Last week the New England Journal of Medicine published a study following over 100,000 people over 20 years to quantify just how bad certain foods are. The short answer? Just what you think — fried foods, refined grains, and potatoes are the bad guys in your diet. An extra serving of french fries, for example, was associated with over three pounds of weight gain for each four-year study period.
Of course, what we eat isn’t the only culprit in what’s making us fat. Read on for the top lifestyle practices that researchers found were bad for you.
Roughly 40% of you set New Year’s Resolutions related to weight loss and/or exercise. As a Certified Personal Trainer at the MAC, this doesn’t surprise me as I see and read all the time of the lack of physical activity in the US and its direct relation to an increase in obesity, muscular dysfunction and injury in the general population.
A few concerning statistics (NASM CPT 3rd Edition):
- 33% of adults are estimated to be obese (BMI of 30+ or 40+ lbs overweight) and 66% are overweight (BMI of 25+ or 10-30lbs overweight)
- Nearly 80% of all adults experience low back pain.
- 80,000-100,000 ACL tears/year, 70% of which are non-contact.
- In 2003, approx. 31 million visits were made to the physicians’ office for back problems, 19 million for knee problems, 14 million for shoulder problems and 11 million for foot and ankle.
If you find yourself embedded in one of those statistics, ask yourself some hard questions.
- Do I value the benefits of a healthy lifestyle?
- Will daily exercise improve my quality of life?
- Do I have the resources to make my health a priority?
- Do I believe I have the self control, determination and willpower to improve my health and fitness?
If you answered yes to any of these questions and have set your resolutions but are still having trouble sticking to them, I’ve outlined a few tips below that may help your journey.
- Take time and PLAN AHEAD: there will always be an excuse, an errand, a meeting or a happy hour- be sure to plan your workouts well in advance. When you schedule an hour at the gym 3-4 days in advance you are less likely to get distracted and break your date with the treadmill.
- Partner up: strength in numbers! It is much easier to get to the gym when you are meeting a friend, trainer or joining a class. If self-motivation is difficult, lean on a work out buddy or personal trainer for accountability or let your group fitness instructor know you will attend their next class- saying it out loud will make you more committed to the date.
- Use your resources- if you can’t get to the gym, can you walk and/or bike your errands, do a core workout before bed (simply googling “abs” will bring up plenty) or walk the stairs in your house 50 times?
- Traveling for work- does your hotel have a gym? Can you walk to your meetings? Stretching your legs and pumping oxygen through your body will clear your head and make you a more efficient and productive employee.
- Earn it: let the food pyramid be your guide when deciding what to buy at the grocery store- let discretion be your guide when deciding when and how often to indulge. Earn your snacks or treat; let them be a reward for your hard work. Start by limiting yourself to one snack/day and see if you can whittle it down to one indulgence a week.
- Cook your meals: eliminate preservatives, added sugars, strange chemicals and unnecessary calories by cooking your own meals. Look for substitutes for butter, mayonnaise and cream while minimizing cheese and eliminating fried foods.
- Pack a lunch: packing your lunch will help with portion control as well as ensure you are eating intentionally. A lunch bag with fruit, veggies, yogurt and a whole grain sandwich will help keep your waistline- and pocketbook- slim.
- Just don’t buy it: don’t tempt yourself with fried chips, cookies, chocolates and ice cream on a daily basis, you will be testing your self-control a little too often. Don’t keep these sugary and fried foods around- when you feel like treating yourself, go pick ONE up and enjoy a SINGLE serving.
- Food for thought: feed your mind positive things, take time to read a good book, go on a walk, do something artsy- crave positivity.
- Sleep: with kids and work the art of sleeping can become a difficult one, but value the benefits of a regular rest schedule. If you can’t sleep at least 6 hours/night, take a 20 minute afternoon nap.
- Drink water, lots of it: in addition to the eight glasses of 8 oz’s of water a day, you should drink 16 to 20 oz of water 2 hours before exercise and 20 to 40 oz of water after exercise. The goal is to replace water lost while exercising to maintain your daily weight (weight on waking up in the morning).
Hopefully with these little tips and tricks you can keep your resolve to maintain a healthy weight and active lifestyle. Buckle down, stick to your guns, and in no time you’ll have something to show for it!
Maryann Boddy, CPT
Magnuson Athletic Club
“The only limitations we have are the ones we place on ourselves.”