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Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Successful losers

Posted by Richard on January 23, 2007

This time of year, many of us are trying to lose a few pounds. It’s become a cliché that losing weight is relatively easy, but keeping it off is hard. So, what are the secrets of the really successful losers — the people who’ve lost a lot and avoided gaining back the weight they’ve lost? The National Weight Control Registry is a good place to find out.  It’s tracking over 5,000 people who’ve lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for at least one year, making it "the largest prospective investigation of long-term successful weight loss maintenance."

James O. Hill, NWCR’s co-founder and director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, described the typical person in the registry as a middle-aged white woman who’s lost an average of 70 pounds and kept it off an average of seven years. Those numbers are a pretty good indication that the registry members are doing something right.

So what made the registry members successful? According to Hill, these five behaviors (emphasis added):

1. They eat breakfast. Unlike fat people, who typically skip breakfast but do have lunch and then eat virtually non-stop from about 4 p.m. until they go to bed,"these people almost never skip breakfast," Hill reports. "We think maybe that calories ingested in the morning have a greater satiating effect than calories eaten later in the day."

2. They monitor their weight. "These people use scales a lot," Hill says. "Almost all of them use a scale weekly, and some use it daily." Such regular checks enable them to catch weight regain early on, he says, so they can take action to get back on track as soon as they see their target number go up more than two or three pounds.

3. They get a lot of exercise. "Walking is huge," Hill reports. A survey of participants in the registry found that on average, they get 60 minutes of physical activity per day, with 28 percent mostly walking,49 percent combining walking with cycling, aerobics or lifestyle changes such as parking farther away, and 14 percent mainly doing activities other than walking. Meanwhile, 9 percent "do nothing" — i.e. they control their weight through diet alone.

4. They watch what they eat. Most successful losers report consuming 1300 to 1400 calories per day over the long term, with only about 25 percent of the total derived from fat, compared to 30 percent or more in the typical American diet. In addition, their eating habits are consistent from day to day — they don’t take "holidays" when anything goes.

5. They stay away from the tube. The formerly fat "watch much less TV than the national average" — about 10 hours a week, or less than half of the typical 28 hours or so. Presumably, they’re less likely to be snacking and more likely to be physically active during the non-watching hours.

Hmm. I guess I’m doing fine on #1 and #2, need to work harder on #3 (especially in the winter), and need to be more consistent about #4.

But, oh boy, do I fail badly on #5! Sigh. Anybody want to buy a nice Samsung 46" HDTV?

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Tell her it’s for her own good

Posted by Richard on January 2, 2007

Men, if you have a wife or female significant other, pay attention. In fact, you might want to print out a few copies of this. Stick one on the fridge. Keep one handy for the next time she nags you to help more with the housework. Tell her you’re leaving the housework for her because you care about her and want to safeguard her health. Tell her you’re willing to lie on the couch while she dusts and vacuums if it will help protect her from breast cancer. According to a just-published study, it will (emphasis added):

Doing housework can cut substantially a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, according to researchers.

A study comparing the beneficial effects of different types of exercise found that moderate housework had the biggest obvious effect.

The researchers analysed data from 218,169 women from nine European countries, with an age range of 20 to 80 years.

They followed the women for an average of 6.4 years, during which time there were 3,423 cases of breast cancer. The average age at which the disease developed in the participants was 47.6 years for pre-menopausal women and 65.6 years for post-menopausal.

All forms of activity combined was found to reduce the risk in the post-menopausal women participants, but had no obvious effect in the pre-menopausal women.

But the researchers found that all women, both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal, who undertook housework had a “significantly” reduced risk of getting the disease.

The research, published in the January edition of the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, concluded: “In this large cohort of women , . . increased non-occupational physical activity and, in particular, increased household activity, were significantly associated with reduced breast cancer risk, independent of other potential risk factors.

“Our results . . . provide additional evidence that moderate forms of physical activity, such as household activity, may be more important than less frequent but more intense recreational physical activity in reducing breast cancer risk in European women.”

I’m thinking of contacting the Susan G. Komen Foundation and offering to make my house available for women who suffer from a shortage of housework. I think my dump lovely home could meet the housework needs of a significant number of women for quite some time. I wouldn’t even charge them anything — it would be my contribution to a good cause.

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World Heart Day

Posted by Richard on September 25, 2006

Today was World Heart Day, and I missed all the festivities. It’s intended to promote awareness of heart disease and its prevention. The World Heart Federation sponsors the annual world-wide event:

World Heart Day is run by the World Heart Federation’s member organizations in more than 100 countries. Activities on the day include health checks, walks, runs, jump rope, fitness sessions, public talks, stage shows, scientific forums, exhibitions, concerts and sports tournaments. Last year in Singapore for example, a World Heart Day heart fair attracted over 60,000 participants who took part in health screenings, aerobics classes, health quizzes, exhibits, school performances, nutritional counselling and food sampling. Similar events will be taking place this year asking participants: "How Young is Your Heart?"

The "How Young Is Your Heart?" theme encouraged people to think about how their lifestyle choices affect the effective "age" of their heart and their heart health. According to the World Health Federation, the three major risk factors — physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, and tobacco use — account for 80% of heart disease and stroke.

Personally, I’m doing OK on two out of three. I’m still an ex-smoker (closing in on two years), and I’ve been walking pretty regularly. Diet — well, that could be better. But I take about 3 dozen nutritional supplements a day to counteract some of the harm from my diet — and from 40 years of smoking.

In honor of World Heart Day, today I ran a 10k, ate an arugula salad with fat-free dressing for dinner, and then worked out on the rowing machine.

Just kidding!

Actually, I cleaned out the garage, ate a pizza, and hit the recliner to watch the Broncos spank the Patriots. Again! We’ve got your number, Brady!

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