Procrastinating all year may have worked out in your favor this time. Just about every gym is offering a New Year’s special, or waiving or discounting costly, inexplicable initiation fees to reel in new members looking to fulfill their weight loss resolutions.
Even Equinox, The Best Gym Ever (imo) is waiving their initiation fees. If they weren’t $150/mo, I’d consider it. Planet Fitness is still the best deal in town at just $10/mo, but as I’ve repeatedly stated here, you do get what you pay for.
Around this time of year it’s essential to keep multiple memberships because every facility will be packed. Try working out first thing in the morning or very late at night to avoid the flock of newcomers.
Here’s to a great 2012!
Apparently, joining the corporate weight loss challenge, or announcing on your Facebook and Twitter feeds that you’re trying to drop a few pounds will sabotage your sexy. It’s an interesting revelation, as I myself tend to be a doer. Running a site like this, I probably should let folks in on the daily process, but I do think once you ink a thought, it holds you accountable in ways you may not be prepared for.
Take yesterday for instance. I had a great ride around Brooklyn–mostly for cost-effective commute purposes, admittedly, and also because I can get just about anywhere faster on my bike over the bus and sometimes the train. The health benefits are a plus, I enjoy it, and my legs are looking better than I expected.
But then I got hungry. Instead of eating a salad like one would expect, I headed to KFC and ordered a crispy strip combo with potato wedges (and a Diet Pepsi, of course). It’d been a while, and I just wanted to eat something that tasted good even if it’ll slowly kill me. I don’t really want to have to answer questions, or have a discussion as to why I’m eating fast food when I’m watching my weight. Sure we talk about it here, but in my daily life, folks aren’t really in on this conversation. Just do what you have to do, and STFU about it.
There are a number of ways to avoid this phenomenon.
“One is simple — you can keep your mouth shut,” Gollwitzer says. “Another one is to form different kinds of intentions, not only say what you want to do but also when, where and how you want to do it.”
Such planning helps create situational action control, he explains. When you find yourself at the gym before work, the situation you mentally mapped out controls your behavior instead of your intention to exercise more.
The third way, Gollwitzer says, is to tell only one or two people who hold power over you (metaphorically) so that they help you stick to your intentions. [SOURCE]
I’m about to head to Groupon to search for deals on fitness classes, but here are some articles to occupy you in the meantime:
How Exercise Can Strengthen the Brain [NYT]
How to Fend off Food Cravings [EH]
11 Foods for Healthy Bones [Health]
Train Better: 10 Exercise Machines to Avoid [WH]
Looking for a Fitness Buddy? Get a Dog [Reuters]
Diet and Depression: Can Food Help Fight the Blues? [ABC.au]
I stumbled upon a rant by a Yahoo contributor who seemed very upset at the prospect of KFC, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, etc. accepting food stamps. He’s not alone. There are folks out there ready to (keyboard) protest if McDonald’s lets poor people use their benefit cards to get a happy meal—with a toy even! These are the same people who seem to think being poor is a sentence, rather than a circumstance. Or that it’s somehow enjoyable to not know where your next meal is coming from. Maybe the feds should bring back powdered milk and government cheese. While we’re at it, why don’t we produce Soylent Greens (including the special ingredient)?
Sure there’s gross abuse of the system, and allowing KFC to accept food stamps seems like one of them, but if you are at a poverty level where you don’t have access to maybe even a hot plate, why can’t you get a 2 piece dinner?
Perhaps they should limit it to ‘healthier’ selections if it’s that much of an issue, but if you qualify for the benefits, I say you eat what you want.
If that means you run out of your food stamps in 2 weeks, then next month you’ll be wiser, and cop that hero and free soda from the bodega instead.
I’d much rather eat Hamburger Helper in my middle class apartment with middle class comforts, than eat a bucket of chicken and have to find a vacant bedbug infested subway bench.
Here’s the opposing perspective:
“Welcome to Taco Bell, will this be cash, charge or food stamps?”
Just when I thought I’d heard it all, now fast food restaurants want Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients to be eligible to use their food stamp benefit at selected restaurants. Restaurants such as Taco Bell, KFC and Subway believe that there are certain types of SNAP recipients who are homeless or living in conditions that do not allow them hot meals and these people would benefit from being able to use their food benefit at fast food restaurants.
Fresno, Calif., officials are considering legislation that would permit SNAP benefits to be used at fast food restaurants in their area. Arizona, Michigan and other parts of California already allow the practice and Kentucky is currently considering it.
I already object to the many things that can be purchased with SNAP benefits. Junk food, soft drinks, pre-packaged frozen foods and candy are all permitted under current law. This is really a no-brainer. The law should restrict use of those taxpayer-provided funds to the basic staples: meat, starches, bread, milk, vegetables and cheese. Maybe there should be even an allowance for toiletries. But, it’s a moral crime to have public aid recipients eating better then the very taxpayers who pay for their benefit and a sad reflection of just how far this sense of entitlement has penetrated into our society.
