Sitting on your chair at your desk can kill you, so get up and walk around to lose weight

We assume that exercising for 45 minutes a few times a week is good for us, and it is, but exercise does not entirely compensate for the health risks associated with sitting on our butts for nine hours a day. New evidence suggests that the more hours a day you sit, the greater your likelihood of dying an earlier death regardless of how much you exercise or how lean you are.

It’s not just your heart that’s at risk from too much sitting; your hips, spine, and shoulders could also suffer.

Regularly exercising is not the same as being active. There’s a difference between  “official” exercise activity, like running, biking, or lifting weights, and “non-exercise” activity, like walking to your car, mowing the lawn, or simply standing. You may run every day, but if you are sitting a good deal of the rest of the time, you may not be leading an overall active life.

What’s the solution? Stand up. Apparently a sales clerk in a store, who stands all day long, will burn 1,500 calories in a day, while an office worker sitting at a desk burns 1,000 calories per day. That’s why people gain 16 pounds, on average, within 8 months of starting sedentary office work.

Apparently we have an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL). LPL’s main responsibility is to break down fat in the bloodstream to use as energy. If LPL doesn’t work in our leg muscles, fat is stored instead of burned as fuel. The simple act of standing can amplify the activity of the primary fat burning enzyme in your body by 10 times, meaning you burn ten times more fat standing than sitting.

Even better, standing helps reduce muscle soreness and stiffness, and boosts the immune system.

So we need to use our legs. How? Standing and walking.

In a perfect world, we would stand all day long. Unfortunately that’s not easy for us, since we have desk jobs. So, the solution is to stand up as much as possible. Here are some suggestions:

When you are talking on the phone, stand up. This is probably impossible if you work in an open office; it will be disruptive if you are standing up in the middle of the room. However, if you aren’t around other people, and you have a head set, stand up.

Move around the office. Use the printer farther away from your desk, and walk to it. Stand up at least once an hour. Go for a walk at lunch. Keep moving.

Exercise is important, but standing up is an important part of weight loss.

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P90X for Weight Loss

You have probably seen the infomercials for the P90X exercise program.  It’s an intense exercise program designed to increase your overall level of fitness.  Is it good as a weight loss program?

Yes and no.

P90X is designed for overall fitness, but it is not specifically a weight loss program.  If your primary goal is weight loss, P90X is probably not for you.

However, if your goal is to lose weight and improve your fitness, P90X can help.  One version of the program is the “Lean” version, and it is more geared toward weight loss.

Weight loss in P90X is accomplished by numerous cardio workouts, including Cardio X, Kenpo X (which is a boxing and kicking workout designed to burn calories), and Plyometrics (which emphasizes jumping and moving around, also designed to burn calories).

In addition to the Cardio workouts, there is also resistance training, including Chest & Back, legs & back, and shoulders & arms.  Again, building muscle mass helps burn calories, which leads to weight loss.

Is P90X right for you?  It depends.  There is no doubt that it is an intensive, six day per week, one to one and a half hour per day workout, so if you can’t commit the time and effort, don’t bother.  But, if you are willing to kick it up a notch and work hard, P90X may be a great weight loss solution.

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Weight Loss: An Easy Tip to Lose Weight

There are lots of fad diets out there, but here’s a simple way to lose weight:

Don’t eat foods that have a nutrition label or ingredient list on them.

Sounds simple, and it is.  Here’s why: pre-packaged and processed foods contain preservatives, chemicals, artificial sweeteners, sugar and salt.  They have long labels with all of the ingredients.

Natural foods, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and meat, don’t have nutrition labels; they are all natural.  That also means they don’t have any hidden sugar, chemicals, salt, or other bad ingredients that can leave to weight gain, and prevent you from losing weight.

Try this challenge: for the next week, only eat foods with no label.  If it has a label, don’t eat it.  That means no frozen dinners, no prepare food.  Only eat foods with fresh, natural ingredients.

Eating fresh and healthy gives you good calories, not empty calories, and helps you feel full and satisfied, and that’s a great recipe for losing weight.

