Prime Fitness for Women http://primefitnessforwomen.com fat-loss and health info for women over 40 Mon, 09 Sep 2013 17:38:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 fat-loss and health info for women over 40 Prime Fitness for Women no fat-loss and health info for women over 40 Prime Fitness for Women http://primefitnessforwomen.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://primefitnessforwomen.com Are you stuck at a weight loss plateau? http://primefitnessforwomen.com/stuck-weight-loss-plateau/ http://primefitnessforwomen.com/stuck-weight-loss-plateau/#comments Mon, 09 Sep 2013 00:29:06 +0000 http://primefitnessforwomen.com/?p=4329

You’re sticking to your calorie plan . . . you’re exercising . . . and the scale isn’t budging.

It’s enough to drive you mad.

But the scale can be very tricky—and what looks like a plateau could be something else entirely.

Play the video to find out what to do!

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What are you losing when you lose ‘weight’? http://primefitnessforwomen.com/what-are-you-losing-when-you-lose-weight/ http://primefitnessforwomen.com/what-are-you-losing-when-you-lose-weight/#comments Thu, 05 Sep 2013 15:41:07 +0000 http://primefitnessforwomen.com/?p=4308

speed up your metabolismWant to lose weight without starving or slowing your metabolism? Eat (or drink) your protein!

A newly published article provides further scientific proof that upping protein consumption while you cut calories protects your muscle mass and encourages greater fat loss.

As I’ve written elsewhere, protein is one of a girl’s (or a guy’s) best friends. It keeps you satisfied longer and reduces hunger—even when you’re eating less.

But today let’s focus on how this superstar nutrient helps prevent loss of muscle during calorie restriction.

This is hugely important because losing muscle has numerous devastating consequences.

  • It means creating a slower metabolism.
  • Becoming proportionately fatter even if you’re taking off “weight” on the scale.
  • Losing strength and balance.
  • Looking flabbier even if you end up smaller.
  • Finally, it means a much greater likelihood of regaining every pound you lose.

So how much protein do you need?

The value of increased protein consumption isn’t new to those who follow the research (or to the resistance-training community). But I hope this new study, published in the September issue of The FASEB Journal, will help silence the utterly incorrect notion that most people “get plenty of protein already.”

So let’s look at the typical recommendation, which is .8 grams of dietary protein per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight per day. In traditional units, that would be .36 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

According to that recommendation, a 150-pound person would need only 54 grams of protein a day.

I need to go into detail for a minute, so bear with me.

Let’s say this person’s daily calorie need is about 2,000 calories. Her 54 grams of protein would “cost” about 216 calories (54 grams x 4 calories per gram)—or about 10.8 percent of her total daily intake.

But according to noted protein researcher Dr. Heather Leidy of the University of Missouri, that 10 percent represents not an optimum intake but the bare minimum.

Take a look at the slide (below) she included in a July 18 web presentation on protein and satiety. As the slide indicates, the so-called recommended daily allowance is in fact the “minimal amount to prevent deficiencies.”

hunger_games_satiety_webinar_hleidy_slides_9

 

Most Americans are consuming this minimal amount: about 10 percent of calories from protein.

But the acceptable safe protein intake spans a huge range—from 10 percent to 35 percent. And as it turns out, higher percentages provide a lot of benefit.

Based on the research I’ve studied, I like to see dieters shoot for a minimum of 15 percent, and I prefer 20 to 25 percent.

But let’s go back to the newly published study I mentioned, which focused specifically on whether three groups of dieters would lose lean mass while consuming different amounts of protein.

One group ate the RDA of .8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. A second ate twice as much protein (1.6 grams per kilogram), and a third ate three times as much (2.4 grams per kilogram).

Here’s what the researchers found: the current recommended daily allowance (.8 grams per kilogram of body weight) was not enough to prevent significant muscle loss when dieters cut calories and exercised enough to take off two pounds a week.

In fact, 58 percent of that group’s “weight loss” came from muscle and only 42 percent from fat.

The results in the other two groups were significantly different. Both lost more fat and less muscle than the RDA dieters.

Their results weren’t perfect: about 30 to 36 percent of the weight they lost was muscle, and 64 to 70 percent was fat.

I believe they could have lost less—or no—muscle by making two tweaks:

Including higher intensity resistance training. The participants did only minimal low-intensity resistance training. That was a deliberate decision on the scientists’ part: they didn’t want the possible addition of muscle through training to confound the study results.

