Standing in line at the grocery store can be pretty boring. So that’s when I like to catch up on my celebrity rag mag headlines. What’s LiLo up to these days… how are Kim K’s wedding plans going… you get the idea. But a couple of weeks ago, my eyes wandered from the tabloids to the variety of women’s magazines that litter the checkout line as well. And one headline particularly stood out to me. It said “Hot Summer Crash Diet! Lose 20lbs by July 4th!” ((sigh)) Arghh!! Really?? I didn’t even want to open up the article, because of those two ugly words… “Crash Diet.” Just awful! Why are women constantly hit with headlines like this?! Fitness and health shouldn’t be a “crash” anything. It should be for life! So I thought I’d let two of my favorite trainers weigh in on the subject. They both work to get their clients in peak physical form… the healthy way. I told them about this headline. Here’s what they had to say:
Andrea Cespedes, Group Fitness Instructor, YMCA:
Crash diets are bad for many reasons, but my top three:
1) Unrealistic - you cannot maintain it for the long-run (or even 2 days) so you believe that you can never lose weight and get frustrated
2) You lose muscle mass - when you lose weight quickly, much of it is lean muscle which burns more calories at rest than fat does. When you regain weight -- which will happen when you go off your crash -- you are going to gain fat because gaining muscle is hard to do without dedicated diet and training. You end up fatter in the long run because you have now lost muscle and replaced it with fat. When you have less muscle mass, you have a slower metabolism.
3) It teaches you nothing -- you do not learn about healthy eating, moderation or exercise. All you learn is deprivation.
Andrea’s Tips: If losing weight were easy everyone would be thin. It takes dedication and hard work, but that doesn't mean it cannot be done. A healthy diet includes a variety of foods and modest portion sizes. Do not eat fewer than 1,200 calories per day if you are a woman or 1,500 if you are a man -- if you are active, you probably do not want to dip below 1,500 (woman) and 1,800 (man). Avoid processed foods (foods that come in wrappers, boxes, cans and cartons). Move more - and that doesn't mean you have to be at the gym - take the stairs, go for a walk....or consult a trainer and get on a plan.
Jerod Langness, Certified Personal Trainer, 24-Hour Fitness:
Creating a sense of urgency is one thing, but trying to invent the “Magic Pill” is another. As a personal trainer, I tell my clients that you make lasting changes to your health in two ways:
1) setting realistic goals
2) learning healthy habits
The sad reality of the fad diets and fad workouts is that they set you up to be in the same place next year, doing the same struggle of finding what might work this time; the typical yo-yo experience. You may even see some change. But without direction of how, why and what to do next… most often, you’ll be back to the same place if not worse off than you were before. There is no magic pill!
Jerod’s Tips: Last results come from determination and healthy lifestyle change. Knowledge and follow-through is what makes it stick. Fitness isn’t easy. But you can find ways to have fun and feel rewarded. If you need help getting started with life-long fitness, download a copy of the new “24 Hour Fitness Exercise Guidelines and Simple Steps For Success.” You can follow it both at and away from the gym. Download the guidelines for free at www.24hourfitness.com/exerciseguidelines