There have been too many times that I watch someone in front of me at the checkout lane pile steaks, roasts and even lamb chops into their cart and then pay for it with a food stamp card. They’re eating better than me, and I work two jobs just to keep my head above water. And, the last time I went grocery shopping, the person even had a birthday cake from the bakery in the cart as well. All paid for with food stamps.
Soon middle class workers will find themselves driving home from work to eat a box of Hamburger Helper because payday is still a week away and the money is gone. Meanwhile, Joe Homeless person is standing in line at KFC waiting for his bucket of original recipe chicken, hot biscuits and two sides. Oh, and he can super size his soft drink too. [SOURCE]
A First Lady is nothing without an initiative, so I appreciate Shelly O for choosing food and fitness as hers. When I was a kid we were inundated with Drug Abuse Residence Education aka DARE. The only thing I got out of that was a t-shirt. DARE wasn’t really fun. You signed a pledge, committed to never join a gang, do drugs, or abuse alcohol. I still frequent happy hour.
(DARE lost its federal grant funding in 1998, after failing to meet federal guidelines that the organization be both research based and effective.)
Kids today see their First Lady exercising; she extols the virtues of better health, fitness, and has some fabulous arms to boot! These kids get to dance—with Beyoncé(!!) no less, and they’re learning how to make better nutritional decisions.
With the Let’s Move! campaign, the FLOTUS is determined to make sure every household has access fresh fruits, vegetables and other high quality food products at affordable prices.
Here’s the entire speech:
The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation offers free fitness classes in all five boroughs through their Shape Up NYC program. You can search classes by borough, zip code, and even skill level. Popular classes like yoga and zumba are available.
There are classes offered everyday of the week, and no registration or membership is required. Just show up to shape up!
So you’ve finally hit your goal weight, and you look amazing! What now?
While you’re well aware of what type of commitment it takes to reach your goal, it also takes a huge commitment to stay there.
A new study shows that using “rewards” and “reminders” can help you maintain your weight loss.
The researchers found two techniques that helped with weight maintenance (but not necessarily weight loss): reminding yourself why you need to control your weight, and rewarding yourself for sticking to a diet and exercise plan. [SOURCE]
Here are some excellent tips via FitSugar:
Reward yourself. Scheduling rewards when you are maintaining weight loss is different than when you are losing weight. Going shopping for a cute outfit once you’ve reached a weight-loss milestone, for example, is easy to justify, but how do you reward yourself for just following your normal lifestyle routine? Don’t forget that regularly rewarding yourself for maintaining your fitness regimen is important. Find a way to reward yourself if you hit your target number of workouts for the week or tie in something you love with your exercise plan. Try only allowing yourself to watch mindless TV during or after a workout, for example, or scheduling a fun weekend activity after a long week of gym sessions to help keep you motivated.
Remind yourself. Once you hit your goal weight, it can be easy to think that a splurge is in order. But the study found that those who reminded themselves about why they needed to control their weight were more successful in keeping it off. While you shouldn’t have to forgo all indulgences in order to stay at your goal weight, try reminding yourself of the consequences of straying off track before ordering the most unhealthy thing on the menu or skipping a run in favor of couch time.
Americans have gotten a lot of flack over the years for being supersized, but our high rates of obesity may not be for the reasons we thought after all.
Sure we eat too much, but it’s not how much we’re eating in one sitting, it’s what we’re eating throughout the day.
According to a new study published by Health.com, portion control isn’t the main reason Americans are overweight. Much of our weight gain can be blamed on snacking.
Within the timeframe the study was conducted, there was a 12% increase in portion size, versus a 29% increase in the number of snacks we consume.
In the mid-2000s, government surveys show, the average American adult ate about 2,375 calories per day, nearly one-third more than he (or she) did in the late 1970s. What accounts for all those added calories?
According to a new study, the biggest single contributor to the sharp rise in calorie intake has been the number of snacks and meals people eat per day. Over the past 30-odd years, the study found, Americans have gone from consuming 3.8 snacks and meals per day to 4.9, on average — a 29% increase. [SOURCE]
Doctors interviewed blame advertisements and the increased availability of snack foods for the problem.
For clarity, the snacks the doctors are talking about aren’t fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s the potato chips, candy bars, cookies, etc. that are doing us in. I’ve never really been a fan of chocolate or potato chips, so this has never been my issue. But there’s a reason I don’t keep Golden Oreos and Spree candies in the house!
Men’s Health Magazine has published a list of America’s least active cities. There are 100 cities listed, #1 being the most active.
San Francisco (pictured) is the #2 most active city in America receiving an A grade. Which city do you think is #1?
Lexington, KY is the LEAST active city in America, receiving an F grade, and spot #100 on the list!
