The Real Reason You Can’t Lose Weight

Diet and exercise will get you only so far. To beat the mental stumbling blocks that keep you from your ideal size, tap expert can-do solutions.


 Fat Trap: You Give Up Too Soon

 If there’s one skill that could further your fight to shed pounds, it’s patience. When FITNESS magazine readers were polled online about their obstacles to slimming down, 39 percent confessed they would ditch a new diet or fitness program if they didn’t see noticeable shrinkage in two weeks. “People want immediate gratification — to lose 20 pounds in six weeks,” says Stacey Rosenfeld, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University Medical Center and chief psychologist for the New York City Triathlon. “But even if you achieve your goal, that happiness leaves as quickly as it comes because you can’t sustain the measures you took to get there, measures that probably made you miserable anyway.” Naturally, when you get discouraged, you rebel, probably in the form of a 2 bags of crisps and a bottle of wine. This can set up a cycle of deprivation and overindulgence, which is not unique to humans. When animals on a calorie-restricted diet were finally allowed to eat freely, they gorged for days, a study at the University of Colorado in Denver found.

Stay-Slim Solution

Everyone wants instant results, but permanent weight loss calls for a long-term commitment and a change in mind-set. “Think of losing weight as an outcome, not a goal in itself,” says Sofia Rydin-Gray, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the Duke Diet & Fitness Center in Durham, North Carolina. Make it your challenge to incorporate healthy behaviors into your daily life: Exercise for 60 minutes three times a week; eat whole grains for breakfast; avoid fried foods. “By shifting your energy to the process as opposed to the final result, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment every time you make a good decision,” Rydin-Gray says.

Fat Trap: You’re Afraid to Fail

Maybe you lost 30 pounds for a very special occasion — and gained it back in a snap. Or you vowed to slim down for bikini season, only to hide behind a baggy tee-shirt come July. Why risk another failure? “If you’ve failed at losing weight before, in your mind the threat of screwing up again still exists,” says Lois Barth, a lifestyle coach in New York City. In fact, 40 percent of the women that were surveyed admitted they worried about regaining the weight — and then some. The real danger, however, is that fear can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. By dwelling on the negative feelings associated with a past failure, you subconsciously call up the very behavior that caused it in the first place. Soon enough, you find yourself in the same snare.

 Stay-Slim Solution

On the flip side, thinking positively can go a long way toward producing the results you want. “Tell yourself there’s no such thing as failure,” Rydin-Gray says. “Some strategies work well, others don’t. It’s not a strike against your character, simply a sign you need to alter your behavior.” In other words, quit berating yourself for succumbing to the bag of chips last night, and instead ask yourself what triggered the snack attack. Zeroing in on what led to the munchies is infinitely more constructive than focusing on your perceived inadequacies. Once you identify the factors surrounding your kerfuffle, you can find alternative ways to handle similar events in the future.

 Fat Trap: You’re Wary of Change

 In an online survey, 44 percent of women said they felt nervous about being able to stick with a new diet and exercise program.  You’re a creature of habit, albeit bad habits. You’d rather stay true to your routine — or lack thereof — than test the waters with a new one. “It’s possible to become used to a bad thing to the point of not wanting to let it go,” Rosenfeld says. After all, accepting the label “overweight” or “out of shape” can become a kind of security blanket, lowering your expectations of yourself and what your body is capable of achieving.

 Stay-Slim Solution

Changing your body for the better means stepping out of your comfort zone and taking a few risks. To help ease that nervous feeling, set a concrete timetable. Tell yourself you’ll hold to the new program for three weeks; you can always go back to your old ways later. (Once you start seeing the slimming results, you’ll have a change of heart.) Another tip: Keep your eye on the big picture. “In your mind the risks have to be worth the payoff,” Barth says. “If you want to trim down, you to have to try a new approach, because the way you’ve been living hasn’t been working.” Make yourself a priority; find exercise that inspires you. Love your body as it is right now and you’ll respect and appreciate it more.

Helena Marron

 Information taken from online research.

Protein– Health Risks Associated with High Intake

There are many misconceptions about protein in the diet, e.g. more is better, or a high protein diet is essential for muscle building.  Neither of these is true. The only thing that causes muscles to grow is a well designed strength training programme, commitment and hard work.  Getting the diet right is, of course,  important for achieving goals in any sporting activity.

Protein consumed over and above the body’s requirements is converted to carbohydrate or fat by a process which is harmful to the liver and kidneys and can cause a compromise in fluid balance.  If meat is eaten several times a day over a period of several days a state of acidity will occur in the body.  The body will then attempt to neutralize this acidity by taking calcium and other mineral salts from the skeletal system.  Once the blood reserves are used up the calcium is then actually taken from the bones which can lead to bone density loss.  Moreover, any excess calcium may be dumped in inappropriate locations such as the arteries and joints leading to cardiovascular disease and arthritis. Low consumption of carbohydrates (simple and complex) and high protein intake can also result in the body taking its’ energy from the muscle leading to loss of lean tissue.