Taking a less radical calorie cut. The dieters cut calories by about 30 percent, which I consider a fairly aggressive restriction, given that they were not obese. Their body mass index (BMI) at the beginning of the study ranged from 22 (very healthy weight) to 29 (overweight but not obese).

The closer you are to your ideal weight, the more conservative you should be when cutting calories. In other words, large people are less likely to lose muscle; smaller people need to be more cautious.

What this study means for you

When you’re trying to lose weight, job 1 should be preserving your lean mass (muscle) while taking off fat. Simply put, muscle is your calorie-burning engine, and you don’t want to lose an ounce of it.

So yes, track calories to make sure you’re cutting enough to get results . . . but not so many that you create a slower metabolism.

And pay close attention to your protein consumption. Don’t be satisfied with the “minimal amount to prevent deficiencies.”

Instead, aim for for at least twice the RDA (1.6 grams per kilogram of bodyweight).

For a 150-pound woman, this would be about 110 grams of protein per day (about 22 percent of daily calories, if her calorie need is 2,000 per day).

pie-chartBallpark: Strive to get 20 to 30 percent of your daily calories from protein. (The free online tracking service tracker.dailyburn.com makes this easy by showing you a pie chart depicting your percentages of calories from carbs, fat, and protein. See the example at right.)

Lead author of the study, Stefan M. Pasiakos, Ph.D., says, ”We believe that the RDA for protein should be based on a level to optimize health as well as prevent deficiencies, and our data demonstrate a potential inadequacy of the current RDA for sparing muscle mass during weight loss, which may affect a significant portion of the population” (emphasis added).

Amen, brother.

Let’s close with a juicy comment from Dr. Gerald Weissmann, editor of the journal that published Dr. Pasiakos’ research: “This study essentially confirms what bodybuilders have shown us for a long time: a high-protein diet helps prevent muscle loss when trying to lose fat.”

Want to learn more about how protein can help you lose weight and transform your body? Sign up now for my free webinar, The Hot Body Formula: 5 Keys to Total Body Transformation!

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Want to speed up your metabolism? http://primefitnessforwomen.com/speed-up-your-metabolism/ http://primefitnessforwomen.com/speed-up-your-metabolism/#comments Thu, 22 Aug 2013 18:06:02 +0000 http://primefitnessforwomen.com/?p=4274

If you think your metabolism has slowed down, you’re probably right.

And you may think it’s just because you’re getting older.

In my new webinar, I’m going to teach you the surprising facts about why your metabolism is slower (hint: it’s not really about your age)—and the No. 1 way you can speed it again!

The webinar is free, and I have a free gift for everyone who attends the session.

Register now!

 

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8 ways to get more out of every workout http://primefitnessforwomen.com/increase-your-energy/ http://primefitnessforwomen.com/increase-your-energy/#comments Tue, 20 Aug 2013 11:56:33 +0000 http://primefitnessforwomen.com/?p=532 barbell

Do you sometimes find yourself wandering aimlessly through the gym—there in body but not really fully engaged? Cultivating a stronger sense of focus will give you more energy during the workout and actually make it more fun.

It’s all about engaging fully with the task rather than just schlepping through some random exercises.

The eight tips that follow will help you get more out of every trip to the gym:

1. Decide what you’re going to work on before you get there. Will it be a full-body workout, or is this leg day or back day or chest day? If you leave it to chance, you’re more likely to spend time on the stuff you like to do and ignore the moves that are less appealing.

2. Start thinking about your workout beforehand—ideally the evening or morning before. Spending just 30 seconds reviewing your plan will enhance your motivation and energy level. See yourself going through your workout and enjoying it. You may even start looking forward to it.

3. Listen to high-energy music. Obvious, huh? But I see a lot of people who are not plugged in sort of ambling through their workout. Music with a beat helps in several ways: It’s psychologically arousing, meaning it helps you get worked up. Scientists say it helps you dissociate from discomfort, meaning you can exercise longer despite fatigue. It helps you block out the world and create a temporary tunnel vision focused on nothing but the workout. And it discourages people from chatting with you. You might think that’s a negative. See tip No. 4.

4. Don’t chit-chat with your friends. I’m not saying you should be antisocial. Catch up with them before you start your workout or after you’re done. Smile and say hi when you see an acquaintance. Spot each other and encourage each other during difficult lifts. But don’t yack nonstop. Socializing with your pals is calming and distracting in exactly the *wrong* way. You want to ramp up your workout intensity, not reduce it.

5. Get up off your butt. Few things destroy your intensity like going into a state of complete relaxation between sets. Also, your butt is preventing someone else from using that equipment while you rest. What to do instead? You could do supersets: pair two (or more) exercises, and as soon as you finish A, go do a set of B, then return to A. Or walk around the gym to keep your heart rate and energy high. You’ll definitely burn more calories with either of these strategies.

