Weight Loss & Exercise

April 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Don Otis –

My youngest son is 25 and wants to lose weight. Last summer he flew out to Colorado and joined me for some rafting on the Arkansas River (yes, there’s an Arkansas River in Colorado for some reason), and climbing on one of our 54 peaks that rise above 14,000’. Now, he’s picking up another favorite activity: mountain biking.

As spring arrives and a mediocre winter passes, most of us look forward to the summer and the numerous activities we can do when it warms up.

A full third of all Americans suffer from obesity. The lure of foods, snacks, sweets that are bad for us beckons from billboards, flashing neon signs, and even while standing in line at the grocery store. We can’t seem to escape the temptation. The one-two punch of combining revised eating habits with increasing your activity level is the best way to drop weight. If this is on your to-do list before the summer, here are some principles to keep in mind.

Be Active! When you run, you burn about 125 calories per mile. If you walk, it’s less. To find out how many calories you are burning for the activity of your choice, check your burn rate at www.livestrong.com. While any activity that gets the heart rate up is good, the more intensity you can withstand, the more effective the results. For example, if you typically walk at 3 mph, increase this to 4 mph (15 minutes/mile). I am a huge proponent of mixing it up so boredom doesn’t creep in. When you mix your activities, anything you can do (including a walk-run combination or climbing hills) will make a difference.

Watch What You Eat! The second component is your food intake. The worst foods for diets are fried foods, sweetened drinks, red or processed meats. The best foods are nuts, fruits, whole grains, vegetables, or yogurt. I believe in moderation but I also enjoy my sweets as well. Don’t eliminate completely those food items that are less-than-helpful to your diet. Instead, limit the caloric intake from these foods. These “reward calories” can come in the form of cookies or other sweets but should be limited to half of what you used to consume.

Make Goals! As summer draws near, write down a few activity goals you’d like to accomplish before next winter. These can be anything from running in a local race, hiking a trail or looking good for a wedding or class reunion. For my son, knowing that losing weight will enable him to peddle or hike up steep trails provides plenty of motivation.

God has made us for activity. And much like a car manufacturer, when we put the wrong kind of fuel in our gas tank, we’ll see poor results or no results at all.

About Don S. Otis

Don S. Otis is a personal trainer, the author of five books, including Staying Fit after 40. He stays active by running, climbing, mountain biking, and lifting weights. Don is the founder of Veritas Communications, a Christian publicity and marketing agency based in Canon City, CO.

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