Saturday, September 19, 2009

In Weight Loss, Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

I know many of you, like myself, have been looking at where the money goes and where a few dollars might be saved here and there. Little changes, like one less lottery ticket, buying generic cereal instead of brand name can make a huge difference in the bottom line.

The same principle applies to weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle. I recently read that people underestimate their caloric intake by 30%, and overestimate their exercise expenditure by 30%. What this tells me is that we don’t take into account the little things and how much they can make a difference. We forget to make time to go to the gym and make a plan to exercise tomorrow, or forget that piece of cake for someone’s birthday when the calories are being counted. It’s easy to do.

In order to burn a pound of fat, the caloric deficit required is 3,500 calories. Wow, that’s a big number! Just as it’s easy to forget everything we’ve eaten (or underestimate portion size) or how much exercise we get, it’s also easy to make little changes that can add up to be a big difference.

First, let’s take a quick look at food. A small but easy change is to drink skim milk instead of 2%. It’s not really THAT different. Instead of that prepackaged apple pie, try applesauce or even an apple. Eat a good breakfast, including some protein – it will help you keep going rather than the doughnut mid-morning. Swap your soda for some tea or juice.

The exercise component is really the simpler of the two. It’s especially easy in the Denver Metro area, including all those suburbs such as Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Centennial, etc. Life can get in the way of getting a good workout everyday. The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) recommends at least 30 minutes of activity each day for an active lifestyle. Piece of cake, so to speak. Park your car 10 spaces further from the building. When you need a break at work, don’t run to the vending machine and vent, take a walk around the building or the block. It will help to clear your head, and get some steps in too. I bet your dog would love a trip to the park. Again, these don’t have to be a long process. Ten minutes here, ten minutes there all add up in the long haul.

I challenge each of you reading this to try one little thing with diet and with exercise to change for just a week. Write it down in a place that will motivate you. Tell someone, and challenge them to do the same.

Until next time…

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