If you’ve ever gotten your car stuck in the snow or the mud, you know how maddening it can be to try to find that tiny bit of traction you need to get going again. Despite knowing you’re only digging a deeper hole, you press the gas pedal to the floor, expecting to move forward. The wheels just spin. Being hopeful and having a strong desire to be free don’t fix your problem. Clearly, a tow chain would change everything.
We have an inactivity epidemic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active” (WHO 2011a). Physical inactivity is associated with 6% of deaths globally—behind only high blood pressure (13%), tobacco use (9%) and high blood glucose (6%) (WHO 2012; WHO 2011b). A 2009 WHO study found that physical inactivity was the leading cause of death in the United States.
We are taught that weight loss is simply an equation of calories in versus calories out. If only it were that simple. There is no magic formula for weight loss, of course, but researchers have developed many mathematical models to help us better understand how the body sheds weight. This article examines major concerns associated with these calculations (they are far from perfect) and then discusses simpler solutions that empower all of us to confront one of the most vexing issues of our times.
You know them well—your obese clients who have tried everything: weight-loss meal programs, fat-burner pills, crash diets, gym memberships. Nothing worked for very long. When they turned up at your door, low self-efficacy was all they had to show for their sincere efforts to change.
More than anything, you want to help them turn the corner and adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors they can maintain. But how do you do it?
Faced with many of the same challenges the U.S. has in terms of mounting rates of overweight, obesity and related chronic disease among its citizens, the Brazilian Ministry of Health recently released an unconventional new set of dietary guidelines. Unlike the nutrient-based American guidelines, Brazil’s focus more on sensible, mindful preparation and consumption of food.
Three overarching principles set the stage for the 10 guidelines:
The fitness industry is, by its own admission, good at “getting fit people fitter.” But with marketing materials rife with lithe, blond 20-somethings in revealing, brand-name yoga gear, it’s not surprising that people who are overweight and deconditioned find it hard to buy into the very fitness services that could help them shed pounds for good.
As obesity continues to maintain a stranglehold on the teenage population, experts search for solutions to the potentially fatal disease. When it comes to exercise, a combination of cardiovascular and strength training is best, according to researchers from São Paulo.
Sports fans enjoy watching their favorite teams go head- to-head in physical competition. But many male spectators are reluctant to take their own measures to get fit. Researchers suggest that a more male-friendly approach could increase participation.
Mary Jayne Rogers, PhD, a 30-year veteran of the health and wellness industry, is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As owner of Profound Wellness, LLC, she provides expert commentary for leading publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Shape and SELF. Rogers has earned several industry accolades, among them the IHRSA/CYBEX Fitness Director of the Year Award and the IHRSA/Keiser 50+ Award for excellence in mature adult programming. Rogers specializes in whole-person wellness and fitness education and instruction.