Archive for calories

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.


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.


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.


Can Moderate Exercise Lead to Weight Loss?

We all have heard the “conventional wisdom” about the importance of exercise: if you engage in moderate exercise, like walking, for 30 minutes a day three or four times per week you can lose weight.  But is that true?

In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine on July 28, 2008 (here’s the link: Effect of Exercise on 24-Month Weight Loss Maintenance in Overweight Women) it was discovered that the more you exercise, the more weight you can lose.

In the study, 201 overweight and obese women aged 21 to 45 years old were told to reduce their caloric intake to 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day, and they were split into four groups based on physical activity (from light activity up to vigorous intensity).

They discovered that individuals sustaining a weight loss of 10% or more of initial body weight at 24 months reported performing more physical activity (1835 kcal/wk or 275 min/wk) compared with those sustaining a weight loss of less than 10% of initial body weight.

The study concluded that the addition of about four and a half hours per week of vigorous physical activity, combined with a reduced calorie diet, is very important in allowing overweight women to sustain weight loss. The message is clear: if you want to lose weight, more exercise is better. Don’t just go for a leisurely walk three times a week, go for a brisk walk for 45 minutes to an hour six times a week, or add in other forms of physical activity to enhance weight loss.


Weight Loss with Alli – The Wonder Drug

People everywhere are constantly searching for the product that will help them to achieve their weight loss goals.  The recently released weight loss pill, alli, with the convenience of being available without a prescription and with the safety and comfort of FDA approval, seems like the answer to everyone’s weight loss dreams.  With the promise of increased weight-loss and the possibility of curing obesity-related diseases, the alli weight loss pill seems too good to be true.

Olistat, the active ingredient in alli has been available by prescription for years by the brand name Xenical.  Alli is a reduced-strength version of this same drug which when taken with meals prevents the body from breaking down and absorbing 25% of the fat in food.  With less fat available for energy, the body must tap into its fat reserves and use up the excesses resulting in weight loss.

Using alli along with a low-calorie, reduced-fat diet and increased exercise could help in losing up to 50% more weight than with traditional dieting alone.  Maximum weight loss is usually achieved within the first six months of using the product.  Unlike some other diet pills, alli acts only in the digestive tract and has no effect on the brain eliminating the addictive qualities that cause other diet pills to be susceptible to abuse.

This all sounds great, however there are some dangers to using alli to lose weight.  Some of the common side effects include increased flatulence and more frequent, difficult-to-control bowel movements.  The alli program suggests that meals include no more than 15 grams of fat to prevent these side effects from worsening; however some people may find it challenging to know exactly how much fat their meal contains.  A multi-vitamin may need to be taken as alli can interfere with the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K.  Because alli is a relatively new drug, the long-term effects are unknown as of yet.  In clinical trials, when alli stopped being taken, many people gained back the weight they had lost and so the pill may need to be taken indefinitely.

Alli should only be used as a dieting aid for people who need to lose weight for reasons of health and not for already thin people to keep their weight off.   All aspects of the alli weight loss program need to be followed including the recommended dosage, the diet and the exercise.


Weight Loss Plan on Track

Well, I have now finished the first week of My Weight Loss Plan. How did I do?

Quite well, actually, thanks for asking.

I started the week at 198 pounds, and today I weighed in at 194.5 pounds, for a loss of 3.5 pounds on the week. I of course realize that some of that loss is water weight, but I’m happy; I wanted to lose weight, and that’s what I did.

How did I do it?

First, I gave up carbs for breakfast. Every morning I ate eggs (you can read my egg post for more details). For lunch and dinner I ate a lot of vegetables and chicken and salads. There are lots of things you can do with those foods, so it wasn’t boring at all.

Precor 9.33 treadmill

Second, I did a moderate amount of exercise. During the week I went for one 30 minute walk, I did one cardio session (30 minutes of walking and jogging on my Precor 9.33 treadmill). I also did two twenty minute weight training sessions.

Why only 20 minutes each? Because I knew, since I’m just getting back into it, my muscles would be tired and would need time to recover, so I didn’t want to over do it.

Also, one problem with exercise is that it makes you hungry, so I wanted to exercise enough to get the benefit of exercise, but not so much I just had to eat more to satisfy my hunger. (I’m using the Turbulence Training concepts discussed here earlier).

