Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lose the Biggest Loser

I have never been a fan of The Biggest Looser.  The last time I watched a full episode was my senior year of college.  But the other night I caught a few heart breaking minutes of it and hated each and every one.  This show creates unrealistic expectations and perpetuates the notion that to lose weight you have to kill yourself at the gym.  It's just not true, and most of the past contestants have gained a large portion of their weight back.  This year I challenge you to turn off the Biggest Loser and find an activity that you enjoy and use that to help you get healthy.

1. Guess what?! Without a personal trainer and 2-8 hours of extra time to spend working out every day, you're not going to lose 6-12 pounds on a continuous weekly basis.  Losing this much weight isn't even healthy for you.  It puts your body into shock, and just as quickly as you lost it, you're probably going to regain it.  Just like most of the Biggest Loser contestants from the past.  This year, instead of setting yourself up for failure, set yourself up for success.  Focus on small attainable goals.  If weight loss is what you want, celebrate a successful 0.5-2 pound weight loss for the week.  When people lose weight slowly, their bodies have time to adjust and they will be successful at continued weight loss and weight maintenance.

2. Don't Kill Yourself!  You don't have to puke, you don't have to pass out, you don't have to lie gasping on the floor with heart palpitations to know you have had a good workout.  And again, you don't have to, and SHOULDN'T workout for more than 45-60 minutes per day.  And you shouldn't go 110% every workout several days in a row.  Why?  For the best explanation head to Mark's Daily Apple to read up on chronic cardio and the dangers of burning more than 4000 kcals per week.  Unless you are a professional athlete, excess exercise will eventually leave you burned out.  Too high intensity of a workout day after day can lead to injuries and weight gain from high cortisol levels.  Exercise and physical activity need to be something you can stick with.

3. Do Something you enjoy.  If you hate going to the gym, go for a walk, bike ride, roller blade, swim.  Love the gym?  GET OFF THE ELLIPTICAL!  Learn to lift weights with proper form.  Weight lifting will help you build muscle which in turn burns more calories per pound than fat does.  Thus, you lose weight more effectively; something the perpetual motion machines cannot do.
Try a new class: Yoga, Zumba, Kickboxing, Spinning, Boot Camp with your puppy, Water Aerobics.  Whatever you think might be fun.  If you enjoy the activity, you will be more likely to stick with it.  You don't have to do it every day either.  Set a goal of exercising 3-5 days per week for 30 minutes.  That's it, that's attainable.  Besides, even with all the exercise Jillian does, she just seems mean and unhappy.  Who wants to be like that?

4. Quit finding, making, and creating excuses. It doesn't matter if you don't have access to a gym or community center.  Even in the frozen north you can still bundle up and go snowshoeing, skiing, or walk at the mall.  If you have kids, get them involved and go bowling or shoot hoops at their school. Have your spouse look after the kids while you workout to a DVD.  Walk around the soccer fields during your kids practice.  Try the free 1 week membership at the local yoga studio, you might like it.  The important part is that you move your body.  Maybe you won't lose weight, but you will feel better. When you exercise regularly it will help prevent heart disease, cancer, and even alzeyhemers.
Don't have gym... Climb a Tree

Try a new activity and discover muscles you had forgotten.
Go Snorkeling, Learn to Swim, Take a Scuba Class

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great tips! I'll definitely try out archery!