Fitness Tips: June 8, 2015

We can't control everything, so take a moment and acknowledge the actions you are taking toward reaching your goals and give yourself a pat on the back.

Healthy Lifestyle Tip: Effective Ways to Monitor Your Weight Loss Program

Track Your Exercise Time and Make It Count
Many people overestimate how much they are burning when exercising. Keep track of your time and the results of your efforts (i.e. calories burned) so that you can efficiently achieve the results you seek. Make every minute count (and have fun)!

Treat Yourself to a Great Night's Sleep
Study after study has linked a lack of sleep to weight gain and even eating more – one Mayo Clinic study found that tired people eat an average of 500 extra calories a day.

Try To Reduce Your Stress
A study done at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh found that stress can lead to weight gain.

Avoid Skipping Meals
Skipping meals can lead to food cravings and overeating later in the day – reaching for whatever food is available and making up for the missed calories by eating more. Research at Vanderbilt University found that after approximately 72 hours of not eating consistently, the body shuts down its calorie-burning abilities and begins to store fat.

Observe Your Calorie Intake
You might think you're cutting back on portions, but may not realize the real number of calories you're eating. Use measuring utensils and a food scale; learn visual cues to estimate portion sizes. For instance, three ounces of protein is the size of a deck of cards, one cup of rice or pasta resembles a baseball, and one ounce of cheese looks like two playing dice. Keep a food journal of everything you eat and drink to be truly aware of the total amount consumed over the course of the day.

Keep a Close Eye On Your High Calorie Drinks
Consider the calories in these 12-ounce servings: regular soda, between 150 and 200; no-sugar-added fruit juice, up to 180; sweet tea, about 150; and many sports drinks, 100 or more. Drinking three servings daily over a week can add up to 3,500 calories, or the one pound of weight you could have lost.

Be The Best You Can Be – With Your Diet and Exercise Program
You go to the salad bar and load up on veggies but then add hundreds of calories with rich dressing and toppings. You burn 300 calories by walking for three miles but then eat a muffin with the same number of calories, erasing the effect of the workout. Resist becoming lax about calories because you exercise, and resist becoming lax about exercise just because you're cutting calories.

Stay Strong on Weekends
"Weekend indulgences add up very quickly," says Susan Kraus, MS, RD, a registered dietitian at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Having an appetizer before dinner, eating extra snacks, and splurging on dessert and alcoholic drinks will increase your daily intake by several hundred calories.

Be Patient with Your Best Self
"Weight loss needs time for us to see results, for the body to change its shape, access its fat stores and use them for energy, and re-contour itself by building lean body tissue," says Kraus.

Reach Beyond Your Plateau
Kraus says that hitting a plateau is a common occurrence, but you need to realize that it isn't "all about the weight." You might be experiencing positive physiologic changes that may not be evident just by looking at a scale: As you're losing fat tissue, you could also be gaining more lean body tissue and getting leaner. In time you'll resume your weight loss, as your metabolic rate starts to increase.