Week one was a success, let’s see how we do in Week #2.


Weight Loss Through Weight Training

I’m now on day #3 of my weight loss plan, and today I want to talk about exercise. We all agree that exercise is good, because it helps burn calories and it makes you feel better.

However, I have found that it’s not easy to use exercise to lose weight. As discussed in my article on the 3,500 calorie weight loss challenge, a pound of fat is the equivalent of about 3,500 calories, meaning you need to burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat. That may sound easy, but it isn’t. You would need to walk for seven and a half hours to burn 3,500 calories. That’s not easy.

My point: you cannot rely on exercise alone to lose weight. It is far easier to cut 3,500 calories out of your diet than it is to walk for seven plus hours!

The other problem with exercise is that it makes you hungry! Your body burns calories, which makes you hungry, so you want to eat more. If your eating increases by the same amount of calories you just burned, you won’t lose any weight! It’s simple math.

That doesn’t mean exercise is bad. With exercise your heart gets stronger, you sleep better, and you feel better. But you don’t necessarily lose weight.

So, what’s my plan? I plan to do limited exercise. I want the maximum “bang for the buck”, so I’m not going to walk for seven hours. I am going to do resistance training, also known as weight training.

Weight training can be done in a relatively short period of time (30 minutes two or three times per week), and it’s effective because it helps you build muscle. We all know that muscle weighs more than fat, because it’s more dense, but muscle also needs more energy to grow and survive. Energy is another word for calories, and it’s a simple equation: the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn, even when you are not exercising!

TurbulenceTrainingResearch Turbulence Training.   I plan to use the strategy developed by Craig Ballantyne in his revolutionary Turbulence Training System, where you can lose fat while gaining muscle with just three short (but intense) workouts each week.

Mr. Ballantyne is a world-renowned Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), and author articles in magazines such as Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Oxygen, Maximum Fitness, and Muscle and Fitness Hers.


The Turbulence Training System is designed to burn fat in the least amount of time. It takes some work, but I believe the results will be worth it. (For more information, click here to read more about Turbulence Training.)

My plan is to do 30 minutes of high intensity weight training two or three times per week to build muscle mass, burn calories, but not work out so much that I just increase my hunger levels. Check back to see how it works.


Eggs, Diet, and Weight Loss

Yesterday I talked about my plan to lose weight, and I said that as part of My Weight Loss Plan I am going to eat eggs. Here’s what I mean:

To lose weight, I want to keep my carbohydrate intake low, and focus only on good carbs. Therefore, during the week, I’m going to skip having cereal for breakfast, which is high in carbs and sugar, and replace cereal with eggs, which are high in protein.

Today for breakfast I took one whole egg, and three egg whites. (I buy the egg whites separately; it’s easy, and I’m not wasting the egg yolks. I like one whole egg for flavor, and the egg whites for volume with fewer calories.) Today I chopped up some fresh spinach, some feta cheese, and some black olives.

I mixed the egg and egg whites, poured them into a frying pan coated with olive oil, and made an omelette. Once cooked enough to allow for flipping, I flip in over and dump on the spinach, cheese and black olives. I fold it over, and put the pan to the side of the stove for one minute (I don’t want the eggs to cook so much they get rubbery, but I want the spinach limp and the cheese somewhat melted).

Then it’s put it on a plate and eat.

How hard is this? It’s easy, because I do most of the preparation the night before. I chop the spinach, feta cheese, and black olives and put them in a Ziploc container, so in the morning all I need to do is dump them on.

One word of caution: I find that with this diet I need to nd drink lots of water to counter balance the salt in the olives and the cheese, and to keep me regular.

Tomorrow, some thoughts on exercise.


Weight Loss Program Tip 7– Drinks Lots of Water

Many weight loss programs want you to buy fancy and expensive foods to lose weight. Here’s a tip that costs you almost nothing: drink lots of water.

Water helps with weight loss because it flushes your system out, keeps you hydrated, has no calories, and if you are drinking water, you are not eating.

Six cups of water per day is a good target; eight is even better, particularly if you are exercising.

Water has the added benefit of keeping you full, so instead of reaching for a cookie, reach for a tall cool glass of water.   Make water an essential part of your weight loss program.


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