Helena Marron


Information taken from Nutrition and Weight Management Training at level 3

General Physical Activity Recommendations for Adults

How Much Should I Be Doing?

For general health benefit, adults of all ages should achieve a total of at least 30 minutes moderate activity a day on five or more days of the week.  Moderate activity means any activity that leaves you feeling warm and breathing more heavily than usual.  You don’t have to be completely out of breath or work up a sweat.

 Why 30 Minutes?

Any increase in activity will benefit your health, but research shows that 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on five or more days a week is the amount needed to keep the lungs, heart, muscles and bones in good working order.  You can split the 30 minutes up into two bouts of 15 minutes or three bouts of 10 minutes.

 If 30 Minutes a Day Sounds a Lot to You.

Then start with five minutes at least three times a day and build up gradually to the 30 minute target.  If you are limited by a health conditions such as arthritis – don’t worry any amount of additional activity will make a difference.

As soon as you start to become more active you will notice the following changes:

You will feel better, have more energy and start to enjoy life more..  Your concentration and sleep patterns will improve.  You will relax more easily leading to a reduction in stress and anxiety.  This will lead to you feeling more self-confident and give you a sense of achievement.  If you are exercising out of doors or in a group this will keep you in touch with other people and you will make new friends.

The Benefits of Exercise



Strengthens the heart and reduces the risk of Coronary Heart Disease and stroke and lowers blood pressure

Increases lung capacity and can improve Asthma and help Emphysema

Increases bone density and reduces the risk of Osteoporosis

Strengthens muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones and joints making them more stable and less prone to injury. Thereby increasing flexibility in turn leading to fewer aches and pains

Can help with the control of chronic disease particularly when teamed with healthy eating

Improves balance, co-ordination, reaction time, agility and strength

Improves posture and therefore helps with digestion

Increases metabolic rate and coupled with sensible eating will control weight

Helps to relieve stress and anxiety and leads to better sleep patterns

Improves confidence and self esteem

The Effects of  Exercise on the Cardiovascular System

The heart muscle becomes thicker and stronger

The heart is able to empty its chambers at a faster rate

The heart beats more slowly at rest

The heart recovers more quickly after exercise

The heart becomes more efficient, cardiac output (amount of blood pumped out of the heart every minute) increases; stroke volume (amount of blood pumped out of the heart in each beat/contraction) increases

Respiration becomes more efficient, fewer breaths are needed to move the same amount of air in and out of the lungs

 The alveoli (tiny air sacs in the lungs) increase in size; capillaries (tiny blood vessels which cover the alveoli) increase in number, therefore the rate of gas exchange (oxygen into blood, carbon dioxide into lungs) increases

Arteries become more elastic allowing blood to move faster round the body

Volume of blood increases; more blood cells are produced increasing the amount of haemoglobin making the blood more efficient at carrying oxygen and removing carbon dioxide

Cholesterol (blood fats) levels in the blood decrease

Reduced risk of coronary heart disease

The Effects of Exercise on Bones and Joints

Increased mineral stores in the bones

Increased bone density – reducing risk of osteoporosis

Increased production of red blood cells – for the transportation of oxygen

Ligaments become stronger – thereby making joints more stable

Increased synovial fluid – more delivery of nutrients to the joints and cartilage keeping them healthy.  The cartilage is therefore less likely to degenerate avoiding the onset of Arthritis and other wear and tear conditions



Why Women Should Strength Train

Woman and Weight Training

Again and again, research has shown that women who maintain a regular, moderate strength training program enjoy a long list of health advantages. Some women still fear that weight training might bulk them up in unfeminine ways; however, as women of all ages realise the benefits of resistance training, negative attitudes about women in the weight room are rapidly fading.

You’ll Lose More Fat Than You’ll Gain in Muscle.

Westcott and his colleagues have done numerous weight training studies involving thousands of women and have never had anyone complain about bulking up. In fact, Westcott’s research shows that the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for eight weeks gains 1.75 pounds of lean weight or muscle and loses 3.5 pounds of fat. Unlike men, women typically don’t gain size from strength training, because compared to men, women have 10 to 30 times less of the hormones that cause bulking up, explains Kraemer.

Your New Muscle Will Help Fight Obesity.

As you add muscle from strength training, your resting metabolism will increase, so you’ll burn more calories all day long, notes Westcott. For each pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn 35 to 50 more calories daily. So, for example, if you gain three pounds of muscle and burn 40 extra calories for each pound, you’ll burn 120 more calories per day, or approximately 3,600 more calories per month. That equates to a loss of 10 to 12 pounds in one year!

