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  • Kickin' it up a notch.

    Okay, for several weeks I've given you an effective weight loss/maintenance exercise schedule. If you have followed it and watched your calories, you should be between 20 and 30 pounds lighter. So let's talk about calories before I throw a couple of new exercises at you.

    Depending on the source you find (and there are several) the average adult female requires from 1600 to 1800 calories a day, while the average adult male needs from 2000 to 2400, depending on size, activity level and age. No matter what your age, if you are trying to lose weight, you need to stick to that minimum number after consulting with your physician!

    Can't stress that last part enough! You need to be partners with your doctor, especially if you are in the obese range. Any doctor worth his salt will be thrilled to help you develop a program of exercise that is likely to do the least harm and the most good for you, if for no other reason than it makes his job much easier.

    The exercises I've given you to date are solid and reliable movements designed to build lean muscle and get your metabolism up to your target heart rate for at least 30 minutes (which by the way is the clinical definition of exercise). If you are paying attention to form and doing the exercises diligently, you should be seeing results. If you keep them up, you will reach your fitness goals.

    Now we should all know there are good calories and there are bad calories. Good ones are the ones the body can easily digest and break down into the materials it needs to build healthy organs and lean muscle tissue. Remember the five food groups they taught you in elementary school health class? A balanced diet still consists of those five elements; grains and nuts, meat, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products.

    Please note the list does not include “non-food” items like potato chips, nachos, soda pop, energy drinks, beer, or anything else that is highly processed and spiked with preservatives and chemicals.

    Does this mean you have to stop eating your Ball Park Franks or 5 Hour Energy drinks? Well, that's up to you. Personally, I am the kind of person who would put labels on the doors of fast food chains similar to the ones they put on cigarette packages.

    Seriously, what I am getting at is to stay low on the food chain. The closer you can get to the food that looks like it did when it was harvested, the better. The more processed the food is, the harder it is for your body to break it down effectively to use. And the more likely it contains fats and preservatives your body cannot use at all.

    “Oh, but I don't have time to cook!” Bull. I will admit if you are one of the microwave generation, you probably think waiting for the timer to go off takes too long. But preparing a healthy meal doesn't need to be a chore. There are literally a ton of cookbooks with super simple instructions on cooking meals in 30 minutes or less using actual food items you can get at your local grocery store. If you are serious about your health, go get one and start preparing your own food. You'll discover a world of taste is out there, and best of all, it won't cost you an arm and a leg to feed yourself or your family. If you haven't noticed, that prepared stuff is a lot more expensive than real food.

    Of course as important as what you eat is how much you eat. Portions are something you have to consider if you are serious about losing weight or just maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When you fix a plate of food, you need to put enough on the plate to satisfy your hunger and not leave you wanting more. But that doesn't mean you should pile it on.

    The key to being satisfied with less that you normally eat is to slow down when you eat. Back in the days of the nuclear family, meals were served at regular times and the family gathered around the table to discuss their days while they ate. In my parent's house, my brother and I came to the table and were asked about our day at school, and were told about our parent's day. We discussed items we had heard on the news, letters received from family members, or even what to do on the weekend. The telephone was not answered if it rang, and the television or radio was not on.

    Take the time to enjoy the members of your family at mealtimes, but even if you eat alone, take the time to enjoy the food you prepared. Wolfing down a meal is a sure fire way to end up overweight. It takes a certain amount of time for food to get to your stomach, which means when you eat fast, the stomach doesn't get to signal the brain that it has had enough. When you eat slowly, the stomach gets the signal to the brain and you feel full before you have overeaten.

    Okay, enough for today on food and eating. Like I said, the exercise routine I have outlined will do what you want it to do if you are looking for a good maintenance and weight loss program. For those of you who would like to kick it up a notch, you can add Shrugs and Squats to your list.

    Shrugs are almost exactly what they sound like. With two heavy dumbbells in your hands, stand erect with your feet shoulder width apart and rotate your shoulders from front to back in a small, controlled circle. Each complete rotation is one rep. Three sets of ten, and you move on to Squats.

    While still holding the heavy dumbbells and keeping your back as straight as you can, squat down as far as you can while still keeping your knees above your ankles, then reverse until you are up to a standing position. Once up and down is a rep, three sets of ten reps and you move on to the abdominal sets.

    I still like to start with V-Ups, since they work the entire range of the abs and get them warmed up for the bicycles to follow. I completed 30 V-Ups, 40 bicycles, and 160 situps today on the exercise ball. From there I went to the Gazelle to do a rousing 32 minutes to ACDC again. What can I say? I like ACDC.

    By the way, heavy is a relative term, but the weight should be enough to make lifting your shoulders a chore. Do the shrugs and squats slowly and precisely as there are several small muscles involved that will be injured if you don't.

    And speaking of preparing good food, dinner tonight was Farfalle al pesto e salsiccia da Federico, and in spite of that long name, took me about 20 minutes to prepare. AND it is delicious. I might even share the recipe with you in a future post.

    Well, got to run, have a few things to finish and I want to get this posted before it gets too late.

    I hope you have had a blessed day.

    Fred
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