Table of Contents
- The Challenge
- So What If I am a ‘few’ pounds overweight?
- What is Your Ideal Body Weight?
- Exercise is Medicine
- Why the Big Focus on Weight Loss in America?
- Fitness for an Absolute Beginner – Where to Start?
- Why is a Regular Meal Routine so Important?
- Real Food is your Friend
- Sample Meals
- Get Up and Move!
- Fitness for Absolute Beginners Summary
You have wanted to get into better shape for a long time now.
For many people, each year after the age of 25 means additional pounds, and they add up.
The average American will gain about one pound of additional weight each year from age 25, or 35 additional pounds by the age of 60; because we typically also lose about a half pound of bone and muscle mass each year – unless we are physically active. If not, our body fat is increasing by 1.5 pounds each year from 25 to 60, or more than 50 pounds of fat over 35 years.1)https://www.sharecare.com/health/weight-loss/how-much-weight-person-gain-lifetime – Eric Olsen
You want to get healthier and fitter, but, you have no idea where to begin.
Is there a ‘recipe’ for improving your health and fitness?
Fortunately, the answer is yes, and it is not as complicated as you think.
So, no matter what shape you are in now, do not give up.
It is never too late to get back into shape, no matter what your age.
And this challenge is not just for those who are absolute beginners in fitness.
This also applies to those of us who were once athletes, even on the high school and college team.
But, along the way of life, we put on 20, 30, 50 or more pounds and have no clue how to finally trim down.
So What If I am a ‘few’ pounds overweight?
Obesity is one of the few preventable risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
And there are many people who do not even realize that they are obese.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) defines obesity as:
- A body mass index over 30, or waist measurement over 40 inches for men.
- A body mass index over 30, or waist measurement over 35 inches for women.
- Obesity is also defined by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) as a person who is at least 30 pounds over their recommended weight for their height.
What is Your Ideal Body Weight?
Here is a simple formula to help determine the recommended weight for your height according to the Hamwi method.
The ideal body weight formula is 106 pounds for your first 5 feet of height, plus 6 pounds for every additional inch.
The ideal body weight formula is 100 pounds for the first 5 feet of height, plus 5 pounds for each additional inch.
You can now easily calculate your approximate ideal body weight based on your height using the Hamwi method.
Exercise is Medicine
You cannot control age or family medical history.
But you can control what you eat and if you exercise.
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing high blood pressure.
In fact, your blood pressure rises as your body weight increases.
Losing even 10 pounds can lower your blood pressure—and losing weight has the biggest effect on those who are overweight and already have hypertension.
Losing 5% to 10% of your body weight and building up to 150 minutes of exercise a week may help you to slow or stop the progress of type 2 diabetes.
“If you sit [inactive] most of the day, 5 or 10 minutes is going to be great,” Albright says. “Walk to your mailbox. Do something that gets you moving, knowing that you’re looking to move towards 30 minutes most days of the week.”
With weight loss, you can slow down or even stop the progression of type 2 diabetes.
You may be able to reduce cholesterol levels significantly by losing 5% to 10% of your body weight, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Healthy weight is so important for overall heart health, that the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology released a new report calling for physicians to create customized weight loss plans and recommend counseling with a dietitian or certified weight loss professional for at least six months.
Obesity is a risk factor for many diseases, cardiovascular being one of the most prevalent and fatal.
Take a look at the obesity map at the top of this article in Figure 1.
Now look at the incidence of cardiovascular disease in the US as illustrated by figure 2 , and you will see a striking similarity.
Why the Big Focus on Weight Loss in America?
Now we can understand why people are so focused on losing weight.
We know intuitively that a healthy weight is more likely to produce health.
Just losing weight alone is going to help you avoid type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and a lack of physical activity.
Once you are at a more comfortable weight, it will be much easier to exercise.
If you are a man over 45 , or a woman over 55 , then you already have one risk factor for heart disease, the main killer of men and women in the United States.
This is why getting your weight under control is so critical.
Fear is a great motivator, and fear of all of the complications brought on by obesity is real.
Now that you know some of the negative effects of excess weight, there is no reason to be despondent.
The great news is that your body is always trying to attain a state of health and fitness, if you just let it.
Fitness for an Absolute Beginner – Where to Start?
The first step is to establish a routine of 3 meals and at least one snack every day.
A foundation of consistent fat loss is having a regular meal pattern.
8am – breakfast
12pm – lunch
3pm – snack
7pm – dinner
Why is a Regular Meal Routine so Important?
When you skip meals, your body gets distressed.
Skipping meals is not the way to lose weight and certainly not fat.
The opposite is true, skipping meals promotes belly fat storage and increases the risk of insulin resistance.
By skipping a meal, your body does not know when the next meal is coming.
As a result, your body will hold onto your fat reserves very tightly.
Just one pound of fat in your body, stores 3,500 calories!
