Are All Weight Loss Plans Good For You?

Female Doctor Nutrition LabelMaintaining the proper weight as we age is certainly a good thing.  A good rule of thumb to see if you are the proper weight for your height is the BMI formula.  BMI stands for body, mass, index.  It is not the end all be all, but it will tell you if you could stand to lose a few pounds.

The BMI formula is:  your weight/your height in inches squared x 703.  For example, if you are 6 feet tall (72 inches) and weigh 170 pounds, it would be 170/(72×72)x703, or 170/5184 which equals .03279 times 703, which equals 23.05.

That number falls in the normal category.  18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal weight, 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, while over 30 is considered obese.  Again, it’s not the end all be all, which means it doesn’t mean you are unhealthy or at high risk for disease if your BMI is say 26. but it gives you a general idea of where you should be in terms of weight.

With that said, and you believe that you should lose a few of those excess pounds, the question is, how do you go about it?  There are dozens if not hundreds of programs out there, are they all good?  Are they all safe?  Do they all work?  Is any weight loss good weight loss?

The answer to the last question is yes and no.  Gotcha didn’t I?  Your probably thinking, what do you mean, yes and no?  That doesn’t help me.  Allow me to explain.  Sure, if you are overweight, losing that extra weight is good, but it is possible that more harm than good could be done in terms of your health, if you go about it the wrong way.

From a fitness perspective, it is important to first determine your goal.  Why do  you want to lose weight?  To look better?  To fit in an outfit for an upcoming event?  To improve your long-term health?  All are good reasons.  I favor the last of course, but regardless, there are many ways to go about it.  Then there is the question of how much weight you want to lose, and how fast you want to lose it.  I suggest being realistic here and making smart decisions.  For example, excessive, quick weight loss may not be healthy, and it may not be sustainable, which means you will be back in the same boat in a couple of short months.

We advocate a sensible program for losing weight.  This includes a well thought out and executed exercise program, along with monitoring calories while keeping a close eye on where those calories come from.  This includes having a sensible ratio of carbs, fats, and protein.  That way, you will accomplish your goal, and it will be easier to maintain over the long haul.  After all, good health that lasts a lifetime is what we all should strive for.  Here is a common understanding of weight loss, burn more calories on a daily basis than you take in, and you will lose weight.  It isn’t rocket science.

I will close by telling you what I tell everyone, check with your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet or before starting any exercise program.  Also, to get more detailed information about a good nutrition plan, check out our friends at StrongerUFit.com.  The testimonials will blow you away!

 

Why Walk Across America

Someone asked me the other day why I plan to walk across America.  To be completely honest, I had to stop and think about it for a minute.  Where did this idea come from and why are we pursuing it?  I know the answers, but I really didn’t explain it all that well for one reason or another.  So, here is my Mulligan so to speak.  Here is my “why”.

Some people know the story leading up to this crazy idea popping into my head.  I was diagnosed with peripheral artery disease which severely affected my ability to walk, and later it was also determined that I had a main heart artery affected, that would have, if gone untreated, severely affected my ability to live.  All were treated, and all are still a work in progress.

The main arteries in my legs were stented to allow blood to flow down to my feet, which is a good thing by the way.  However, there are ancillary arteries that cannot be reached by the method used to place the stent.  There is still blockage in those arteries and still cramping and discomfort when I walk quickly, attempt to jog, or walk for a long period of time without resting.  I was told that walking would help create new arteries in place of the bad ones.  A natural bypass.  Walk, walk, walk I was told.  So I did.  Rain, snow, sleet, didn’t matter, and Roxy, our dog, was typically a willing participant.

During a blizzard in the early months of 2015, I decided to walk to the Sugarbush Tavern for dinner.  Roxy was smart enough to stay home, and they don’t allow dogs there anyways, so I was on my own.  Up until that point, I had a thought that just would not go away.  I continued to nag at me, day after day.  No, it wasn’t my wife’s voice I was hearing in my head, similar, but a different type of nagging.  The thought was, what could I do to give back to people in need, people who are heading down the path of heart disease?  I was lucky.  They caught my condition in time and I was treated.  I avoided what Dr. Kazziha says would have been a sudden death.  Why me?  Why am I still here, when others were not so lucky.  Sure, it could be fate, but I kind of think it is more than that, and thought about it everyday.

So, as I walked and braved the elements on that cold blustery day, all I could think about is, what could I do to make a difference, oh, and how good it felt to walk.  If I could walk in this snowstorm, I could walk anywhere at anytime.  I could persevere.  That’s when, without warning, the idea struck me.  It made so much sense.  A guy who has repaired legs will walk across America.  Surely, this would provide inspiration for others.  It would bring attention to a problem that has fallen into the background in America.  I could make a difference.  I felt a certain euphoria overcome me.  This is the answer to that nagging question.  Game, set, match!