6. Leave your cell phone in the locker. Gabbing on the phone is typically combined with sitting on one’s butt between sets. Talk about an intensity killer.

7. Personalize the challenge. This one sounds weird, but it works. When you’re gearing up to do a heavy or difficult lift, turn it into a mental challenge: it’s you against the weight, and you’re the one who’s going to win. Walk purposefully over to the equipment you’re going to use. Look at it as you approach. Think about how many reps you’re going to accomplish and how you’re going to kick butt. You can say ridiculous things (in your head, OK?) to the equipment, like, “I’m going to dominate you” or “Prepare to be defeated.” This probably isn’t for everyone, but why not give it a try?

8. Make your workout shorter. I could write a book on this one. Bottom line: it’s impossible to maintain intensity and energy when the workout drags on too long. An ideal length for most people is 45 minutes to an hour. If you don’t have 45 minutes, you can get a great workout in half an hour if you keep moving. Intensity and duration are inversely related—meaning you can work out for a long time or you can work out very hard, but you can’t do both in a single session.

What strategies have worked for you? How do you keep your workout energy high?

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One crazy reason you may be stuck at a weight loss plateau http://primefitnessforwomen.com/crazy-reason-stuck-weight-loss-plateau/ http://primefitnessforwomen.com/crazy-reason-stuck-weight-loss-plateau/#comments Wed, 10 Jul 2013 10:00:40 +0000 http://primefitnessforwomen.com/?p=4138 Eat more to break through a weight loss plateau

Every dieter dreads a weight loss plateau. You’re chugging along, steadily taking off pounds, and then wham: nothing.

All movement of the scale simply grinds to a halt.

That can happen for a whole lot of reasons—but today I want to talk about one of the strangest ones: you’re not eating enough.

Now, this can happen when we deliberately starve ourselves, incorrectly thinking that will give us better results.

Nooooooooo!

But now and then I encounter a fat loss client who simply finds it difficult to get all her calories down.

Believe it or not, that can be a significant problem once we stop eating eating salty, fatty, sugar-laden food that

  • stimulates appetite and
  • is so dense in food energy that even small quantities provide enough fuel for a family.

Healthy stuff—lean proteins, plenty of veg and fruit, whole grains, soup and salad—tends to be more satiating. In other words, it’s filling and provides a feeling of fullness for a longer period of time than junk does.

‘Do I really have to eat so much food?’

Usually I hear about this problem when the client asks, “Do I really have to eat 1,600 calories [or whatever her individual number is] per day? I’m just not that hungry!”

The answer is yes—it’s vitally important!

I won’t repeat what I’ve said before about the dangers of cutting too many calories (see this post for a nice summary). For now I’ll just say that doing so creates a slower metabolism and is a great way to create a weight loss plateau.

Not what we want!

So when I hear this question, I generally make four recommendations, all of which will help you get off that weight loss plateau, give your body the nutrients it needs, and provide more energy to fuel your workouts.

(You *are* working out, right?)

Eat more to get off that fat loss plateau!

1. Double-check your calorie counts. We need to know exactly how much you’re really eating. If you tell me you’re consuming 1,200 calories per day and you’re not hungry, that statement might be 100 percent factual.

But it’s also very possible that you’re taking in more food than you think. We’re human. That’s what we do.

The only way to know for sure is to weigh or measure what you eat and keep a daily food and calorie journal.

2. If you find that your counts are accurate, you really truly aren’t eating enough, and are finding it hard to eat more, bump up the calorie density of your food.

The easiest way to do this is to eat more fat.

I don’t recommend you do this at the expense of protein (which I like to see at 20 percent or more of daily calories) or the carbs you need for energy (40 to 60 percent of daily calories).

And of course, I don’t want you to start attacking the onion rings and ice cream—although they’re undeniably delicious sources of fat.

Here’s what I usually recommend: nuts (about 160 to 200 calories per ounce), full-fat cheese (usually about 120 calories per ounce), full-fat dairy (e.g., 8 ounces of whole milk for 160 calories), peanut butter (95 calories per tablespoon), and olive oil (120 calories per tablespoon).

You can also add butter (102 calories per tablespoon) to your steamed vegetables, baked potato, brown rice, or whole-grain bread.

3. If there’s a healthy carbohydrate you enjoy, eat more of it!

I’m a carb lover and could easily go overboard when it comes to things like rice and fresh bread.

