O2 Fitness: Healthy Weight Loss Tips

Guest Blogger! By: Kate A. Mascho, RD, LDN – Registered Dietitian, Poe Center for Health Education

We all want to believe there is a magic concoction, that with a quick twist of a cap, those extra pounds will fall off or that there is some ‘super’ food that will melt away the fat in your belly area.  With all the quick fix gimmicks, we have lost sight of the simple fact that eating healthy and exercising regularly will get you lasting results.

In your efforts to achieving a healthy weight, there is no need to severely cut calories or go on a wacky diet.  Long-term weight loss results are achieved through a steady loss of about 1-2 pounds/week, which only takes a 500 to 1,000 calorie deficit each day.  This 500 to 1,000 calorie deficit can be achieved by eating fewer calories, burning more calories through exercise or a combination of both.

Think about some of the snacks and beverages you have each day. Did you know that a 20 ounce bottle of soda contains 240 calories?  A one ounce bag of potato chips has 160 calories.  Candy bars can have 260-280 calories.  Read their food labels carefully as they typically consider the whole bar as 2 servings!  In comparison, you could have 2 cups of watermelon for only 80 calories.  A medium banana contains 110 calories.  A whole bell pepper has 25 calories and a third of a cucumber is just 10 calories.  You could eat a quarter of a whole cantaloupe for just 50 calories!

Aerobic Fitness versus Anaerobic Fitness

According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults need to do two types of physical activity (aerobic and muscle-strengthening) each week to improve health.  Adults should follow one of the three physical activity recommendations below:

  • 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest,  shoulders, and arms), or
  • 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups, or
  • An equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups.

Moderate-intensity Aerobic Activity

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat.  Examples include walking fast, water aerobics and riding a bike on level ground or with few hills.  Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity means you’re breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit.  Examples include jogging or running, swimming laps and riding a bike fast or on hills.  If you prefer a mix of the two each week, a rule of thumb is that 1 minute of vigorous-intensity activity is about the same as 2 minutes of moderate-intensity activity.

A 135-pound female can burn an estimated 115 calories leisurely walking for 30 minutes, and a 175-pound male will burn about 150 calories.  Running at a speed of 6 mph for 30 minutes can burn 325 calories (135 lb. female) to 420 calories (175 lb. male).  Circuit training for 30 minutes will not only build muscle mass but will also burn 260 calories (135 lb. female) to 340 (175 lb. male) calories.

Taking more responsibility for what you’re putting in your body and keeping your body active will not only help you achieve a healthy weight but will improve your overall health.  Despite what many may think, carbohydrates are not bad.  The nutrient carbohydrate is your main source of fuel when working out!

Carbohydrates in Food

When eating foods higher in carbohydrate be sure to choose whole grain as often as you can (the package must say 100% whole grain).  Increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables.  These foods are not only packed with vitamins, but they are low in calories.  Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products, which will save you calories.  Leaner sources of meat will cut back on fat and calories without sacrificing protein.  Cooking methods can also save you calories.  Be sure to bake, grill or broil over frying or sautéing.  Lastly, be aware of not only what you’re putting in your body, but how much you’re putting in.

About the Poe Center

The Poe Center is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate and empower North Carolina children, youth and their families to make choices that increase positive health behaviors. The Poe Center’s vision is that all North Carolina children and youth become healthy adults. Since opening their facility in 1991, the Poe Center has educated more than 850,000 participants from 76 counties using innovative teaching theaters, exhibits and offsite programs. For additional information please visit www.poehealth.org.

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