Learning from Losers

For the past dozen years, researchers Rena Wing, Ph.D., and James Hill, Ph.D., tracked about 6,000 people in their National Weight Control Registry: Participants lost at least 30 pounds and maintained that for at least a year. (The average is 70 pounds off and for six years.) The successful losers didn't turn to wacky eating plans, fad diets, or extreme measures like gastric-bypass surgery. Instead, what worked was common sense-they modified their diet and increased their physical activity to change their caloric balance.

Most people who have lost weight (and kept it off) adopted these five habits. It'll be your loss if you adopt them, too:

Keep Up the Carbs Most successful losers get about 49 percent or more of the calories from carbs, about 29 percent from fat, and the remainder from protein. The key is selecting the foods rich in fiber which proviies a sense of fullness. Research shows that a diet that includes 34 or more grams of fiber daily actually drops the number of calories your body takes up from your food. Over a year, this could equal a 10-pound weight loss.

Take Good Notes Most dieters typically stop bothering to write down what they eat after a few months of weight loss. But many kept a food diary for years, taking measurements and noting precise portions and calorie counts. This allows them to respond quickly to changes in their eating patterns.

Become a Morning Person In one study, 78 percent of NWCR participants reported eating breakfast every day-a habit that may help curb appetite later in the day. Research shows that breakfast eaters, especially those who start the day with cereals (a natural for fiber), have a lower body mass index than those who skip the morning meal. Plus, protein often appears in breakfast foods in its proper proportion for sating appetite.

Weigh In Routinely stepping on the scale and checking body weight is another key way to stay on the losing side. To keep that routine from becoming obsessive, don't weigh yourself more than once a week. (You might want to forgo the scale at home to resist temptation.) There are normal weight fluctuations throughout the day. To keep an accurate gauge, weigh yourself on the same day of the week, at the same time.

Keep Moving The average person in the registry is burning about 2,800 calories a week in activity." Last year, the USDA established 60 to 90 minutes as the recommended daily physical activity for those trying to maintain weight loss. Research shows that people who exercise daily on average weigh less than sedentary folks but eat more.

Click here to read the full article from Runner's World.

Behind the Neck Lat Pulldowns: DON'T DO THEM!! Here's Why.

We see people doing these all the time, often they have heard that the exercise is not recommended but continue to do them anyhow. Who recommends against these? NFL trainers, the Mayo Clinic. I'll give you a link to the sources and summarize below.

Over time, performing pull downs behind the neck weakens the rotator cuff - you probably won't feel this immediately but weeks, months or years later you'll pay a high price, According to NFL trainer Dan Riley, this exercise puts the shoulder and specifically the rotator cuff muscles in a weak and vulnerable position. The shoulders are forced to rotate externally and the shoulder blades move to the center of the body, causing the external rotator cuff muscles to pull against the tight internal rotator muscles. If you work at a desk all day long your shoulders are internally rotated and the internal rotators are TIGHT! They simply are not made to bear this weight and stress. Over time they become weaker or fibrous, injury follows, and you can kiss your rotator cuff muscles goodbye. There is also risk to the cervical spine from bringing the head forward. Plus, this exercise is not even as effective in targeting the lats as pulldowns in front of the body.

Behind the neck shoulder presses and upright rows are two other exercises that should be avoided for the same reasons. When performing pulldowns and presses, keep the weight in front of the body.

Click to view a video on proper technique from The Mayo Clinic.

So, You Want To Spot Reduce? Here's How...

Besides launching millions of sit-ups, leg lifts and torso twists, the desire for a toned and taut physique has sold a long line of exercise devices of dubious worth. Countless inventions, such as vibrating belts and ''gut-busting'' contraptions, have claimed to miraculously tighten and tone our trouble spots.

But the miracles we were expecting never materialized, and our ''spots'' remained ''unreduced.'' What's wrong with spot reduction?

Where did we go wrong? In our efforts to tone our bodies we neglected the most important factor: fat. Exercises such as crunches or leg lifts improve the tone and endurance of the muscles, but they don't burn fat. When we do exercises that elevate the heart rate, such as bicycling, walking or aerobic dance, the body will draw upon its fat stores for energy.

Alternative solutions Eating a low-fat diet and following an exercise program that combines aerobic activity and strength training is the key to changing the shape of your body.

In addition to burning calories through aerobic activity, strength training will increase the amount of muscle, which burns even more calories. But many people shun the idea of intensive exercise, scared off by the idea of five-mile runs, barbells or aerobic classes.

Thankfully, any aerobic activity that elevates your heart rate can help you burn fat and take off unwanted pounds. Many experts recommend doing at least three sessions of 20 minutes of aerobic activity per week. Ideally, for long-term weight control, you should engage in at least four sessions per week, for 45 minutes each time.

ACE Fit Facts are reprinted from ACE FitnessMatters magazine, Permission Granted.

Download the full article here, at the American Council on Exercise

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