So choose your favorite carb, figure out how big a 200- to 300-calorie portion would be, and add it to breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

4. Don’t go too long between feedings. Instead of waiting five hours between breakfast and lunch, have a snack after two or three hours.

It doesn’t need to be large, but it should include both protein and carbohydrate.

So start eating more and blast through that fat loss plateau!

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Don’t eat bananas until you read this http://primefitnessforwomen.com/dont-eat-bananas-until-you-read-this/ http://primefitnessforwomen.com/dont-eat-bananas-until-you-read-this/#comments Mon, 01 Jul 2013 10:00:36 +0000 http://primefitnessforwomen.com/?p=4090 bananas make you fat

Women are always talking about food in moral terms. There’s “good food,” the stuff we feel virtuous about eating. You know—broccoli and chicken breast and fat-free yogurt. Or tofu and green smoothies and chia seeds.

Then on the devil’s side of the equation we find “bad food.” The kind of stuff we love ever so much and then feel guilty about enjoying.

Of all the idiotic diet mindsets around, this one irks me in a special way.

What we eat simply isn’t a matter of salvation or damnation, OK?

We have nutritional needs, and we have a limited calorie budget to spend. So yes, of course we can make more or less nutritious choices with that budget.

But it just isn’t a moral issue.

As I tell my customers, if they feel like having pizza and beer and going over their calorie budget on occasion, more power to them. Enjoy every bite.

Just don’t make blowing the budget a daily habit.

Do bananas make you fat?

bigstock-Cute-cartoon-angel-evil-and-good-duc-25633280Today the banana inspired me to write.

Since it’s a piece of fruit, you probably see it as a “good food.”

Weight Watchers certainly does, having declared several years ago that all fruit now has zero “points” in its universe.

Points, if you didn’t know, are basically a calorie-counting scheme, and in the old WW regime, everything you eat was assigned a point value. Each point was worth around 50 to 60 calories, depending on the fat content of the food.

(Higher-fat foods “cost” slightly more points even if their calorie value was the same as lower-fat foods. I know—it’s weird.)

All that changed with the PointsPlus system (which I’ve written about before). Now a banana—or a pear, an apple, a plum, a nectarine, and so on—costs you precisely zero points, even though, of course, it does not have precisely zero calories.

So a banana must be good. After all, it’s a zero-point piece of fruit.

bigstock-Cute-cartoon-devil-evil-and-good-duc-25633280But wait: this week I watched a short video in which a self-proclaimed weight-loss expert listed bananas as one of the five foods you should NEVER EAT if you want to get slim.

Yikes!

I thought we’d just established that bananas fall clearly on the side of the angels!

But no.

Bananas are full of sugar (wow—what a surprise for fruit, huh?), including sucrose (otherwise known as “table sugar”). And you know that *has* to be evil.

Well, that’s what the man on the video wants you to believe.

He says that foods high in sugar automatically make you gain weight and prevent you from losing it.

So what’s the truth? Is the banana an angel or a devil?

Back to basics

Let’s go back to square one for a sec.

There is no food that automatically has the power to “make you fat” unless you eat too many calories of it. There is no food that automatically has the power to “make you fat” unless you eat too many calories of it.

As I’ve said before, if your body needs 2000 calories a day and you eat precisely 2000 calories of day of . . . anything . . . you will maintain your weight.

The nutritional quality of your diet might be horrendous, in which case you won’t feel or look good, and you could develop numerous nutritional deficiencies.

But even if all you ate were demonic bananas—or cheese or pork rinds or gummy bears or name your poison—you will not gain fat without excess calories.

Having said that, let me add a couple of important caveats:

  • If you’re not getting enough protein, you will lose muscle mass, which will slow your metabolism and have other unfortunate effects
  • Some foods stimulate appetite (see Dr. David Kessler’s book The End of Overeating for a fascinating explanation), so our choices can make a big difference in how easy or tough it is to stick to a calorie budget.

But the bottom line is always calories in and calories out.

So . . . should you eat bananas?

Hell yes, if you enjoy them.

No, of course you can’t eat as many as you want without repercussions, as Weight Watchers’ zero-points designation would suggest.

But no (sigh of relief), they won’t automatically make you fat because they’re laden with sugar.

Want to create a hot body?

speed up your metabolismJoin me for a FREE online workshop: The 5-Step Formula to Your Hottest Body Ever! During this interactive web workshop, you learn

  • the 5 essential steps to lose weight permanently and without starving
  • the fastest way to build a firm and sexy body and
  • how to speed up your metabolism, no matter how old you are!

