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Health ‘Trigger points’, New Years Resolutions 2020 and what works best for weight loss or improving

Health ‘Trigger points’, New Years Resolutions 2020 and what works best for weight loss or improving fitness.

No doubt New Year, New you is a bit of a marketing strap line. That time of the Year where over eating, over drinking and generally feeling lazy springs you into action. OFTEN DRASTIC ACTION.

Health goals, diet, exercise etc etc. ‘Trigger points’ – never the less it is a prime time to shine the spotlight on where small lifestyle changes could make a difference accumulatively.

The New Year heralds a shift in priorities, if only momentarily, where Health and Wellbeing moves up the list of priorities. You promise yourself that you need to look after your health more. But by February there is a drop off point. A cliff edge. Tipping point. Truth is most of us hit ground zero.

Why? Simply we want to do everything at once. Searching for that magic bullet that allows us to drop 2 dress sizes or waist sizes in a week. We tend to drag ourselves through a 1000 kcal a day diet, or less, whilst at the same time pounding the pavements squeezing exercise in at probably the worst time of year.

Cold and dark mornings and nights we trawl ourselves through the uncomfortable experience of exercising, maybe the first time in years or decades. All it does is reinforce how much you hated it when you had to do it at school. Now you have a choice it’s equally as bad. And takes some real determination.

Compounded by the fact the body is screaming for its usual calorie intake whilst at the same time expelling calories it normally doesn’t have to. Usually only the very disciplined will manage to drag themselves through the hell. The struggle is real.

And don’t forget ligaments and tendons normally take longer to strengthen and endure the impact of more exercise, so a slower transition into exercise is sensible, especially if you’re carrying weight to start with.

Remember all of this is usually done balancing work, family and general life. Lets be honest it isn’t easy for anyone. And truth be told not many can sustain such strict life rules around food and exercise.

First of all the weight loss – think longer term. Delve into the healthier lifestyle at a slower pace so the transition is easier. Most of us don’t walk enough. So walk more. Short journeys ditch the car. Aim to remove the empty calories slowly. Drink wine every other day if you drink everyday and remove slowly across the week.

As an example where are the trigger points for alcohol? Social occasions? Work? After the kids have gone to bed to finally put your feet up. Trigger points for food? Sugar rush? Snacks at work etc.

Takeaway nights, have a treat day set maybe a Saturday or Sunday. If you fall off the wagon just get back on it don’t go into ‘freefall’ mode and make a cheat meal a cheat day, cheat weekend a cheat week and before you know it back to square one. Think snakes and ladders, climb the ladder, beware of the snakes but if you hit one climb back up again straight after. Plan your moves.

If you start an exercise program, it only seems fair that you should see your hard work reflected in lower numbers on the scale. If it isn’t, don’t despair—or quit exercising. You are still helping your heart, lungs, and every other part of your body.

In terms of weight loss, without doubt food is key. An old saying. "Sure, weight is lost in the kitchen," says Dr. Freedhoff. "But health is gained in the gyms.". A food diary is time well spent. So both exercise and weight loss should be part of a healthier regime. But not HUGE changes, small changes introduced over time.

But start small. Don’t delve straight into running for the first time in years whilst on a severely restricted calorie diet. Shock and awe tactics may work for a short while but you will hate it. And repeat next year. Think walk, move more, a few hundred calories here and there and as you get used to it a few more calories removed a bit more moving more.

Basically you are following a reverse pattern of how the inactivity has crept in over the years, bad habits and over fueling with food. Those bad habits got you here over time accumulatively. New habits in reverse will do the same in time. Be Realistic. Arm yourself with knowledge. Knowledge is power.

Secret Tactics to weight loss.

The old debate. Aerobic (cardio running/swimming/cycling etc) vs Anaerobic (strength training). Cardio is probably the favourite choice amongst the weight loss fraternity. For good reason in an hour session running takes some beating for calorie expenditure – more than an hour of weight training for example.

BUT. Remember that is calories burned in the time you are in the gym. Some studies indicate that strength training alters the metabolism and the muscle repair process post workout continues for hours meaning calorie expenditure whilst resting. What a result!

A 2018 study looking at the effect of resistance training in sedentary adult women found that this activity, which includes weightlifting, elevated the participants' overall basal metabolic rate (BMR) for up to 48 hours. The BMR is the number of calories that the body burns at rest.

So a guide would be to include some strength training around more aerobic activity in the week. Again key is a slow transition into a routine with some small changes to diet eg. Taking out 300-500 calories a day is more realistic.

Think ‘move more’ everyday where opportunities present themselves. Even when numbers on the scales don’t budge or drop off slower than your plan know there are physiological benefits happening you can’t see.

Long term heart health, lower blood pressure, use of energy sources (e.g sugar) and creating better habits. These new habits are easier to sustain than a sub 1000 kcal a day diet and an intense exercise routine from the off.

But perhaps more importantly, regular exercise does so much more than that — no matter the size of your waistline. It would take almost 10 medications to replicate all the benefits encapsulated in the “exercise pill.” That should be good motivation to help you get moving.

Free- try and walk to run 5k plan

Strength training:

Andrew Picken (BA Hons / DIPHE / HND / CSLA / LIRF GYM CYQ - RSPH

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