Benefits of Exercise
My clients always bring a great attitude to the training studio. One day, I noticed that one of my clients was smiling more than usual. I was curious why she was “extra” happy. So I asked her. She said that she was in love with her life and happy to be exercising. Since she’d started working out 6 months ago, she said she’d noticed a lot of changes in her body, mind and health.
Like her, we all should be in love with both life and our bodies. When we are in love with our bodies, we take care of it. Loving our body and taking care of it is very rewarding and exercise is a way of taking care of our bodies. Here are some benefits of exercise:
- Reduces cancer risk
- Combats health conditions and diseases
- Improves mood and even sex drive
- Boosts energy levels
- Reduces the risk of dying prematurely
- Reduces the risk of diabetes and helps control diabetes for those who have been diagnosed.
- Reduces the risk of high blood pressure and helps reduce high blood pressure in people who already have hypertension
- Promotes psychological well-being
- Reduces feelings of depression and anxiety
- Helps control weight and lose body fat
- Rejuvenates the body
- Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints
- Helps older adults become stronger and better able to move about without falling
- Improves the physical ability to drive a car in older adults
Besides from all these health and lifestyle benefits, there is also a financial benefit. Research shows that people spend billions of dollars on doctor visits, pills to improve their sex lives and the quality of their sleep, as well as boost their energy and lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Therefore, it is proven that healthy lifestyle by exercising has the added benefit of saving money.
I have read that many people do not take care of their bodies, so they are laid down in pain watching those who took care of their body enjoying life to the fullest. Love comes back to us! There are no more excuses for not adopting exercising behaviors. Exercise is only a win win behavior, hard at the beginning but completely rewarding since the benefits of exercise contribute to a higher quality life.
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Before starting talking about processed foods, let me tell you about my day:
Life is amazing, don’t you think? My car is in the shop having some suspension problem, and as I was talking my amazing car mechanic Charlie today chatting about our lives, I told him that (that every second I’m better than before. He noted that he likes how optimistic I am, but I protested him that I’m not optimistic—my statements reflected my reality. I enjoy all of life, even the hard times. This is why life is amazing to me. As I told Charlie of my thoughts today, I thought of all you members and wish you a great day.
Now let’s get to the subject of this newsletter. If you having following me for a couple of months, you know that I’m writing a book about weight loss. I have discovered many factors that contribute the American obesity epidemic. However, to bolster my views, I felt I needed to research even more. Poking through the international and college databases such as EBSCO, I found out about some interesting research done in Brazil which in no uncertain terms demonstrates the BIG contribution that processed foods make to obesity. Let me give you some details:
For the study, food was classified into three groups according to the nature and extent, of the industrial processing used in its manufacture.
1) The first group was fresh or minimally processed foods, such as grains, cereals, roots, legumes, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seed, meats, fish, poultry and eggs, milk and natural yogurt.
2) The second group included processed ingredients that we use to prepare food at home, which generally are extracted from whole foods. Examples are flours and starches, oils and sugars and salt.
3) The third group of foods were two kinds of ready-to-consume products:
- Processed foods made from foods with the addition of substances such as salt, sugar or oil and the use of processes such as smoking or curing. Examples include pickled canned or bottled vegetables and legumes; fruit preserved with sugar; canned fish preserved in oil or salted and smoked; salted and smoked meats and cheese.
- Ultra-processed foods are those formulated predominantly or entirely from industrial ingredients and typically contain little or no whole foods. They often have preservatives and cosmetic and other additives and may also contain synthetic vitamins and pack minerals. Examples include cake mixes, energy bars, instant packaged soups and noodles; many types of sweetened breads,, cakes, biscuits, pastries and desserts; potato or corn chips and other types of sweet, fatty, or salty snack products; sugared milk and fruit drinks, soft drinks and energy drinks; pre-pre-prepared meats, fish, vegetable or cheese dishes, pizza and pasta dishes, burgers, French fries, poultry and fish nuggets or sticks; bread and other cereal products; sausage, hot dogs, and other products made with scraps or remnants of meat; preserves chocolates, cookies, biscuits, candies; margarines. Also included are canned or dehydrated soups and infant formulas, and baby products
The average daily calorie intake was 1581, but as people increased their food consumption from 15% to 40% of processed and ultra-processed food, their excess weight and obesity also increased from 34.1% to 43.9%. That is more than 10% of a possibility of being overweight.