Two sessions are available: noon EDT (U.S.) Monday, July 22, and 7 p.m. EDT Wednesday, July 24.

You choose the one that’s more convenient for you.

During this live workshop, I will walk you step by step through the process of determining the range of calories that’s right for you to cut.

This is SO important if you want to diet without hunger and without doing serious damage to your metabolism!

Even if you can’t make it to the live workshop, sign up so you can get the replay.

Seating is limited, so save your spot now!

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Can you lose weight ‘without changing anything you eat’? http://primefitnessforwomen.com/can-you-lose-weight-without-changing-anything-you-eat/ http://primefitnessforwomen.com/can-you-lose-weight-without-changing-anything-you-eat/#comments Wed, 26 Jun 2013 10:00:29 +0000 http://primefitnessforwomen.com/?p=4025 Eat all your favorite foods and still lose weight?

Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

How about the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny?

I didn’t think so.

So how, dear reader, is it possible for otherwise highly intelligent women to believe that somehow, some way, you can take off fat “without changing anything you eat”?

Yes, I actually saw that claim online a few days ago. And although we know from the great American hoaxer George Hull that “there’s a sucker born every minute,” I continue to be shocked at the depths of human gullibility.

Let’s talk basics for a minute, OK?

Our body fat is nothing more than stored energy.

Our bodies deposited it because we ate more than we needed to maintain our weight.

Not because we’re over 40. Not because we’re stressed out. Not because some of our food is genetically modified. Not because of high-fructose corn syrup . . . or artificial sweeteners . . . or any other scapegoat people enjoy blaming.

Every day, your body needs a certain amount of energy (calories) to

  • keep your bodily processes going and
  • fuel your voluntary activity.

Are we good so far?

  1. Eat the amount of food (calories, energy) your body requires, and you will neither gain nor lose fat.
  2. Eat less food than your body requires to maintain itself—and/or burn more calories through activity—and you will lose fat.
  3. Eat more food than you need, and you will gain fat.

It’s quite simple, really.

So if you are overweight, it’s because your food consumption exceeded the amount of calories you needed, given your activity level. In other words, the way you eat is what made you gain.

Plenty of bad choices

Now, there are lots of bad and damaging ways to lose fat:

  • cutting too many calories
  • refusing to exercise
  • exercising ineffectively
  • dieting in such a way that you’re constantly hungry
  • eating in a way that slows down your metabolism, and so on.

(And that’s where I come in, with programs that teach you the most effective, healthy, non-starving ways to accomplish your goals.)

Given the fact that *all* fat loss has to do with energy in and energy out, how do you suppose it might be possible to shed pounds without altering what you eat and how you exercise?

News flash: it isn’t.

Now, I know we’re all human and would like to believe in weight-loss miracles.

But we have a much, much better chance of winning the lottery than finding a magical rainbow-and-unicorn way to lose weight effortlessly. Because we actually do have an extremely slim change of winning the Powerball jackpot . . . and zero chance of “effortless weight loss.”

I’m absolutely not saying that fat loss needs to be torture. Far from it.

The process can actually be fun and rewarding. But it takes work, just as doing anything worthwhile takes work.

Would you believe anyone who said you could become a millionaire, create a successful business, or give birth to a baby “without changing anything”?

Hell no. You’d laugh in the face of anyone who tried to sell you such a ridiculous idea.

So . . . back to my question from the beginning of this post:

How is it possible for otherwise highly intelligent women to believe that somehow, some way, you can take off fat “without changing anything you eat” (and/or creating a calorie deficit through exercise)? How is it possible for otherwise highly intelligent women to believe that somehow, some way, you can take off fat “without changing anything you eat” (and/or creating a calorie deficit through exercise)?

Once you’re ready to let go of that notion, you’re ready to start learning what really works—and how to not only lose weight but keep it off for the rest of your life.

Want to create a hot body?

speed up your metabolismJoin me for a FREE online workshop: The 5-Step Formula to Your Hottest Body Ever! During this interactive web workshop, you learn

  • the 5 essential steps to lose weight permanently and without starving
  • the fastest way to build a firm and sexy body and
  • how to speed up your metabolism, no matter how old you are!

Two sessions are available: noon EDT (U.S.) Monday, July 22, and 7 p.m. EDT Wednesday, July 24.

You choose the one that’s more convenient for you.

During this live workshop, I will walk you step by step through the process of determining the range of calories that’s right for you to cut.

This is SO important if you want to diet without hunger and without doing serious damage to your metabolism!

Even if you can’t make it to the live workshop, sign up so you can get the replay.