You’ll Be a Stronger Woman.

Westcott’s studies indicate that moderate weight training increases a woman’s strength by 30 to 50 percent. Extra strength will make it easier to accomplish some daily activities, such as lifting children or shopping. Kraemer notes that most strength differences between men and women can be explained by differences in body size and fat mass; pound for pound, women can develop their strength at the same rate as men.

Your Bones Will Benefit.

By the time you leave high school, you have established all the bone mineral density you’ll ever have–unless you strength train, says Westcott. Research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density by 13 percent in six months. So strength training is a powerful too.

You Will Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes.

Adult-onset diabetes is a growing problem for women and men. Research indicates that weight training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 percent in four months.

You Will Fight Heart Disease.

Strength training will improve your cholesterol profile and blood pressure, according to recent research. Of course, your exercise program should also include cardiovascular exercise and flexibility training.

You Will Be Able to Beat Back Pain and Fight Arthritis.

A recent 12-year study showed that strengthening the low-back muscles had an 80 percent success rate in eliminating or alleviating low-back pain. Other studies have indicated that weight training can ease arthritis pain and strengthen joints.

You’ll Be a Better Athlete.

Westcott has found that strength training improves athletic ability. Golfers, for example, significantly increase their driving power. Whatever your sport of choice, strength training may not only improve your proficiency but also decrease your risk of injury.

It Will Work No Matter How Old You Are.

Westcott has successfully trained numerous women in their 70s and 80s, and studies show that strength improvements are possible at any age. Note, however, that a strength training professional should always supervise older participants.

You’ll Strengthen Your Mental Health.

A Harvard study found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counseling did, Westcott says. Women who strength train commonly report feeling more confident and capable as a result of their program.*

Selecting Home Exercise Equipment

The current economic reports show that home fitness products are a booming business and this is reflected in the many new home exercise products flooding the market. Exercising at home is convenient and even 63% of people who belong to fitness clubs also use home equipment.

Perhaps you are considering setting up a home workout areas in your home. There is a wide selection of equipment out there, some excellent and some very poorly made. Home fitness equipment can be one of the most enjoyable purchases you will every make, or it can be an unused dust collector. Exercise equipment is a major investment that should be researched and planned to make sure you get the best value.

Try to buy your exercise equipment from a speciality fitness retailer or exercise equipment dealer, not a department store or general sporting goods store. Fitness equipment stores are more likely to have sales staff who understand exercise and can answer questions and demonstrate the proper use of equipment. Equipment stores will also offer the home versions of brand equipment found in fitness clubs, which is better quality than department store brands. Also, in an exercise based store, the equipment will be displayed on the floor, not on shelves, making it easier to try out the equipment.

An additional suggestion for individuals who like to look for great prices with online shopping:  Go try out the exercise equipment first, decide what you like, and then hunt for that great price online.

Many people face a challenge when deciding which fitness product is the right one for them. Because there is so much exercise equipment on the market you need to assess your priorities. Personal home fitness areas should include a cardiovascular and a strength component. The specific pieces chosen must be based on the anatomy, interests, and fitness level of the user.

In general you should know the following about yourself and each machine you examine before your buy:



Your fitness needs.

Your budget.

The product features, including safety, warranty and serviceability.

Comparison with similar products.

What fitness activities do you enjoy?
What are your fitness goals?
Who else will use the equipment?
Compatability and personal fitness levels.

How much space is available? Take some measurements before you shop.

When preparing to make an exercise equipment purchase, take the time to try out a variety of pieces, ask a lot of questions, expect correct answers, and choose the machine that suits you best. Dress comfortably in loose clothes and sneakers so you can really use the equipment. Try the equipment out – play with it. Make sure you understand how to use it and what it will and won’t do before deciding on a purchase. Compare different models of the item. Assess the fit, feel and features of the equipment. Always try it out before you buy it. This is the big advantage to the exercise equipment specialty store over the department stores. If the store won’t let you try out the machines for as long as you need to, go somewhere else.

With cardiovascular equipment, test it for the kind of resistance it provides. Resistance is built into the equipment to make exercise harder or easier. Belts, chains, wind resistance, hydraulic pistons, and computers are the most common forms of resistance, and each kind has a different feel. Try out several kinds to see which you like best.

