Looking over our 10-Week Workout Routine, which officially kicked off this week, you will find lots of specific advice about exercise—notably, how to incorporate aerobic exercise, strength-training, flexibility, and equilibrium exercises into an easy-to-live-with regimen. There's no such detailed prescription for diet, however. Why?
Mostly because we wanted to focus on getting enough exercise, something that many folks—even skinny ones—don't do. While it's sometimes difficult for health experts to know whether a health benefit that studies link to exercise comes from the exercise itself or from the weight loss that exercise helps produce, working out certainly brings benefits independent of any resulting weight loss. One study published a few years ago found that lean study participants who exercised three times a week had healthier cholesterol levels than did their sedentary—yet still lean—counterparts. And strength training can help build up bone and muscle, which is needed regardless of weight. (In fact, thinner women have a higher risk of osteoporosis.)
Nevertheless, if you're attempting to lose weight, exercise alone is not likely to get you where you want to be. As we pointed out in these 11 tips for the over-40 exerciser, there are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, and 30 minutes of walking briskly may burn off only 200 of those calories, depending on your weight and pace. Your best odds of success come from changing your eating habits as well.
Such dietary change is a highly individual process, though, which may explain why so many prescribed diets fail. While most nutritionists and other researchers agree that turning away from the typical western diet to more traditional, whole-food-based eating patterns, such as the Mediterranean and Asian diets, is a good start, individual preferences and tastes will ultimately dictate how you approach weight loss. Here are 7 tips to shed pounds. Another simple trick that may work for some: Cut out or reduce caloric beverages—not just the sodas and energy drinks that are the subject of a recently proposed tax but coffee, alcohol, and even juice-based drinks. Not all of these ideas will work for you, but at least a few of them may click.
Have any questions about the workout routine? E-mail email@example.com, and we'll try to address them in future blog posts.