Exercise and Fitness Tips to Improve Your Health
Get answers to your questions about exercise, and tips for getting the most from your workouts.
Q. My weight has hit a plateau. What do I do? continued...
Even with any of the above factors, the bottom line to losing weight is
eating fewer calories than you burn. Studies show that people almost always
underestimate how many calories they're eating. So if you're struggling with
weight loss, you're still exercising, and you've ruled out any of the above
reasons for weight plateaus, look at your calorie intake.
As for exercise and weight plateaus, sometimes a change in routine can help.
Instead of the treadmill, try the bike, or the stepper. Instead of a dance
class, try a stretch and tone class. If you're not weight lifting, this would
be a good time to start. If you already do aerobic exercise, try adding
intervals (short bursts of higher-intensity exercise) to your aerobic workouts.
And keep reminding yourself that if you maintain an active lifestyle and
continue with healthy eating, you will reach your goals.
Q. What's the bottom line to weight loss?
The bottom line to weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume all
day. (The behavior isn't simple, but the equation is.) For example, if you eat
2,500 calories a day and only burn 2,000, you gain weight; if you eat 1,500
calories and burn 2,000, you lose weight; if you eat 2,000 and burn 2,000 you
It's true that there are several medical conditions, and medications, that
can make weight loss difficult (see below). But even if one of those factors
applies to you, you still need to burn more calories than you consume to lose
The good news is this: You can lose weight with a very modest amount of
People lose weight all the time without exercise by reducing their caloric
intake. But keeping the weight off without exercise is another matter. Many
experts agree that exercise is the single best predictor of long-term weight control. If you lose
weight and don't start exercising, there's a very good chance you will regain
Here are some factors that can keep you from losing weight and/or cause
- Thyroid or adrenal gland problems.
- Medications like antidepressants.
- Stopping smoking.
- Rapid weight loss. This can lower metabolism because the body senses it is
starving and make it harder to lose weight. The decrease in metabolic rate is
often due to loss in muscle (when you lose weight, approximately 25% of the
loss comes from muscle), so lifting weights is a good idea.
- Menopause (and premenopause).
If you think any of these things are factors for you, your doctor may be
able to help.
Otherwise, patience, determination, regular physical activity, and attention
to your diet are the keys to long-term weight control. Doing these things will
give you your best shot at reaching your weight loss goals and keeping the