Here are 4 ways to reverse creeping weight gain. Yesterday I appeared on the Steve Harvey show to talk about the subject of creeping obesity. I'm working with two new people, Brian and Christy. Neither are particularly out of shape, but Brian has gained quite a bit of weight since the couple had kids, and his Christy took notice. Creeping obesity, or putting a few pounds here and a few pounds there that ultimately result in a significant weight gain, affect most people whose waistlines are out of control. At first, an extra five pounds might go unnoticed. But when those five pounds inch their way up, becoming 50, 60 or 70+ pounds, there's a big problem.
Lifestyle changes are the only way a person will be able to reverse the trend of creeping obesity. The extra weight didn't come on in a month, so it makes no sense to think that any exercise or diet program can undo all that has been done to the body in that period of time. And any program that promises fast weight loss through a gimmicky diet will only lead to additional weight in the end.
Since the new couple I'm working with right now are not obese, but just have a few pounds to lose, and they already have their foot in the door when it comes to fitness, I gave them the following tips to help them get started:
1. Don’t Eat After 6:30pm
It's a tough order to close the kitchen at 6:30pm, particularly you're working late, but eating dinner (or snacking) later at night will only put on the pounds. Eat as close as possibly to 6:30pm, then call it a night. If you can't eat this early, then eat light. Our body's release of digestive enzymes slows way down the closer we get to bedtime. There's a good chance that a heavy meal eaten later at night will not get broken down the same as it would earlier in the evening.
2. Stick to 1 Starchy Carb/Day
If weight loss is your goal, cut the starchy carbs to one meal a day…and make them healthy at that! Breads, pastas, rice and potatoes are all examples of starchy carbohydrates. If you're having a bagel for breakfast, followed by a sandwich for lunch, then a pasta-based dish for dinner, you're not just eating a lot of starchy carbs, you're eating a lot of refined carbohydrates. Alternatively you could try having a yogurt parfait made with plain yogurt, stevia/honey, berries, cinnamon and almonds for breakfast, a chopped chicken salad with loads of veggies for lunch and a sweet potato with grilled salmon for dinner. Think beyond refined carbohydrates.
3. STOP Slow & Steady Cardio
The first thing people do when they want to start losing weight and haven't done anything in a while is focus on cutting or burning calories, with no real thought to how it's done. Slow and steady cardio might burn calories, but in the end, you it could be causing greater fat storage than you realize. In fact, studies have shown that more than 20 minutes of low intensity cardio can actually increase cortisol levels, thereby throwing off insulin. This one-two combo triggers fat storage. Instead, aim for high intensity interval exercises. My Facebook page is loaded with sample workouts. Check them out.
4. Avoid Sugary “Low Fat” Foods
Just because it says 'low fat' doesn't mean it's good for you. Many low fat foods contain copious amounts of sugar…and all that sugar can pack on the pounds. So many foods have more sugar than we realize, and I have no doubt that a vast majority of people exceed the amount of sugar they should eat in a day. Most fruit-flavored yogurts, low cal snack sacks and kid-size lunch snacks are full of sugar. Take the time to turn the label over and remember for that one teaspoon of sugar is just over 4 grams. Men should not exceed 6 teaspoons in a day, women 6 and kids 3. How much sugary food are you eating in a day?
Traci D Mitchell is a nationally-recognized Chicago-based nutrition coach and personal trainer featured on the TODAY Show and Dr. Oz. As the trainer for Steve Harvey's Bridal Bootcamp, Traci keeps herself busy by challenging others to be the healthiest they can be. Traci is available for corporate speaking events and private coaching. Interested in working with Traci? Get info here. To keep up-to-date, subscribe to her newsletter.
Filed under: Nutrition/Diet