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Exercise for Weight Loss

What is your exercise plan during your weight loss program? Do you have one?

Three of my favourite options effective for weight loss include treadmills, the elliptical and skipping ropes.

Here is why.

It is important that we compare the information so you can determine which option is the best fit and how you might use a mix of these to keep your workout fun and enjoyable.

Treadmills can be great for indoor walking and running in the winter months (to decrease the risk of falls and injuries), however it can create a significant amount of stress on the joints. I recommend that if using a treadmill is preferable to you, be sure to have proper, supportive footwear and try whenever possible to walk/run outdoors to mix it up.

This type of workout is popular for beginners because the intensity level can be completely controlled.

When using a treadmill for your weight loss workout, it is important that you are exercising in your target heart rate. See below for how to determine what your target heart rate is.

Elliptical machines have become quite popular because of the whole body workout that can be achieved with just one machine, in a short time period. With this type of equipment the stress on joints (knees, hips, low back, ankles) is much less and in certain cases can be a better option for individuals with injuries. Although for many people with injuries I recommend the stationary bike (another great option!!).

If you want to get your heart rate up, feel like a kid again and get burning those calories in a fun way, grab a skipping rope. Although it can also be quite hard on the joints, if you can tolerate it, this is such a wonderful cardio option.

 

All of these suggestions will help you to burn fat and should be done in conjunction with some type of weight training. Your muscles will become more toned and your ability to burn additional calories will increase.

Fitness equipment is easy to find these days at big box stores, specialty stores and online. Be sure to do your research and purchase a piece of equipment that has received 80% positive customer feedback and a good warrantee. Taking the time to do some research will be worth it.

Here is how to determine your Target Heart Rate:

Step 1) Exercise for 5 minutes then find your pulse. It is best located either on your wrist or on the side of your neck. Do not use your thumb; use your index and middle finger together to find the pulse.

Step 2) Count the beats for 30 seconds and then multiply that by 2. This is your heart rate.

Step 3) To determine your target heart rate complete the following equation:                 (220-your age = Target Heart Rate)

A simple way to determine if you are working at a high enough level is the “Talk Test”. If you can talk easily while exercising, you are not working in the ‘target’ zone.

I always recommend mixing up the cardio portion of the workout in order to challenge a wide array of muscles and to keep it fun. If you are bored, it is unlikely you will continue. So mix it up, work hard and lose the weight.

The Healthy Weight Loss Approach

Perhaps you are someone who has tried a few weight loss programs with no success and the extreme desire to lose weight has begun to take over. This causes the former ‘healthy approach’ mindset to recede further and further into the background. Where are you are at?

The majority of people do not take their weight loss to the extreme situation of anorexia, but they often sacrifice their health in order to lose the weight, or succumb to the temptation of the quick fix. The quick fix does not create habits and is not sustainable. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Is slimming down in an unhealthy way worth the possibility of reduced infections, illnesses and disease?
  • If you feel awful and sick because of ‘how’ you lose the weight, what is the point of being slim?

You want to be able to enjoy being a healthy body weight after all of the effort you put into it.

Approaching weight loss with a healthy mindset means that you continue providing your body with the nutrients that it needs to function normally. Calorie reduction for most people is required, but this reduction needs to be from the excess you have currently been eating, not from what your body requires in order to survive. For the majority of adults, this means your calories should not drop below 1,200 calories/ day. When calories are lower than that, your body responds by slowing your metabolism (reacting as if you are in a famine situation) and holding onto fat. Your body will protect you against starvation at the subconscious level. Your body is so smart that it will begin digesting other important tissues in your body, such as muscle if it doesn’t get the nutrients and/or the calories that it needs.

It is crucial to note that those 1,200 calories need to be from nutrient dense foods, with a good balance of fat, protein, carbohydrates and fiber. Each of these macronutrients is absolutely required in order to stay healthy.

Additionally, choosing carbohydrates that are low-glycemic, (carbohydrates that break down slowly and do not produce a spike of your blood sugar) can make a huge impact on your ability to lose weight and subsequently maintain a healthy weight.

