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It’s amazing how just a handful of small changes to everyday habits can add up to big rewards.  I’ve mentioned before that when someone tells me they’re ready for a major diet and lifestyle overhaul, I usually tell them to proceed with caution. There are a couple of reasons for this. For one thing, when you try to make too many changes at once, you run the risk of …if you’ll excuse the pun… biting off more than you can chew. And, I think that once you’re successful at making a change – no matter how small – it gives you the confidence to keep going, and to keep chipping away at new challenges.  On top of that, just a handful of small changes to your everyday habits can add up to bigger reward than you might think. 

 Here’s a way to look at it.  Think of the changes you’re going to make in your lifestyle as an investment.  You could rely on an aggressive strategy that might give you quick rewards – but there’s also a high risk that it won’t.  On the other hand, you could ‘diversify’ – and use blend of strategies that are more likely to give you the results you’re after, even though it may take a little longer.  So when you’re investing in your health for the long term, slow and steady usually wins the race.

When you take a closer look at the foods you routinely eat – and your everyday exercise patterns -  it’s amazing how a little fine tuning can add up to big rewards. Here are some recent changes I worked out with a patient of mine – enough to lead to the loss of 60 pounds in a year:

  • Add 20 extra minutes to daily exercise – could be an additional 20 minutes of brisk walking in the morning, or a second walk later in the day.  The extra 100 calories burned per day could equal 10 pounds less at the end of a year.
  • If your usual breakfast five days a week is a coffee drink and a bagel with cream cheese.  A switch to a protein shake will shave off about 250 calories a day – enough to drop more than 18 pounds in a year.
  • A healthy habit of eating salad about 7 times a week is a bit counterproductive if the greens are drenched in dressing.  Reduce salad dressing from three tablespoons to one will lead to savings of more than 1000 calories a week – and the loss of about 16 pounds in a year.
  • About three times a week, instead of having a candy bar as an afternoon pick-me-up, have a small protein bar and a cup of tea instead. You could be cutting as much as 600 a week – enough to shed nearly 9 pounds in a year.
  • Sandwiches are eaten 5 times a week on average and always include a slice of cheese.  Lose the cheese and replace with veggies, and save 500 calories a week.  Another 7 pounds could be lost in a year with this one change.
  • Dessert is eaten six times a week – usually cookies or ice cream, to the tune of about 200 calories.  Swap for a piece of fruit, and cut enough calories to lose another 10 pounds in a year.

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.

Posted in Nutrition Health Articles By Guy Alony

Calories Are

  • units of energy you body uses to fuel its functions and activities
  • created from proteins, fats and carbohydrates found in our foods and beverages
  • necessary for basic body functions like keeping the heart, brain and lungs functioning (also know as basal metabolism
  • essential to fuel activity – from the smallest hand gesture to a 5-mile run

The number of calories we need each day depends on how much we weigh, how much muscle mass we have and how active we are.

  • If you consume more calories than your body needs, those extra calories will be stored as fat.
  • If you consume less calories than your body needs, your previously stored calories (fat) will be used to supply additional energy.

A Pound = Approximately 3,500 Calories 

To Lose Weight 

  • By cutting down 500 calories per day, you will cut a total of 3,500 calories per week – resulting in the loss of 1 pound of body fat. But never consume fewer than 1,200 calories per day.* (Refer to Weight Management section for Program.)
  • If you want to lose more than 1 pound a week, you will need to either reduce your calorie intake further,* or increase the amount of calories you burn with exercise.

To Maintain Weight 

  • Balance calories from food and beverages with calories expended.**

If you are a woman:

  • You will need about 12 calories for every pound of body weight (A 150-lb. woman needs about 1,800 calories a day.)

If you are a man:

  • You will need about 14 calories for every pound of body weight. (A 200-pound man needs about 2,800 calories a day.)

*Source: “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
**Source: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture

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Posted in Nutrition By Guy Alony

The metabolic rate is directly related to your body composition. Every pound of body fat you have burns only about 2 calories a day. But the rest of you – your lean body mass – burns about 14 calories per pound each day. A big portion of your lean body mass is made up of muscle, so one of the best things you can do to boost your metabolic rate is to build up muscle through strength training. And, make sure to take in adequate protein from the diet, which helps to build and maintain lean muscle, too.

Here are the facts surround five myths about metabolism:

Myth: Aging slows your metabolism.
Truth: People do tend to put on weight as they get older – but it’s typically because they tend to exercise less, or less vigorously, than they used to – and that means fewer calories burned per day. As a result, loss of muscle mass can occur which reduces the body’s lean body mass – which results in a slower metabolic rate. Cardiovascular exercise to burn calories and strength training to preserve or build up muscle are great defenses against age-related weight gain.

Myth: You’re stuck with the metabolism you have and you can’t change it.
Truth: While it may appear that there are people who eat all the time and never seem to gain, chances are they make healthy, relatively low calorie selections naturally. Many of these “lucky” people also burn more calories simply because they move more - they might fidget more, or get up from their desks frequently during the day to stretch, or walk down the hall to talk to a colleague instead of e-mailing. So, once you’ve made the commitment to boost your metabolism by building more muscle, use those muscles more by moving around frequently throughout the day.

Myth: You burn more calories digesting ice-cold foods and beverages than foods that are room temperature or warmer.
Truth: In a laboratory, very slight increases in calorie burn have been measured in people who drink very cold beverages. But the change is too small (amounting to about 10 more calories burned per day) to have any meaningful impact on weight loss.

Myth: If you cut calories, your metabolic rate will slow down, so what’s the point?
Truth: It is true that your metabolic rate can slow a bit when you cut calories – your body’s natural inclination is to try to conserve calories as best it can. But, these decreases are relatively small, and if you become more active as you lose weight, you can offset these small changes. With a combination of diet AND exercise, you can help to preserve the rate at which your body burns calories.

Myth: If you stop eating at night, when your metabolism is slower, you’ll lose more weight.
Truth: When people lose weight because they stop eating after a certain time of day, it’s only because they’ve cut their overall calorie consumption - not because they are eating their calories earlier in the day. Consuming all your calories before the sun goes down won’t speed up your weight loss unless you also eat fewer calories than you need.

Susan Bowerman is a consultant to Herbalife.

Posted in News Health Articles By Guy Alony
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