Monday, April 9, 2012

Is It Possible to Lose Weight While Eating Out?

What would you give up to lose weight?  Would you stop eating out at restaurants?  Recent research shows you may not have to give up dining trips to restaurants.  In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior in January 2012, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin developed a "weight-gain prevention" intervention.  Their goal was not to provide a weight loss program but to teach participants how to prevent weight gain while still having the ability to eat out at restaurants.  In this study, 35 women between the ages of 40 and 59 who ate out frequently were recruited for this 6-week program.  The main purpose of this program was to teach participants how to reduce caloric and fat intake while eating out.

What was the outcome?  The intervention group not only prevented weight gain while eating out, they actually lost an average of 3.7 pounds.  How?  The skills these participants learned in the program carried over to their dietary habits at home.  Based on food journals completed in the study, the intervention group reduced their caloric intake at restaurants by 124 calories.  In addition, they reduced total daily calories by 297 calories (this includes the calorie reduction when eating out).  Therefore, this total calorie reduction resulted in weight loss.  What is even more interesting is that these participants did NOT reduce the number of times they ate out even though they participated in the study!!

So this shows us that it is possible to enjoy foods that other people cook and still at least maintain weight or even lose weight.  By learning skills on how to make better choices, we have the tools to make weight loss that much easier.  Where do you start?  First it is important to learn a little about food and what the "macronutrients" are in food.  Over the next few blog entries, we will look at macronutrients (i.e., fat, protein, carbohydrates) and teach you what they are and how they will affect your weight gain/maintenance/loss.  We will begin to teach you these skills necessary to make better choices.  

Still need extra help?  Why not come in to PROMATx Health Club and talk with our nutrition specialist?  Find out how well-balanced your nutrition is and find out how you can ensure you receive the proper nutrients.  As usual, we are here to help you but you have to make the first step.  Call us today and set up your appointment.  Make your weight loss permanent so you don't cycle through weight gain and weight loss every few years.

Study reference:  Elsevier Health Sciences (2012, January 10). Would you stop eating out to lose weight?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from­ /releases/2012/01/120110093557.htm

Friday, April 6, 2012

Motivation and Weight Loss...Is There a Connection?

Many of us are motivated with the coming of a new year.  We make resolutions year after year but it seems as if those resolutions fall to the wayside by the time March comes around.  When it comes to weight loss, does motivation have anything to do with your success?  In February 2010, researchers from the University of Kentucky and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill looked at the connection between motivation levels of individuals participating in a 16-week weight loss program.  The researchers looked at two types of motivation, autonomous and controlled.  Autonomous motivation is the type of motivation that comes from the individual participating in the program.  Controlled motivation came from the researchers in the form of phone calls, emails, internet support, etc.  Motivation levels were assessed at weeks 4, 8, 12, and 16.

According to this study, more than half of the participants lost 5% of their initial body weight at the end of the 16 weeks.  What was more interesting is the participants who were determined to have a higher level of autonomous motivation at week 4 were the individuals who lost 5% of their weight by the end of the study.  What does that mean?  When your motivation level decreases, especially between 4 and 8 weeks, weight loss success can decrease.  During this time frame, the researchers determined that increasing "controlled" motivation (i.e., social support, phone calls, emails) can benefit the person attempting to lose weight.

So how does this help you?  While we say kudos to you for losing weight on your own, sometimes it is helpful to have extra support.  That support can come in many ways from joining a weight loss program, seeking community support through meetings or internet groups, or enlisting the help and support of family and friends.  Again, according to this research study, this support can be especially important during your 2nd and 3rd month of weight loss.  Why try to do it on your own??  Support from family, friends, co-workers, and others attempting to lose weight is very beneficial.  Your own motivation levels will change so it's helpful to have a little extra support.

PROMATx Health Club has that support you are looking for when attempting to lose weight.  First, make an appointment to talk with our nutrition specialist.  From there, the two of you can decide how much support you will need.  We want you to be successful with your weight loss endeavors.  It shouldn't be a vicious cycle of gaining and losing weight.  Make the lifestyle changes today to make a healthier you tomorrow.  Call us today or stop by...we are here to help!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Balance Training...It's Not Just for the Elderly

How is your balance?  Do you find yourself tripping or slipping a little more than usual?  Balance training should be a key component to everyone's workout routine...regardless of age!!  Are you a weekend warrior or do you compete in adult sport leagues?  Balance training can help improve your game....give you a stronger swing or make you more agile on the field.

How can you test your balance?  Ideally, you should be able to stand on one leg, unsupported, for at least 20 seconds.  Try it long can you stand there without having to put your other foot down?  Try it on both legs as you may have a difference in balance from one side to another.  Balance training can start with simple exercises such as shifting your weight side to side, forward and back, and at different angles forward and back.  From there progress to standing on one leg.  If your balance isn't very good in the beginning, hold onto something stable.  Progression on this exercise should be from holding on with both hands, to one hand, to just fingers, then to not holding on at all.  Do this with both legs so you can improve your balance on both sides.

Once you have mastered single leg stance for at least 20 seconds, it's time to add movement while you are balancing on one leg.  Start with small movements such as reaching forward, sideways, and backwards with your opposite foot while you do a small, single-leg squat.  As your balance improves, increase the movements by reaching further with your foot or add upper body movements.  Improving your balance also improves your core strength.  Once your core is stronger, all movements (single-leg and double-leg) become easier and more fluid.  Finally, after you have mastered single leg balance with movement, you can add an instability component by standing on a DynaDisc, wobble board, or BOSU.  This unstable "ground" will help to further improve your balance.  Remember, our brain uses visual cues to keep us upright and stable.  If you close your eyes during any of these exercises, the brain has to work that much harder to tell your muscles what to do.

Remember, balance training isn't just for the elderly.  Everyone can benefit from adding in balance exercises into their weekly routine.  PROMATx Health Club has lots of tools for you to work with when improving your balance so come in today and try your hand (or leg) at a little balance training.