During the weight loss process, you are at risk of losing muscle as well as fat. Muscle acts like little calorie burning machines, therefore you need muscle in order to keep burning those calories. The sure way to prevent muscle loss during the weight loss process is to engage in weight bearing exercises. Please note that you do not need to become a body builder. Simple activities that engage your muscles on a daily basis are a good place to start if you are a weight training ‘rookie’. Examples include (crunches, planks, dips, step-ups and more exercises using your body weight alone can be found online).

When you begin to notice you are no longer being challenged by the simple activities noted above, then add in a program which includes lifting weights. In both situations you build up your muscles, forcing them to grow, strengthen and serve you in your weight loss journey. It is recommended that you perform weight bearing exercises and/or lift weights two to three days every week to avoid losing that important muscle.

To lose weight in a healthy way, and make a true lifestyle change, patience is required. It took time to put the weight on, and it will take time to slim down and create habits you can sustain. By sensibly reducing your calories, taking in proper whole food nutrition and starting a weight training program, you can expect to steadily drop the extra weight while enjoying increasing health and vitality.

 

7 Strategies for Growing a Bigger Baby

BabyMy first two babies were small.

I didn’t gain enough weight in the first two pregnancies so I was determined to do whatever I could do to grow a bigger baby.

I was googling “How to Grow a Bigger Baby” and nothing was coming up. I know there must be other women who have had IUGR babies, babies who were pre-term low birth weight, babies who were small for gestational age and more. I have been told so many terms, with few suggestions and little information to help me grow a larger baby.

Since becoming pregnant with my third child, I was determined to do everything I could to help my unborn child to have a higher weight at birth.

I didn’t want to just stuff my face with junk, which would surely put on loads of pounds for me and possibly for baby. I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to gain weight in a heathy way.

This was my plan.

Strategy 1: Eat More Good Stuff – Nutritious Whole Foods, raw when possible (especially greens like Kale, Spinach and Arugula). My plan was to eat at a minimum a salad with every dinner and include greens in my lunch and breakfast when possible.

Strategy 2: Eat More Calories Each Day Overall – in my first two pregnancies I only gained 20 lbs with each child, so I was on a mission to gain weight. I have learned that eating more healthy fats is a good thing – so I planned to eat more avocados as it was a food high in good fats that I really enjoy.

Strategy 3: Minimize my Exercise – I know this sounds crazy and is not what most doctors will tell you, but I worked out like crazy during my first two pregnancies and didn’t consume enough calories to offset the exercise. My plan this time was to walk each day for 30 minutes and maintain simple exercise daily (15-20 push ups, 30 sec-1 min plank).

Strategy 4: Talk to a Doctor who Specializes in Supplementation  – I wanted to determine what I should take to support growing a bigger baby. I know the incredible importance of taking a high quality multivitamin which includes folic acid. But I wanted to make sure I took everything needed to fill in the gaps of my diet. I planned to take all of the supplements recommended religiously. He had a great prenatal plan which he recommends to his prenatal clients which I would be happy to share with anyone who is interested.

Strategy 5: Have a Positive Mindset – “I WILL GROW A BIGGER BABY”, visualizing a 6-10 lb baby and how we would celebrate that success. I spent a lot of time visualizing holding my baby and having my baby in my room versus in the NICU.

Strategy 6: Prayer & Daily Gratitude – Each night I would be grateful for the weight that I had gained and pray for any support possible in growing a bigger baby. Every pound was a success I would celebrate and a step toward growing my bigger baby.

Strategy 7: Minimize Extra Stress – I happen to love being busy and involved. With this attitude and this level of involvement in life sometimes comes extra stress. I know that stress can cause damage to cells in my body, so I decided to slow down in certain areas and really prioritized where I was focusing my time and energy during the important 8.5 months.

 

These strategies were a combination of what my family doctor suggested, my own knowledge from my training as a Prenatal Fitness Instructor, research and books on Prenatal health and more.

I believe that the combination of ALL of the 7 Strategies allowed for me to grow my biggest baby. I followed every single one of these strategies each day of my pregnancy keeping the faith that if I really focused on growing a bigger baby it would happen. And it did!!!

I gained 40lbs, my baby did not need to be in the NICU, was not IUGR at any point during the pregnancy, was not small for gestational age, etc.
She is a beautiful, healthy, thriving little sweetheart.

I truly hope this information will help you grow a bigger baby.
I wish you all the best!

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