When testing exercise equipment check it for smooth movement, comfort, stability, safety, and funny noises or vibrations. The machine should not wiggle, sway or rock when used. Make sure that the bodily movements are correct and safe. Check to see if the equipment is adjustable, comfortable, easy to learn and designed in a user friendly way. Find out if advertising claims are backed up by research or objective consumer publications. Select equipment that enhances user safety, and avoid any piece with obvious flaws or weaknesses that increase the chances of injury

When deciding if a piece of exercise equipment is a good price, consider what may involve a lower pricing. Is it manufactured off shore or domestic? Are the components cheaper with a less rigorous design and assembly, or is it better engineering that allows less costly assembly. For the higher priced products, are the features better, providing longer durability, better performance, and less service? What is the warranty and can it be repaired locally?

Here is some information about the most common types of cardiovascular equipment:

Treadmills are the most popular piece of aerobic equipment for the home exerciser. Treadmills take the aerobic conditioning of walking, jogging, or running activities indoors, providing a safe place to exercise and avoid bad weather and pollution. Look for a treadmill with smooth action, a steady pace, monitoring systems, and incline settings. Make sure the treadmill is motorized, not manual. Check out any electronic display, emergency stop, railings, side runners, and elevation adjustment. Quality models range from £500 and up. Make sure any treadmill you consider is built to withstand a load many times your body weight and that local customer service is available.

Elliptical trainers offer a comfortable, non-impact exercise activity that almost anyone can do. The movement is horizontally oval. You can adjust the intensity or keep the movement easy for the very sedentary. It is currently popular second to the treadmill.

Stationary bikes are widely used home exercise equipment. They offer a non-impact cardiovascular workout and are great for the overweight or sedentary person just starting to exercise. The legs and hips are the major muscles used. When riding it, a good stationary bike should perform smoothly and feel solid. Many bikes come with monitors that record elapsed time, speed, distance covered, a calorie counter, and pulse meter. A basic, high quality exercise bike costs £500-1000, while the electronic or computer controlled bikes cost from £200 – 4000.

Recumbent cycles have their pedals in front, rather than underneath the rider. They have some advantages over conventional exercise bikes with a chair-style seat that gives a lot of back support and minimizes the stress on the knees. Recumbent cycles work the buttocks and upper hamstrings, as well as the abdominal muscles.

Step machines were very popular in the past and exercisers who enjoy intense workouts still like them. Steppers give a good workout aerobically, strengthen and build the lower body muscles, and are low impact. The step machine works the buttocks more than other machines. It must be used properly or back injury could result. You must have the strength and stamina to stand upright while climbing because bending and leaning on the railing causes undue stress on the back

Cross country ski machines can provide a full body workout for cardiovascular and muscle endurance, however, they are the hardest machine to learn to use. They use nearly all the major muscles in the arms, legs, abdominal muscles, chest and shoulders, and can give an intense workout. These take some practice to use well and are best for people who already exercise and want a challenge. The model you choose should feel smooth with a gliding motion.

People with limited spaces may like owning a rower, because it can fold and be stored in a corner. It uses the upper and lower body, and is an aerobic exercise, not a muscle builder. It is important to learn proper form and technique to avoid back strain.

Many people want to supplement their home aerobic fitness equipment with resistance equipment, so that they can get a balanced fitness program. Careful selection of the right equipment will help make exercise successful. There are more than a few types of home resistance equipment on the market. The two most widely recognized kinds of weight equipment are home gyms or multi-stations and free weights. Free weights require greater instruction and supervision for proper use, and are more likely to cause injury. The multi-station machines with captured weight stacks are easier to learn and safer to use.

The multi-function home strength units with lots of parts and low prices often require bothersome changes of the pieces between exercises. Many cheap machines are anatomically incorrect and can cause injury.

Just as with cardiovascular equipment, take the time to try out various weight training equipment before you purchase it. Spend enough time trying the piece to know if you would really be comfortable and enjoy using the equipment before you buy it.

Once you have made your purchases, protect your investment and follow the manufacturers’ maintenance suggestions. Remember that the most important consideration in buying exercise equipment is your personal preference. The quality of your commitment to training will provide the best results and you must enjoy the equipment you buy enough to use it regularly.


Some Ways to Avoid Weight Gain At Parties

1. Don’t go to the party hungry, eat before you go.

2. Avoid cakes, biscuits, pastries.  Stick to low fat/sugar/salt snacks.

3.  Offer to take some healthy snacks along.

4. Wander around with a glass in your hand that looks like it is an alcoholic drink but is in fact water, ice and lemon. 

5.  Have a glass of water between alcoholic drinks.

6.  Drink Spritzas and top up with water.

7.  Don’t stay near the food.  That way you won’t be tempted!

8.  Feel smug, you are not going to put on weight over the party  season!  Neither will you have a hangover in the morning!

9. Don’t stop exercising over the holiday period.  If classes or the gym are closed.  Go for long brisk walks with the family or try out that fitness DVD that has been gathering dust on the shelf!

10.  Remember you are what you eat.  If you eat more than your body needs it will be stored as fat.  You can’t blame anyone else!