Misguided weight loss attempts

Published 3:17 pm Friday, January 21, 2011

In our efforts to get in shape and stay healthy, many of us tend to stick to habits that not only hinder progress, but can be down right dangerous.

Let’s explore some of these “healthy” convictions, and why taking them to the extreme can throw a monkey wrench into our health and fitness programs.

“I don’t eat sweets.”

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While it’s true, we should cut way back on simple sugars like candy, cutting out all sweets can backfire. As humans, we’re hard wired to want sugar. That’s the way we can tell fruits and vegetables are ready to eat. Also, people who cut out all sweets tend to binge eat. My suggestion is to make fruit your “sweet tooth” main stay, but occasionally have that decadent dessert.

“I rarely miss a day at the gym.”

This is one I see a lot from intermediate and advanced exercisers. You need to spend time out of the gym, no matter what your fitness level. Rest is when your body repairs it self. Also, during rest, your body dips into its fat stores, and your muscles tone and tighten. I tell clients to view rest two ways. First, think of rest as an active, not passive part of an exercise program.

Fitness is like a pie with three equal slices; rest, exercise and nutrition. If any one piece is too big, it makes the other pieces too small. In other words, if your exercise piece is too big, your rest piece is too small. Remember that rest is the glue that holds your program together.

“I’ve gotten my body fat down to 10 percent.”

Fat plays an intricate role in the formation of hormones. Women especially are at risk for bone loss if body fat dip too low, because they can’t produce enough estrogen, which is involved in the formation of bone. Dipping to deep into body fat levels is dangerous too, because fat cushions our internal organs, thereby protecting them.

“I’ve cut way back on carbohydrates.”

Always remember, you can’t live without carbs. Carbohydrates convert to “glycogen” in the body. Glycogen is to you, what starch is to a potato. It’s “animal sugar.” It is stored primarily, in the liver, and is converted to glucose, when needed by the body. My advice is to cut back on the “simple” sugars like candy, and choose more complex carbs, like whole grains and vegetables. Remember that as with many endeavors, moderation is the key to success in your fitness and nutrition program.

Diet or fitness question? Email me at dwcrocker77@gmail.com or visit fitness4yourlife.org.

David Crocker of Landrum has served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., strength coach S.C. state champion girls gymnastic team, USC-Spartanburg baseball team, Converse college equestrian team, lead trainer.