Question: My husband and I are both overweight by at least 30 pounds. I try to cook healthy and limit the snacks available around the house. We do exercise three to five times per week with cardio and strength training. But we seem stuck. Help!
Heidi — During the past several decades our estimated caloric intake as a nation has stayed fairly stable, yet the obesity rates continue to rise.
So maybe it’s our caloric expenditure, or rather, a lack thereof, that is to blame. Desk jobs and a general lack of physical activity throughout the day, every day is the No.1 contributor to obesity in my opinion.
You should congratulate yourself on your commitment to regular exercise. Without your exercise you might be way worse off. While others are gaining weight, at least you are maintaining!
Even if you don’t lose a pound, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of better health and quality of life with your regular physical activity.
However, I will suggest two things that may help you out of the rut. Just like the rest of the population, your daily activity outstructured exercise probably is too low. So, find a way to build more activity into your day — all day long.
Every hour get up and go for a five-minute walk. Take the stairs somewhere. Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair. Find a way.
Also, an hour a day, three times per week of structured exercise cannot make up for sitting for eight hours every day! So, try increasing your exercise frequency to five to six days per week.
Those two to three extra workouts per week plus more activity throughout the day, every day will add up to thousands of extra calories burned per month.
That may be all it takes to get some of those stubborn pounds to leave!
Question: I hear so many conflicting reports when it comes to high-fructose corn syrup. Is it really as bad as some people say it is?
Jay — High-fructose corn syrup is not good for you — that’s for sure. But it’s not necessarily clear that it’s any worse than regular old sugar. The preponderance of the scientific evidence indicates that high-fructose corn syrup and sugar, or sucrose, affect the body in very similar ways. Unfortunately, some health professionals have ignored this research when discussing HFCS with the general public and/or the media.
It may be that the confusion stems from the name of the ingredient itself. Fructose is known to have several adverse metabolic effects on the body, so based on the name, one might assume that high-fructose corn syrup does indeed pose additional health risks above and beyond that of traditional sugar. However, HFCS is not really that high in fructose. In fact, it has about the same amount of fructose as regular table sugar, which usually is comprised of equal parts fructose and glucose. Bottom line: Avoid high-fructose corn syrup and sugar as much as possible because they both are a source of empty calories and are devoid of any nutritional value.
Note from Jay and Heidi: Always see your physician prior to beginning a new exercise routine.
Jay Bryan is an exercise physiologist and Heidi Bryan is a certified personal trainer. To ask Jay or Heidi a question, e-mail them at sequim@anytime fitness.com.
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