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10 Jan 2005

overweight
im a girl aged 22,ive been overweight for most of my life.i want to lose weight on my upper body and tummy.ive tried exercising but it didnt work.give me some advise on how to lose weight quickly.
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Expert
FitnessDoc
fitnessdoc

01 Jan 0001

Hi Maggie

It's hard because I'm going to tell you my opinions and your first thought is probably going to be that you have already tried that! However, this is the only way to achieve it for everybody, so it will work, it may just be small things you need to change.

Two of the most effective intervention measures for weight loss are a) healthy eating habits, and b) regular physical activity. The best results are achieved when the exercise and diet changes occur simultaneously. Let me address the healthy eating habits first. By this I don't mean dieting, or starving yourself of essential nutrients, which your body needs on a daily basis (some diets do starve your body of essential nutrients).

Here are some basic tips one should try to follow:
· Enjoy a variety of foods, this will enable you to obtain the essential nutrients you need.
· Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables daily
· Make starchy foods the basis of all meals - carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, pastas are a major source of energy to the body.
· Avoid food groups which are high in cholesterol - e.g. red meat, processed meat, sausages, egg yolks, fried or fatty foods
· Reduce amount of fat in your diet - e.g. use as little oil as possible (Olive oil is preferable to sunflower oil), reduce amount of margarine/butter, use 2% or Low Fat milk instead of full cream milk, avoid eating too much hard cheese (cottage cheese is preferable).
· Boil, grill, or steam your food instead of frying it
· Use salt sparingly as excessive salt is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure.
· Drink at least 2 litres of water a day
· Reduce the amount of sugar, salt, sweets, crisps, chocolates, cakes in your diet
· Reduce amount of alcohol consumed

It is important to have 3-5 meals a day, and to try and cut out snacking during the day. Also, one should not eat a heavy meal too late at night, as this will slow down your metabolism. The above are merely guidelines and every individual is unique and they require specific things in their diet that others do not require. As an exercise scientist, however, I am more qualified in the field of exercise prescription and not specific diets and nutrition. I would suggest that you contact a dietician in your area who will be able to help you with a personalized diet. If you need help locating a dietician in your area www.dietetics.co.za may help you. You need to look under PPD (Private Practice Dieticians).

With regards to the exercise, cardiovascular-type activities are preferential for weight loss. These include activities such as walking, jogging, cycling, aerobics, swimming etc. It is important to exercise between 4 and 5 times a week, for a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes each session. It is also ideal to work at a moderate to hard intensity, but for a longer duration. You should aim to do these sessions at an intensity that allows you to complete the session without feeling completely exhausted, but having worked up a good sweat and feeling that your breathing and metabolic rate are elevated. A moderate intensity is certainly the way to go - if you train too easily, nothing will happen, and if you train too hard, then you soon become tired and burned out. So, aim for an intensity that will allow you to finish a session and recover by the next one. If you feel like you are carrying a whole week's worth of training in your body, then you are traininig too hard. Other than intensity, the rest is easy - you just have to go out and get those sessions in. Of course, if you are just starting out, then I would suggest starting off by training every other day, and possibly for only 20 minutes. THen you should aim to build up gradually until you reach the 30 to 45 minutes, 4 or 5 times a week mark.

It is also important to do some weight training, as this will help to speed up your metabolism, increase muscle tone, and lose weight in the right areas. If you have access to a gym, ensure that you are shown how to do each exercise correctly, to prevent injuries.

With regard to weight training, the following tips should be kept in mind:

If your aim were to build muscle, the following guidelines will help you:
· Perform 6-10 reps at a high intensity - use a weight that you could lift 12 to 15 times
· Perform 3-4 sets
· Rest 30-60 seconds between reps
· Train each muscle group at least once or twice a week
· Allow 48 hours rest between each muscle’s workout

If your aim were to tone muscle, the following guidelines will help you:
· Perform 10-15 reps but at a much lower intensity - use a weight that would allow you to lift the weight at least 25 times.
· Perform 4-6 sets
· Rest 30-60 seconds between reps
· Train each muscle group at least once or twice a week
· Allow 48 hours rest between each muscle’s workout

If you were to exercise three times a week, you will increase your toning but to a much lesser extent compare to training 4-6 times per week. The volume of your training is much more important than the intensity of your training, bearing in mind your aim is to build muscle.

Your improvement will depend on your initial fitness level. The greatest improvement will be during the first few weeks of your training due to the adaptations of your muscles. A training program is individualized and every person will progress differently. It is hard to tell exactly when you will see changes, but generally after two weeks you will feel stronger and after six weeks you will be able to see an improvement.

Remember all the changes and exercise take time, hard work and commitment, so do not be discouraged by the amount you need to sweat before you start seeing any results. It might be that in your previous attempt, this was the problem, i don't know. But by adapting a healthy lifestyle - incorporating healthy eating habits and regular physical activity, not only will you get the weight off, but you can keep it off too!

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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