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So the Scale Isn’t Moving… by Amy Alexander Feel like throwing the scale across the room? Pant size not budging? Wondering why you aren’t losing body fat? Losing weight may be as simple as looking at the details. Here are 7 points to get your scale moving in the right direction.

1. Track your food.

What you put in your body matters. If you don’t control your food intake, you will NEVER reach your fat loss goal. Fat loss comes down to math: eat more than what it takes to maintain your body and you will store fat. Eat too little, and your body will go into shut-down mode and

hold onto abdominal fat. It is important to know your calorie goal and to stay within a safe window. Achieve this by using a mobile app, an online tracking tool like LifeWorks from Lifestyle Family Fitness, a program like Weight Watchers or a reference book and a paper food diary. Track everything. This includes food, beverages and the candy your co-worker keeps on their desk that you swipe every afternoon.

2. Be accurate and measure.

Don’t eyeball your food — measure portions. Plates and bowls tend to run pretty large nowadays. This makes it way too

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easy to go overboard on portions. When going out to eat, be aware that what you order will most likely be the equivalent of at least two portions. Once you’ve been measuring your food for a while, you will be able to eyeball a correct serving size. For example, a cup is the size of a tennis ball. If you want to eat two servings, make sure you note that correctly in your food diary.

3. Don’t overestimate your exercise. Underestimate calorie burn from exercise, and overestimate calories from food. Don’t necessarily trust the calorie count on the machines — some of them can be as much as 30% off. When exercising, depending on your size and how hard you are working, figure 5-6 calories per minute for walking, 10-12 calories per minute for running, 6-8 calories per minute for the elliptical and 7-9 calories per minute riding a bicycle. Don’t trust the calories shown on your heart rate monitor — most of those give you a calorie reading that is much higher than what you actually burned. For a more accurate reading, look into getting something like a bodybugg (a real-time calorie management system).

4. Have a plan.

Plan your food and exercise routine every day. The old saying “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” is absolutely true. Prepare your food the night before so you can grab and go in the morning, find a workout buddy so the two of you can help each other stick to your plan and consider hiring a personal trainer to hold you accountable.

5. Beat stress, boredom and emotional eating. If something in your life (work, home, etc.) is stressing you out, enlist some help to keep you on track. Call or e-mail a friend to share what’s going on and let off some steam before you head to the kitchen. Instead of eating, find an activity — like running, walking or even cardio-kickboxing — that helps you de-stress physically. Take a walk for 5-10 minutes before you let yourself eat

anything. Sometimes just walking away helps you avoid using food as a crutch.

6. Don’t beat yourself up; reward yourself. Every time you reach a stepping stone, reward yourself with non-food incentives. For example, every size you drop, treat yourself to a spa or golf day; and every month you stick to your exercise plan, take a girls or guys night out. Don’t rip yourself apart for every mistake you make. You will make mistakes, you will fall off the wagon, but it is important to refocus and get right back tracking and planning. Negativity can actually make your body hold onto fat and fluid. Be positive!

7. Build a support group.

It takes time to reach your goals. It’s common for your initial excitement and motivation to fade after a few weeks, even though you should begin to see results soon. Keep going! People don’t fail because they lack information on how to do something; they fail because they lack the support when the going gets tough. Form a trusted network of friends or family members and share your fitness aspirations and struggles so they can help encourage you along the way. Amy Alexander is an ACSM certified Personal Trainer and RPM instructor at Lifestyle Family Fitness. Have questions? Ask Amy at

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14 • October 2011 • Pinellas

Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

Gulf Coast Family - October 2011 - Pinellas  

Gulf Coast Family's primary purpose is to encourage families along the Gulf Coast by providing worthwhile information that deals with family...

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