Ultra-processed foods dominate food supplies of many developed countries, and production and consumption of these products is now rapidly increasing in middle income countries and settings. The reality is that these foods have become promiscuous and getting to be in the reach of almost everyone. They are tempting for two reasons: they are cheap and tasty. In addition, they are convenient and “save” people time. But there is nothing good about them in the long run and they don’t “save” anything. They ruin health and in the end take quality time away from those foolish enough to eat them.
Of course I admit that that processed food is only one factor of obesity; other factors include a sedentary lifestyle, overeating, lack of exercise, some medications, and stress. . When people start acknowledging all these factors and rethink their lifestyles, magic and transformation happen. The result is a healthier body and lifestyle.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed hearing about this research. Another reason why you should do your best to cook at home, by whole, fresh foods, and organic foods and stop consuming any processed foods that negatively affects your health.
Below is the reference if you would like to know more about this study:
Canella, Daniela Silva, et al. “Ultra Processed Foods Products and Obesity in Brazilian Households (2008–2009).” Plos ONE 9.3 (2014): 1-6. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 May 2014.
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People often relapse in their weight loss program. What can you do to avoid relapses?
I have some clients that are consistent with their fitness and weight loss programs; they come on time; they only miss their sessions in emergencies; they keep up their food journal, they persist year round. Of course, these clients take vacations and go to visit relatives in the holidays, but afterwards they come back to their program.
Some of my clients, however, start out with the best of intentions, but essentially they are only in it for short term and are inconstant about their fitness and weight loss efforts. Unlike the first group, they sometimes don’t arrive on time to sessions; they clearly don’t look forward to being assessed; they don’t keep track of their food. They mean well, but they are not disciplined. Once their contract is finished or even before, they stop coming, but, interestingly, they often turn back up later requesting my services again. And the cycle starts over again. What makes the second group of clients not consistent with their program? The answer is very simple: relapses.
People relapse for many reasons. Stress is the number one reason; other reasons include injury, illness, finances, and family or addiction issues. Also, among the people who do relapse, some relapse faster than others. People have different attitudes towards adopting new behaviors. This is why people have different levels of relapses: why some individuals are more focused and resilient than others. Psychologists have to say much about this. They call the process of learning new behaviors Stage of Change Model. The stages are divided into five phases: Precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.
In precontemplation, the individual isn’t particularly interested in a new set of behaviors, but he or she is aware that an activity exists. Such a case would be when a sedentary person has peers who are also sedentary and do share the same negative habits, so the individual is comfortable with a non-energetic lifestyle. The individual sees his or her lifestyle as reasonably healthy since he or she hasn’t really explored other alternatives. The individual may note that a close relative is an active person and seems healthier, but she or she won’t weigh the positives effects of themselves taking on a new behavior. I have had interviews with people in this stage. Sometimes a close relative has brought them in to me, so that I can help them. I’ve learned that the only effective action that I can take at this stage is just to inform them of about the negative consequences of a sedentary lifestyle and hope that the idea percolates. Usually the person is not very attentive to what I have to say in such interviews, however. And if someone forces an individual into a weight loss program, the person will usually relapse since he or she does not really care. Pressuring an unwilling person into a new behavior doesn’t work.
