It’s a story we hear often: A patient comes to us in distress, because their weight loss plan just isn’t working. They didn’t have any problems losing or maintaining their weight in their 20s, or even 30s, but now it’s a different story. Every effort is met with seeming resistance from their scale. What’s going on?

As we age (past 35 or 40) it’s normal for metabolism to slow down. That’s because we lose muscle mass, and muscles are a major user of energy in the body. Hormonal fluctuations are also to blame.

But that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to endure the “middle-aged spread”! It does mean that you need to pay even closer attention to your lifestyle.

Become more mindful about your eating patterns. Luckily, age also brings wisdom, self control, and patience. Once you learn more about nutrition and how to create healthier eating habits, you might find that it’s easier to maintain those habits now. We can help you learn about portion sizes, the right amount of protein to consume, and which types of foods to (mostly) avoid.

Increase muscle mass. Aerobic exercise (like jogging, walking, or swimming) are great for your heart and help you burn calories. But anaerobic exercise (weight training) helps you to build muscle. Make sure you incorporate strength training into your exercise regimen, even if you’re not trying to build huge, bulky muscles. Just toning the ones you have will help you to fight against age-related muscle loss, which slows your overall metabolism.

Watch out for leisure activities. You’re probably enjoying the peak of your career, and you’ve made considerable progress at building a solid social life. Sometimes this can translate into too many restaurant meals (and their infamously large portions) and calorie-laden cocktails. It’s okay to enjoy the success you’ve built; just be mindful of large portions and pack up half your meal to go. As for alcoholic beverages, choose light beer or wine, over cocktails with lots of added sugar.

If you’re struggling with your weight loss plan or interested to learn more about our methods, call us to schedule an appointment. We can screen you for underlying conditions that sometimes make a weight loss plan more challenging, help you discover the potential pitfalls of your current plan, and then introduce you to an eating plan and exercise schedule that works for your body type and lifestyle

Between stress, the typical American diet, busy schedules, and lack of exercise, most of us could stand to make some changes to improve our health. If you’re following a dedicated weight loss plan, you’re already well on your way. These five daily habits can help not only those who are losing weight, but also anyone who wants to maintain weight or simply improve their overall health.

Prep for breakfast. A rushed, stressful morning sets a bad tone for your whole day. On the other hand, a healthy breakfast (and time to eat it) will help you start the day on the right foot. Prepare for breakfast the night before, by chopping ingredients for a smoothie or omelet, or getting your overnight oats started. This action will also support your weight loss plan, by preventing the temptation to stop for donuts or fast food on the way to work.

Pack your lunch and/or snacks, too. While you’re at it, go ahead and pack tomorrow’s lunch and/or snacks. Now you have prepared appropriate food, in the right portions, to last most of your day. You’ll get “bonus points” if you go ahead and pre-cut veggies for tomorrow’s dinner.

Get your drinks ready, too. Rinse out your water bottle, refill it, and stash it in the fridge. Now is the time to add fruit if you enjoy infusions. If you prefer to start the day with coffee or hot tea, prep your kettle to avoid a drowsy rush in the morning.

Fill out your food journal. If you keep a food journal, make sure to log your day’s meals and snacks before you forget. And here’s an extra tip: If you go ahead and record tomorrow’s food choices, you’re more likely to stick to them!

De-stress. Every evening do one thing that helps you de-stress. This might be a simple yoga routine, a walk around the neighborhood, meditation, journaling, or something else. Experiment to find out what works for you.

If you need help putting together a weight loss plan, give us a call. We can help you decide which foods to eat, and identify proper portions and nutrient balances, to help you achieve your goals.

If you had to name the number one unhealthy habit, how would you reply? Most people might say smoking, or eating too much junk food. And while you would be correct that these are terribly damaging habits, you might also be surprised at the results of a new study. One unhealthy habit was actually found to be even worse than smoking… And many people wouldn’t guess this one.

It’s actually not a habit, but the abstinence from a habit… Researchers found that not exercising regularly actually carries a more negative impact, over time, than smoking cigarettes daily!

The study involved nearly two decades of data from a cardiologist, Dr. Kyle Mandsager, at the Cleveland clinic. After tracking stress data from over 122,000 patients over this time period, Dr. Mandsager reached a startling conclusion: Patients with low activity levels faced a death risk equal or greater to those who regularly smoked.

Dr. Mandsager explained the results of his study, which he says are actually not that surprising: “Exercise has an incredibly positive impact on our health … It lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol profiles, improves glucose metabolism and helps maintain a healthy weight [leading] to reductions in our risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, even cancer. What we have come to recognize is that the converse — being sedentary — has a profoundly negative impact on our health, likely involving the same complex pathways.”

The American Heart Association concurs: Both smoking and a lack of exercise lead to a hardening of the arteries, along with other health problems.

Here’s another surprising piece of information: While only about 15 percent of American adults smoke regularly, only about 20 percent of adults meet recommended guidelines for regular aerobic exercise and strength training. That means 80 percent of us aren’t exercising enough, and are putting ourselves at serious risk of chronic illness, carrying excess weight, and even early death.

So, how much exercise is recommended? The American Heart Association says you should aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate activity, or 75 minutes of intense exercise. However, it’s always better to do what you can, than to do nothing at all. Get moving, choose an activity you enjoy, and gradually increase your exercise sessions over time.

And of course, give us a call if you have questions about weight loss or preventing chronic disease. We can also assess your health before you begin an exercise program, identify underlying conditions, help you identify the types of exercise that are safe for you.

You know that exercise is important for your overall health, and especially helpful if you’re following a weight loss plan. But many times, life gets in the way of our plans, and we need to schedule our daily goals more creatively. Considering that our days are much shorter during the winter, you might sometimes head out for a walk at night. An after-dinner walk is relaxing, and can help you meet your exercise goals, but we also want you to stay safe.

Don’t go alone. Recruit a friend, neighbor, or your spouse to go with you. Not only will you be much safer; you’ll probably enjoy chatting during your workout time.

Bring your dog. Fido needs exercise, too! Plus, the barking of even a small dog will often ward off any would-be attackers.

Make yourself visible. One of the primary dangers of walking at night is the simple fact that drivers can’t see you. Wear light colored clothing, invest in some reflective armbands, or consider wearing a headlamp or carrying a flashlight.

Share your plan. Make sure at least one other person is familiar with your walking route, and knows the approximate time that you head out each evening.

Map out a smart route. Stick to areas you know well, and don’t venture into the unknown. Carry your cell phone and use a GPS guidance app, so that you don’t get lost.

Consider protection. Wearing a whistle is a smart and easy move, since you can call attention to yourself instantly in an emergency.

Follow basic safety precautions. Walk against traffic, so that you can see cars coming. Use sidewalks whenever possible, so that you can stay out of streets and bike lanes (yes, even cyclists can cause injuries). Avoid distractions, like looking at your cell phone, and use extra caution when crossing streets and intersections. Never assume that drivers and cyclists can see you. If you listen to music, keep the volume low so that you can hear approaching traffic and car horns.

Stay safe out there, and remember to hydrate (even at night). If you need more tips on exercise, diet, or a weight loss plan in general, remember that we can help you accomplish those goals safely as well. Just make an appointment for a consultation, and we’ll discuss the medically appropriate ways to reach your goals


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