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Walking and Weight Loss - The Keys to a Successful, Long-Term Weight Loss Program

Ice Cream - Not the Key to Weight LossFor me, the days of eating with impunity are long gone. In my early 20’s my naturally high metabolism and the massive miles I logged race walking allowed a youthful version of me to eat almost anything without it sticking to my very visible ribs. Others I am sure share the experience of a youthful trim body that slowly or maybe not so slowly thickened up with age. For some, the gift of a fast metabolism or time and fortitude to exercise for hours per week never existed and thus they may have been overweight most of their life. Instead an increasing number kids aren’t starting with my experience. More are overweight or obese leading to diseases like adult onset diabetes and heart disease at a very young age.

I wish I could tell you there is a magic bullet or more likely a pill to take that solves all of your weight loss problems. For most, as we age, if we don’t watch our diet and exercise regularly the weight piles on. Despite the many infomercials and advertisements to the contrary there is no easy, magical way to healthfully lose weight and keep it off.

The CDC suggests that your weight loss goal should be no more than one to two pounds per week. We agree. Weight loss should not be about a quick drop, but a slow steady decline. If you lose only 1 pound per week, in a year you drop over 50 pounds. If you could sign up for that deal, I think you would agree that 50 pounds a year is plenty of weight loss. Even at half that rate for a year you would drop 25 lbs. per year; not an inconsequential improvement. The key to success of course is to keep it off. Therefore, a slow and steady loss is the best method. So, what is the secret to losing a pound a week?

By combining an increase in activity without an increase in caloric intake, you stand your best chance for success. Ask anyone who has tried to diet by solely restricting calories knows how well it worked. Usually, the answer is not very well. The difficulty with calorie restricted diets is that they signal to the body to become less efficient and slow the metabolism. While you can reduce calories by a small amount, it’s far easier to lose weight by increasing your caloric expenditure than it is to do so by a reduction in calories.

Challenging the science are many fad diets. They promise quick and permanent weight loss, but are often unsustainable in the long run. If they are not sustainable they do nothing to solve your long term issue and the weight will simply return once you’ve stopped the specific diet. Often on a fad diet you initially lose weight quickly, but when you do the weight you lose is more likely to be to be water weight or your body digesting its own muscle mass. Healthy weight loss comes from dropping body fat not muscle and water weight. Frequently fad diets focus on one food group, this is usually unnatural and not in the body’s long term health interest.

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