Contemplation is the stage where the individual starts to pay attention to the benefits of a new behavior, but they are not actually ready to change their lifestyle. For instance, the sedentary person begins to notice what the active relative or friend is doing, and observes what benefits they have from exercise, such as having more energy, higher self-esteem, more endurance for physical tasks, and fewer visits to the doctor. The individual may now start to fantasize about having the same benefits as their active peer, but the appeal of their sedentary habits is still stronger than his or her desire of changing. To people in this stage, I share information about the long-term effects of inactivity versus how they might begin to feel if they started exercising. The sedentary person often will pay more attention to my words at this point, and he or she will have questions about exactly what kinds of exercise might interest him or her. I figure that they won’t sign up for a program yet, but I can tell that they are thinking about it. It takes time for them to get ready; much depends on what type of experiences and data comes along in their lives. Also, much depends on what type of peers he or she has. As the person in precontemplation, the contemplator is not ready to get involved in a weight loss program; if he or she does, he or she will probably relapse.
I love to interview people who are at the preparation stage. It give me energy seeing people who wants to progress, who wants to change their life, feel better, and extinguish many of the destructive behaviors. This is what keeps me motivated. In the preparation stage people are ready to change. They are preparing to enjoy the challenge and results of a new behavior. Most of my clients were in this stage when they first came to me, but they needed someone who can explain them how to break the barriers to self-improvement. In the preparation stage, people want to know the difficulties ahead, to avoid any unpleasant surprises on the journey to acquiring new behavior. Here people have a high index of relapse; they can return to the precontemplation stage due to injuries, boredom, inaccurate information, or unrealistic goals. Because they are only in the preparation stage, and not yet enjoy many of the benefits of the new behavior, it is often difficult for them to return to the preparation stage and begin again.
In the action stage, things get more exciting but more exacting too, not only for the individual who is adopting the new behavior but also for any person who wants to see the person succeed in his or her new lifestyle. The individual is now paying attention to his or her food intake, and is exercising and looking forward to seeing progress. Assessment is sought after, not feared. Here the person wants to see results as fastest possible. I usually share others clients’ testimonials with them at this point to make them understand that the more effort they put into the program, the better the results will be. Nevertheless, a newbie needs to be patience and take the program step by step. If their zeal and excitement cause them to want to do everything in the program at once, this may cause overexertion, stress, and in fact makes for possibility of relapse.
The last stage is maintenance. The individual has worked to become disciplined to the new behavior acquired. People in this stage diligently work through all the steps of their weight loss program; eating right, showing up at the gym, keeping their eye on the prize. Even with this success, of course, relapses can happen. But the individual has gotten used to living with the benefits of the new behavior. They notice if they take a few days off that they don’t feel as good as they are used to. They come to understand that no matter what happens in their lives, including additional stress, injury, illness, or even family crises, their new habits will not hinder but actually help them cope with whatever it is. Their new found sense of well-being is a constant reminder of why they are doing what they are doing. Good habits are their own reinforcement to avoid relapses.
Figure out in which Stage of Change you are. Study yourself, make a plan, put it into action, and try to avoid relapses. If you do relapse, however, just get back on the wagon. Give yourself as many opportunities you need and persist in your new habits and behavior. Here are some tools that may help you stay on track, tools that are often more appropriate after you’ve gotten to the preparation stage. First get support: get your family and friends involved in your goals. If they are too busy or disinterested, hired a personal trainer who knows how to support you. Make new friends at the gym or in exercise classes who can cheer you along and share your triumphs. Find supporters and confidents who are interested in your new lifestyle. Next, create a manageable diet and exercise schedule and stick to it. Be flexible only in real emergencies. Stay away from places or if possible from people who would reinforce your old bad habits. Seek out new activities and people which are part of a healthy lifestyle. Understand that high risk situations will come along in life where you can’t keep up your new habits, but remember that abandoning your weight loss program will only aggravate any situation. Keep in mind that relapses are not a failure. They are merely a reminder to get back on track. As Publilius Syrus noted over 2000 years ago, “Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.”
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Why dieting doesn’t work.
