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Are You Still Struggling to Lose Body Fat and Keep it Off?

Are You Still Struggling to Lose Body

Fat and Keep it Off?

We always have campers that come to us and say that they have

been struggling to lose weight and keep it off for a long, long time. It doesn’t

have to be that way! Here is what I suggest and it really does work!

A common scenario: I want to lose 20 pounds but have not been able to lose

more than 8 pounds and am struggling because the weight is starting to creep

back on! I exercise 5-6 days per week walking on the treadmill. I was advised to

walk at a lower intensity for a longer time – is that good for weight loss? I try and

life some weights one to two times a week for 20 minutes. I try to eat

approximately 1200 calories but often sugar is my downfall. Any suggestions on

what I can do lose the 20 pounds and keep it off?  Please help!

As a Personal Trainer and Boot Camp coach, the number one request I get from

clients is to help them lose fat. It’s interesting to note that the general public is

more health-conscious and the availability of healthy products has increased

dramatically and yet, our population continues to get fatter. So why do we

continue to gain weight? Consider the amount of calories we no longer expend

everyday because of labor-saving devices like escalators, elevators, remote

controls, computers, and urban transportation. We also live in a society where

food is in abundance. Portion sizes tend to be huge and processed foods fill our

cupboards and fridges. Expending less energy, consuming more food and a

society where exercisers are a minority results in a society that is getting fatter!

So what can you do about it? You’ve got 4 choices: diet, exercise, both or

liposuction. The first option will definitely result in failure. Ninety-eight percent

of people who go on restrictive diets gain the weight back. It appears that losing

the weight in the first place, is not the hard part. In fact, people successfully lose

weight all the time. It’s keeping the weight off that’s the hard part. The problem is

that when you diet using excessively low calories you lose valuable, energy-

burning muscle tissue, which drops your metabolism making it easier to put the

weight back on. And secondly diets are, by nature, a short-term phenomenon.

You often feel deprived during the diet-stage and thus, once you’ve lost the

desired weight you return to old habits and patterns and the weight is quickly


The second option to lose fat is exercise. This is a good choice but

unfortunately, for many people, exercise by itself can be a painfully, slow

process. When people are looking for immediate results, they often don’t have

the patience to wait!

The third option is to exercise and eat healthy simultaneously. Research has

found this method to be most successful at reducing body fat and, most

importantly, helping to keep it off.

The final option, surgery/liposuction, is a costly choice. Furthermore, if the diet

and exercise habits of the individual are not altered, the individual will eventually

get fat again. For example, with liposuction, even though they may have less fat

cells; the fat cells they still have can get bigger!

Boot Camp training is a program that incorporates exercise and healthy

eating that will ensure you reduce your body fat safely, effectively and


Aerobic Exercise:

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends aerobic exercise 5-7

days/week for 20-60 minutes each session to maximize fat loss.  Aerobic

activities include exercise like walking, running, cycling, swimming, fitness

classes, hiking, cross-country skiing, stair-climbing, rowing and any activity you

can do for an extended period of time. So…is low intensity exercise for a longer

duration is better for fat loss? If you’re a beginner, this is a good starting point

because if you try to go too hard, you will fatigue too quickly and won’t expend

enough energy. But as your fitness level improves, I recommend varying your

intensity and duration for maximum fat loss results.  For example, one to two

days per week go long and easy (45 plus minutes about 50-60% of your

maximum heart rate), one to two days per week go for a medium duration and

intensity (30-45 minutes at 60-75% of your maximum heart rate) and one to two

days per week go short and hard (20 minutes at 75-85% of your maximum heart

rate).  To fine-tune your program, you need to vary your intensity and duration as

noted above and incorporate a different activity to compliment a walking

program.  Remember this; if you always do the same activity, duration and pace,

your body gets used to this program quickly.  You’ve got to mix it up to maximize


Resistance Exercise:

Regular strength training workouts are also critical to maximize fat loss. Muscle is

an energy-burning tissue and therefore, if you have more of it, your metabolism

revs at a higher rate making it easier to burn fat both during and after

exercise. You’re currently spending 20 minutes twice per week on muscle

conditioning. I would like to see you gradually increase the duration up to about

40-60 minutes twice per week. This should produce some great results.

