YOUR BEST LIFE
Tips for Living Healthy in South Arkansas
By Jason Rogers
Manager, JRMC Wellness Centers
I feel confident in making the statement that fat loss is at the top of the “to do” list for any individual who uses a fitness facility. This week I’d like to list some of the most common mistakes people make when trying to lose body fat.
If I just eat less and exercise more I will lose fat, right? At it’s most basic, weight loss is simple math: there must be more calories going out than coming in. However, the statement is a little oversimplified. It would, unquestionably, be a good thing to cut your daily intake of Aunt Ida’s quarter pound cinnamon butter gooeys from six down to two. However, most of us realize that eating two every day will not help you achieve the body of your dreams. In your fat loss efforts, don’t make the following mistakes:
Don’t severely restrict calories! You can’t “trick” your body into losing body fat, so severe calorie restriction is only going to set you up for failure down the road. It also makes it more likely that your body will break down muscle tissue into calories to fuel your daily activity. Additionally, eating too few calories every day may throw your hormones out of whack and make it more likely that you gain all the weight you lose back (plus some). Do simple things like: don’t go back for seconds, drink one less sugary drink a day, or eat fewer sweets.
Do your best to reduce non-exercise related stresses! This one is easy to preach, but hard to practice. Hormone levels play a major role in our body composition. Our bodies react to stress by releasing a hormone called Cortisol. Elevated Cortisol levels lead to fat storage in the abdomen (the most unhealthy body fat). We must learn to recognize the things that bring negative stress to our lives, strategies to cope with and reduce that stress, and skin thick enough to realize that we cannot possibly control EVERY situation ALL the time.
Don’t eat while you’re distracted! Unless you have been diligent in fixing your plate with appropriate portions of the right whole foods, eating in front of the TV or the computer can be disastrous. Chances are VERY good that you are taking in way more calories that you think and those calories are most likely coming from the wrong foods. Eating should be a conscious effort, not a mindless activity.
Don’t try to do too much, too soon! It isn’t realistic to think that you can, overnight, go from sitting on the couch eating cookies by the handful to working out six days a week and eating wholesome foods in the right portions … and sustain it for the long term. Humans are creatures of comfort. We aren’t equipped to change multiple variables in our daily lives at the same time. Try to start your New Year’s resolution in October this year. Spend the month becoming more active. In November, eat a little less every day. Then in December start eating better foods. Now, when January rolls around, you’re already hitting on all cylinders!
Remember “simple action items” from last week? From our talk this week we know we need to: eat a little less, stop eating in front of the television, ease into healthier habits, and … don’t stress! Good luck and call us if you need us!
The JRMC Wellness Centers, located in Pine Bluff and White Hall, offer a variety of fitness options for all ages and interests. Free weights, machines, cardio equipment, personal trainers and a full schedule of Les Mills classes are available at both facilities. For more information call the Pine Bluff (541-7890) or White Hall (850-8000) facility.