Seating is limited, so save your spot now!

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Goodbye, FitBit–welcome back, BodyMedia http://primefitnessforwomen.com/goodbye-fitbit-welcome-back-bodymedia/ http://primefitnessforwomen.com/goodbye-fitbit-welcome-back-bodymedia/#comments Mon, 03 Jun 2013 17:07:06 +0000 http://primefitnessforwomen.com/?p=3960 bodymedia link armband

For a certain kind of person, gadgets make fitness more fun and the process of getting fit more exciting. Of course, I’m a geek who believes more information (in every area of life) is better.

Maybe everyone is at least a little bit motivated by seeing the data. If not, why would makers of aerobic equipment put calorie counters and heart-rate monitors on elliptical trainers, treadmills, and the like?

Management expert Tom Peters likes to say, “What gets measured gets done.” And research has proven that those who track their progress—whether we’re talking about calorie counting or step counting—do a better job.

Simplest example I can think of: people who wear pedometers take more steps than those who don’t wear them. Does it really matter why?

So today I want to talk about my latest experiment in quantifying my activity level and calorie burn. I’m going to explain why I’ve stopped wearing my new FitBit Zip and returned to my BodyMedia Link armband.

What the FitBit does

FitBit comes in multiple versions, and the one I used is the Zip, the least expensive option (currently $49 on Amazon.com). It’s basically a small, elegant jumped-up pedometer. It tracks steps and distance, yes, but also claims to track calories burned.

Fancier models also track stairs climbed as well as how long and well you sleep.

You can display your activity via smartphone apps and on the fitbit website, which is free to use. And the FitBit’s little display shows you how many steps you’ve taken, what time it is, and how many calories it thinks you’ve burned.

The device does one thing very nicely: track steps.

But its claim to be an “activity monitor” is pretty shaky.

Why? Well, the only activities it tracks are walking and running. And its estimates of calories burned are based solely on—you guessed it—steps. That is, walking and running.

So if that’s what your fitness program consists of, you may be well pleased with FitBit.

But it leaves me cold.

As I quickly realized, it has no way to figure out calorie burn from the other things I do: lifting weights, rowing, and using a rowing machine.

What the BodyMedia armband does

After coming to this disappointing conclusion, I started wondering where in the world my BodyMedia Link armband had gotten to.

Well, I found it, strapped it on my nondominant arm, and have now been wearing it again for a couple of weeks. OK, my husband calls me a cyborg when I’m wearing it, but I don’t mind.

And now I’m wondering why I ever quit wearing it.

In fact, let me declare my love for you, BodyMedia Link. Because you not only track my steps but also estimate my calorie burn by monitoring four data sources:

  • galvanic skin response (which has to do with the electrical conductivity of my skin when I sweat)
  • skin temperature
  • the rate at which heat is being dissipated from my body and
  • an accelerometer, which measures both my steps and body motion.

So when I’d go through a kick-butt weight workout in the gym, FitBit measured only the number of steps I took while walking around and based its calorie burn on that.

My BodyMedia Link uses a whole lot more information to create an estimate based on my body’s true response to the exercise.

BodyMedia has a smartphone app, like FitBit, and both devices are Bluetooth enabled (which is how they communicate with your smartphone).

One drawback to the BodyMedia armband: you cannot access information merely by looking at the device: you have to launch the phone app or plug the device into your computer via USB cable to know where you stand.

That’s not a big deal to me because I can get the data in a few seconds by launching my iPhone app. But I thought I should mention it in case this is a deal-breaker for you.

Other factors

My armband measures sleep quality, as do several of the FitBit models. It also gives me ongoing numbers of hours and minutes spent in “moderate” and “vigorous” activity.

Now, here’s a geek feature I love: the BodyMedia Link measures my activity in METs (“metabolic equivalent of task,” or simply “metabolic equivalents”) and even gives me a daily average. Now, here’s a geek feature I love: the BodyMedia Link measures my activity in METs (“metabolic equivalent of task,” or simply “metabolic equivalents”) and even gives me a daily average.

Sitting quietly in a chair is 1 MET. Sleeping represents a metabolic rate of about .9. Running very fast (at a pace of 4:17 per mile) would be 23 METs.

So at the end of the day I can check to see what my average METs per hour were, and obviously a higher number is better.

For example, today I haven’t done anything other than a few household tasks and a lot of computer work. My average METs per hour so far are pretty low: 1.65.