Your body will not release that fat if your body believes that it needs to hold onto the fat.
Instead, your body will take some of your muscle reserve, which is more expendable.
Muscle is your friend, but also very expensive for the body to maintain.
One pound of body fat only requires a few calories a day to maintain, whereas a pound of muscle can require between 50 and 100 calories.
As a result, your body would rather hold onto body fat instead of muscle.
Unless you teach your body that it is not necessary to hold onto your body fat.
You do this by teaching your body that it will be fueled every few hours.
Stop skipping meals, give your body the fuel it needs to function.
By eating regular meals, every day, your body gets used to your pattern.
Whatever you demand from your body, your body will adapt.
Real Food is your Friend
What do you eat? Where is your fuel?
The preferred source of energy for your body is carbohydrates.2)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8116550
Classic and traditional carbohydrates in many cultures are real foods such as
vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains, which are great sources of carbohydrates.
For example, in Asia, rice is prominent as a fuel source.
In India, there is rice and lentils.
In South America, common carbohydrates are sweet potatoes and beans or corn and
Europe survived and thrived on the white potato and buckwheat, also known as Kasha.
Eretz Yisroel has pita bread made out of wheat flour, and hummus, which is made out
In every culture, all over the world, the main source of energy for thousands of years
has been either grain and/or legumes.
This is besides the seasonal vegetables and fruits that were available in each
Stick to real food (as opposed to processed manufactured food) and besides exercise,
food will also be your medicine.
Keep it simple, for example:
A cup of old fashioned oatmeal ( easy to prepare and filling ), some berries or banana.
You can add a hardboiled egg.
Or a banana, blueberries, grapes, walnuts ( a tablespoon or 2!) and a plain or vanilla
greek yogurt (try to use a brand with low grams of sugar).
Or a slice whole wheat toast, a tablespoon of natural peanut butter, some slices of
banana or strawberries on top.
Whole wheat pita, hummus, vegetables.
Whole wheat pita, vegetables like cucumber, tomato, pickle and a small can of tuna with a tablespoon of mayo.
Vegetable soup with a cup of whole grain or bean based (non-gluten) pasta.
1/2 cup of brown rice, a SERVING of chicken/fish/meat, a vegetable….a serving is
about 4 oz or the size of a deck of cards.
Left over chulent and a vegetable
Tuna fish sandwich with vegetables on rye bread
Simple turkey sandwich with raw vegetables and avocado
An ounce of raw almonds (about 24 almonds)
An apple and a few walnuts
A plain yogurt (if you did not already have one)
A hardboiled egg (if you did not already have one)
A baked potato
Broccoli, potato, lentil soup
Asparagus or spinach or mushrooms and tilapia or some other white fish
Sweet potato and vegetable and salmon (4 oz)
Or keep it even simpler:
Any vegetable, including raw vegetables and a potato/sweet potato/whole wheat pasta
Sometimes there is no time to cook.
Easy to boil a sweet potato and have some vegetables and chick peas.
Or how about a red lentil pasta, asparagus, mushrooms and salad.
You never heard of red lentil pasta?
Lentil or other gluten free pasta is a great option for people who are gluten intolerant.
Red lentil pasta for example is packed with protein as well as carbs.
Just top your pasta with your favorite vegetables, like asparagus and/or mushrooms and you are good to go!
This is one of my favorite red lentil pastas and is an excellent choice for vegans, vegetarians, or anyone who wants to try something different:
Get Up and Move!
The second pillar of fitness for an absolute beginner is to start moving and burning calories.
Now that you have your regular meal times, you want your body to know that you need to burn more energy.
What is the best way to do that?
Is it by starving and eating less?
The answer is no, because there is no reason or need to starve your body.
Your body needs energy; your brain needs glucose to think, to remember and to learn.
The best way to burn fat then, is by demanding more from your body in the form of movement.
Your body is built to move.
Sitting around all day just trains your body to sit.
But, if you do 30 minutes of cardio 5 times a week, your body will get the message to start burning fat for energy.
The point is that by asking your body to burn more calories through movement, this is the way to burn through your fat reserves.
At the least, make sure that you are doing some sort of exercise 30 minutes a day, at least 5 times a week.
This is the recommended level of physical activity for an adult according to the American College of Sports Medicine.
Walk, swim, run, hike, row, do something and get moving.
Fitness for Absolute Beginners Summary
1. Establish a regular meal pattern of 3 meals and one snack every day.
2. Eat Real Food (not processed.)
3. Such as vegetables, whole grains, legumes, protein, fruit, nuts and seeds.
4. Instead of ‘dieting’ and ‘restricting’, ‘Crowd out’ junk food by focusing on real food.
5. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week.
If you implement these 5 simple suggestions, you might be surprised three months from now when you are over 20 pounds lighter and feeling better than ever!
References [ + ]
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