Here is the methodology for their criteria:
We looked at where and how often people exercise (Experian Marketing Services); the percentage of households that watch more than 15 hours of cable a week and buy more than 11 video games a year (Mediamark Research); and the rate of deaths from deep-vein thrombosis, a condition linked to a lot of sitting (CDC). And since some people define “exercise” loosely, we gave credit for any physical activity in the past month (CDC). [SOURCE]
Below is their published list with the city’s ranking, name, and letter grade:
100 Lexington, KY F
99 Indianapolis, IN F
98 Jackson, MS F
97 Charleston, WV F
96 Oklahoma City, OK F
95 Tulsa, OK F
94 Little Rock, AR F
93 Nashville, TN F
92 Laredo, TX F
91 Birmingham, AL F
90 Charlotte, NC F
89 Corpus Christi, TX F
88 Memphis, TN F
87 Wichita, KS F
86 Sioux Falls, SD F
85 Fort Wayne, IN F
84 Omaha, NE F
83 Toledo, OH F
82 Lincoln, NE F
81 Louisville, KY D-
80 Greensboro, NC D-
79 Des Moines, IA D-
78 Columbus, OH D
77 Las Vegas, NV D
76 Cincinnati, OH D
75 Jacksonville, FLD
74 Billings, MT D
73 El Paso, TX D
72 Lubbock, TX D
71 Buffalo, NY D+
70 Houston, TX D+
69 Columbia, SC D+
68 New Orleans, LA D+
67 Tampa, FLD+
66 San Antonio, TX D+
65 Winston-Salem, NC D+
64 Plano, TX D+
63 St. Louis, MO D+
62 Bakersfield, CA D+
61 Cheyenne, WY D+
60 Fargo, ND D+
59 Fresno, CA C-
58 Cleveland, OH C-
57 Detroit, MI C-
56 Dallas, TX C-
55 Virginia Beach, VA C-
54 Chesapeake, VA C-
53 Kansas City, MO C-
52 Milwaukee, WI C-
51 Durham, NC C
50 Fort Worth, TX C
49 Raleigh, NC C
48 Orlando, FLC
47 Pittsburgh, PA C
46 Albuquerque, NM C
45 Riverside, CA C
44 Stockton, CA C
43 Jersey City, NJ C+
42 Newark, NJ C+
41 Providence, RI C+
40 Richmond, VA C+
39 Sacramento, CA C+
38 Philadelphia, PA C+
37 Santa Ana, CA C+
36 Baton Rouge, LA C+
35 Phoenix, AZ B-
34 Norfolk, VA B-
33 New York, NY B-
32 St. Petersburg, FLB-
31 Chicago, IL B-
30 Baltimore, MD B-
29 Colorado Springs, CO B-
28 Aurora, CO B
27 Los Angeles, CA B
26 Boise, ID B
25 Anchorage, AK B
24 Honolulu, HI B
23 Burlington, VT B
22 Wilmington, DE B
21 San Diego, CA B+
20 Madison, WI B+
19 Tucson, AZ B+
18 Boston, MA B+
17 San Jose, CA B+
16 Manchester, NH B+
15 Portland, OR B+
14 Austin, TX A-
13 St. Paul, MN A-
12 Miami, FLA-
11 Bridgeport, CT A-
10 Minneapolis, MN A-
9 Denver, CO A-
8 Atlanta, GA A-
7 Portland, ME A-
6 Reno, NV A-
5 Salt Lake City, UT A-
4 Washington, DC A
3 Oakland, CA A
2 San Francisco, CA A+
1 Seattle, WA A+
Where does your city rank?
We’re gonna get you in a two-piece!!
Any fitness advice or suggestions shared here are strictly for informational purposes. You should consult your doctor before committing to anything.
Let’s start with some basic math. A pound of body fat is 3500 calories. So, if you want to lose a pound, you need to reduce your caloric intake by 3500 calories. The easiest way to do this would be to divide that 3500 calories over the week, which means you need to eat 500 calories less each day.
But we’re working towards getting our Spring Break bodies, right? So 1lb alone won’t do it! Let’s increase that to 2lbs. This means we need to eat 1000 calories less each day. Still following?
Now you need to find out just how many calories you need to either maintain your weight, or to achieve fat loss. Use this online calorie calculator. If you need to lose weight, then a daily restriction of 1000 calories per day probably won’t be enough. This is where exercise (not starvation) comes in.
If you’re someone who’s not used to traditional exercise, I strongly suggest attending a class, such as kickboxing. An instructor led environment forces you to be participatory, and you won’t be as inclined to give up in a group activity. Plus it’s fun! 24 Hour Fitness claims their kickboxing class will help you lose anywhere from about 300-600 calories per session. So if you go to 4 classes a week, that’s up to 4800 calories lost in two weeks. Guess what? That’s at least another pound!
Now you need to focus on strength training.
This can be achieved three ways: weightlifting, calisthenics, or machines. Of the three, many fitness experts believe weightlifting and calisthenics are the best and most effective ways to build muscle and lose fat. Using machines can lead to improper form or injuries.
You will need to work out a different muscle group on the days you exercise in order to give your muscles a chance to rest. For instance, maybe Mondays are your leg days, Tuesdays arms, and so on. Telling you specific exercises won’t necessarily be useful because not everybody has access to the same equipment, or likes to do the same things.
I guarantee that if you can stick to this regimen for two weeks, you’ll not only look better, but you’ll feel better. Stick to it for four weeks, six weeks, or a lifetime, and there’s no question other people will notice it too. Good luck!
(Written for HelloBeautiful.com.)