 

body-media.600pxYou can see from this screenshot (from my iPad) that between 8:15 and noon I did some walking around—the brown areas on the graph. The blue areas represent being sedentary. You can see that I slept till 8 a.m. (hey, I worked hard this weekend) and have spent about half of my waking hours so far parked on my rear end. (I will soon remedy that with a trip to the gym.)

My point is that the BodyMedia Link gives me a detailed picture of exactly how I spend each day. One day not long ago I worked on the computer for about 14 hours. My energy expenditure was abysmal. Lots of blue on my graph.

Seeing that was a dramatic reminder that I don’t want to spend whole days like that. Yes, I may have a lot of work to accomplish, but my body and mind will both suffer if I don’t break it up with activity.

And yes, I am more likely to take extra walks and put in additional exercise time because in some odd way, I find it rewarding to see the numbers accumulate on the BodyMedia app.

Small daily behavior modifications add up to massive life change!

Summing up

The BodyMedia Link armband costs significantly more than the FitBit Zip ($120 on Amazon, and yes, this is an affiliate link, compared with $49 for the Zip). Also, you need a monthly subscription to the bodymedia website ($6.95 a month or $59 a year).

And it’s worth every penny.

If you’re motivated by having more information—like I am—and your workouts consist of more than walking, I think you should consider the BodyMedia Link.

Register now for my next free training session

bigstock-diet-alone-600px-hot-body-webinar-one-caucasian-woman-exercising-35485085And if you are motivated by having more information, you need to be on my next free online training webinar.

During this session—The Hot Body Formula: 5 Keys to Your Total Body Transformation—I’m going to reveal the foundational principles to creating a hot, healthy, lean figure.

And I’m going to walk you step by step through the process of figuring out exactly how much to eat for safe and healthy fat loss that does not slow down your metabolism.

What—you didn’t realize that’s what most diets do?

It’s because they’re not custom-tailored to you. And I’m going to show you how to change that.

Sign up now!

It’s happening at 7 p.m. Eastern (U.S.) on Wednesday, June 12. Presuming the technology gods cooperate, there will be a recording, but you need to be on this call live with me in order to

  1. receive a valuable gift only for participants on the line with me
  2. have the opportunity to ask me questions and troubleshoot as we walk through the calorie-estimating process and
  3. have a shot at winning a $200 prize given to one lucky participant.

Learn more here. I hope to “see” you during the session!

 

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Is dieting dangerous? http://primefitnessforwomen.com/is-dieting-dangerous/ http://primefitnessforwomen.com/is-dieting-dangerous/#comments Wed, 29 May 2013 03:43:25 +0000 http://primefitnessforwomen.com/?p=3940 weight loss diet

“Diets cause weight gain.”

“Diets cause food obsession and eating disorders.”

“Diets blind you to your body’s intuitive eating signals.”

You can find all kinds of books, articles, and websites that expound on these topics, and I’m not going to waste your time going into detail on their points of view.

I can’t deny that dieting gets a bad rap. And most kinds of dieting thoroughly deserve it.

Hell, a supposed health coach in an online forum told me yesterday that calorie counting was “soul crushing” and “ridiculous.” I suggested that on the contrary, it was merely a tool that can be used well or badly . . . and that if we have a problem with it, maybe we’ve brought along our own baggage.

That wasn’t a popular idea. I was roundly shouted down by those who believe that “intuition” alone ought to be enough to bring about our ideal weight. (Sure, go for it: I feel sorry for your clients, who may waste a couple of years figuring out that it’s usually not enough.)

Dieting is just a tool

Here’s the point: dieting (like its cousin calorie-counting) is just a tool.

There are good tools and very, very bad tools in this toolbox.

But before we get more specific, let’s clarify the term. Let’s see “dieting” for what it is: merely a food plan, a way of eating. In other words, let’s strip away some of the baggage.

I bitch and moan about bad diets all the time, not because I enjoy bitching and moaning (oh, OK—just a little) but because I see the damage bad diets cause women. I bitch and moan about bad diets all the time, not because I enjoy bitching and moaning (oh, OK—just a little) but because I see the damage bad diets cause women.

Every time I offer a free webinar (more on that subject later) I talk about the dangers of bad diets. And while I was writing this, I realized that you, esteemed reader and listener, might assume that I’m speaking only of extreme and obviously crazy diets.

I’ve gone on and on about the dangers of the hCG diet, which is nothing more than slow starvation. I’ve talked about how intermittent fasting can slow your metabolism and screw up your appetite-regulating hormones.

But maybe you’re thinking that the average women’s magazine diet that recommends, say, 1,300 to 1,500 calories a day is surely immune from that sort of criticism.

Not.

Not at ALL.

