There has been a fair amount of recent information about exercise and weight loss. New studies have shown that despite long held beliefs about exercise and weight reduction, exercise alone is actually not a particularly effective weight loss strategy. In fact, one of the unintended consequences of increased activity can be increased appetite, so if you are not careful you can actually gain weight when you start your exercise program.
There are a lot of great reasons to exercise. Exercise increases bone density, improves cardiovascular health, raises your HDL (good) cholesterol and lowers triglycerides. Exercise can also improve your mood and lead to better sleep. It can even improve your sex life. However, for effective weight loss exercise must be combined with a reduction in calories taken in. In other words, you have to eat less as well as move more. This can be difficult because it is a lot easier to take in calories than it is to burn them off with exercise. So what can you do? Here are a few suggestions:
Keep a food log. Logging what you eat will help make you aware of opportunities to reduce calories over the course of your day. Be meticulous and log everything you take in.
Design a plan to meet your nutritional requirements. There are a wide variety of resources available to help you with this. The free, USDA-sponsored web site mypyramid.gov has a wealth of information as well as interactive planners that you can customize to your current situation and your goals.
Have realistic expectations about your rate of weight loss. Depending on your metabolism and starting weight, a realistic expectation for sustainable weight loss will probably be between one half pound and two pounds per week.
Understand you caloric burn. There are a number of ways to track calories burned. If you don’t have a monitor that does it for you, here is a chart you can use. Improved awareness of how many calories you burn when you exercise will help you make better nutritional choices.
Chances are the weight you are trying to lose went on gradually. Effective and sustainable weight loss is also gradual. However, with a complete plan, realistic expectations and perseverance you will achieve your weight loss goals.