Dieting Dilemma: Keeping Weight Off (cont.)

Aerobic workout:

  • To maintain good health, get 20 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week -- like walking fast enough that you're slightly out of breath.
  • For weight loss, get 40 minutes of aerobic exercise four or more times per week.

Strength training:

  • Lift weights a minimum of twice each week, ideally every other day. (Once a week is not enough; you will lose what you gain, says Hewitt.)
  • Do two or three sets each time; there's little benefit in doing more.
  • Use weights that provide "muscular challenge" -- if you can't do eight arm curls, they're too heavy; if you can do 13 curls, you're ready for the next heavier weight.
  • Note: If you can lift your own luggage, five-pound weights are much too light for most exercises.
  • Do the "key three" exercises: wall squats, chest presses, and the single arm row.

Wall squats: Stand with your back against a smooth wall, feet shoulder-width apart and 1-1/2 foot-lengths from the wall. Maintain slight bend in knees and hang arms freely at sides. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Slowly slide down wall until knees approach but do not exceed 90 degrees. Press upward until legs are nearly straight. Repeat.

Chest presses: Lie bent-knee on back with arms extended so that hands are above your chest. With a dumbbell in each hand, slowly press hands toward ceiling, bringing weights together. Lower slowly and repeat.

Single arm row: Place one hand and same-side knee on bench or edge of chair with other foot on floor. Keep back flat and parallel to floor. Let a hand weight hang directly below shoulder. Slowly raise weight to just under shoulder, keeping elbow close to side. Lower slowly and repeat. Reverse position to work opposite side of body.

Love You

If you've tried and tried, but work or family must take priority, make self-acceptance your goal, says Hewitt.

"Stop beating yourself up that you're not a supermodel," he says. "Work toward being healthy enough that you have the energy you need to enjoy your life. If you're doing the best you can, accept that this is a good weight for me."

It's healthy to have priorities besides weight loss.

Published March 22, 2004.

SOURCES: Michael Hewitt, PhD, research director for exercise science, Canyon Ranch, Tucson, Ariz. Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, MD/LD, director of nutrition, WebMD Weight Loss Clinic.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/31/2005 7:54:01 AM