News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 22, 2012

CHRIS DAVIES: Best fitness regimen is what’s ‘best’ for you

Chris Davies
Special to the Tribune-Star

---- — What is the best way to accomplish permanent weight loss? The answer is the same that applies to what is the best exercise. It is the lifestyle that helps you lose and maintain weight losses that you can live with for a lifetime.

What is the very best exercise? It is the exercise you consistently enjoy and will continue the rest of your life. Have you made the connection?

Any weight-loss establishment, gym, diet, etc. can have clients’ testimonials raving about their success on XYZ diet. Look for these individuals down the road and see if they have maintained their weight losses. Most have not. The reason is that the XYZ diet required the client to eat specific foods, combinations of “negative-calorie” foods, cut carbs, increase protein; you fill in the criteria that fits your particular diet du jour. If followed, this approach will take off weight. But most losses won’t last because clients cannot maintain the regimen long term. Some diets have proven to be detrimental to long-term health.

We are a nation nurtured on instant gratification. Weight loss is usually sparked by a pending class reunion, wedding or similar occasion. Little or no thought goes into the health benefits of attaining a healthy weight. Once everyone admires your slender figure, bad habits are resumed and you are reacquainted with your old friend — fat. Why not take a long-term approach? Change your way of thinking and make your losses permanent.

Recently I had an individual tell me she didn’t want to go to Weight Watchers because of the meetings. I encouraged her to make it a personal mission to attend Weight Watchers for one year, reach her goal weight and never look back. Plenty of research shows that weight-loss group settings, or accountability to someone, actually improves compliance and success. It is in these settings you meet others who are on the same mission. They desire to change their lifestyle and lose weight with the intent of keeping the weight off permanently. There is motivation in knowing you’ll see your friends each week to compare losses and lend support.

Actually you can go through Weight Watchers program on your own via the Internet. However, the classes are recommended. The compliance for going it alone is dismal. Weight Watchers can also be taught at your place of employment. A class minimum is required.

The other component of the weight-loss puzzle is consistent exercise. Weight loss can be accomplished sans exercise. However, your success rate and long-term results require consistent exercise to maintain muscle mass.

Why would you not exercise? Most say time is a limiting factor. Others say they don’t enjoy it. The time issue is bogus. If you want to do something you will find time. I can look at someone’s daily routine and easily carve out 30 minutes for walking. If you don’t enjoy exercise you should explore all options, and there are plenty. You can walk, bike, swim, yoga, tai chi, tae-bo, Pilates, strength train, stair climb, rough house with kids, chase the dog, play soccer, dance, push mow the lawn, rake leaves and the list goes on.

The idea is to find something you enjoy, while eating a little less, that you can and will do consistently for the long haul.

Chris Davies, MS, owns Fitness Solutions, Inc. He can be reached at He is a resident of Terre Haute.