicinal agent and beverage. Recent scientific investigations have shown that green tea contains potent antioxidants, enhances immunity and is protective of the heart. The important natural chemicals in green tea which promote health and weight loss appear to be the polyphenols– in particular a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG that cannot be found in significant amounts in any other food sources.[6]

        Miscellaneous

Almonds are high in alpha-linolenic acid, which can accelerate your metabolism of fats. Dieters who ate 3 ounces of almonds daily slashed their weight and body-mass index by 18 percent. Those who ate none reduced both numbers less— just 11 percent. This was reported in the International Journal of Obesity led. Try 12 per serving so as not to eat too many calories.[7]

Berries Strawberries, raspberries and other vitamin C–spiked fruit can supercharge your workout, helping you burn up to 30 percent more fat, research from Arizona State University at Mesa has found.

Cinnamon Adding 1/4 teaspoon to your plate may prevent an insulin spike—an uptick that tells your body to store fat. Sprinkle it on your morning protein shake, or cereal.

Mustard Mustard may also be a weight loss wonder. Turmeric, the spice that gives mustard its color, may slow the growth of fat tissues, a study in the journal Endocrinology finds. Use it on sandwiches instead of mayo, or sprinkle turmeric on tuna salad.

Oranges This citrus fruit, which contains fat-blasting compounds known as flavones, is a proven fruit. Women who ate the most flavones had a much lower increase in body fat over a 14-year period, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes. Eat oranges sliced or drink fresh OJ (including pulp!) to get the best benefit from the fruit.

Irvingia gabonensis

 According to Lipids Health Dis. 2005; 4: 12.Published online 2005 May 25 in an article entitled “The effect of Irvingia gabonensis seeds on body weight and blood lips,” did a double-blind study on 40 people, and those who ate I.G. were significantly more likely to lose weight as well as enhance good HDL and diminish bad LDL. Part of the synopsis said:

This was carried out as a double blind randomised study involving 40 subjects (mean age 42.4 years). Twenty-eight subjects received Irvingia gabonensis (IG) (1.05 g three time a day for one month) while 12 were on placebo (P) and the same schedule. During the one-month study period all subjects were on a normocaloric diet evaluated every week by a dietetic record book. At the end, the mean body weight of the IG group was decreased by 5.26 ± 2.37% (p < 0.0001) and that of the placebo group by 1.32 ± 0.41% (p < 0.02). The difference observed between the IG and the placebo groups was significant (p < 0.01). The obese patients under Irvingia gabonensis treatment also had a significant decrease of total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and an increase of HDL-cholesterol. On the other hand, the placebo group did not manifest any changes in blood lipid components. Irvingia gabonensis seed may find application in weight lose.

The part of the results I like best is the reduction in waist size. I find that it is hardest to reduce even if I reduce weight. Here is a further excerpt on the significant effect on waist size:

Effect on body composition

Irvingia gabonensis induced a decrease in weight of 2.91 ± 1.48% (p < 0.0001) after two weeks and 5.6 ± 2.7% (p < 0,0001) after one month. Although the percentage of body fat was not significantly reduced with both placebo and IG, the waist circumference (5.07 ± 3.18%; p < 0.0001) and hip circumference (3.42 ± 2.12%; p < 0,0001) were significantly reduced by IG. A reduction of 1.32 ± 0.41% (p < 0.02) and 2.23 ± 1.05% (p < 0.05) was observed with the placebo after two and four weeks respectively of treatment.
These results meant among people in the 200 lbs plus category lost 28 lbs and 6 inches off their waist in 30 days time.

Wikipedia in an article entitled “Irvingina” explains a later 2008 result:

In October, 2008, during the fifth annual Functional Foods for Chronic Disease conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Dr. Julius Oben, Head of the Laboratory of Nutrition and Nutritional Biochemistry at the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon, revealed the latest clinical evidence on a recently developed extract from the seed of the Irvingia gabonensis fruit, also known as bush mango and ogbono.[3][4]

Dr. Oben was performing epidemiological studies in African tribal populations when he noted that people in a certain region had low incidences of obesity, diabetes, and related diseases. Exploring further, he found that they use irvingia paste to thicken soups an average of ten times per week. This led to the development of a concentrated extract that stimulates fat loss while promoting healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels.[5]

Where to get this extract? So far I only know of Dr. Sear’s flashy ads that promote a product called Primal Lean which he claims has this seed extract.  See http://www.primalforce.net/primallean/male.html The price is steep — about $50 a bottle. I don’t recommend anyone buy it. I just mention it FYI.

Fish

Of course, fish is a good source of protein without a lot of calories. It also has in certain species a high amount of omega-3s. The problem is to avoid mercury. Wild salmon is considered one of the best to keep low mercury content. Also, Barrimundi is low in mercury because it eats plankton — low on the food chain, and thus is the least exposed to mercury. While farmed salmon is not necessarily good, farmed Barrimundi is recommended by the Monterey Bay Aquarium at this link.

Life Fitness Equipment

These come with a USB port to download data and track your exercises.
It has a virtual trainer website designed to explain how this data can help personal trainers, but I find it personally useful in its spreadsheet format. Here is what an article explains:
Another line of equipment allows exercisers to plug a USB stick into a port and create and save custom workouts. Personal training clients can hand the stick to their trainers, who can then download data into their computer program. Members can also take the USB stick home, plug it into their computer and view their results on a spreadsheet. (“Fitness Tracking,” (Jan 2008) Club Industry.)

The Life Fitness 95 series of treadmills have integrated entertainment functions:

  • Integrated connector allows exercisers to view iPod®music/video lists and make selections directly on the15″ LCD screen
  • Power and charge iPodWatch iPod-delivered video content on 15″ LCD screen(requires video-capable iPod

 Book Recommendations:

Shirley Jewett, I Lost 70 Lbs Without Exercise (online book free) – at books.google.com

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References

  • http://www.healingdaily.com/exercise/rebounding-for-detoxification-and-health.htm
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g-pNpQ7kkU
  • http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&source=hp&q=rebounder+exercises&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=H__mStqOCtCYlAfH4MGDCA&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&ct=title&resnum=4&ved=0CCcQqwQwAw#
  • http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/dr-ozs-99-second-healthy-eating-plan
  • The google search reveals part of an article that can be read with a membership. This search exposes the following portion: International Journal of Obesity - The effects of green tea on ... International Journal of Obesity advance online publication 14 July 2009; ... Different outcomes of the effect of green tea on weight loss (WL) and weight ... Since the 1990s, green tea is also seen as a natural herb that can enhance ... www.nature.com/ijo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ijo2009135a.html - Similar - by R Hursel - 2009
  • New Research Offers Weight Loss Solution: Green Tea and CLA 2005-01-17 - ehn inc. at http://www.npicenter.com/anm/templates/newsARes.aspx?articleid=11473&zoneid=28
  • http://health.yahoo.com/experts/healthieryou/12893/8-foods-that-fight-fat/