Eat 5 small meals and snacks each day:

Studies indicate that when people eat more regularly throughout the day, they

are less likely to overeat or indulge in less-healthy choices. Food at regular

intervals also maintains a more balanced blood sugar level, which keeps your

energy levels higher throughout the day. Try to consume smaller meals or

snacks every 2-3 hours during the day. So I encourage you to start planning out

your meals and your day better.

Drink a gallon of water every day: JUST DO IT!

Our body is 50-60% water and when we are dehydrated, our body and it’s organs

and systems don’t function at their optimal level. This limits your ability to

exercise intensely and ultimately, will affect your ability to burn body fat. Many

scientists also suggest that headaches, minor aches and pains, low energy,

sleeping problems and injuries may be a result of dehydration!  Drinking a gallon

of water each day will replenish the fluids you lose throughout the day as a result

of normal human respiration.

Focus on what you should be eating instead of what you shouldn’t be


Ensure you consume 5-9 servings of vegetable and 2-3 fruit servings every day.

Fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients and water-content and low in fat and

calories.  It’s much more difficult to overeat when your diet consists largely of

fruits and vegetables.  If you fill up on your fruits and veggies, you’re going to

have less room for the high-fat, nutrient-poor foods.

Practice the 80:20 rule:

You can’t expect to be perfect for the rest of your life and setting these types of

high expectations will definitely set you up for failure and feelings of

inadequacy. Instead of saying, I’m never going to eat chocolate again, decide

that you’ll eat it only once per week. Instead of determining that you’re going to

eat perfectly 7 days a week, decide that you’ll eat really healthy 5 days a week

and then 2 days, you’ll allow for a few indulgences. This is much more realistic

and is something that you can adhere to for the rest of your life. We have to stop

thinking “All or Nothing”.  This just leads to failure and then the resultant binges.

Remember that if you want to be 20 pounds lighter 10 years from now, then it’s

not what you do over the next 6 weeks, but rather what you do for the next 10

years!  So ask yourself, what type of a nutrition plan can you follow forever!

Limit your alcohol intake:

Alcohol poses a number of problems. It is high in calories and lacking nutrient

value. In addition, and probably most importantly, alcohol reduces your

inhibitions. You may be more inclined to indulge or make poor choices because

you aren’t able to think clearly or examine the long-term consequences.  Of

course, many can’t commit to never drink again, but instead of drinking every

night with dinner, limit it to once or twice per week.

Increase your daily activity:

Try to think of ways that you can be more active throughout your day without

having to actually exercise. The calories expended from walking a few extra

blocks, taking the stairs, or performing errands in an active fashion really add up!

If we could learn to just be more active throughout the day, we wouldn’t have to

spend hours in the gym!

Try not to eat large amounts of food past 8:00pm:

Eating a lot late at night often goes hand-in-hand with high-fat snacks and

overeating. Try to eat the majority of your calories earlier in the day. PLUS NOT

eating about 60-90 minutes prior to bed allows Growth Hormone levels to

increase while you sleep…can you say FAT BURNING and MUSCLE


Keep an activity and food log:

Record your daily exercise and what and how much you eat. Some researchers

have found that just the act of recording the foods you eat, result in better

choices and a healthier diet.  Also by writing everything out, you may also start to

notice patterns. For example, you may observe that the days you don’t exercise

are also the days you eat poorly. You can then take appropriate action.

My last final words of wisdom are to be patient, persistent and consistent!

Know that every positive action you take will ultimately make you a fat

burning machine! You got this campers!

Yours in Health,

Coach Catherine

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