Diets are popular. A close friend, coworker, family member, teacher, and the neighbor are all dieting. They lose 5, 10, 25 pounds at a rapid pace and find themselves 4 months later weighing more than they did before their diet. The question is, why? Dieting creates an illusion in these people when they see the numbers on the scale go down even though in reality they aren’t losing body fat and are only setting themselves up for failure. New research shows that weight fluctuation and repeated dieting is a contributor to heart diseases, obesity, inadequate nutrition, fatigue, weakness, and gallstone. In addition, dieting creates negative psychological effects including weight obsession, poor self-image, disordered eating patterns, disordered lifestyle, and an increased sense of failure.
People who have been dieting are likely to be out of tune with their body and its signals of hunger and fullness. Nutrition Dimension, The World’s Leading Nutrition Education, claims, “People on diets do not have normal, healthy relationship with food and are, therefore, destined to fail in their quest to lose weight; and, will in fact, likely gain more in the long term.” Self-control is what many people look for when dieting. They want to be able to say no to certain foods that dieting prohibits all while their body craves such foods with the nutrients it needs to survive. Doctor Phil author of The Ultimate Weight Lose Solution recommends to find other ways to cope with food, such as to avoid places were trouble foods are going to be.
Many diets restrict essential nutrients such as carbohydrates. People have developed a negative relationship with carbohydrates due to this publicity of dieting. According to Linda Omichinski, a registered dietitian, “Dieters are not accustomed to eating carbohydrates. They are not aware that by taking more protein sources and cutting back on carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta, they are actually setting themselves up to crave carbohydrates from other sources, such as cake and cookies.” The lack of carbohydrates in the body causes the person to crave sweets as a quick resource of fuel which end up contributing negatively to the person’s weight since they over eat calories with these sweets, such as cookies. If people ate the required carbohydrates, their body would crave fewer sweets. Carbohydrates are energy the body uses in everyday basics. Energy that is essential in high intensity exercises.
Changing your eating habits is the key to success. It is not about restricting foods, it’s about learning the consequences of the food you are eating, and about processed food. Cook at home, don’t eat at fast food restaurant out of convenience. Eat all your 3 meals and snacks for skipping meals will lead you to overeat or eat the wrong foods. Buy real food, buy organic, and no hormones or pesticides that contribute negatively to your health. Plan your day; don’t let hunger catch you off guard. You will pick at whatever food is in front of you when you are hungry. Learning about what foods your body likes will make you feel more energetic, clear minded, and will help you lose weight. Over all, enjoy your food, and don’t be at war with the products that make you healthy.
Changing your eating habits is what ultimately will lead you to weight loss and a healthier life: dieting is temporary and only causes permanent physical and psychological harm.
Commit to your happiness and well-being,
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Change Your Habits: The Key for Weight Loss
“Tell me Lizbeth, how come you’re inconsistent about your weight loss program? How come you miss so many sessions? And are you still not eating breakfast?”
Lizbeth grimaced but defended herself, “I’ve been so busy lately that I don’t have the time for anything other than work and my family.”
I stayed contemplating the situation.
Every time that I see a client messing up and not following through in their weight loss or work out program, I think about my own struggles in life. When I remember about my own mistakes and successes, I empathize with them; I know that negative habits are hard to change. I have clients with different habits. Some have slowly dropped some of their negative habits, but other clients seem almost unable to do this. Over my several decades in life, I have noticed that people who are successful in any aspect of their lives are usually so because of their personal and daily habits. Habits are what shape the human being. We can define a person by his or her habits. It’s not easy to get rid of negative habits, but once people set a goal of changing negative habits for life, it becomes easier day by day.
As Lizbeth and I talked about her assessment and habits, I heard that she has some negative habits that undercut her weight loss efforts, such as watching television. Many people have such negative habits and they are a representation of such habits. As Carlos Cuauhtémoc Sanchez, psychologist and author, explains, “People are a reflection of their own habits. To get to know a person, all we need is a detail list of the individual habits.” In other words, people are how they live. They can choice between two types of habits: negative habits and positive habits. Something that people need to understand clearly is that all habits have consequences, whether they like it or not. Easy to conclude, negative habits bring negative results. In contrast, positive habits bring positive results.