Dangers of the average bad diet

The average diet—yes, even the average diet that a health expert thinks is swell—often provides too few calories to

  • protect your muscle mass (and although you may think you don’t care about this, darling, you do)
  • prevent undue hunger
  • sustain an effective exercise program and
  • prevent your metabolic rate—the amount of energy you need daily—from slowing down.

Of course, the existence of bad diets hints that perhaps there’s such a thing as a good diet, a safe and healthy diet, doesn’t it?

In fact, there is. That’s one of the things I teach.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that dieting—that is, choosing a food plan specifically for fat loss—has to mean weeks or months of hideous deprivation, hunger, and sacrifice.

It doesn’t. Not if we jettison the notion that makes so many diets dangerous: the idea that cutting more calories is the solution to effective fat loss.

Here’s what you might not realize: You might think cutting 500 calories a day is perfectly reasonable and not the least bit dangerous.

That’s just a pound a week. Sounds sensible, right?

Most diets don’t even consider your individual energy needs

But is a 500-calorie cut per day safe?

That depends on you and your specific energy needs.

  • What’s your total daily need for calories?
  • What percentage of a cut would 500 calories represent for you?
  • Is that percentage too much or too little for you?

How to find out

speed up your metabolism

Interested?

This is one of the topics I’m going to teach during my next free online workshop, set for noon EDT Monday, July 22, and 7 p.m. EDT Wednesday, July 24.

Pick the session that’s more convenient for you.

In fact, if you’re live on the workshop with me, I’m going to walk you step by step through an easy, fast, and accurate way to figure out the right number of calories for you to cut.

My goal is to help you understand exactly how to choose the right level of calorie cutting for safe and healthy fat loss . . . so you don’t slow your metabolism, you don’t feel ravenous, and you can actually stick to the plan.

If you’re dieting now or ever will be, you need this training.

I’ll record the session, so if you have a commitment at that time and date, sign up anyway.

But if you can make it live, that’s best. As I said, I’ll be walking you through the process of implementing one of my best fat-loss strategies . . . and one lucky lady who is live on the webinar with me will receive a gift valued at $150!

Save your spot now!

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Is a brisk walk as good as a run? http://primefitnessforwomen.com/is-a-brisk-walk-as-good-as-a-run/ http://primefitnessforwomen.com/is-a-brisk-walk-as-good-as-a-run/#comments Fri, 03 May 2013 20:53:32 +0000 http://primefitnessforwomen.com/?p=3905 Is a brisk walk as good as a run?

This one’s for the walkers: If you’ve ever felt bad because you can’t jog or just don’t feel like it, I have good news.

True, you can’t burn as many calories per minute walking as you can running—but you can get the same health benefits, according to some new research. It’ll just take a little bigger chunk out of your day.

Previous studies that looked at the benefits of walking and running used time, not distance, in their comparisons. That’s a bit stupid, as the average person can cover about three miles during an hour-long brisk walk but five or six miles (or more) in the same period of running.

It’s no wonder walking came out as less effective in the old studies, given that joggers ended up doing twice as much work.

All the same health advantages

In this new study, involving more than 33,000 runners and 15,000 walkers, scientists correlated energy expenditures (calorie cost) from walking and running with risk reductions for high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, and coronary heart disease.

And although the intensity levels of those activities are very different, the upshot is that walking ultimately provides all the same health advantages.

Here’s how lead scientist Dr. Paul T. Williams put it:

“The more the runners ran and the walkers walked, the better off they were in health benefits. If the amount of energy expended was the same between the two groups, then the health benefits were comparable.”

Quick translation: if you burn, for example, 250 calories several times a week doing either of these forms of exercise (and let’s assume this holds for any form of aerobic exercise), you get equal reward.

If you weigh 150 pounds and you’re walking at a 3 mile-per-hour pace, it’ll take you about 50 minutes to burn those calories. If your running pace is 10 minutes per mile (6 miles per hour), you’ll need only 22 minutes to get the job done.

(Note that I’m using the calorie estimates provided by the calorie-burn calculator on the HealthStatus website.)

Either way, the payoff is significant

Both runners and walkers reduced their risk of first-time diagnoses of hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. They also reduced their incidence of coronary heart disease.

As Dr. Williams points out, a walking habit may be more sustainable for lots of people. I’m thinking of the women I speak to who can no longer run because of arthritis in a knee or hip.

So if you’ve been thinking, “all I can do is walk,” there’s no reason to feel inadequate. You put in the time, and it’ll get the job done.

What’s your preference? Let me know in the comment box below!

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