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Weight Loss: The First Step to Lose Weight

You can read all the diet books that exist, and you can try every fad diet and exercise program.  You can join a gym, or a weight loss club, or you can hire a personal trainer.  Those steps are fine, but that’s not the first step.

The first step to weight loss is critical: you must decide that you want to lose weight.

To repeat: you must decide to lose weight.  No-one else can make that decision for you.

Your spouse may want you to lose weight.  Your doctor may want you to start a weight loss program.  Perhaps your friends and family are telling you to lose weight.  That’s great, but except for the calories you may burn by arguing with them, they can’t help you lose weight.

Only you can change what you eat.  Only you can decide not to eat four pieces of cake when you are hungry at midnight.  Only you can decide to get up early in the morning to go to the gym, or to go for a run.  Only you can have the inner motivation to make changes to your life.

So ask yourself this simple question: “Why do I want to lose weight?”  Then write down your answer.  You may want to lose weight due to simple vanity (I want to look better).  It may be a health issue (I don’t want to get diabetes, or have a heart attack).  It may be personal (I want to be able to go for a swim and a bike ride with my children).  Whatever the reason, the reason must come from within.  You must make that decision.

Once you know why you want to lose weight, you can decide to do it.  For yourself.  Not for anyone else.

That’s why the first step to losing weight is to decide you want to lose weight.  It’s up to you to make that decision today.

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Lose Weight By Eating at Home

The average fast food meal contains many hundreds of calories more than a comparable meal that you prepare at home.  In short, fast food meals are generally not healthy.

After a busy day at work, it’s difficult to rush to the store to buy healthy, fresh ingredients, and then rush home and spend 45 minutes in the kitchen preparing a healthy meal.  So we often take the easy way out and buy hamburgers or fried chicken or pizza that may not be the healthiest alternative.

To lose weight, you should avoid fast food and eat at home.  But where do you find the time?  Here’s how:

First, start by planning your meals in advance.  Every weekend pull out your calendar and look at your schedule: what days will you be home early, and on what days will you be working late.  It’s the late days that take the most planning.

Then, on the weekend, when you have time, do your shopping and then pre-prepare as many meals as possible for the week.  You can make a double batch of lasagna (with healthy ingredients) and freeze it or refrigerate it for use later in the week.

Focus on quick and healthy meals.  It’s not hard to barbecue a chicken breast and make a salad.  Pasta can be prepared quickly if you have the ingredients ready.  Plan ahead.

For fresh vegetables, stop by your local grocer on the way home.  If you have your meal plan, you know that today all you need to buy is fresh broccoli, or beans, or lettuce, or whatever you are cooking tonight.  If you know exactly what you want to purchase, it’s a quick trip.

As an added bonus, planning ahead and cooking at home can save you a lot of money, while you reach your weight loss goals.

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Lose Weight By Standing Up!

Here’s a simple weight loss tip: stand up!

Standing burns more calories than sitting, so whenever you can, stand up!

When you are at the office talking on the phone, stand up.  Buy yourself a hands free wireless earpiece for your phone, so you can walk around while talking on the phone.  Standing and walking burns more calories than sitting, and it’s easy.

Stand up when you are having short meetings.

Don’t sit at your desk all day; get up and walk around.

You will be surprised how much weight you can lose by standing up.  Try it!

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Lose Weight: Don’t Eat Before Bed; Moderate Morning Exercise

Thanks to Ben Greenfield of Ben Greenfield Fitness for this tip.  To lose weight, do these two simple things:

First, stop eating two hours before you go to bed.  That means no snacks or meals in the two hours leading up to bed time.  Plan your dinner for perhaps four hours before bed, and then if necessary have a small, healthy snack two hours before bed, and that’s it!  You can drink water, but don’t eat anything in the two hours before bed.  Your food will be fully digested before you go to sleep, so your insulin will be at the right levels, and your body can burn fat during the night, not the food in your stomach.

Second tip: when you wake up in the morning, do 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise.  Nothing strenuous.  You don’t need to run 10 miles.  A leisurely walk, or some light cardio, or yoga, would be fine.  Your goal is to get the blood flowing, and since you haven’t eaten, your body will burn fat for energy.