To be able to succeed in weight loss and what I mean with succeed, I mean losing the weight and keeping it off forever, one needs to change negative habits. For example, from being a sedentary person and making poor food choices, to being an active person and eating healthily. As known, indeed, this process is not easy to follow, which is why many people relapse and give up new habits they are trying to acquire. Nonetheless, there are many tools that can be used to change your negative habits.
First, you need to be ready to change and not make excuses to yourself. You make yourself sacrifice short term desires for long term needs. For example, you may feel hungry and unmotivated some days. You feel like having an ice cream, or watching television, but you know you need to exercise.
Second, you are going to need repetition: We often forget the lessons that life teaches us. Many people get heart attacks or they are diagnosed with chronic diseases and they feel like changing right on the moment. However, when the pain is gone and people forget about the tragedy, they also forget about their plan of changing when they were depressed. Therefore, a constant reminder, or information, is needed to keep you in track.
Third, you need practice: It requires time and effort for the brain to understand that a new habit is being taught. As an example, if the individual is used to eating junk food and not exercising every night after work, it will require time for the brain to give up that behavior since the brain is conditioned to such behavior. Even though research shows that it requires 21 days to change habits, it may take longer depending on the time that the habit has been practice.
Last, set goals for yourself, both short and long term goals: It is important to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This will help you touch, smell, see, and almost taste your desired goals. Short term goals will lead you to the long term goals. For instance, to stop eating ice cream during the night, you could measure how much ice cream you eat and then set a goal of eating less every week. Eating one quarter less could translate into a considerable calorie reduction in a week. After one week, you could cut back further or substitute healthier sweet things, like grapes or cantaloupe. If you continue to do this, you could achieve the long term goal of stopping eating ice cream at night within one or two months, which in turn will help you with your long term weight loss goals.
Lizbeth is still struggling with her weight loss proposition. She wants to lose weight, feel better and have a better appearance, but like many people she wants a “magic pill or diet” to do it for her. She is not ready to change her life and is not going to get what she wants if she is not willing to work for it. According to professional psychologists, people do not change until they feel like changing from the bottom of their hearts. Only people who are ready to sacrifice time and put effort towards their goals are ready to change and will achieve those goals. In addition, people will never obtain positive results in their lives without persistent and consistent actions. Change your negative habits bu positive habits. The results are amazing. Your weight loss program will be easier than you think!!
“The miracle, or the power, that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application, and perseverance under the prompting of a brave, determined spirit.”
— Mark Twain
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Here is how your body may adapt to weight loss at your training sessions.
Every month we have new people joying our team at Custom Body Fitness. I always pay attention to all our members and I feel great when I see their bodies changing. Of course, people who are consistent and push to get results, end up seeing their bodies change faster. I notice their arms and legs become toned over the course of two or three months or their stomach is flatter.
When I see members who have been at Custom Body Fitness for a few months and I notice their transformation, I remember the theory of adaptation:
Organisms face a succession of environmental challenges as they grow and develop, and are equipped with an adaptive plasticity as the phenotype of traits develop in response to the imposed conditions.
In other words, the body adapts to the stress to which it is put. Keep in mind that adaptation is a process, not an event. It is where the transformation happens. The more you safely stress the body by working out and weight lifting, the more the body will adapt to the stress you are putting on it. Here let me explain it in a different way, If you can lift a 12 lb. weight with your legs (doing lunges), and you never up the weight, change won’t happen because the body already adapted to the stress given. So for you to keep seeing improvements in your body, you need to step up to the next level by increasing the weight to the next level. This is called periodization and is how the body starts changing into the fit body that you are looking for and you will start losing weight.
So it’s simple: at your training challenge your body safely to get those toned arms and legs, flat abs and achieve weight loss that you are looking for. How much you shall push? Depends how far you want to go and bad you want it.
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