To Your Health
June, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 06)
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Now, let's talk about a fitness goal of 20 or more pounds of weight loss. If you're goal is to lose 20 or more pounds through the summer, you need to start doing something now! Not tomorrow or after the weekend - now.

Every second counts. Make sure you set realistic goals because you want to lose the weight safely and effectively, and you don't want to gain your weight back, which you probably will do if you buy into some gimmick or get-fit-quick weight-loss system.

Cardiovascular training if you're trying to lose 20 pounds or more.

The components are the same as above: cardiovascular activity, resistance training and better eating habits. With cardio, you want to get 35-40 minutes of some activity every day. On five of the seven days, I recommend being in your THR for 35-40 minutes. Whether it's a brisk walk, biking or gardening, there are many activities that will help you burn calories. Obviously, if you have a gym membership or access to a cardio machine, treadmill, stair master, elliptical machine or spin class, this also will be very valuable. The other two days, you need to do some type of physical activity for 30 minutes. It might seem like a lot to start, but the key is doing more than you currently are and doing it consistently, progressing every week.

A young man at work with his bicycle leaning against his desk. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Resistance training is a key component many women try to avoid. But if you're trying to lose weight and see results quicker, resistance training is not an option - it's a must! Three to four days of resistance training are highly recommended. If you have never done any resistance training, please refer to a fitness professional to prevent injury. I recommend ball squats, leg presses, hamstring curls, push-ups, and lat and triceps pulldowns to get started.

You Are What You Eat

A middle aged couple at the gym. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Our last and most important component to shedding those pounds is your eating habits. First, I strongly recommend you keep a food journal; not for a lifetime, just for a couple of months. You need to write down everything you eat: calories, fat grams and carbohydrates. The more detailed you are, the better off you'll be. People tend to underestimate how many calories they consume in one day. A general guideline to lose weight safely and effectively is to consume anywhere from 1,350-1,750 calories per day.

Basically, if you start at the low end of the calorie range and are hungry all day long, then you need to up your calorie intake. Less is not always better when counting calories; your body is a machine, and it needs the right fuel to function properly. If you start going below 1,200 calories a day, your body will begin to slowly break down. Portion control also is very important. Just because you're eating "healthy" foods doesn't mean you can eat in excess. Any food in excess will be detrimental to your weight-loss goals.