That’s it.  That answers the why question.  To summarize, I wanted to make a difference.  Is there a little bit of selfishness there?  Yes.  I also didn’t want to leave this earth before I made my mark, and this was the best way to do just that.  I also realized, after the heart scare, that I could leave this earth at any time, so no time like the present.

My hope is that we can pull it off.  That other people notice, and that heart disease gets the attention it deserves.  People need to care for their bodies better, understand the risks of their lifestyle choices, and learn about heart disease.  It is the number one killer in America, and 80% can be avoided.  We can make an impact. We will make a difference.

It Starts With The Heart!

Chuck

 

 

 

 

Is Walking Really Exercise

 

During recent speeches I have given on heart health, we invariably get into a discussion about my recovery from heart disease and the subsequent procedures.  I explain that my first step in recovery and getting back into shape was simply walking.

When I say that, people typically ask me what else I did to get into shape.  Did you lift weights, bike, swim, surely you had some elaborate routine to recover from 5 procedures and 2 serious complications in 9 months?  Uh, well, not really.  Sometimes I wonder if I missed something.  Should I have been doing more?  Not according to my doctor, and my situation may be a bit different from someone without a freshly stented left anterior descending artery.

Let’s take a closer look at walking and see if it really qualifies as exercise.  I can tell you this, first and foremost, without question, it is better than sitting on the couch.  Ok, that’s a given, but what does it do for you from a fitness standpoint?  Well, I guess we have to start by defining fitness.  Good old Webster says it’s the quality or state of being fit.  Well, that doesn’t help much.  Let’s try the new fangled Dictionary.com.  They refer to fitness as the capability of the body of distributing inhaled oxygen to muscle tissue during increased physical effort. Ok, that is a little better.  I interpret that as being able to move freely, without restriction, reasonably without resulting in exhaustion and without overly taxing your heart and various muscles, that is being fit.  In a tangible sense, it may mean being lean, having some strength and endurance, and being able to perform daily tasks without getting sore or injured, or even becoming out of breath.  I think that covers it for the sake of this discussion. Certainly there are different degrees of taxation of the cardiovascular and muscular systems, but for now, let’s stick with this definition of being fit.

Now that we know what fitness is, how does walking help?  Here is a list of muscles used in order to walk: all four muscles that comprise the quadriceps.  Hamstrings (back of upper leg), and glutes (butt muscles).  Tibialis anterior (front side of shin, lifts toes off the ground).  Calf muscles (lift the heel off the ground, includes the gastrocnemeus and soleus muscles).  Abdominal muscles support your torso as well as stabilize your pelvis while the muscles of your back work to maintain posture and keep your body in the upright position. Your shoulders are exercised continually as you swing your arms back and forth.

Whew, I didn’t even know I had all those muscles.  Now you know that there are a lot of muscles involved to move the human body through something as simple as walking.  But, does it really do the things I mentioned above, such as create endurance and strength?  It can.  Walk at 3.5 MPH on a treadmill for 20 minutes and check your heart rate?  It will probably be over 100 beats per minutes.  Put the incline up to say, 3%.  Tell me how you feel the next day.  Go on a 2-3 mile walk at a brisk pace pumping your arms, or better yet, carry a 2 or 3 pound weight in each hand while walking and pumping those arms.  How did that work for you?  How did you feel the next day?  If you are not used to it, I bet various muscles would be pretty sore, which means they are being worked.

Let me sum it up this way:  walking is good exercise.  It won’t build large body builder type muscles (actually, it can for certain muscles if you add variables such as steep hills and increased pace to your walks), but it can instrumental in getting you “fit”.  Here is another thing to consider, a 160 lb person, walking 3 MPH, burns 85 calories and hour.  Increase it to 4 MPH, and you burn 92 calories an hour.  At 5 MPH (slow jog), you burn 116 calories an hour.  Remember, calories are a form of energy, it takes considerable energy to walk a mile at any pace.

I will leave you with this suggestion.  If you don’t track your steps, start.  Set a daily goal.  Start with say 5,000 steps.  At the end of the day, if you are short, go for a walk and hit your goal before hitting the sack (you will probably sleep better).  Increase it by 1,000 steps (about a half mile) every two weeks until you get to 10,000 a day (about 5 miles).  Here is a helpful tip, if you work at a desk, get up once an hour for 5 minutes and go for a brisk walk.  Over an 8 hour day that is an additional 40 minutes of walking.  Your employer shouldn’t mind because you will be healthier, more energetic, and probably more productive.  40 minutes of walking at 3.5 MHP is over 2 miles (over 4,000 steps) of walking during the day, that you wouldn’t have done otherwise.  You will burn, approximately, an additional 150-180 calories a day, depending on your weight. So now, you are not only building strength and endurance in all those muscles we mentioned above, but you are probably losing weight too.  Now do you agree with me that walking is exercise?  All that’s left is to do it.

Enjoy, and always check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to begin an exercise program.