These two tips are very simple and easy, and will help you shed pounds with virtually no extra work!

For more great tips, check out the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast: it’s free!

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Thanksgiving and Weight Loss

Today is the Thanksgiving Day holiday in Canada.  The American Thanksgiving holiday happens in November.  What do we do to celebrate?  We eat.  We eat turkey, and mashed potatoes, and stuffing, and gravy and pie.  And we eat a lot.  What can you do to lose weight during a holiday?

The short answer is: not much.  A holiday is not the time to be trying to lose weight.  Take the day off from your diet and enjoy the food.  Losing weight should not be your goal.  Your goal should be to not gain weight.  Here are two tips:

First, skip a meal.  If you know you will be having a huge dinner, sleep in, have a late breakfast, and just have a small healthy snack instead of lunch.  You may eat more calories at supper, but if you have virtually no calories at lunch, the total number of calories you consumed for the day may still be reasonable.

Second, get some exercise.  Go for a walk.  The advantage of exercise is it helps burn calories, and while you are walking you probably won’t be eating, so it’s a win-win.  Take the entire family for a walk.  It will be fun for everyone, it will help with your weight, and it will build your appetite for the evening meal, which for today, enjoy it.  You can get back to your healthy eating tomorrow.

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Fasting and Weight Loss

To lose weight, stop eating; seems simple, right?  Yes, in many instances “fasting”, or not eating, is a way to lose weight.  However, caution is required.

Your body requires nutrients, vitamins and minerals, so if you stop eating, your body is not getting those nutrients.  If you fast for long enough, obviously you would die of starvation, so you need a plan.

To start, your body can go weeks without food, but it can’t even go days without liquid, so if you fast, continue to drink plenty of liquids.  Water is essential.

Next, if you are not fueling your body, you will not have the energy to do strenuous physical exercise, so while fasting avoid heavy exertion.  Fasting and resting go together, so take it easy while fasting.  Walking is fine, but running a marathon while fasting is not a good idea.

Finally, if you fast for an extended period of time, your body will get used to lower food intake.  Then, when you stop fasting, your body will work hard to replenish it’s lost stores of fat and energy.  Your metabolism revs back up, and it’s common once you stop fasting that you regain all of the weight that you lost while fasting.

So what’s the secret to fasting for weight loss?  First, only fast periodically for brief periods, such as a day or two, not a week or two.

Start by preparing.  Tell yourself that your fast starts tomorrow.  Have a plan to drink lots of liquids, to reduce physical activity, and to stick with it.  Eat normal, healthy foods the day before your fast.

Then, while fasting, have non-strenuous activities planned to keep you busy, and to keep your mind from thinking about food.  Read a book, go for a leisurely walk, take a nap, listen to music, but avoid strenuous physical activities.

At the end of your day long fast, break the fast the following morning by drinking two glasses of water with a bit of lemon.  Let the water work through your digestive system to remove any toxins accumulated.  Then, have your normal healthy breakfast.

Fasting once a month can be beneficial, and can help in your weight loss program.

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Swimming and Weight Loss

Want a great way to lose weight?  Try swimming.  Yes, the activity that you loved as a child, back in the good old days when you did not even think about exercise, is still a great exercise today.

If you live in the Northern United States or in Canada you can’t swim outside all year long.  In cold climates a trip to an indoor pool in the middle of winter may not be particularly appealing.  But once the summer weather arrives there is nothing more refreshing that a swim in an outdoor pool.  The hotter the day, the better.

If you want to lose weight while swimming, swim with a purpose.  Don’t just splash around in the water; if you want to burn a pound of fat a week, or burn 3,500 calories a week, you need to swim.

Start by doing an easy length or two of front crawl.  Then do some breast stroke, then back stroke.  Then do another set, but faster.  Then do the front crawl just using your arms, as fast as you can.  Variety is key, so change it up.

I find that a half an hour in the pool goes by in no time, and a full hour is easy once you get used to it.  Have fun, because if you enjoy it, weight loss is fun.

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