Earlier this evening, someone said something in a conversation that reminded me of a research study I had read earlier in the week and about something that has been said in the blog pretty often. Obviously, it bears repeating. And to be fair, this is something that science is supporting NOW, but something we didn't realize so much ten or twenty years ago, and it is hard to let go of old beliefs.
The belief that I am referring to is that exercise alone is a weight loss strategy. It is not. In order to lose the extra weight you've put on over the holidays or the weight you have carried for years which is putting you at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and disability - you MUST eat less.
Exercise is vital to improve health and will have a positive impact on resting heart rate, blood pressure, functionality, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar, but it will not take the pounds off and until you take them off (if indeed you need to) the risk for all of the above conditions will still be greater for YOU than for people of normal weights. We can debate which measure determines "normal" whether it be BMI, WHR or Waist Circumference, but instead let us say, it is the weight at which you do not have the symptoms of disease.
This information is NOT meant to deter or dissuade you but to prompt you into action. What we do have in the 00s that we didn't have in the 90s is the Internet and the explosion of web based programs and tools that are FREE and full of information that can help you to first understand caloric need and balance and then to do something about it.
I have done some exploring in order to write the post and I refer you again to the Cooper Institute's Stand Up and Eat site which can help you determine the amount of calories you need to maintain or lose weight (BTW I need LESS than 1700 and I am considered VERY active, so chances are you are overestimating your needs. A moderately active woman who is 5ft 5 and weighs 150 pounds only needs 1860. A moderately active 180 lb man who is 5ft 10 needs about 2100)
Learn what you need and then you can use some of the tools on the MyPyramid site to track activity and track calories consumed. But as always, my favorite is the data base of the USDA. Of course, label reading is a must! I do think you should bookmark the links in this section.
I mentioned a few people earlier this week who said they lost weight by tracking their calories. If you are not losing weight ,and need to, this is something that you might try.
Well - now is as good a time as any.....